Greece in the Off Season

If you haven’t realized it yet by reading my blog, I am a pretty huge fan of off-peak travel. In fact, I often prefer it for many reasons (which you can read about below). One of my goals for 2020 is to be an even more conscious traveller… Which includes travelling as often as possible during off-peak times.

And I want to challenge you to make this part of your yearly travel goal too! That’s why, I’ve rounded up some of the best off-peak travel destinations to visit to during every season of the year.

But first...

What is Off-Peak Travel?

Off-peak travel largely refers to travels to certain cities or destinations at the times when others are unlikely to visit. For example, opting for Europe’s most popular destinations outside of the summer season; or travelling to popular winter destinations during the warmer months. 

Why am I over here advocating for off-peak travel?

While I truly hate crowds. And I mean hate. There is so many other (important) reasons to flock to cities during the off-season. 

#1. You get a more local perspective.

Many of my favourite travel experiences have happened during the off-season. This is because the locals are less busy. They have more time to spend with you, more patience, and are able to provide more time to give recommendations or help you arrange your trip. This has led to the most special local bonding moments for me during my travels, and some of my all-time-best travel memories.

#2. It’s good for the environment.

The environmental impact of over-tourism is insurmountable. On a local level, it impacts the infrastructure, damages nature, and create pollution. All these environmental impacts have also compounded to push locals out of their homes, alienating them from their culture. The long-term effects of over-tourism in some of the worlds most popular cities will evidently destroy them (sounds harsh… but it’s the truth). By opting to visit during the over-peak season, the impact can be mitigated with more even traffic flows through the city year round.

#3. It stimulates the local economy year-round. 

Seasonal revenue fluctuations for locals are a side effect of seasonal travel. When I recently visited Montenegro last summer, many locals pointed out the burden that the seasonal tourism had on their families. While they were thankful for higher tourism-related revenue during the summer months, during the rest of the year they were often laid off or seasonally unemployed, which put a large amount of stress on them and their families financially.

Can you imagine only getting paid for three or fourth months a year, and having to make it last until the following high season? Additionally, this tourism fluctuation means that many locals will be over-worked, in order to make as much money as possible to last through the off-season (in many countries without labour laws, this could mean working 16+ hours a day, 7 days a week). This is seriously detrimental for their personal health.

Continuous economic stimulation translates into a higher quality of life for locals. Think of it as a way of giving back!

#4. You don’t have to plan far in advance.

Want to take a certain tour? Make a dinner reservation? Or book tickets to a cultural experience? You are much less likely to have to plan way ahead for these things during the off-season (or risk being upset because you weren’t able to book it).

Europe's Best off-Peak Travel Destinations


Summer in Scandinavia is beautiful, there’s no doubt. But winter in the Scandinavian capitals is still a great time to travel. Home to “hygge” and “fika,” Scandinavian culture is practically synonymous with coffee, fireplaces and coziness. And while many travelers flock to the Scandinavian north to see the northern lights, or head to the slopes to go skiing, the region’s biggest cities are also made more winter fun.

Copenhagen Nyhavn in the Winter
Winter: Eastern Europe

There are so many hidden – and not so hidden – gems scattered across Eastern Europe. And if you’re in the mood for a little winter road trip (or train or bus trip), Eastern Europe is a great spot to do it.

Venture from Poland, through the Czech Republic down to Hungary. The snow-covered rooftops in these fairytale-like spots will surely look magical. Recommended itinerary: Warsaw – Krakow – Prague – Budapest. These are all cities that are busy in the summer, but are just as beautiful in the winter.

Spring: Athens & The Greek Islands

Greece is arguably my favourite country in Europe. The food, the locals, and the diverse landscapes. I would live there if I could. However, popular destinations like Santorini and Mykonos are busy. In fact, there have been conscious efforts made in recent years to combat over-tourism in these popular islands.

Still want to see the famous calderas of Santorini? Head there in the spring. While it is still busy, the crowds are manageable. And while you’re there, you can hop over to some of my other favourite Cycladic islands, like Naxos and Milos (where there is sure to be very few tourists).

And while you’re in Greece, don’t make a very common mistake and skip Athens. It is filled with history, and culture – and some fantastic restaurants. And the spring is a great time to visit! You can walk around all day long without having to worry about the heat.

Spring: Portugal

Speaking of avoiding the heat…

Portugal is very popular – and very warm – in the summer months. Avoid the crowds and the heat by visiting in the springtime. April was the perfect time for us to spend two weeks exploring this incredible country. Temperatures were mild, and we were able to eat at the best restaurants (and there are a lot of them), wander the streets, and explore the sights without worrying about crowds.

Sintra Portugal in April
Autumn: Amsterdam

Ahhhh, Amsterdam. I love this city.

But, Amsterdam is also one of the biggest victims of over-tourism in Europe. And I can attest to this, because the first time I went to Amsterdam, it was August. It was warm, crowded – but somehow, I still fell in love with it and I was keen on returning.

A few years later, I opted to go back to Amsterdam in November. The leaves were changing colours on the trees, the number of tourists was controlled, and I was able to truly enjoy the crisp fall temperatures while walking the canals without having to worry about getting hit in the head by a selfie stick (or by a tourist on bike who doesn’t understand the rules of the two-wheel road).

The city has began to crack down and have plans in place to counter this problem, such as removing the famous iAmsterdam signs and regulating Airbnb properties. However, you can do your part by heading there during the off-season.

Any-Season-But-The-Summer-Season: This applies it ANY of Europe’s most popular destinations.

I’m talking most of Italy and France, Spain, Croatia… The list really could go on and on, but I think you get the point. If you’re schedule only allows you to travel during the summer, consider an alternative, less-visited destination.

Montenegro is a great alternative to Croatia, with some of the most breathtaking landscapes I have ever seen. The Douro Valley in Portugal, home to port wine, is a good Tuscany alternative. And if you’re inclined to head to the Greek Islands during the summer, consider a less-busy island, such as Naxos instead of Santorini and Mykonos.

Some of my other favourite summer destinations where I’ve (for the most part) been able to avoid severe over-tourism: Southern Germany (including Munich, Nuremburg and surrounding Bavarian towns of Bamberg or Rothenberg); Salzburg, Austria; and Belgium (Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, and Bruges).

