72 Hours in Scandinavia: Denmark & Sweden

At the end of March I headed over to Scandinavia for a long weekend with my friend Sofyanah. Sweden had been on my list to visit for a while, and it was a perfect opportunity to catch up with my friend Philippa and her family, who moved over there a few years ago.

Copenhagen, Denmark:

(Thorvaldsens Museum on Slotsholmen Island)

We decided on a night in Copenhagen enroute to Sweden as flights were so cheap at just £40 return from Manchester.

It was gone 8pm by the time we arrived at our Copenhagen hotel on the Thursday night. Transport from the airport couldn’t have been any easier; jumped on the train after purchasing a £4 ticket at the airports station, for a 10 minute journey to the city’s central station.

After a quick hotel check in at Good Morning Copenhagen Star, we went for a wander around the neighbourhood. Our hotel was literally on the doorstep of Central Copenhagen Train station. We soon came across Spunk Bar, it looked like a local bar and was very smoky, despite there being a smoking ban in Denmark like the rest of Europe!

(A typical Copenhagen bar)

(Enjoying my first beer in Copenhagen!)

After a beer in the bar, we popped into the hotel across the road for some bar food, as there wasn’t much open for food at this time of night. We ended up back in our room around midnight, didn’t want too late a night as we were planning a walk around the city the next day before our early afternoon bus up to Sweden.

It was a fresh morning the following day to say the least, at minus 5 Celsius! We decided to head to Nyhavn, a stunning 17th waterfront consisting of numerous multi-coloured townhouses and cafes. We popped into one of these cafes for a much needed hot chocolate.

(A waterfront cafe in Nyhavn)

(The beautiful Nyhavn waterfront)

There was time enroute back to our hotel for a visit to the Round Tower, Europe’s oldest functioning observatory. It was a ‘helter skelter’ walk up to the top, on the winding cobbled surface. But as you can see from the below photo though, the views across the city were well worth the exertion.

(Walk to the top of The Round Tower)

(View of Copenhagen from the top of The Round Tower)

Sweden – Onsala, Kungsbacka

(Gothenburg Bus Station)

We jumped on a pre-booked Flix Bus to make the journey across the 5 mile long Øresund Bridge into Sweden, then up to Gothenburg. The eight hour round journey cost £40 per person, working out as £100 cheaper than getting the train, for just an hour longer journey. It was a reliable no-frills journey https://www.flixbus.co.uk

We purchased some local beers and wine before boarding. Only certain shops have licences to sell alcohol in Sweden and we were warned of how expensive it is to buy, therefore went prepared!

Philippa and her family, Swedish husband Johan, and three children Sebastian, Elliot and Zara, live in the costal town of Onsala, a few miles outside of Kungsbacka, 17 miles south of Gothenburg. It was a short 15 minute journey on the train to Kungsbacka from the main train station in Gothenburg, which was right next to the bus terminal.

(The lovely Johnsson Family)

(My Messy Crayfish plate!)

That night we were treated to a local delicacy of freshly caught Crayfish. They were served in-tact with head, tails and shells on, simply eaten with crusty bread, butter and mayonnaise. It was messy and I loved it! The Crayfish were nicely washed down with a delicious bottle of white wine (sorry completely forgotten the name of the wine!).

The following day was beautiful, sunny and cold. After enjoying a typical Swedish breakfast of meats, fruits, breads and cheeses we walked down to the local beach. The water was frozen, but it looked stunning.

(A typical Swedish breakfast)

(Frozen waves on Onsala beach)

(Me and Philippa on Onsala beach)

Sweden – Gothenburg

After our morning at the beach, us three girls headed into Gothenburg around mid-afternoon for an explore around the city. It was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday as we strolled around The Haga district, an area of lovely cobbled streets with numerous coffee shops, bars and a laid back vibe. This once run down area has seen much renovation of old derelict buildings over recent years.

(A typical cafe bar in the Haga District)

(Our Finka treats in Cafe Helle Belles)

Fortunately for us it was now Finka time, the Swedish equivalent of afternoon tea and cakes, so we stopped at Cafe Helle Belle to duly oblige https://m.facebook.com/CafeHebbeLelle/?locale2=en_GB The traditional Kanelbulles (giant cinnamon buns) on display in all the cafe windows were very enticing!

After this pit stop, we headed back over the Göta älv river for a walk around the main shopping district. The sun was setting by this time, and of course the temperatures were dropping to. It therefore made sense to stop off for a pre-dinner drink, and we found a little place called Skal Pub to do so. I ordered a glass of Dugges, a nice light Swedish draft beer.

(Downtown Gothenburg at sunset)

We were booked into Smaka for dinner that evening, a smart yet down to earth restaurant bar serving amazing traditional Swedish husmanskostdishes, at reasonable prices.

For starters, we shared a platter of fish, breads and cheeses. Philippa and Sofyanah opted for the Seafood Pie for their mains, I had to go for their speciality Meatballs. They were without doubt the best Meatballs I’d ever eaten. Served with creamy mashed potato, pickled cucumber, lingonberries, topped with a delicious gravy, I was a very happy person!

(Our Swedish Platter starter)

(My Swedish Meatball course)

Booking in advance at Smaka, particularly at weekends or during holiday periods, is recommended https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g189894-d1418321-Reviews-Smaka-Gothenburg

After another traditional Swedish breakfast the following morning, we were kindly driven back to Gothenburg’s bus terminal by Philippa for our bus journey back to Copenhagen.

I definitely need to head back to Sweden in the summer months. It’s such a clean beautiful country, one of the World leaders in recycling, even importing rubbish from the UK! People were friendly if in a more reserved way. They have an annual Crayfish Festival towards the end of August, which does sounds like a lot of fun.

Tivoli Food Hall – Copenhagen:

(A delicious Pork & Pickle Smoorsbread)

(Inside Tivoli Hall)

(Sofyanah loves a bit of cake!)

We were back in Copenhagen for our flight back to Manchester. Having a few hours to kill where better to go than to the local food hall in Tivoli Gardens, located just around the corner from the central train station.

This place was brilliant, well worth a visit. We enjoy small bites of food at numerous food stalls. My favourite dish was a smoorsbread, a Danish open sandwich. My topping was Pork, Pickle and Creme Fraise, washed down with of course a local beer.

Like Sweden, Copenhagen is a place I’d like to revisit in the warmer months. I believe with all its cafes and bars the summer brings a great at atmosphere to the city.

x The Messy Cook x

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