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Claire from Los Angeles asked

The best of the best in Scandinavian countries?

I have a Finnish and Swedish heritage, and have always wanted to visit, but my boyfriend will need convincing. He seems to think big cities in this area shut down on nights and weekends and there won't be enough to do.

After watching this Parts Unknown​, I'm thinking a first stop in Copenhagen for Noma, Tivoli, and Freetown Christiania would make that a worthwhile stop.

What're some interesting stops in Stockholm or Helsinki or nearby that'll help convince him? We love design, technology, beer, subcultures, festivals, museums, food, and as warm weather as we can get (thinking Spring).

Sweden   Finland   Denmark

7 Answers
answered by
Joy from Berlin

Though I've never been to Copenhagen, I've been to many European cities and Stockholm is my absolute favorite. If you love design, Stockholm is the most well-planned, smart, and clean city I've ever visited.

To start off, take a walk around  Södermalm. If you get off the T-Bana at  Medborgarplatsen station, walk down Gotgatan street, and there will be well-designed shop after shop of awesome books, furniture, clothing, vintage, music, etc. If you're into home design  Granit is an amazing store. 

After doing a bit of looking around on Gotgatan, grab craft beers and food at  Akkurat. They have an extensive craft beer list (quite possibly the largest in Stockholm) and very good mussels & fries, and Kavring bread (a dark rye-type bread). It's a bit pricey, but totally worth it. 

For traditional Swedish food,  Pelikan/Kristallen is a great restaurant, also in Sodermalm. Nearby shop  Grandpa has cool clothes for men, and in the basement there's vintage furniture.  Pet Sounds Bar is nearby too, along with other awesome vintage clothing and furniture stores. 

If you like music, you can't visit Stockholm without stopping by  Debaser Medis. A ton of really good bands and artists from Sweden and around the world play at Debaser, so check their calendar.

If you like dancing,  Café Opera and  Berns Hotel are great for that.

Gamla Stan a.k.a. Old Town is definitely worth wandering around. The tiny streets and brightly colored buildings are adorable.

The Archipelago is cool to visit too. If you can only visit one island, head over to Vaxholm

And lastly museums...for art museums the  Moderna museetMagasin 3, and  Nationalmuseum are great. And if you're into Viking history, the  Vasa Museum, which has an original Viking ship inside of it, is awesome.

Comments (1)

Great answer!! I'm hoping to hit Stockholm this summer. Fingers crossed :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Södermalm (region)
  2. Medborgarplatsen (attraction)
  3. Granit (attraction)
  4. Akkurat (attraction)
  5. Pelikan/Kristallen (restaurant)
  6. Grandpa (attraction)
  7. Pet Sounds Bar (attraction)
  8. Debaser Medis (attraction)
  9. Café Opera (attraction)
  10. Berns Hotel (hotel)
  11. Gamla Stan (city)
  12. Archipelago (region)
  13. Vaxholm (attraction)
  14. Moderna museet (attraction)
  15. Magasin 3 (attraction)
  16. Nationalmuseum (attraction)
  17. Vasa Museum (attraction)
comments (1)
likes (7) thanks
answered by
Edward from Stockholm

Hi Claire! First of all: if you want warm weather you should come to Stockholm during July or August. But if you're lucky, it can be quite warm in May already.

Some great things to do in Stockholm:  Fotografiska (centre for contemporary photography, open to 9 PM every day - I'm noticing that the location showing on this map isn't correct though) and  Vintervikens Trädgårdskafé (just outside the city limits in Aspudden. Homegrown vegetables and great places to swim just a minute away. See map on I also think that you will find lots of things to do in the district  Södermalm which has a lot of vintage stores, cafés, tattoo parlors, design shops, restaurants etc. I personally like Blue Light Yokohama (Japanese food, Åsögatan 70),  chokladfabriken (chocolate) and the area around Mariatorget. Lots of pubs there! Try out Loch Ness Tavern & Pub (small but with a great selection of beers, at Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 5) or  Morfar Ginko & Pappa Ray Ray.

Another part of Stockholm to explore is the old town;  Gamla Stan. Small alleys, old houses, Science Fiction Bokhandeln (science fiction/fantasy/horror bookstore on Västerlånggatan 48:, Pharmarium (restaurant inspired by old pharmacies and mystics - amazing food and drinks! At Stortorget 7). In Gamla Stan you'll also find one of Stockholm's breweries: Monks.  Monks Porter House (Munkbron 11) in Gamla Stan is both a brewery and a restaurant. This particular venue focus on porter and stout.