And, if you can (again, only if you’re able to… I want to stress that this isn’t an article about passing judgement) – avoid August. This is when most Europeans are travelling. And is by far the busiest month of the year.

What do you think are the best off-peak travel destinations?

There are so many amazing destinations across this globe, and I am by no means trying to discourage others from seeing some of the world’s most iconic landmarks. But by considering to travel during the off-peak season, you are making a conscious decision to improve not only your own personal travel experience, but also the experiences of those employed by the tourism industry – all while contributing to the sustainable travel movement.

Don’t forget to share your favourite off-peak travel destinations in the comments below!


And while you’re at it, check out my Top 10 Places to Visit in 2020.
The best off-peak travel destinations
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Skane rapeseed fields

If you’re anything like me, you’ve already been dreaming about the places you’re going to visit in 2020 for months now. Or maybe more you’re more of the last minute planner. I’m personally a bit of a mix of both. I’ve got my “big trips” planned (Vietnam, Italy, and Russia/The Baltics), but I like to be a bit more spontaneous with weekend getaways. Even still, everything always seems tentative until the flight is booked. And I’m constantly turning to other bloggers and travel writers for inspiration. 

The world is a BIG place. And our modern travel culture is making it bigger and more accessible than ever before. If your bucket list if forever growing like mine, I’m hoping this list can help you narrow it down or inspire you to visit somewhere you hadn’t considered before.

With that being said, I can’t stress enough that this 10 places to visit in 2020 list is not designed to be a literal checklist, and likewise, travel should not be about simply just crossing off locations. I’m personally not a fan of the concept of country-counting. This list is designed to inspire you to think long and hard about which destinations resonate with you. Which fill your travel aspirations. Or inspire you. And choose to really VISIT them. To immerse yourself in the culture. And travel as slowly as your schedule allows. Because this… this is when you’ll experience the magic of these spots.

10 places To Visit in 2020

Detroit, Michigan

I know what you’re thinking… Really, Detroit? You choose ONE American city to add to this list and it’s DETROIT?!

Yes, Detroit. If it isn’t on your radar, it should be. The city has been reborn and in the coolest way possible. It’s a city fill of innovators, thinkers, and doers. Of people who are obsessed with their home and are eager to welcome travellers. The city has endless things to do – sports, music, cultural events, and a killer, world-class restaurant and bar scene. And a unique vibe that pulsates through the city that you can only truly understand by visiting. If you are adding one new American city to your travel list 2020, Detroit should be it.

I’ve written all about Detroit here. Give it a read.

Belt, Detroit

Porto, Portugal

Portugal has become a hot travel destination in recent years… and I’m not just talking about temperatures. While I see others more commonly flocking to the south – to Lisbon and the Algarve – northern Portugal seems to be missing from many agendas. 

Well, in my opinion, this is a mistake. Sure, Porto is a bit more “rustic” than its bigger sister Lisbon. But it is full of beautiful views, culture, and things to do. Here, you’ll spend your days sipping port wine along the waterfront, searching for tile-clad facades around the city, and eating LOTS of good food. To me, Porto seems more local. And in ways, more authentic, then Lisbon (although I realize this is a potentially controversial statement). Plus, it is the gateway to the Douro Valley – Portugal’s wine country.

You can read more about Porto here. 

Bavaria, Germany

What do you think of when you think of quintessential Germany? For me, it’s dirndls, lederhosen, and drinking the biggest steins of beer in massive beer halls. Sure, Berlin is super cool and trendy. But have you spent time in Munich and southern Germany? This is where German culture comes alive (and you don’t have to visit during Oktoberfest to experience it).

Roaming around southern Germany in 2015 still remains one of my favourite trips ever. From the small towns of Bamberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, to the busy streets of Munich, the history of Nuremberg, and the beautiful landscapes of the Bavarian alps – southern Germany has it all and I frequently talk about returning there one day.

Milos, Greece

What’s your favourite Greek island? When you ask this question to most people, you’re bound to hear Santorini or Mykonos. For me, the answer is easy: Milos. 

Milos was one of the best kept secrets of the Cyclades until Vogue named it one of the top five destinations to visit in 2017. Since then, I’ve seen it pop up everywhere. I even recently read a Travel & Leisure article that suggested it was the best island in all of Europe. So, I guess the secrets out?

Even still, you MUST go. Because I too think this has to be the best island in Europe (or at least in the top three). It has diverse landscapes, beautiful beaches, and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. You’ll truly think you were transported to paradise.

Read more about Milos here.

Toronto, Canada

What do you picture when you think of Canada? Mountains? Lakes? Nature?

Well, Toronto doesn’t have much of that… but it still has SO much to offer. A booming culinary scene. Museums. Art. Culture. Sports. If you’re looking for a city escape in 2020, Toronto is a great choice. From the hip Queen Street West neighbourhood, to the bustling Entertainment District, Toronto is almost like a mini-NYC (although not that mini… it is home to almost 3 million people and rapidly growing).

And, bonus! The Canadian dollar is weak right now, which means it’s a fairly cheap getaway for all my American and EU readers. 

The Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Looking for the perfect summer getaway? A spot that looks just like Croatia but without the crowds? Well, Montenegro is your spot.

Easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro has all the ingredients for a perfect summer getaway. Turquoise waters, mountains, historic cities – and very few crowds, even in the summer months. Montenegro is pretty new to the tourism game, but I can’t imagine it will stay this way for long. Which is why 2020 is the perfect time to pay a visit to this stunning coastal country.

Thinking of visiting Montenegro? You can read more about it here.

Perast Montenegro

Copenhagen, Denmark

I love Copenhagen. But, if you’ve been following me for awhile, that shouldn’t be a secret. To me, Copenhagen isn’t like most other European cities. It emulates this special coziness that is so classicly Danish. The city makes you feel at ease, and at home within seconds. It’s not too big, yet big enough to offer lots of things to do. And let’s not forget the food scene. If you’re looking for a capital city that is unique to many others in Europe, Copenhagen is your perfect match.

Just a word of caution: You might leave wishing you were Danish (because I know I do every single time).

You can find more on Copenhagen here.

Kraków, Poland

Kraków is a city that truly surprised me in 2019. I knew the city had a lot of history, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. With endless WWII history tours and exhibits, an innovative culinary scene (I’m a huge advocate of the pierogi-only diet while visiting Poland), and beautiful sights, you could spend several days in Kraków and have endless things to do.

