Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of requests for travel tips from friends and acquaintances seeking ideas for their upcoming trips either around the US or Europe. Last year I put together a list of recommendations for Denver, but as I continue to talk with more people about planning out their trips, the most efficient solution seems to be beginning a series of entries that collect my travel tips in a central location.
Today I will begin with a short list of tips about Denmark and Norway (and tiny bit about Berlin) since it came up recently in conversation. But I will aim to prepare more thorough lists of travel notes about other locations to be posted later. If there are any cities or destinations of particular interest to you, dear readers, just let me know!
Copenhagen is a fun and bustling city, Design*Sponge has already put together a very nice travel guide outlining ideas for shopping and cafes by neighborhood and even a few hotels. The national museum is very well done and free to boot. When in town I always try to get to the Design museum which generally has a good mix of historic and contemporary work on display. The resistance museum is pretty good too and not very far from the royal palace. Looking to cover a lot of ground while exploring town? No sweat! Copenhagen has a free bike sharing program called City Bike with banks of bikes available all around the city. Learn more about the program online here.
For a nice lunch or fika while in Copenhagen, try Café Norden–great food, great service, nice people watching in a convenient spot. Illums Bolighus is right nearby too which is always a good spot for window shopping or more high-end souvenirs. For a quick meal or snack, casual but always fresh, Joe n’ the Juice all around town is a safe and tasty bet. For travel snapshots with a view pay a visit to the Rundetårn, a seventeenth century tower originally built as an observatory. For 25DKK you can climb to the top by way of a massive spiral ramp (can you believe they used to race horses then bikes up and down the ramp?); it’s a little windy but the view is worth it. If castles are your thing, a visit to Frederiksborg Castle just outside of town may be in order.
Roskilde is an ancient town about 35k west of Copenhagen (about 25 minutes by train) with a beautiful cathedral and wonderful Viking ship museum as well; worth a visit if you have the time. Also outside of Copenhagen but worth exploring if time/energy allows are the towns of Skagen and Aalborg. If it’s of interest, there are Viking burial grounds near Aalborg.
In general, the Oslo Mikrobryggeri (Microbrewery) is a good spot for a pint or two. Vigelund Park is an impressive sculpture park worth checking out while exploring Oslo. If you’re a bibliophile like me, don’t miss Damm’s Antiquarian Books or Norlis Antikvariat.
In Bergen, Pingvinen is a good spot for a casual meal. For a more upscale meal, try Spisekroken. Pygmalion is another good and not too expensive restaurant to consider. If you’re in the market for a unique, wearable gift the silver jewelry at Juhl’s Silver Gallery is beautiful. Just outside of Bergen Gamlehaugen, is one of the royal family’s castles, details about opening hours and tours should be available online here.
If time is limited but you’re dying to “see it all” in a short trip, consider booking a trip with Norway in a Nutshell. With several tour options, you can explore the mountains and fjords of Norway in a day tour or an overnight year-round.
If you have any time in Berlin to kill and are looking for a nice meal, consider Monsieur Vuong. If you find yourself in Berlin for a greater length of time and need ides, here’s a nice list put together by Sandra Juto, a Swedish artist who lives in Berlin.
Lisa Congdon, a SF-based illustrator and artist who recently spent several weeks in Scandinavia put together a nice list of design-y shops in Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm.
If you’ve not already checked it out, Lonely Planet, has a good set of travel guides for most cities around the world. Here are the guides for the cities I mentioned above:
If you’ve not checked Rick Steves’ guides or seen his shows, he’s a good resource as well. Here’s a link to his Scandinavian guide(s) online.
Think something’s missing or want some thing more specific not included on the list? Just leave a comment or email me and I will add it in. Happy Trails!