The time has finally come to share pieces of my second Eurotrip on the blog. It’s been a month since I returned home. On one hand, I feel like I was just there, while on the other it feels like a lifetime ago. Although I had originally intended on separate city guides for each stop, it seems to make sense to couple these similar but unique Scandinavian countries together. Grab a cup of tea and settle in for a chatty look at three stops on my trip!
My first stop after five days in London was Copenhagen – Denmark’s capital. This place will forever be significant in my mind for two reasons. One, this was my first solo adventure to a country where I knew no one and nothing and, two, this was the first place I’d ever taken myself to that felt like a dream. Something changes inside you once you discover the appeal of travel – you spend almost all your time about the places you want to visit or the things you need to see. Nyhavn was the first time I’ve ever found (I’m directionally-challenged) myself literally living in a picture that I have looked at a million times. All by myself with nothing but time to take everything in. But enough of my hallmark moments, let’s talk about what I did, where I went and what I ate!
I stayed at the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel. Aside from my roommates who did not believe in turning the lights off, the place was great. It had a very relaxed atmosphere and felt very safe. They had happy hour, shareable dinners (you have to pay in advance), and events every day. The coolest event when I was there was a beer pong tournament!
What did I do while I was in Copenhagen? There’s a lot to do in this city. Although it is quite pricey, Denmark is certainly the cheapest of the countries that I visited. To balance that out, I did my best to find cheaper things to do. Walking down to Nyhavn was my first adventure on the day that I arrived. I personally could have stared at the colourful harbour for hours. My own walking tour lead me to Strøget – a shopping district that rivals Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II with posh shops as far as the eye can see.
I also made sure to go on the free walking tour, which my hostel took people to the meeting spot twice a day, in order to start to get to know my surroundings and learn a bit more history! Although, it was a very rainy Monday and not a lot was open, the walking tour informed me about a lot of buildings and I started to get my bearings in the area. There have been many fires in Copenhagen and I surprisingly learned quite a bit of history on my tour. I found this out when my aunt went there a few weeks later and I started to spout facts at her about what I had learned.
I received a 10% off pass for the canal tours from my guide and then when I went to redeem it they gave me a ticket for free! The canal tour is a great way to understand the history of the city – they have windows that open so you can stay dry even on a wet day. The boat trip allowed me to see the overhyped (words of my fellow travellers, not just mine) “Little Mermaid” along with other waterfront properties. The palace was one of my favourite stops of my journey. I loved learning about the royal family of Copenhagen who sound like pretty cool human beings and checking out their multiple castles (one is just for parties!) while standing in the square. Unfortunately, I missed Christianatown and many museums. There are many things to do in Copenhagen and I would love to have had a bit more time to test some more things out!
Food was important in Denmark, as it is everywhere for me. I ate in Nyhavn my first night – a very hefty priced but delicious meal and then quickly decided to eat cheaper for the remainder of my time in Copenhagen. My tour guide recommended we try a hot dog wrapped in bacon (the ultimate street meat) and Danish pastries. Both were a must-have and I believe I will crave them for the remainder of my time on this Earth. For cheaper alternatives during trips to Scandinavian countries, stop by 7/11s (very different than the ones we are used to in Canada) and coffee shops for a quick bite.
To be honest, I had no idea what I was in for when I booked by train ticket to Stockholm. Due to poor time-management skills in booking flights/trains on this trip, I actually had to run through Copenhagen Central Station with my heavy backpack and a new-found Australian friend name John cheering me on in order to make said train at 6:45 a.m. This may have made my trip to Sweden’s capital even sweeter. The city encompasses 14 islands and is made up of more than 50 bridges on the coast in the southeast of Sweden where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. This makes for outstanding views and very fresh air for relaxing walks. It is fairly easy to get turned around in Stockholm but after a couple days I got the hang of where I was going and the areas I was looking for.
Generator Stockholm was one of (if not) the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in. It was built in a building which used to be a hotel, which gave it more of a hotel vibe. But the room was beautiful, clean and modern. The staff was incredibly friendly – offering my advice on things to do whenever I spoke with them. I had heard good things about Generator hostels around Europe and would definitely be interested in visiting one again in the near future!
