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Instead of glossing over the details of my travels to focus on the impact they had on Marbury, today’s post is all about stopping and taking in the sights. These were some of the most interesting and beautiful things and places I saw on my Scandinavian adventures, and if you ever get the chance to explore the region yourself, do your creative side a favor by making space for them in your itinerary!
Stockholm was the first destination I arrived in, and the perfect place to begin the trip. The quieter, smaller city and slower pace of life was ideal for transitioning from work mode to vacation mode and a more relaxed mindset—especially the calming sights and sounds of the waterfronts.
One of the most noticeable parts of the city for me was just how much of a contrast it was to life in LA. It’s likely no secret that Angelenos can be quite loud and always in a hurry, so it was overwhelmingly calming to be greeted by the quiet and respectful attitudes of Stockholm. It was also very walkable (our record was 12 miles in one day), with each neighborhood easy to travel to, yet holding its own distinct feel from the others.
Given that convenience, and the fact that the sun didn’t set until 9:30 pm each day, we had many opportunities to stroll and explore. Aside from the light and architecture in general (I couldn’t get enough of it), below were some of our favorite destinations:
• Östermalms Saluhall: A central marketplace housing a variety of food stalls. After a long day of walking, this became our go-to place to unwind over dinner.
• Moderna Musset: This modern art museum was the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon. It houses pieces from a number of my favorite modern artists, from Giacometti to Man Ray, that were incredibly inspiring to see in person.
• Drop Coffee: As an avid tea lover, I’m always noting coffee or tea shops on my travels, and this one was at the top of my Stockholm list for delicious herbal tea. The coffee was also top-notch, if you prefer that.
• Rosendals Trädgård: This was the most recommended spot from anyone who heard we were traveling to Stockholm, and it was clear why within minutes of arriving. We walked along the waterfront to get to it, and it felt like a dream I never wanted to wake up from. It was hands-down our favorite meal in the city, and despite being such a talked-about destination, I found it to be strikingly peaceful. Needless to say, I went a little crazy taking photos in the light-filled greenhouses sprinkled with flowers and delicious food.
• Gamla Stan: I loved how quaint this part of the city felt, like you could get lost in all of its side alleys. This is where Stockholm was founded in 1252, and its rich history is still felt in the colorful buildings and cobblestone streets.
• Cherry blossoms in bloom: I had only heard about these as an attraction in Japan, so I didn’t realize we’d see so many in Stockholm. Parts of the city were truly raining petals, and it was just as beautiful as it sounds.
Where Stockholm was quiet and peaceful, Copenhagen was vibrant and diverse, with a beautiful pulse to it. After rain in Sweden, we were met here with bright sunshine, and like the Danes spilling out into the streets, we made the most of it.
We hopped on rented bikes and easily navigated from wine bars on the waterfront to museums and gardens, experiencing some of the most gorgeous sites and delicious meals of my life. I only wish I could have booked our Airbnb for an endless reservation. There’s so much I could share, but my favorites were:
• Manfreds: The name Christian Puglisi, who’s behind several of the city’s tastiest eateries, came up quite a bit during our time in Copenhagen. We stumbled into Manfreds on our first night in town and managed to snag a spot at a communal table by the entrance, alongside a young culinary arts student who graciously gave us the rundown on everything we had to order. It ended up being the best meal of our trip and such a memorable experience to chat with other out-of-towners sharing the table with us.
• Café Atelier September: This cafe’s beautiful, light-filled interior was the perfect spot for an afternoon cup of tea (and a cookie, of course).
• La Banchina: This is a wine bar nestled on the waterfront in Christiania, where patrons spent the afternoon snacking, sunbathing, and diving off the docks into the water. (They also had a great soundtrack that I borrowed a few tracks from for an upcoming summer playlist.)
• Rundetårn: This is definitely a popular (and crowded) tourist destination, but the views at the top were 100% worth it. We went towards the later part of the day, and the light bouncing off the walls on our walk up to the top was truly breathtaking.
• Hay: I have admired Hay from afar for many years, both for their refined approach to housewares as well as their clever use of color and pattern. A stop at their retail store was a must-do that did not disappoint. It had me dreaming of coming home and swapping out my neutral furnishings for funkier pops of color. But instead of shipping an emerald green sofa overseas, I opted for a patterned tote bag instead.
• Museums: The museums throughout Copenhagen were amazing, with my two favorites being Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (the architecture!), and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The latter was a perfect day trip out of the city, where the grounds were as awe-inspiring as the art on display. We saw an extensive exhibit of Gabriele Münter’s work on our visit, and I immediately fell in love with her paintings and the color palettes within them.
• Christiania: This island just a short trip from the city center was home to an array of beautiful modern architecture, as well as the city’s most avant-garde food. We took a handful of trips here during our stay, both by foot and by bike, and were never disappointed by what we stumbled upon.
• Botanisk Have: While we made it a point to stop at many of the relaxing parks throughout Copenhagen to relax and enjoy a picnic, Botanisk Have was also home to a beautiful greenhouse and a variety of blooming foliage. My camera got a lot of use here as well.
Honestly, it’s overwhelming to even pick out a short list of favorite travel spots—I could’ve stayed there so much longer, spending even more time in the above places and exploring new escapes. Have you ever been to Scandinavia, or perhaps even a few of these places? I would love to hear about your own favorite areas in the comments!