Also: you can swim in the water in the middle of Stockholm. Have a picnic and go for a swim! Great areas for this is Långholmen, Tantolunden and Reimersholme (all nearby subway station Hornstull) or Smedsuddsbadet (Address: Smedsudden, Rålambshov, Stockholm) in the part of Stockholm know as Kungsholmen.

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fotografiska (attraction)
  2. Vintervikens Trädgårdskafé (restaurant)
  3. Södermalm (region)
  4. Blue Light Yokohama (restaurant)
  5. chokladfabriken (restaurant)
  6. Loch Ness Tavern & Pub (restaurant)
  7. Morfar Ginko & Pappa Ray Ray (attraction)
  8. Gamla Stan (city)
  9. Science Fiction Bokhandeln (attraction)
  10. Pharmarium (attraction)
  11. Monks Porter House (attraction)
  12. Hornstull (attraction)
  13. Smedsuddsbadet (attraction)
  14. Kungsholmen (neighborhood)
likes (6) thanks
answered by
Sini from Finland

Yes, Stockholm and Copenhagen and definitely cute, but in case you want to have a real great trip you should come to Helsinki!

Take a hotel room in east & rougher side of the center, Scandic Paasi is really nice. Visit the great bars (for example Definitely bath at the public sauna and chat with regulars, who have been going there for decades (so exotic this is only in Finnish: Kotiharjun sauna ( If you want to have your sauna with a view and hipster company, visit  Kulttuurisauna Enjoy the cafes, brunches and the atmosphere. In the summer you are mostly likely to be able to enjoy one of the numerous happenings in the streets like restaurant day or Kallio Block Party (,, In case you want to have a naked dip into a pool with a glass of wine, visit Yrjonkatu swimming hall

What comes to design, there are a number of things to see, one of the best is Designmuseo

For the most authentic experience try to get invited for someones summer cottage for the weekend.

August is BEST. Full of festivals, nice weather, happy people. In July everyone is on holiday, so it's almost just tourists in the city. All other seasons are good.


Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Helsinki (city)
  2. Scandic Paasi (hotel)
  3. Kotiharjun sauna (attraction)
  4. Kulttuurisauna (attraction)
  5. Yrjonkatu swimming hall (attraction)
  6. Designmuseo (attraction)
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answered by
Brew from Manhattan Beach

Stockholm and Sweden are amazing, but Copenhagen is one of the world's best cities and has a great nightlife, etc.  JR covered things pretty well.  I think  Tivoli is definitely a must.  On the restaurant front, I would add  Restaurant BROR to the list (the chef is another Noma alum).   Restaurant Schønnemann is phenomenal (a modern farm to table) take on the traditional Danish lunch.  The Soren's special there is amazing.  If you want to try a classic Danish dish (flaeskesteg) in an old school smorrebrod (open face sandwich) place, I think the flaeskesteg (roast pork) at  Cafe Sorgenfri K/S is some of the best anywhere.

The beauty of Copenhagen is that it is an amazing place to walk and explore.  From  Tivoli all the way to  Nyhavn is a walk street called  Strøget, with shops, cafes, churches, street perfomers and charming side-streets.  Two of my favorite squares are  Gråbrødretorv and  Højbro Plads.  If you want to stop for a beer or glass of wine at either squares,  Peder Oxe's Vinkælder is a nice place (the downstairs is a very old and interesting wine cave) and  Ved Stranden 10 - vinhandel & bar is fantastic with views of the canal, the  Børsen and the parliament buildings.

A nice way to get a taste of both Denmark and Sweden is to go to  Helsingor, which has an interesting downtown walkstreet area, but is also where  Kronborg Slot (aka, Hamlet's castle) is located.  There are very frequent ferries from Helsingor to  Helsingborg in Sweden, which is a nice city with some great places to walk and see, including  Terasstrapporna, the  Kärnan and the  Slottshagen (Kärnanparken).