The picturesque city has as much to do as it does to look at. I made a plan for my first day in Stockholm and managed to mess up my directions so spent a lot of the day just walking around the city. It wasn’t until I got back to my hostel and on wifi that I realized I had been to many of the things I wanted to see but just in a different order. My favourite bits were Gamla Stan (“The Old Town”) with the historic buildings and cute cafes. I also managed to find TWO markets – Östermalm Food Hall, an 1880s food hall with antique stalls selling produce and seafood along with gourmet goods, and Hötorgshallen, which is apparently the only place in Stockholm that you can bargain according to my bus tour.
I stopped by the Vasa Museum, where you can learn the story of Stockholm’s biggest ship that didn’t even make it out of their harbour. Pro tip: the museum is open late and offers cheaper admission on Wednesday nights if you are trying to save a little money! Stockholm has many other famous museums to visit as well, including the Abba Museum, Fotografiska (photography museum), and Skansen Open-Air Museum. Many of the museums are located on what I liked to refer to as museum island which makes it easy to hop from one to the next! The hop-on, hop-off bus tour in Stockholm was an easy way to travel between the different parts of each city while learning about Swedish history. Did you know we have Sweden to thank for H&M and Spotify aka two of my favourite things?!
I have to admit I did not do justice to the Swedish food scene while I was in Stockholm. Many of my meals were quick, easy and on-the-go. I had multiple pesto and mozzarella sandwiches from Wayne’s Coffee and didn’t eat breakfast very often. One place I did try out was Phil’s Burger – recommended by Anna from the Anna Edit in her Stockholm City Guide. The place was PACKED at 11 a.m. on a Wednesday. It was almost impossible to get a seat and lead me to question if any of the cool hipsters of Stockholm had to work on Wednesdays. The burger, which was advertised as possibly the best burger in Stockholm, was highly underrated because it was delicious. I also ate at a place by Stockholm Central called The Meat that I did not enjoy as much.
Norway was a stop for friends. My good friend Niki is currently completing her masters in Oslo so Robyn and I went to meet up with her for the weekend. Solo travelling is the bomb. It gives you a great opportunity to round up your thoughts, challenge yourself and recalibrate your goals. But being with some of your closest friends in a new place is equally rewarding and special so I was super happy to be reunited in Oslo. My flight to Oslo was a standout. It was not only the quickest flight in the world – a whole 45 minutes from Stockholm into Oslo – but NorwegianAir provided free wifi on the plane! This is living people!!!
We stayed at the most incredible AirBNB in Oslo. Our place for the weekend was a one-bedroom apartment just a quick bus stop away from the city centre. This was my first experience with AirBNB but it certainly will not be my last. It was so nice to have the opportunity to cook for ourselves when we wanted and the place was a blogger’s dream with thousands of adorable knickknacks that I instantly added to my must-own list.
Our tour of Oslo was a whirlwind of sightseeing, food and laughter – a common theme for trips with Robyn! We stood on the roof of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet (a must do if you have the chance), ventured through the Akershus Fortress, walked around Vigeland Sculpture Park and took many pictures at the Oslofjørd. This was the only city I really used the transit system on my trip but it was incredibly easy to use, very frequent and also clean. You can pick up a day pass at a local convenient store and you are good to go for 24-hrs from the time you tap it active on the bus. In the evening, we spent some time with Niki’s friends from her program – a fun, international group before heading to a house party!
Oslo is no-doubt an expensive city. Luckily, we had Niki around to show us how to act like locals. When I first arrived in Oslo, we stopped at a grocery store and picked up fresh buns, salami and snöfrisk (a mix between goat and cream cheese) for lunch. Niki also told us that because eating out is so expensive in Oslo, many Norwegians tend to have people over for dinner (my kind of place!) And she informed us that Fridays were taco nights for Norwegians. So we decided to act like the locals and had a girl’s taco night at our place. It was delicious, fun and reminded me of home while still pretending to be Norwegian. Niki also took us to another food market – Mathallen! Not only were there loads of fresh produce (and cheese) but we ate the most delicious duck confit sandwiches!
The following evening we went to Rorbua Aker Brygge, a restaurant by the harbor that had Norwegian’s specialties. Robyn had the best salmon I have ever tasted and Niki had a life-changing fish soup. My friends, if you ever have the opportunity to have fish soup in Norway – please take it, even if you don’t love fish. I had the Taste of Norway – a variety of meats specialized from the country and my way of literally tasting Norway.
That’s all for this portion of the trip – stay tuned for Iceland!