NORDIC RULES: Culture, cusine, and high-end design? Check!

By Jen Murphy

In recent years, Scandinavia’s cities have become the epitome of European cool with their clean-lined design, new Nordic cuisine, and enviably chic urban bike culture. Here’s our cheat sheet for navigating the trend-setting capitals.


Stay: Built in 1887, Hotel Kämp has welcomed everyone from rock stars to royalty. Finland’s grand dame hotel has a prime location in the Kluuvishopping district and across from Esplanade Park. In the summer, the terrace at Kämp Bar is a who’s who of society.

Eat: The locavore ethos at Michelin-star restaurant, Ora, extends to the Finnish glassware and wood furnishings. Chef-owner Sasu Laukkonen’s six-course tasting menus are based around Finland’s micro-seasons. Lunch is only offered Saturdays and is just as memorable as dinner.

Shop: Lokal, a concept store, gallery, and coffee shop run by photographer Katja Hagelstam, curates a selection of jewelry, woodwork, ceramics, prints, and textiles from some of Finland’s top artists.

See: Established in 1873, the Design Museum is an essential stop for design aficionados. The permanent collection looks at the roots of Finnish craftsmanship while rotating exhibitions focus on everything from contemporary fashion to modern furniture.

Not to Miss: Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma.


Stay: The Nobis Hotel fuses historic exterior architecture with chic contemporary design, as seen in the Nobis Suite, which features old-world cornices and a hardwood oak floor in chevron pattern with modern leathers, and artwork.

Eat: Noma disciples Christian Puglisi and Kim Rossen opened Manfreds as a laid-back counterpoint to their high-minded restaurant, Relae. The veggie-heavy, mostly organic menu is meant to be eaten family-style and the wine list centers around organic and biodynamic producers.

Shop: An airy, two-story space dedicated to contemporary Danish design, Hay is known for its furniture but also stocks carry-on-friendly home accessories such as blankets and wooden trays.

See: Located just 25 miles north of Copenhagen, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art has earned international fame for its excellent collection of pop art and incredible sculpture garden boasting works by Alexander Calder and Jean Arp.

Not to Miss: Tivoli Gardens, Amalienborg Palace, and, Rosenborg Palace.


Stay: The design- and art-centric At Six is known for a see-and-be-seen crowd at its trendy roof-top bar, and a social living room named Hosoi, with rows of vintage vinyl records.

Eat: One of Scandinavia’s most affordably priced Michelin-recognized meals, Volt offers a four- or six-course degustation menu showcasing hyperlocal ingredients and small-batch natural wines.

Shop: Splurge on furnishings and homewares from prominent Swedish designers at Asplund. The Dala Horse puzzle, a traditional wooden Swedish horse, is exclusive to the store and perfect for a kiddie souvenir.

See: Located within an Art Nouveau-style former customs house, Fotografiska, is one of the largest contemporary museums of photography in the world. In addition to exhibitions, you’ll find an onsite academy that offers workshops and a highly-regarded, plant-based restaurant.

Not to Miss: The Abba Museum and The Royal Palace.

Off-the-Beaten Path: Explore Scandinavia’s Adventurous Side


Visit the Feskekôrka fish market, completed in 1874 by architect Viktor von Gegerfeldt. Shop fresh-from-the-sea fare.


One of the largest lake districts in Europe, Saimaa is a great base for sailing, swimming, hiking, and biking.


With a network of nearly 100 miles of roads, lanes, and track, the idyllic Danish island is best seen by bike.

For further info on how best to navigate these European gems, visit our website enter OFFER EW15358.

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Leave a Reply