As a bonus, it is by far the cheapest destination I went to this year. So if you’re looking for a money-saving destination, this is your spot.

Read all about Kraków here.

Ghent, Belgium

Talk to most travellers and Belgium isn’t typically on their list. Or, if it is, there’s a good chance they are headed to the fairytale town of Bruges. And while Bruges is truly beautiful (and I loved it there) – Ghent is also beautiful. And cool. And wildly underrated.

A largely university town, Ghent is as quaint as they come. With historic buildings lining the old town, dozens of shops to pop in-and-out of, and a fun nightlife, Ghent embodies Belgian charm. If you’re looking for a smaller town to explore in 2020, this is the perfect destination to add to your list.

Read about Ghent here.

Cuberdon in Ghent
How to spend 24 hours in Ghent

Skåne County, Sweden

You didn’t think you’d get through this list without listing my new hometown in southern Sweden, did you? While some may say I am a bit biased, I have truly been blown away by southern Sweden. While most people flock up to Stockholm, I am making it my personal mission to encourage people to visit Skåne (the county that Malmö resides in).

It is full of small historic towns (read about those here), the beautiful university town of Lund, Malmö (Sweden’s third-largest harbor city), and the most beautiful beaches. If you’re looking to do something a little bit different in 2020, you should absolutely visit southern Sweden.

All kinds of Sweden content can be found here.

Pretty streets in Gamla staden, Malmö
Simrishamn Beach in October


I’d also love to hear your list of 10 places to visit in 2020. Add it in the comments below!

10 Places to Visit in 2020
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Douro Valley, Portugal

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the 2010s are almost over. THIS DECADE is almost over. Which, as a baby born in 1990, that also means that I’ll be saying goodbye to my twenties this year. 

This decade has been filled with growth. With huge changes. With tough lessons. Heartbreak. And so many happy memories. I’ve always loved to travel, but I feel like it has become such a huge part of who I am in this past decade. These experiences have contributed in massive ways to who I identify as an individual. And for that reason, I am so grateful for the opportunity to choose this life path, and for all the people who I’ve crossed paths with along the way who have made these memories that much more special.

I began this as a “Top 10” list – and quickly realized it was impossible to narrow the past ten years of travel to just ten memories. So bare with me, because this list has gotten a bit long (and is in no particular order).

I hope you enjoy taking this (super nostalgic) walk down memory lane with me...

It's Been FUn.

Channeling my Inner Maria von Trapp in Salzburg

In 2015, my sister and I visited Salzburg, Austria and were able to live out our mutual childhood fantasy of pretending we were part of the Von Trapp family. The Sound of Music was our favourite movie as kids (we were completely obsessed), so the fact that we were able to experience this together was so special. Stories from the three days we spent in Austria frequently get brought up in conversation when we’re together, which just reaffirms the fact that this was a major highlight of our decade.

Trip Highlights: Going on a bike tour through the Austrian alps to all The Sound of Music filming locations with Fräulein Maria’s Bicycle Tour. This is an absolute bucket list MUST for any movie fanatics. We also watched a Sound of Music marionette show at the Salzburg Marionette Theatre which was so incredibly impressive, and a must-do. 

Cruising Around Milos, Greece by Boat with Oneiro

Cruising around Milos by boat with Oneiro was EASILY my favourite day in Greece. It was one of those very special “pinch me” type of moments that are a reminder of why I travel. 

The day was filled with sailing around to beaches only accessible by water, eating tons of Greek food onboard (with lots of homemade wine and ouzo), snorkelling in caves, and dancing around the bow of the boat to Greek music with the owners, Elias and Vassilis.

I wrote all about this experience in my 4-Day Guide to Milos. And you can also check out some of the highlights in the Instagram post below.

Bachelorette in The Music CitY

Nashville is forever reserved as one of my favourite girls trips – ever. It was just one of those best friend trips that resulted in stories that we will continue to reminisce about for the rest of our lives. We may live in different parts of the world, but every time this group is together, Nashville memories always make their way into the conversation.

From dancing at rooftop bars to country music into the early hours of the morning, to having pool parties at our AirBnb, and pedalling around the city belting our favourite songs, this weekend was one of the best of the decade. And is a trip every group of girlfriends needs to take in their lifetime.

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you can't spin with us 🙅🏻#kizistomrs

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Visiting Normandy on the ANniversary of D-Day

Visiting the beaches and Normandy region on the 72nd anniversary with my brother was a surreal experience. We did a full-day “Canada” tour with Normandy Sightseeing Tours and learned so much about this historical battle. 

Doing this tour at any time of the year is super special, but there was something just a little bit extra special about joining on this particular day. Throughout the day, we encountered WWII war veterans that fought at Normandy, and came back every year to visit the memorial sites of their friends. We even chatted with one gentleman who looked at us and said: “See that spot over there? That’s where my parachute landed when I jumped from the plane.” INSTANT GOOSEBUMPS.

Another surreal memory of this day was visiting the “La Maison des Canadiens” which overlooked Juno Beach and was liberated by the Canadian troops. While we stood in front of the house, our guide explaining the significance, the owners of the home invited us in for a visit. The home has stayed within the family since WWII, and they explained that they gathered there every year to host a small celebration. My guide, a true Normandy historian fanatic, was giddy when they invited us in and exclaimed “This has never happened before!” 

Spending Christmas in Aruba with my Family

This Christmas tradition is something that started when I was VERY young. In fact, I first visited Aruba when I was three years old and have often considered it my “home away from home.”

While I have visited more than once this past decade, and there isn’t one particular memory that sticks out, I felt like it deserved a spot on this list, because our Aruba Christmas tradition is one of my favourite family traditions. And even though the fact that we’re now living in different cities, and have different schedules, has prevented us from all heading “home” to Aruba for the holidays these past few years, this perfect Caribbean island has such a special place in my heart.

Living Like a Local in Amsterdam

I first spent three days in Amsterdam in 2015 and it wasn’t enough. I knew I would be back. That’s why when Sebastian had the opportunity to work in The Netherlands in 2018, I jumped on the opportunity to spent a week in a more “local” Amsterdam suburb.

While he worked, I treated myself to solo brunches, sipped coffee in cozy coffeeshops, and wandered around Amsterdam’s more “local” neighbourhoods. 

