Copenhagen and Sweden: the recap!

I’m back from my pastry binge vacation in Copenhagen and southern Sweden! If I had to sum up the Copenhagen portion of my trip in 4 photos it’d be these:

And for the Sweden portion it’d be these:

First things first, CRITTERS! I brought two little porgs with me to drop in Copenhagen and both were found!

Two of my critters now have happy homes in Copenhagen! That cat photo makes me worry a little though, ha. Another successful set of drops in the books!

Otherwise here’s my recap of the trip:

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

  • THE BAKERIES. OH MY GOD THE BAKERIES. Europeans take their pastry game seriously, and Copenhagen was no exception. The strawberry tarts became my favorite thing there.

  • The food: I feel like Copenhagen has become a global dining hotspot once Noma picked up attention for its 3-star Michelin status, and the food in Copenhagen definitely didn’t disappoint.
  • Speaking of good food, while I splurged on an incredible 17 course tasting menu at Kadeau, my cousins and I all agreed that the best bang for your buck meal we had was on our first night at Høst. Setting was cozy, staff was warm and friendly, food was top notch both in quality and innovation, and for about $60 USD (tax and tip is already included) the 5-course tasting menu was actually 9 courses because of the “surprise courses” that they’d throw in. Wholeheartedly recommend booking a meal here if you ever find yourself in Copenhagen and you want to try some new Nordic cuisine without having to shell out hundreds of dollars for one of the famous Michelin spots in the city.

  • Ok, actually I’ll have just ONE negative thing to say about the food: licorice. It’s everywhere. And I was game to try it. I figured if it’s such a beloved candy in this area then I should just go all out and eat what the locals eat. Nope. NOPE. I tried it in hard candy form, soft candy form, salted (???), unsalted, with caramel, with menthol, in ice cream (I told the girl at the counter that we didn’t really have licorice ice cream in America and she genuinely looked shocked that we’d be missing out on such a local favorite), with chocolate – I couldn’t do it. It didn’t matter what permutation of licorice I tried to get myself to like this stuff, I just couldn’t do it. Sorry to all my Scandinavian friends, I’ll have to sit out on the licorice game. But at least I tried!
  • The architecture! Copenhagen is just so damn PRETTY. Not a single skyscraper in sight, and they’ve managed to maintain all the old buildings while still keeping up with the times with the interiors. Even the ticket kiosks are pretty!

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  • Speaking of the archictecture, one of my favorite things that I did in Copenhagen was climb the spire at the Church of Our Saviour. Since we spent a lot of time stuffing our faces, this was a nice way to burn off some of the calories and get a fantastic view of the city. Definitely suggest doing this around sunset, it’s less crowded (the spire closes at 7pm), and you get to see Copenhagen in that gorgeous golden hour glow. <3

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  • The people! Danes are so friendly. Every time we had questions for a local they would always be so nice about helping us out and would almost always throw out other suggestions for things to see and do around town. At one point we were looking for a bakery, but we ended up in a candy shop and the girl at the counter was SO incredibly sweet in suggesting candies that we should try and throwing samples at us so that we could try some local Danish specialties.
  • The canal tour! I’ll be honest, I thought this would be kind touristy and cheezy, but I’m actually really glad this was the first thing we did on our trip. After a long day of coming in and out of airports and planes, it was nice to just sit on a boat and let someone else do the talking for a bit, while getting a good introduction to the city. Also you’re allowed to bring food and drinks onto the boats, and Copenhagen is an open container city, so you bet your ass my cousins and I picked up some cans of Carlsberg to bring with us on the tour!

  • The Little Mermaid statue – even our canal tour guide said it was ranked as one of the world’s most disappointing tourist sites. I didn’t really bother seeing it, so I was 100% fine with doing a quick drive-by on the boat.
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    You fools! FACE THE DISAPPOINTMENT!
  • Reffen! Another great thing about the canal tour is that I ended up finding out about other places that I otherwise wouldn’t have planned on visiting. Reffen is an awesome spot full of shipping containers turned into food stands. Lots and LOTS of good eats here.

