8 Days in Scandinavia: Sweden, Oslo & Copenhagen

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Eight Days in Scandinavia

This eight-day itinerary kicks off in cool Stockholm, meanders through the Norwegian capital of Oslo, and ends in Copenhagen, home to one of the world's most acclaimed restaurants.

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Day 1-3: Stockholm & Beyond

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Stockholm is a collection of small islands, and one of the best ways to get a feel for the lay of the land is to hop on a boat at Nybrokajen and explore the city from the water. Discover Gamla Stan, the well-preserved Old Town; the rocky hilltop Sodermalm neighborhood; the small islands of Skeppsholmen; and the lush gardens of Djurgården. Next, head to the city center for lunch at the incredible food hall Ostermalmshallen to feast on Swedish delicacies, or enjoy a more formal lunch at seafood temple Lisa Elmqvists. After lunch, walk via busy Birger Jarlsgatan street towards Gamla Stan, and spend the afternoon exploring the Royal Palace, the Nobel Museum and the Armory (filled with costumes and royal carriages, great for kids). Stop at Sundbergs, the city's oldest pastry shop and be sure to try a kaneelbulle (Swedish cinnamon bun). For dinner, dive into Swedish fare at Sturehof, whose terrace is packed in the summer.

On your second day, take the traditional tram to Djurgården, a national park with a host of museums, historical buildings and galleries. Start the day at Vasa Museum, a preserved 17th-century ship. The remainder of the day is yours to discover. Whether you start by biking or wandering on horseback through the lush gardens, riding a coaster at the Grona Lund Amusement Park, or visiting Skansen, the kid-friendly zoo, there is plenty to do in this picturesque area. Dine at the charming Rosendal’s Wärdshus or the traditional Villa Godthem.

Start your last day in Stockholm at the Fotografiksa Museum, a center for contemporary photography. Enjoy a lunch at Gondolen, which offers one of the most incredible views of the city. After lunch wander the streets of Gotgatan and Hornsgatan for interior design, Swedish label and vintage shopping.

Day 4-5: Oslo

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For many, Norway brings to mind scenes of scruffy Nordic men ripping through the seas, so any visit to the country's capital should start at the Viking Ship Museum. This thrilling museum—with tombs, preserved ships and a Viking Age display—is on the western side of the city, Bygdøy Peninsula, which is rich in cultural attractions. After touring the Viking Museum, head to the Fram Museum to board and explore the strongest wooden ship ever built. For a family-friendly activity, the Holmekollen Ski Jump should not be missed; the Oslo landmark is only 20 minutes outside the city, and the observation deck offers great view of the jump and surrounding recreation area. For dinner, try Onda Sea Restaurant, an excellent seafood brasserie in an idyllic spot on the side of the Oslofjord.

Art lovers shouldn't miss the Munch Museum, which details the life and works of the famous Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, as well as the National Gallery of Oslo with works by Munch, Adolph Tidemand, Christian Krohg and Harald Sohlberg. While in the area, stroll (or make use of the city bike system, “Bysykler”) to the waterfront and gaze out the massive windows at the strikingly modern Opera House, near the Nobel Peace Center where you can learn about Alfred Nobel and the laureates. For dinner, head over to the hilltop Ekeberg Restaurant, with stunning views of the inner Oslofjord.

Days 6-8: Copenhagen

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Copenhagen is a relatively easy city to navigate. The heart of the city life is centered around the Stroget, the longest pedestrian street in Europe, and the Nyhavan Canal, both located off of the King’s New Square. In order to familiarize yourself with the city, start with a ride on one of the many canal tours that leave hourly from the Nyhavan Canal. From the water you can easily understand the layout of the city, and see the Opera House, the famous statue of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid and what some consider to be the world’s most famous restaurant, Noma. Located just a few minutes from the Stroget by taxi are the Tivoli Gardens, and Europe’s oldest amusement park. Those interested in al fresco dining will find a multitude of options for dinner. In the summer, the Nimb Brasserie sells tickets to shows along with their reservations on the terrace, which is next to the concert stage.

On the outskirts of Copenhagen are two of the city’s main attractions: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, with one of Europe’s most prominent collections, and a large sculpture park. For a longer trip, try Legoland, which is ideal for families visiting the area. The park has many highlights including roller coasters, water rides, restaurants and Miniland, constructed with over twenty million Lego blocks. Last but not least, the Amalienborg Palace, back in the city center, is a wonderful stop for any trip. The Palace has been home to the Royal family since the 18th century, and visitors can see both palaces and private residences which have some of the best examples of Rococo architecture.

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