Highlight of the Week: My food tour with Hungry Birds. I have done a lot of food tours, and this was EASILY my favourite ever. If you’re wandering solo like me, looking for some guidance to exploring Amsterdam’s amazing food scene, and interested in making new friends, this was easily a highlight of the decade for me.

See Also: A Complete Amsterdam Itinerary: What to See, Eat, and Do in Amsterdam.

Taking an Ice Cold Dip in the Baltic Sea

My first visit to Scandinavia in December 2017 was a special one. It was my first time seeing Sebastian’s home, meeting his family, and getting a taste of Swedish traditions. Which, naturally, meant visiting a Scandinavian spa. We spent a night at Ystad Saltsjöbad and it was MAGICAL. The highlight of my trip was taking a dip in the freezing cold Baltic sea (in ture Nordic fashion).

I loved this experience so much, it seemed only fitting that Sebastian propose at another Scandinavia spa earlier this year, almost two years later.

Exploring Prague at Christmas

Prague is city that looks like it could be the set of a fairytale movie. Which means it is the perfect place to explore at Christmastime. The city quite literally lights up, the streets filled with markets, and holiday music playing around the clock. This also means that Prague is very busy at Christmas, which is exactly why we were determined to start our days early. 

My favourite Prague memory: Getting up early and heading to the iconic Charles Bridge for sunrise. During the day, this beautiful bridge is packed with tourists and merchants. At sunrise, it was a much different picture and we got to experience sunrise overlooking one of the most beautiful city skylines I’ve ever seen.

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle

During 2015 and 2016, my little brother spent a year and a half living in Nuremberg, Germany. So, my sister and I set out on a little backpacking adventure to meet up with him and explore his new home. This led to some amazing memories: beer-hall-hopping in Munich, exploring the historical streets of small towns like Bamberg, and my favourite: visiting Neuschwanstein Castle.

We spent a night in Füssen so that we could be up bright and early to get a glimpse of this iconic castle and it was just that – iconic. Sure, this place is touristy, but it is so worth visiting. Also, make sure you take the tour inside to hear the stories of the famed King Ludwig II and see the marvellous interior (that was never actually finished).

Funny Side Story/Memory: We had also booked a paragliding trip, where you paraglide off the side of the alps and hover over the castle. Well, my brother forgot to bring sneakers and showed up only with Birkenstock sandals. He attempted to fasten them to his feet, convinced he would be fine to jump off the mountainside with sandals. Unfortunately (and thankfully for my mom who surely would have had a panic attack over the thought of three of her kids jumping off the side of a mountain), we were never able to test it out because it was too windy to paraglide that day. So, all we’re left with is this funny little travel memory.

Riding on the World's Most Scenic Train Ride

The Flam Railway in Norway has been coined the world’s most scenic train ride – and it lives up to the hype. 

My parents came to visit us in Sweden this last summer, and we took a little four day adventure up to Norway where we swam in fjords, hiked in the beautiful mountains, sailed through the narrowest fjord in the world, and rode the Flam Railway.

If you’re a nature-lover, visiting Norway in a must. You’re guaranteed to see some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll ever see in your life. You can read my full Norway guide here.

Stumbling Upon Greek MOuntain Villages

Naxos in an island that is often forgotten amongst some of its more popular Cyclades family members. But, it is such an amazing island that should be added to every Greek island itinerary.

During my favourite day on Naxos, we rented a car and ventured out on the winding cliff-side roads to explore the tiniest mountain villages on the island. We were greeted by the friendliest locals by being invited in for fresh orange juice in the morning (even though the restaurant was closed), were served the best local Greek food (the Naxos potatoes!!! and local cheese), and stumbled upon some of the prettiest sights. This more “authentic” Greek island experience is something you would have a hard time finding on touristy islands like Santorini, and it a day that I’m reminded of frequently as being so darn special.

See Also: My complete guide to Naxos, Greece.

A Family Long Weekend at Walt Disney World

You’re never too old to go to Disney… That’s what they say, right? Well, I can attest to this! 

When my little brother finished elementary school in 2014, my parents wanted to bring their “baby” to Walt Disney World one last time. I made a last minute decision to tag along and had a BLAST. Spending a long weekend exploring the parks that I enjoyed as a kid, with a unique perspective, was so much fun. And has left me with some pretty special family memories.

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The most magical place on earth! #disney

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Driving on the World's best Road

I visited the Douro Valley for the wine, but getting there was truly half the fun – and one of the most memorable parts of our time in the region. The N-222 road from Peso de Regua to Pinhao in Portugal has been coined the world’s best road, and it was super cool to take the drive. The views from the winding roads were stunning, with mountains on one side and water on the other. We made countless stops along the way to snap beautiful photos of the mountain-side villages and wineries scattered throughout the region. 

See Also: If you’re planning to make a visit to this region, I wrote all about the Douro Valley in this post. 

My First Nordic Dinner Experience

On my first trip to Copenhagen in December 2017, during my first time visiting Sebastian in Scandinavia, he booked a dinner reservation at one of Copenhagen’s most popular restaurants: 108.

In an effort to impress me, he said “we’ll take the full tasting menu” and we indulged in an authentic Nordic farm-to-table dinner experience. The three hour ten (ish?) course meal with wine pairing was easily the fanciest dinner I have ever had… and maybe ever will have. Because in that very effort to impress me, he neglected to look at the menu prices. Needless to say, the price tag was a bit shocking. But arguably worth it for an experience we’ll both never forget.

See Also: My complete guide to visiting Copenhagen.

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keeping it cozy in copenhagen 🇩🇰

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Meeting Sebastian in New Orleans

Last but CERTAINLY not least. In fact, it is my most significant travel memory of the last decade because it has completely changed my life in the best way.

Sebastian and I met while I was visiting New Orleans on a bachelorette party. We met in a bar on Frenchman Street, and instantly connected. For obvious reasons, that night and the subsequent day remain SO special to me. 

If you’re interested in reading the full story, I’ve wrote all about it in this blog post.

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Can we just go 🔙 to the weekend, please?

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AND SO many more memories...

I could seriously keep writing and writing… because this highlight reel really doesn’t do the past ten years justice (and only scratches the surface of all the trips I’ve taken). Nevertheless, it’s been super fun taking this trip down memory lane… and seeing how much my photography/editing skills have improved. I hope I’ve maybe inspired you you to take a leap, book a trip, or add a bit more adventure to your life.

