When fall comes each year we find ourselves cleaning house, organizing, downsizing, and taking stock of the beautiful sunny memories of summer. As the kids nap peacefully this afternoon, we’re snuggled on the couch watching the last of the orange and yellow leaves of cottonwoods drift quietly in the backyard. We’re taking this window of opportunity to send a special inspirations email today about our summer vacation to Scandinavia. Along with our two kids, we explored Denmark, Sweden, and Norway for three full weeks in July.
There are plenty of luxury-focused travel guides like Monocle, CITYX, and the Michelin Nordic Guide that are excellent resources, but we wanted to share with you some of our favorite places from the trip. Many of these links will go to our website where we have included pictures and more details about our experiences:
- When we began our trip we planned a few days of doing nothing so that we could adjust to the time zone and enter vacation-mode. We rented an Airbnb home in Hellerup (just North of Copenhagen). The home is located in a quiet neighborhood which was a perfect setting to help us get settled. Bonus, the house had a trampoline. We cooked meals, explored the town, and let the kids run loose at the most amazing children’s museum, the Experimentarium.
- Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Station Wall Clock seemed to be everywhere we went in Denmark, including hanging in the Airbnb house. We purchased one for our home in Boulder to remind us of our trip and the importance of timeless design.
- You must go to the Louisiana Art Museum. The art is very good but the architecture of the building is what really stands out.
- When in Copenhagen, eat lunch at Copenhagen Street Food, specifically try Tacos Chucho. Get afternoon coffee and cake at 108 Restaurant and also go there for dinner. Stay at the D’Angleterre hotel and make sure to experience the spa and pool. You’ll certainly see Tivoli Gardens and when you do, eat at Gemyse and try to get a seat inside the greenhouse. Great coffee at the four locations of Coffee Collective.
- When in Stockholm, have lunch at Oaxen Slip. Go to the Vasa Museum. Stay at the Grand Hotel and eat at chef Mathia Dahlgren’s Rutabaga. Take a day boat to Vaxholmarchipelago and have lunch. Visit the old town of Stockholm, Gamla Stan, and make sure to buy candy at Polkagris Kokeri. Eat pizza dinner at Tutto Bello. For a quick lunch go to Kalf & Hansen and then get a coffee at nearby Drop Coffee.
- In the unassuming town of Växjö, Sweden there is a beautiful hotel and restaurant, PM & Vänner. If you’re traveling with children, you’ll also want to spend an afternoon at the local park and playground, Linnéparken.
- We had the opportunity to meet with the renowned designer, Pia Wallen, in her magnificent Stockholm design studio/home. Pia is the designer of the iconic, Cross Blanket, which we sell at our Shop in Boulder and that is part of the Swedish design museum. We wrote a more in-depth piece about Pia, here.
- We discovered a Swedish architect worth noting, Jonas Lindvall, while staying at the PM & Vänner hotel, which he designed. His body of work is incredibly beautiful, modern, and considered. We especially like his furniture collections such as the Miss Holly Chair and Table.
- We stayed at a nice and centrally located Airbnb in Oslo, Norway.
- When in Oslo visit the Oslo Opera House to experience the architectural marvel that it is. This might seem odd, but there is a very good Chinese restaurant in Oslo that’s worth eating, it’s called Dinner. Go to the Vigeland sculpture park. Best coffee we had on our entire trip was at Tim Wendelboe. Eat at Smalhans.
- If you make your way to Norway you’ll undoubtedly explore the fjords. We stayed in a picturesque modern cottage in Aurland called 2|92 Aurland. Yes, that is a real a waterfall in the background…it was one of a dozen that surrounds you in the Aurland valley. Absolutely magnificent. Get to Aurland by train from Oslo to Flåm then take the breathtaking one-hour, Flåm Railway to the start of the fjord. From Aurland, take the five-hour Norled boat ride through the fjords to the ocean and end up in Bergen.
- When in Bergen we couldn’t find anywhere remarkable to stay but so long as you’re near the town center, you’ll be fine. Eat at Lyscerket and also at Bare Vestland.
Scandinavia is a remarkable part of the world. The people are kind, beautiful, progressive, and reserved. These values inspire us in our endeavors with Alpine Modern and in raising our family. It was a transformative trip for us and we hope that you get the opportunity to travel to that magical North. And if you do, please share with us your experiences.