Experience the History, Food and Bustling Cities of Scandinavia
At its heart, this custom trip is a luxury journey into the Viking, Medieval, Hanseatic and modern heritage of the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Stay in Scandinavia’s most beautiful hotels, enjoy the many great restaurant and food varieties, and be impressed by all of the cultural curios while exploring the charming and historic principal cities of these magnificent countries. There is a historic grandeur to all of these places. Rosenborg (Copenhagen), Drottningholm (Stockholm) and Akershus (Oslo) are all once royal residences turned museums, and they provide fascinating commentary on history’s legends. Each has an ambiance where you can walk in the footsteps of royalty from centuries gone by.
Of course, our favorite way to whet travel cravings is to introduce you to a fabulous sampling of Danish, Swedish or Norwegian cuisine through private food tours in three cities.
Copenhagen (A Viking Fishing Village Turned Culinary Capital)
With a rich history stretching back to the 10th century, Copenhagen fuses the grand and luxurious with a cozy neighborhood feel. It is home to the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, Tivoli Gardens (opened downtown in 1843, it is not a typical amusement park), as well as Nyhavn — the renowned harbor with an assortment of both hip and gourmet eateries. At the center of it all stands Christiansborg Palace, a stunning 800-year-old castle that houses the Danish Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court. It also holds several significant cultural treasures as well as the preserved ruins of castles dating as far back as 1167 AD.
We take a fabulous food tour through Copenhagen’s charming streets to local gems like Torvehallerne’s famous food stall Hija de Sanches (rated the best street food in Europe), Aaman’s Deli (featuring a huge selection of Danish smørrebrød) and many other delicious local haunts, and then book a table at one or more of Copenhagen’s 17 Michelin-star restaurants.
Stockholm (Home to Gamla Stan and the Nobel Prize)
Surrounded by an archipelago nearly 24,000 islands strong, Stockholm is where history truly comes alive. Pay a visit to Vasa Museet, where the unearthed Vasa warship rests as it was in 1628 when it sank to the bottom of Stockholm’s harbor. Stroll along the cobblestone of 13th century Gamla Stan’s Stortorget, where the Stockholm Bloodbath took place in 1520. Or, for more modern history, you can visit the Nobel Prize Museum.
Culinary tours here are just as exciting and delicious as in Copenhagen, and there are plenty of Michelin-rated dining options, too: Fotografiska, Oaxen Krog and Frantzén are located in Stockholm proper within minutes of Gamla Stan, and there are many mouthwatering street food stalls — especially within the 19th century Östermalm Market Hall.
Oslo (The Viking Capital)
Oslo is well-known as the sleeper hit of the Scandinavian social scene. Its green spaces, design, vibrant community, food spots and museums are world-renowned, and it offers a view into what makes Scandinavia such a rich cultural destination.
Attractions such as the Viking Ship Museum, containing beautifully restored remains of carved ocean-going vessels, allow you to follow the Nordic explorers as they made their way across the world. Akershus Fortress is a spectacular medieval era castle finished in the 14th century. Catch an afternoon show and walk on the roof at the Oslo Opera House (the building’s roof angles to ground level, creating a tilted plaza that invites pedestrians to walk up it and enjoy the panoramic views of Oslo). Or spend the day at Vigeland’s Park, a truly different exhibition that includes offbeat sculptures ranging from a woman embracing a giant lizard to a naked man fighting flying babies.
Oslo’s lone Michelin 3-star restaurant has eight tables in the main dining room with an upstairs test kitchen table where diners can watch the chefs at work. In 2018, it was voted one of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. It’s a definite treat.
Bergen (Gateway to the Fjords)
Bergen is a quaint personality tucked away in a protected harbor of the Norwegian coast. Founded in 1070, and positioned between Norway’s two largest fjords, it’s easy to roam the ancient streets with relics of the distant past. A living artifact of the Hanseatic era, the packhouses of Bryggen Wharf are still in use today as restaurants, cafes and other artisan shops. Guided tours of the UNESCO World Heritage Site reveal a fascinating record of trade and conflict, while the nearby Bergen Fish Market and Fløibanen funicular promise access to great food and astounding views of the city.
Four wonderful cities with long histories and many, many food options to keep you energized while exploring.