And if you’re interested in seeing what I get up to in 2020, and over the next decade, don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list and follow me on Instagram.

cheers to the next ten years!
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it isn’t a secret that Stockholm is traditionally considered a summer city. With long sun-filled days, colourful facades, and mild temperatures that are suitable for roaming the city streets well into the bright evenings. In contrast winter is cold, it’s dark. So why would anyone want to visit Stockholm in the winter? 

Well, I happen to think that Stockholm is a great winter city – and I am going to tell you exactly why. The chilly temperatures provide the perfect atmosphere to get cozy. It is significantly less busy compared to summer months, which means you likely won’t be dodging other tourists. And there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy in the event that weather isn’t cooperating. 

Bundle up & strap on your most comfortable boots. here's a complete city guide to visiting Stockholm in the winter.

Things to do in stockholm in the winter

(Or in any season, really!)
Visit Stockholm's old town: Gamla Stan

Let’s start with the most obvious spot first: Gamla Stan. Aka, the city’s old town.

Gamla Stan is a beautiful district right in the heart of Stockholm where you can get lost in the maze of streets. Venture away from the main streets and you’ll find the coziest narrow alleyways and beautiful warm-toned facades. 

Tucked away in the middle of Gamla Stan you’ll find Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, which is a very narrow staircase alleyway filled with graffiti, and it is worth checking out.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out Stortorget, or “Big Square,” which is the old town’s main square. It is lined with beautiful buildings (and patios in the summer months). 

And  if you happen to be there around the holidays (like me), Stortorget is home to a charming Christmas market. It is definitely one of the smaller markets I’ve been to, but worth checking out and grabbing a cup of glögg (mulled wine). It is absolutely beautiful see, backed by the colourful buildings around the square.

Explore my favourite neighbourhood: Södermalm

Södermalm, also commonly (and affectionately) known as the “hipster” area of Stockholm, is just plain cool. Think of it as the Brooklyn of Stockholm, hosting all the best restaurants, bars, trendy stores, and coffee shops.

I’d recommend getting off at Medborgarplasen Station, with Götgatan as your starting point, and explore from there. Along Götgatan, you’ll find all kinds of cool shops to browse, which also serve as the perfect escape from the cold if it happens to be chilly outside.

After that, venture through the pretty streets of Katarina-Sofia, where you’ll find some of the best restaurants in the city (more on that below). Another cool stop is Soda Nation, a boutique soda shop with all kinds of unique sodas from all over the world (where I indulged in a “Jul” or “Christmas” soda).

Museum Hop

Okay, so you’ve spent plenty of time roaming around outside and it’s starting to get a bit chilly. Why not take it indoors to one of Stockholm’s many museums.

My personal favourite museum was Fotografiska, a museum that features various photograph exhibits throughout the year. The work we saw was so unique and creative, and this was easily a highlight of my time in Stockholm. It costs 135 SEK (roughly 13 EUR or 14 USD) per person, and is worth every penny. I highly suggest visiting at nighttime (the museum is opened until 11PM on weekdays and 1AM on weekends) and take some time to visit the on-site bar for a drink. They often also host live music and other events – you can find out more details on their event calendar.

Stockholm is filled with many other museums, such as Moderna Museet, the popular Vasa Museet, and the ABBA The Museum for all the Abba lovers out there. We didn’t have time to visit any of these this time, but I guess that just means we’ll need to go back and visit again soon.

step back in time at Skansen

Skansen is the worlds largest open-air museum, home to homesteads, animals, and shops that are supposed to represent the whole of Sweden. Here, you’ll be transported back in time as you walk the grounds of this museum. My personal favourite part: Watching the wolves play! They wrestled around with each other and looked just like the most adorable little pups, and I was just left wishing I could hop in the pen and play with them (even though that is obviously a VERY bad idea).

We visited Skansen during December for their annual Christmas market, which was easily the best Christmas market in Stockholm. There was live Swedish music, glögg, and tons of stalls to browse. They even had a stall where they were brewing beer over an open fire next the the stall – and the beer was delicious (you can see a picture of them stirring the malt below).

Visit Stadsbiblioteket

Stadsbiblioteket, or the Stockholm city library, is a stunning library. In the centre, you’ll find a large round room with a dome-shaped roof and floor-to-ceiling books. It is seriously breathtaking, and I felt like I was living out my childhood dream pretending I am Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

Explore the famous Stockholm Tunnelbana (metro) art

The Stockholm Tunnelbana – the city’s metro system – has gained notoriety all over the world for it’s famed art installations. Since 1957, artists have been commissioned to revitalize many of Stockholm’s oldest metro stations. The results are SO COOL and have become a tourist attraction themselves.

We visited five different stations during our time in Stockholm and my only regret is we didn’t have time to see more. Here’s the five we visited:


Arguably my favourite, I loved the design of the artwork at T-Centralen (the central station). The station is full of trains and metro lines, and is quite overwhelming. But, just keep your eyes peeled for the Blue Line and make your way toward that to find this masterpiece. 

T-Centralen art Stockholm

Stadion is also on the Blue Line and features a huge rainbow over the metro station, and lots of bright colours. I found this was the most difficult spot to photograph because it happened to be the most busy with other tourists. But can you blame them? Look at it! 

Solna Centrum

Solna Centrum was another easy Blue Line favourite for me, with bright red walls and green tree drawings scattered throughout the metro station.


Kungsträdgården was the most unique station we visited. The main colour of this station is green, but it also has really unique checkered/pixelated patterns throughout. Similar to the others, this can also be found  on the Blue Line.


Rådhuset was our final Blue Line stop and it dominates with a bright orange cave-like interior. 

You’ll notice all of our stops were along the Blue Line, which makes it easy to hope from one to another. If you were to venture off on other lines, it would take a bit more time. So, if you’re in a time crunch like me, you could hit up these five stations in a short amount of time.

Additional Tips for Exploring The Tunnelbana

When should you visit the Tunnelbana to get the best pictures? Honestly, when I saw everyone posting empty pictures of these spots online, I assumed they were visiting during the early hours of the morning. However, we were taking the metro at all times of the day (morning, evening, mid-afternoon) and there were always breaks in traffic and opportunities to take photos. Just have a little bit of patience, and the opportunity will arise (although I never had to be patient for more than a couple minutes to snag the shot).