  • The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art: This place is about a 45 minute train ride out from Copenhagen proper, but I felt like it was cool change in pace if you like modern art and have the time to visit! Gorgeous space out by the ocean, and they have a Yayoi Kusama installation, who is one of my favorite artists. Did I mention there’s a cafe? Because there’s a cafe. I definitely ordered MORE pastries while I was there.

  • SWEDEN: MALMÖ & ÖSTERLEN REGION

    Malmö, Sweden is just a 30 minute train ride away from Copenhagen, but I felt like I could do better than just bumming around there for a day or two, and I wanted to change the pace a bit from a big city. Cue taking a short road trip to the Österlen region to visit Simrishamn and Kivik!

    • How is everyone so good looking and well-dressed??? Swedes know how to take care of themselves, I’ll just say that much.
    • Malmö: I feel like Malmö is undersold. When I was researching for this trip it seemed like a lot of people were saying that there isn’t much to see and do in Malmö, and that it’s lackluster compared to Copenhagen. I don’t know what people are talking about, I felt like Malmö was plenty charming for me! Maybe not necessarily somewhere that you’d need to spend several days in, but definitely great for a daytrip out from Copenhagen.

  • PRINSESSTÅRTA! As dumb as it sounds, this was the #1 thing I wanted to do on this trip: get a slice of Swedish princess cake. The reason is even dumber: I LOVE the shitty frozen ones from IKEA, and I’ve been on the hunt for a fresh one at bakeries everywhere I go, and I could never find any. I figured if I love the crappy frozen ones so much, the real deal must be even better, right? Yes, YES IT IS BETTER AND IT’S EVERYTHING I WANTED IT TO BE. I picked out Konditori Hollandia in Malmö to try my first slice of prinsesstårta, a bakery that’s been open for over 100 years and clearly business is still booming.

  • …and prinsesstårta round 2! Picked one up at a little bakery that I stepped into in Simrishamn. 🙂

  • CARDAMOM ROLLS. When I first tried my prinsesstårta I ordered some other goodies too. This included a kardemummabullar and it instantly became a new favorite.

  • Apple Safari! I read that the Kivik area was known for its apple plantations, so I booked us for an “apple safari” at Kiviks Musteri, where an “apple safari” sounded so much more fun that just “apple picking tour.” We kept our hands and feet in the vehicle at all times and no apples attacked us. Even though the tour was entirely in Swedish, I figured we didn’t need a whole lot of translation for taking a fun tractor ride around a farm, picking some apples, and getting some warm apple cider along with some coffee and an incredible apple cardamom roll as a snack when we were done (see my above note about my new love for caradamom rolls). And even then a friendly passenger offered to translate for us lone Americans on the tour! Sweden, I like you too. <3

  • Stenshuvud National Park: right next to the apple farm is a small national park, so we all went for a hike after stuffing ourselves with apples and apple pastries. We took the longest loop trail which was still only a 1.5 hour hike, and we got to see an amazing variety of terrain, from green forests to open fields, to beaches with sand that squeaked under your feet. Lovely, lovely area.

  • Ales Stenar: Known as the Stonehenge of Sweden, it’s surrounded with mystery as no one knows who decided to set these up. If I had to be honest, I wasn’t too terribly interested in seeing this, but I brought it up with my cousins and they were curious about it, so we went, and it actually ended up being one of the highlights for me! Gorgeous cliffside views of the Baltic Sea, and the best part was that when we were walking back to the car we found another trail to follow, and unexpectedly ended up in a small beachside strip with a fish market and a few small cafes and shops. What started as something I initially didn’t have much interest in turned into a lovely impromptu seaside snacking visit where we got to try some of the local specialties and some beer and aquavit!
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  • Tak/Tack to Denmark and Sweden, for being gorgeous, delicious, and so hospitable to a small group of Americans who obnoxiously went around saying the word hygge the second anything even remotely cozy came our way. Thank you again, I hope I make my way to that part of world again someday! (Norway, I’m looking at you next!)

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