Scandinavia Highlights

By Kate Riley May 22, 2017

Hello friends! As you know I love love LOVE to travel, and a few weeks ago returned from a 12 day trip to Scandinavia. That region had been on my bucket list forever and I absolutely loved every minute of my visit. I traveled there in late April so it was still cold and required a jacket every day. We had some foggy days and a little rain but also plenty of sunny (yet chilly) days too. Here’s just a sampling of what I saw on my travels through Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

On arrival I stayed with some friends who live an hour outside Copenhagen on my first night so I was able to see some of the countryside of Denmark. So lovely! I also spent two full days in Copenhagen and was so charmed by it. One can’t visit without a stop to the iconic Nyhavn where you’ll spy colorful homes along the canals, an abundance of cafes and pubs, and it’s here you can catch a canal tour.





Copenhagen is a very walkable city and possesses the charm of other European cities with its cafes, fountains, copper spires, and architecture. I walked around the city about 5-6 miles a day ducking down so many streets and past landmarks.




I stopped in a few churches as well and walked to the Church of our Savior to climb up the spire. While in Copenhagen don’t miss a stroll around Tivoli Gardens. There’s a really beautiful hotel there too, I was smitten with the interiors and floral arrangements in the Nimb Hotel, and especially the elegant bar.




One thing you can’t escape in Copenhagen are the marvelous pastries and breads, I recommend popping into one of the many bakeries to sample the deliciousness!


Who doesn’t love Danish design? I found myself browsing in several shops and wanting to take home so much!



From Copenhagen I took an overnight ferry on DFDS Seaways to journey to Norway which was so fun! I woke up the next morning peering out my window staring at the charming seaside villages and homes that you pass on your way to Oslo. It’s a nice view to take in while you eat your breakfast!

I spent two days in my travel companion’s hometown of Askim where we visited with her family and friends then it was back to Oslo to explore that city for a few days. Thankfully we had a lot of sunshine and spring was in the air.


We hit the ground running and walked all over this city too. We watched the changing of the guard at the palace that was interesting to watch.





A big highlight was Vigeland Park, it’s a popular place in Oslo and it’s filled with hundreds of sculptures completed by a single artist, each one unique and amazing.





Also worth your visit are the Folk Museum where you’ll see historic Norwegian structures and the Viking museum where you can see ships from the 1100s.




Oslo was very easy to walk around just like Copenhagen and around every corner so much charm, especially at twilight when the downtown area is all lit up and you can duck into pubs or cafes and people watch to your heart’s content.




Our last stop along the journey was Stockholm and we booked a train ride from Oslo train station directly to Stockholm and it was a gorgeous journey through birch forests past lakes and little towns in the Swedish countryside. Train rides through Europe are one of my favorite things in life and this trip had my staring out the window the entire five hours.

Stockholm is an vibrant city centered on many islands so there are waterways and ferries everywhere.



There are several amazing neighborhoods in this city, the most popular for tourists is the charm of old town Gamla Stan filled with shops and cafes, it’s a great place to spend a few hours and have lunch.



There is so much beautiful architecture everywhere you go in Stockholm and the beginning of spring was on display when I arrived.





I spent a fun afternoon in the trendy Södermalm neighborhood with its shops and cafes, that was a cool place to walk around.





If you’re up for a unique experience and like cocktails, make a reservation for the Ice Bar where they’ll dress you in a blanket coat and serve you your drink of choice in a glass made of ice (just like the rest of the room!)



Like I did in Copenhagen, I loved looking at all the shops in Stockholm, in so many I observed such great design and well curated decor.



Of course no trip to Stockholm is complete without dining on classic Swedish meatballs, these were better than IKEA ;)



What surprised me was I never felt a language barrier traveling in the big cities of Scandinavia because most people speak English as their second language. Not that you shouldn’t make an effort to speak basic phrases, I do believe that’s polite! I loved the people and the food and the sites of all three Scandinavian countries and I wouldn’t hesitate to return to explore more of the countryside. Hope you enjoyed the pics! Comment with any questions you may have. :)


  1. Kate, what kind of camera did you use? It complemented your framing and composition.

    • Those are all from my iPhone 6! I stop taking along my DSLR camera on big trips when I got it, for the most part I’m satisfied with the quality and it’s far easier to snap pics on a phone than with a big camera. The composition just comes from some editing in photoshop elements :)

  2. Thanks for this wonderful travel guide! And like you, I want to take home all the stuff in those decor shops!

  3. Lovely trip! When do you think the best time to visit Sweden is? Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Anne! They have a festival on April 30th that welcomes the start of spring, I was there on my last day, that’s a lot of fun the Swedes parade through the streets with lit torches and light a big bonfire down by the water. Very festive and fun! It’s called Walpurgis Night. May is really gorgeous so is summer but it’s more crowded in June and July when lots of tourists visit. I understand August and September have good weather too.

  4. I really enjoyed the post Kate. I am headed to Copenhagen on June 20th then onto the other Baltic cities. So much to look forward to.

  5. Thanks for the great photos! When our kids are older (we have 5 kids under age 9) we plan to go Norway, Sweden and Finland. We are of that heritage. Also my bro in law is from Norway and one of my brothers is dating a girl who was born in Sweden. We have never been but hear so much about the beauty of the scandinavian countries! My sister has made several trips there and Norway is beyond beautiful she says!

  6. I’ve been to Stockholm twice, -two years in a row- and it’s my fave city so far. I may go back again this summer for another concert.
    The food is great (smoked salmon for breakfast, loved it) and there was no language barrier to speak of, like you mentioned.
    Did you visit Stockholm’s city hall? It’s a must!

  7. Pictures are wonderful, I love when you travel and share with “us”.

  8. Thank you for this fun post and pictures. My 18 year old son is living in Sweden right now and he loves it. He also loves the architecture and has sent home a lot of pictures of buildings in Stockholm. He keeps telling me about all of the delicious pastries he eats during fika (Sweden’s afternoon tea/coffee time). Did you experience a fika while there? Sounds charming. I can’t wait to go and visit and experience it myself!

  9. I enjoyed the visit through your camera lens. On your next journey, please include a shot of your travel shoes. I am always on the lookout for great footwear.
    I always enjoy your blog!

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