Is it difficult to shoot in the dark metro stations? YES. You’ll notice many of my photos are quite grainy. I’ve done my best to edit to remove the grain, but in some cases it was super difficult.

If you’re looking for even more stations to discover, Visit Stockholm highlights fourteen of the most beautiful stations in this article.

Where to Eat in Stockholm

There is not shortage of amazing restaurants in Stockholm. When researching where to eat, and polling friends, the result was a massive list of recommendations, ranging from cheap eats, to traditional Swedish cuisine, to international eats, and everything in between. Below you’ll find where I’ve ate so far. But stay tuned, because this list is bound to keep growing.

Best Affordable Eats in Stockholm: Lådan

Lådan is a quirky little beer and small plates joint close to Stadsbiblioteket. It features really unique craft beers (I had a Cola-flavoured one) and affordable small plate food options that range from sliders to tacos to mac ‘n cheese. It’s the perfect spot to grab a quick bite for lunch.

Best Meatballs in Stockholm: Meatballs for the People

If your looking for a spot to try Sweden’s arguably most famous dish, Meatballs for the People is a great spot to do it. They offer all kinds of meatball dishes, ranging from classic with lingonberries and cucumber (which I opted for), to more trendy dishes like “The Hipster” moose meatballs (that Sebastian ordered).

Best Italian in Stockholm: Café Nizza

A cozy Italian joint in Södermalm, Café Nizza offers tasty dishes and a really nice atmosphere. I particularly loved their homemade pastas and mussel appetizer.

Best Unique Dinner in Stockholm: Schmaltz Bar & Delicatessen

If you’re looking for a unique spot to have a mid-range dinner in Stockholm, this is the place. Schmaltz Bar & Delicatessen is the tiniest (and I mean TINY with only five tables), coziest little restaurant with a menu inspired by New York Jewish delis. If you want to eat here, make a reservation because it’s popular.

Best Fika in Stockholm: Kaffe

I know what you’re thinking – a coffeeshop called “Kaffe” (which translates to “coffee” in English)… how original. BUT, hear me out. Kaffe is a coffeeshop in Södermalm that offers exceptional coffee and treats. The atmosphere is welcoming and offers the perfect atmosphere to grab a window spot, people watch, and enjoy fika. I loved this spot and I am confident that if I lived in Stockholm, I would be a regular here.

Best Cocktail Bar in Stockholm: Tjoget

Tjoget was named to the “2019 Best Bars in the World” list – and I can understand why. I indulged in their award-winning cocktail, affectionately referred to by the bartender as a “Nordic pina colada” with beetroot, ginger, and coconut flavours. It was DELICIOUS.

Best Hotel in Stockholm

Hotel Tegnérlunden

I had the absolute pleasure of staying at this perfect Stockholm city centre hotel and I could not recommend it more. You can find my full Hotel Tegnérlunden review in my blog post here.

Getting Around Stockholm

Typically I prefer to walk everywhere on vacation. I am a firm believer that this is how you see and experience the city in the best way. I’ve walked all over Stockholm (in fact, on my most recent trip I walked over 40,000 steps in two days). And I came across so many hidden gems. 

However, if the weather isn’t cooperating during the winter months, Stockholm and extremely well connected by Tunnelbana – Stockholm’s metro system. Despite walking all over the city, we used the metro a lot while visiting in December because it gave us an opportunity to see more in a short 48 hour window (plus, escaping the cold temperatures was an added bonus!). A 24-hour metro pass sets you back 130 SEK per person (roughly 27 USD or 25 EUR). This may seen a bit pricey, but in my experience, it is worth every penny (especially because it gives you the opportunity to see the Tunnelbana art installations that I mentioned above).

If you’re coming into Stockholm via Arlanda airport, you can reach the city centre by Arlanda Express in a quick 20 minutes. The price point is a bit alarming at 579 SEK round-trip per person (that’s roughly 60 USD or 55 EUR), but it is easily the most efficient way to get to/from the city. Plus it uses green energy, which makes it eco-friendly. This is Sweden, after all – which means nothing is cheap. 

It's time channel your inner Swede and embrace Stockholm in the Winter

Pack your thermals, and you’ll be all set! There really is a never-ending amount of things to do in Stockholm in the winter,  and I very much recommend visiting this time of year (especially in December when the city is lit up with Christmas lights!).

If you’re travelling around Scandinavia, check out my Denmark and Sweden content. And read about all the best things about Sweden while you’re at it to help you get excited for your Scandinavian adventure.


The Best Things to do in Stockholm in the Winter.
Things to Do in Stockholm
The Best Christmas Markets in Stockholm
The Best Subway Stations in Stockholm
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Coffee at Hotel Tegnérlunden

Earlier in December, we decided to plan a quick little getaway up to Stockholm for a cozy weekend of Christmas markets, good eats, and wandering through the historic city streets. The days here in Malmö have been SHORT – and they were about to get even shorter in Stockholm (I’m talking 2:30 pm sunsets). And while I knew the Christmas lights that sparkled all over the city would keep us keen on wandering around the city despite the darkness, it was equally important that we had the perfect little city oasis to retreat to, unwind, and catch some shut eye. Cue the best hotel in Stockholm: Hotel Tegnérlunden.

See Also: My Full City Guide to Stockholm – What to Do, See and Eat

planning a trip to Stockholm?

Here's what makes Hotel Tegnérlunden the best hotel in Stockholm.

central Location... And the views!

I have stayed in A LOT of hotels. I mean, a lot… And Hotel Tegnérlunden is one of my favourite hotel locations, ever.

Reason being? It’s centrally located, about 10-15 minutes walking distance north of the central station. And also five minutes away from the Rådmansgatan station (although I would argue the best way to explore Stockholm is by foot). However, despite being central, it is away from the hustle and bustle of Gamla Stan and the main downtown shopping district which are quite literally flooded with people. 

It’s located across the street from the most charming park, Tegnérlunden, which the hotel is named after. One of my favourite parts of staying here was waking up in the morning and being greeted by the most beautiful views of the park. I mean, just LOOK at this morning coffee view. This neighbourhood set the scene for the perfect city retreat, which was welcome after busy days exploring the streets of Stockholm.