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tivoli (attraction)
  2. Restaurant BROR (restaurant)
  3. Restaurant Schønnemann (restaurant)
  4. Cafe Sorgenfri K/S (restaurant)
  5. Tivoli (attraction)
  6. Nyhavn (neighborhood)
  7. Strøget (attraction)
  8. Gråbrødretorv (attraction)
  9. Højbro Plads (attraction)
  10. Peder Oxe's Vinkælder (attraction)
  11. Ved Stranden 10 - vinhandel & bar (restaurant)
  12. Børsen (attraction)
  13. Helsingor (city)
  14. Kronborg Slot (attraction)
  15. Helsingborg (attraction)
  16. Terasstrapporna (attraction)
  17. Kärnan (attraction)
  18. Slottshagen (Kärnanparken) (attraction)
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answered by
Grace from Miami

I can give you recommendations in Stockholm.

Skansen (open-air museum) a huge park gathering 150 historic buildings transplanted from all corners of Sweden; examples of swedish lifestyles & architecture. Farmhouse, windmills, barns, churches, & shops also a zoo. you can sample Swedish delicacies (i.e., smorgasbord, waffles w/cream & cloudberries. One of the best ways to get an overview of Skansen is to ride the tram around the huge park. It's free with the stockholm card.

Vasamuseet (Royal Warship Vasa) vasa museum warship sank 10 min. into maiden voyage in 1628. The museum also provides a 20 minute film on what it took to bring the ship back up to the surface. It's free with the stockholm card.

Stadshuset (City Hall) ornate bldg. Since the only way to visit City Hall is by taking part in a guided tour, the City Hall does not have general opening hours, but is only open for visitors when there is a guided tour. Tour takes approximately 45 min. It's free with the stockholm card. The hall was unbelievably beautiful!

Have wonderful visit, it's one of my favorite cities.

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Skansen (attraction)
  2. Vasamuseet (Royal Warship Vasa) (restaurant)
  3. Stadshuset (attraction)
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answered by

Every city is lovely, but Stockholm is probably my favorite--a gorgeous mix of islands and waterways. Gamla Stanarea is lovely...and there's always lots of places to pop into along Götgatan street. Take a leisurely stroll or rent a bike (or kayak!) to explore the town. Though much smaller, there are great design museums and tons of cafes in Helsinki (as they'll remind you, they're the world's heaviest drinkers..of coffee)..and book *now* for Noma in Copenhagen!

If you two want to be sure there will be lots going on and people out and about at *all* hours of the day and night, then go for the midsummer festival! Usually lasts about four days, spanning the summer solstice. Crazy in any spot you choose, but ultimately I have to tip my hat to the Finns.

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Stockholm (city)
  2. Gamla Stan (city)
  3. Götgatan (attraction)
  4. Helsinki (city)
  5. Noma (restaurant)
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top answer by
JR from Manhattan Beach

Hey Claire. The trip sounds GREAT! I think your bf will enjoy it. I went for the first time last summer and liked it so much i went back for a second trip a month later :)

I've only been to Denmark, so can't comment on anything else, but I think you've got right idea especially since Norwegian Airlines has non-stops from LAX now at very reasonable prices.

Copenhagen has an exploding restaurant scene due mainly to Noma laying the foundation for the whole new Nordic food movement. It's a game changer restaurant and a must see for any foodie, so make your reservation early. It blew me away. Other's in the noma lineage are Manfreds & Vin and Amass (former head chef of Noma and American guy!) and Restaurant Relæ (former Noma chef and now has Michelin Star)

Also of note, I would check out Restaurant Schønnemann for the traditional open face sandwich and a Danish schnapps. For wine and snacks on the canal hit up Ved Stranden 10 - vinhandel & bar (Mads Kleppe, the head sommelier from Noma turned me on to this place... it's his favorite. When you get there just say you want a bottle of what ever Mads was drinking last).

For a beer on a the deck of old boat (yeah, that's right) sit on the roof of MS Donna Wood for the best view and one of the cheaper beers in town to boot! Also, this is the best way to see the somewhat tourist Nyhavn neighborhood.

Don't be afraid to try an organic goat hotdog at truck døp, there are a few around the city. 

As far as festivals go, Jazz fest in CPH is in early July (4th-13th) if you decide to go later. Very cool way to see a bunch of music while touring the city with many free performances throughout a lot of the beautiful open spaces within the city. 

Have fun!!

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Noma (restaurant)
  2. Manfreds & Vin (restaurant)
  3. Amass (restaurant)
  4. Restaurant Relæ (restaurant)
  5. Restaurant Schønnemann (restaurant)
  6. Ved Stranden 10 - vinhandel & bar (restaurant)
  7. MS Donna Wood (attraction)
  8. Nyhavn (neighborhood)
  9. døp (restaurant)
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