Pro Tip: When booking at Hotel Tegnérlunden, make sure you opt for a “Park View” room. I swear it will be the best investment you’ll make during your time in Stockholm

cozy, clean & modern rooms

I loved our room at Hotel Tegnérlunden. Not only did it have the most perfect views, but the room itself was perfection. We were hosted in a Suite which was spacious and modernly decorated. The living space provided the perfect spot to sip our coffees in the morning, give our tired feet a midday break, or enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif.

I especially loved how comfortable the bed was, and how big the bathroom was – two things that I have learned are never guaranteed (photos can be REALLY deceiving).

While the Suite was really lovely, a Double Room (ideally with Park View) would still serve as a perfect resting place if you’re looking to save a bit of money or re-allocate your budget to other fun activities in Stockholm.

Suite at Hotel Tegnérlunden

The Most IMportant Meal Of the Day

Breakfast at Hotel Tegnérlunden was one of the better breakfasts I’ve had recently. The spread was expansive! I’m talking an assortment of breads, cheeses, meats, yogurt (with all the fixings!!), sausages, bacon, eggs, traditional Swedish delicacies (pâté, herring), sweets, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, juices…

I could go on and on.

And as a bonus, the breakfast room is located on the top (6th) floor. It’s filled with windows and tons of natural light. And offers incredible rooftop views of the surrounding neighbourhood. 

The point is, I couldn’t think of a better way to start my day. 

it's all in the details...

The real reason why I loved my stay a Hotel Tegnérlunden is all in the details.

Let’s start with the staff. From the warm welcome we received when we arrived, to the the ladies shouting “tack så mycket” (thank you so much) from the kitchen as we left breakfast, and the cheerful “god morgon” (good morning) from staff in the hallways, the staff went out of their way to make our stay special.

The hotel premises were welcoming, with a lovely main lobby area complete with full-service bar, snacks, and 24-hour front desk reception staff to answer all of our questions.

Hotel Tegnérlunden Lobby

And let’s not forget these added in-room amenities…

It's time to get cozy at the best hotel in stockholm

I love visiting Stockholm… This trip absolutely will not be my last (although next time it’ll hopefully be a bit warmer and the days, a bit longer). And next time, I know exactly where I’ll be choosing to rest my head: Hotel Tegnérlunden.

In the meanwhile, if you’re planning a Scandinavian adventure, check out all of my Denmark and Sweden content, including a list detailing all the best things about living in Sweden

And if you’re headed to Stockholm, don’t forget to check out my Stockholm City Guide.

Disclosure: A special thanks to Hotel Tegnérlunden for inviting me to be a guest at their property. As always, all opinions reflected in this article are my own

Ready to Book A room?

You can find the cheapest Hotel Tegnérlunden rates by booking on their website here. AND, as an added bonus, when you book directly on their website, breakfast is always included in the price.


And if you’re visiting Stockholm, make sure you check out my Stockholm City Guide.

The Best Hotel in Stockholm
Where to Stay in Stockholm
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It’s no secret that I love Copenhagen. It’s truly the definition of a world-class city. And there is a seemingly never-ending list of unique things to do in Copenhagen. Despite having spent so much time in the city, my “things I want to do in Copenhagen” list just keeps on getting longer and longer… and longer. 

I first visited Copenhagen in December 2017, well before I made the cross-globe move to Scandinavia. Within minutes of being there, it was love at first sight and I knew I had found one of my favourite cities.

There’s something extra special about Copenhagen – I come alive every time I visit. I’m not sure if it’s the contagious spirit of the locals. The canals that fill the city. Or the fact that the city is quite literally littered with bike lanes that draws me in.

Maybe it’s the food culture, which is some of the best in the world (more on that here, where I talk about all my favourite Copenhagen restaurants). Or the fact that even in the coldest months, you’ll find locals sitting outside under cosy blankets having drinks with friends – you know, that Danish “hygge” concept that everyone raves about (it’s a real thing, btw).

I guess it’s all of those things. And more. I could visit the city one hundred times – I could even live there – and I am confident that it would never, ever get old, and I would never stop finding things to do.

Having been to this city countless time, I’ve been wanting to write this guide for a while. But, I’ve kept putting it off. There’s so much to say about this city, and I’ve felt like I didn’t even know where to begin.

But here it is – in all it’s very comprehensive glory. The goal of my Copenhagen guide is to stretch far beyond the typical touristy suggestions and dive a bit deeper into some of my favourite local gems (although it will include some of the touristy things too, because they surely can’t be missed).

my favourite unique things to do in copenhagen

(and a few touristy ones, too)


Okay, I know I said this was going to be a non-touristy guide, and this is the most touristy suggestion ever – but hear me out. Nyhavn is the most iconic spot in Copenhagen. When tourists and locals alike picture Copenhagen, they picture the colourful buildings lining the canal. And that’s why this spot cannot be missed on any itinerary.

With that being said, yes, Nyhavn is touristy. And expensive. But it’s also super beautiful. I rarely visit Copenhagen without at least stopping by and I am blown away every time. 

Here’s my suggestion for Nyhavn: visit, take a few photos, and leave. I wouldn’t recommend eating or grabbing a drink at the restaurants that line the canals. They are overpriced, and the quality pales in comparison to many of the other culinary gems that scatter the city (more about some of those gems here).

Okay, so now that we’ve gotten that touristy suggestion out of the way, we can move on…

Nyhavn, Copenhagen
Actually, not quite yet because i have one more nyhavn suggestion.

And that is if you only have a short time in Copenhagen, take a boat cruise from the Nyhavn harbour. They will take you all over Copenhagen, and you’ll get to take in the city from a unique perspective: on the water. It’ll also take you by the famed Little Mermaid Statue (which is not worth going out of your way otherwise because it is, quite frankly, overhyped). So… consider it two birds, one stone. 

roam around the best neighbourhoods in copenhagen

Dare to stray far away from the city centre and you’ll find the true, unmistakable charm of Copenhagen. Some of these neighbourhoods may seem “a bit out of the way,” but I promise you can’t miss them. So, put on some comfortable shoes and start exploring (or take local transit – but some of the best hidden gems are bound to be discovered en route). Here’s my favourites:


I love this neighbourhood of Copenhagen. Like, seriously, I could live here. Located southwest of the Central Station and Tivoli, it’s home to the most beautiful winding streets, shops, and some of the most fabulous restaurants in Copenhagen. I could wander here for hours. 

The Meatpacking District

Located next to Vesterbro, Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District is a warehouse area has been converted into an industrial foodie’s paradise. It features rows of side-by-side restaurants – some of the best in the city- with patios and live music in the warmer months. It is the perfect spot to grab lunch or a beer in the Danish sun, or just people watch because the area is bound to be bustling.

See Also: My complete foodie’s guide to Copenhagen.


The beautiful canals of Christianshavn are some of my favourite streets to roam in Copenhagen. Lining the canals there are tons of charming colourful apartment buildings, coffee shops, and stores to pop into and browse. 


Home to one of the most Instagrammable spots in Copenhagen, Superkilen Park, and easily some of the best restaurants in the city. This is the spot to go for the best vintage shops, trendy international eats, and other scandi-design stores.

See Also: My list of the most Instagrammable places in Copenhagen.

wander out to REFFEN

Easily one of my favourite spots to visit during the warmer months, Reffen is the Nordic’s largest street food market and is home to shops, food trucks, craft beer, and lots of live music.

I wrote more about Reffen here in my post about all the best places to eat and drink in Copenhagen.

unleash your inner child at tivoli gardens

Okay, I know. This is also “touristy.” But you cannot visit Copenhagen and not visit Tivoli – one of the world’s oldest theme parks. Even if rides aren’t your thing, buy a park pass and wander around. I promise it is worth seeing.

Tivoli is beautiful any time of the year, but Christmas at Tivoli is extra special. If your schedule allows it, pay a visit during their Christmas market. Drink some mulled wine, enjoy the epic Christmas decorations, and be transported back in time.


I’ve spoke with many tourists who have said they were afraid to visit Christiania. And I was like whaaaat? Because if you’re letting fear dictate your decision to visit Christiania, you’re seriously missing out.

This “Hippy Commune” is home to roughly 1,000 residents and it operates as a freetown (in fact, they have a sign at the exit that says “You Are Now Entering the EU” because they operate independent of the EU). Here, you’ll find stall of locals selling homemade goods, others busking in the streets, and many others selling marijuana along the “main street.” It is such a unique cultural experience that everyone should see when they are visiting Copenhagen. 

Tip: Leave your camera in your bag in the “shopping” area, or else the locals will ask you to put it away and delete the photos.

Christiania, Copenhagen


There are so many cool spots in Copenhagen to walk past, take some photos of, or just simply admire. Here’s a few of my favourites.


This winding narrow road is beautiful. The colourful buildings, the way the light shines around the bend of the street. This is my favourite street in Copenhagen, without a doubt. Now, I’m just left trying to figure out how I can purchase an apartment there so I can wake up with this view out my window everyday.

Rosenborgs slott

This castle looks like it is straight out of a fairytale and is surrounded by lavish green gardens. Also nearby is the Botanical Gardens, which is another great spot to check out if you’re in the area.


This super unique urban space and skateboard park is full of street art, and is a really cool spot to roam around and take pictures (it’s so good, I featured it in my most Instagrammable places in Copenhagen guide).

Church of our saviour

This beautiful church with a spiral tower sits atop Christianshavn and is truly a sight that can’t be missed. Admire it from the exterior, or, if your’re feeling brave, head inside and climb to the top of the spiral tower for some of the most beautiful views in Copenhagen-

The Round Tower

If you’re looking for another spot to view Copenhagen from atop, The Round Tower offers the perfect opportunity to see the rooftops of Copenhagen. The walk up to the top of the tower is also very unique, with a steep winding ramp replacing steps.

eat your way through the city

Copenhagen is one of THE BEST food cities in the world. So, if you’re anything like me, your itinerary with include LOTS of great restaurant stops. I wrote all about all my favourite restaurants and bars in Copenhagen here. Check it out if the inner foodie in you needs some inspiration.

take a day trip from copenhagen

One of the best things about Denmark is how small the country is. This means that there are tons of day trip from Copenhagen options. Here’s a few of my favourites.

kronborg castle

Surely you’re familiar with the story of Hamlet. Well, did you know that the real life Elsinore is only an hour away from Copenhagen by train? Kronborg Castle is located in the Danish town of Helsingör (Elsinore in English) and is home to cute cafes, beautiful waterfront views, and this gorgeous castle. It is absolutely worth a visit if you have time to spare in Copenhagen.

Louisiana museum

The world-class Louisiana Museum is located in Humlebaek, Denmark, which is able 35 minutes away from Copenhagen Central. This is one of my favourite museums I have ever been to, because I found the exhibits very unique. If you’re into modern art, you can’t miss this place.

Yayoi Kusama Louisiana Museum
take the train across to Sweden

Malmö, Sweden, where I live, is about 40 minutes by train from Copenhagen Central. There is so much to do in Malmö, you could easily spend 2-3 days there. But, if you’ve only got one day to spare, it is a perfect day trip from Copenhagen. The city centre isn’t very big, so you can see so much of the city in one day (and you can check Sweden off your bucketlist too!).

I’ve wrote a lot about Malmö and southern Sweden on the blog. You can check out everything here to help you plan your day trip.

Where to stay in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is full of amazing hotels. Because I live so close, I have only stayed overnight in the city once. However, I have had visitors who have stayed in the city as well, and here are my top two hotel recommendations. Both hotels are close to the central station, so they are easy to get to with luggage, and are within walking distance from many of the must-sees on my list.

Axel Guldsmeden

We stayed at Axel Guldsmeden during my first visit to Copenhagen and the property was beautiful. The whole hotel is Bali-inspired, and is very eco-conscious (they even gave us our own recycled bamboo toothbrushes!).

Axel Guldsmeden Hotel
Scandic palace hotel

My parents stayed at the Scandic Palace Hotel when they came to visit – and wow. This place was so old and historical, and beautifully maintained with gorgeous crown mouldings and winding staircases. If possible, ask for a room with a balcony facing the square and you will be welcomed with the most incredible views of the city.

I wasn't kidding when i said there was a lot to do in and around copenhagen.

This city is one of my favourite cities in the world for so many reasons. And I know if you visit, it will be one of yours too!

If I missed anything in this guide, add it to the comments below. And if you’re visiting the city, don’t forget to check out all my food and drink recommendations at the best restaurants in Copenhagen.


A Guide to Non-Touristy Copenhagen
A Copenhagen City Guide
Things to Do in Copenhagen
The Best Hotel in Copenhagen
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