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City Guide

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)

VISIT NYHAVN

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:

VESTERBRO

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.

Christianshavn

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. 

Nørrebro

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.

VISIT A HIPPY COMMUNE: FREETOWN CHRISTIANIA

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

TAKE IN SOME OF COPENHAGEN’S COOLEST LANDMARKS

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.

Magaestrade

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.

Superkilen

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.

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

Warsaw was never a city that was on my radar. Despite Warsaw being the capital, whenever someone mentioned Poland, I always imagined visiting Kraków or Gdansk. In my mind, Warsaw a big city. A city that had been rebuilt after WWII. And, therefore, it was a city that lacked character or charm.

Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

After spending one day in Warsaw, I was hooked. And knew I needed to come back because one day was not enough (I am also thankful for the super cheap flights that guided us there, because they are the reason that this city is now my radar). I can’t wait to go back again some day – let me tell you why.

So, you only have one day in Warsaw like I did? Here’s my guide on spending one day in Poland’s Capital.

See Also: A Complete City Guide Detailing Why You Need to Visit Kraków.


GETTING TO WARSAW

Warsaw Chopin Airport: The most convenient location to fly into is Warsaw Chopin Airport, located just 20-30 minutes from Warsaw’s city centre by car. From there, you can easily reach the city centre by shuttle, cab, or Uber.

By Train: Coming from another European city? Warsaw is very centrally located in Eastern Europe and is easily accessible by train from many major European cities. We travelled by high speed train from Kraków to Warsaw in only 2.5 hours.


WHERE TO STAY IN WARSAW

If you’re looking for the best hotel in Warsaw, PURO Hotel Warszawa Centrum is your spot.

I am obsessed with this hotel. It’s centrally located, very trendy, and has spacious rooms. The details were immaculate and I still swear I had one of the best sleeps of my life in this hotel room (shoutout to the super comfy bed and some top-notch blackout blinds!).


THINGS TO DO IN WARSAW

Warsaw Old Town

To be totally honest, I was hesitant to visit the Old Town in Warsaw, because I was it was going to feel artificially pretty and lack character. The original Old Town was bombed during WWII and completely destroyed. After the war, it was completely restored to resemble the town prior to the bombings.

When you visit the Old Town, it is hard to ignore how perfect it is – much more perfect than any other city I’ve visited. However, the newness does not take away how insanely beautiful it is. The way the architects were able to recreate what was completely destroyed in itself is impressive, and you can’t help feel a sense of happiness walking through the town. It is a definitive comeback story.

Climb to the Top of the Bell Tower at St. Anna’s Church

For the most spectacular views of the Warsaw Old Town, and Warsaw in general, climb up the winding staircase to the top of St Anna’s Church. I mean, just check out these views.

Łazienki Park

Łazienki Park is a huge park located right in the city centre of Warsaw. It is the perfect place to roam, especially in summer months when you can enjoy the patios and greenery.

In the park, you’ll find historical buildings, including my favourite: Palace on the Isle. This gorgeous bath house was built in the 17th century and was fortunate enough to survive the Warsaw bombings during WWII. It is a time capsule of what once was, in a city that was so brutally destroyed.

Stroll Down Nowy Swiat

Also known as “The Royal Route,” walk from the intersection at Aleje Jerozolimskie (Jerusalem Avenue) to the Old Town. You’ll pass many monuments and historical buildings along the way, as well as tons of shops and restaurants.

Nowy Swiat
Visit the Praga Neighbourhood

Located across the river from the Old Town, we fell in love with the Praga neighbourhood. Described as an “edgier” neighbourhood in Warsaw, this area used to be mostly off-limits to tourists, some would say even dangerous. But, in recent years, it has cleaned up it’s act and has rose in popularity.

The streets of Praga are lined with graffiti murals. If you love street art, make sure to check out 11 Listopada 22.

After venturing around the neighbourhood, along 11 Listopada, we stumbled upon a “parking lot” filled with tables and chairs, bars, live music, and surrounded by street art. Needless to say, this place was cool. We stop in, and ended up staying there for hours in the sun, drinking beers and listening to music. If you’re looking for this spot, type in one of the restaurants “Chmury” into Google Maps, and it’ll lead you there.


WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN WARSAW

Best Brunch in Warsaw: Aioli

The food here was incredible, and affordable. And they have the most perfect outdoor patio seating, so you can enjoy brunch in the sun during the warmer months.

Aioli Warsaw
Best Pizza in Warsaw: Ave Pizza

If you’re looking for affordable and delicious pizza with all kinds of unique toppings in Warsaw, Ave Pizza has you covered.

Best Pierogi in Warsaw: Zapiecek

Zapiecek is a popular pierogi chain in Warsaw – and let me just say, it is popular for a reason. With options of several fillings, both boiled and fried, this places knows how to make a top-notch pierogi (and this is coming from a girl who has eaten more than her fair share of pierogi in her lifetime).

Zapiecek Warsaw Pierogi
Best Bars in Warsaw: Pawilony Nowy Świat

This is an area filled with over 20 small bars, outdoor seating, and other random vendors. It is a popular spot to grab a cheap drink in central Warsaw and offers a really cool atmosphere.


SO NOW YOU’RE READY TO VISIT WARSAW

You can find all my favourite spots in One Day in Warsaw on the map below.

Simply put: Warsaw should not be dismissed as “just another big city” when planning a trip to Poland. It deserves a lot more love then it gets. And I hope that you can find it in your itinerary to spend more than just one day in Warsaw.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out my Kraków City Guide.


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Kronovalls slott in October

Autumn in Skåne is beautiful.

The cool, crisp temperatures. The changing colours. The prettiest little towns that look like they are straight out of an Astrid Lindgren fairytale (in case you’re like WHO? … she’s the famous Swedish author of Pippi Longstocking).

Over the past few weeks, I have spent my weekends exploring the Skåne region, which is the southernmost Swedish county that Malmö resides in. And it’s safe to say I’ve seen some of the prettiest landscapes since I moved to Sweden.


Here are some of my favourite autumn in Skåne photos.


ARILD

If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was walking around a movie set in Arild. It is so charming, that Travel & Leisure named this quaint fishing village it one of their “Top 25 Secret European Villages.” And for good reason – just look at how perfect it is.

Can’t Miss: If you’re in Arild, make sure to make a pitstop at Flickorna Lundgren. This spot is located in the countryside outside of Arild and was named Sweden’s best fika by Vogue. Here, you’ll be served their famous sweets and coffee while you sit in the most perfect garden setting. However, keep in mind that this spot typically closes for the season at the end of September, so make sure you check out their opening hours on their website.

After fika, don’t forget to head into the town of Arild to roam around the narrow cobblestone streets and admire the cutest little houses.


MÖLLE

Another picturesque fishing village, Mölle is a popular summer destination for both locals and Europeans, but it quiets down in the autumn months. This makes it the perfect time to visit, when you can enjoy the crisp fall weather without any crowds.


HÖGANÄS

Höganäs is home to Sweden’s famous BBQ spot: Holy Smoke. Situated again in middle-of-nowhere Swedish countryside, this BBQ spot is very popular amongst locals. They serve authentic southern BBQ that will surely make you feel like you’ve been transported to the American south, in the cosiest outdoor setting. At the end of the meal, you can even sit campfire-side and roast marshmallows.

Similar to many other places in this region, Holy Smoke isn’t open all autumn. Take a look at their website for their seasonal hours.

See Also: My guide to where to eat and drink in Malmö.


ÖSTERLEN

Österlen is a region in southwest corner of Skåne, comprised of all kinds of charming country villages. One Saturday during autumn in Skåne, we took a little trip around Österlen. We didn’t really have an itinerary, and we stumbled across some of the coolest sights.

First, was this Österlenchocklad, a little chocolate factory located in the middle of one of Österlen’s small towns. As we were driving by, we noticed the sign and made a split second decision to pull into the parking lot. And let’s just say, I am so happy we did because in this little award-winning chocolate shop, I had the best hot chocolate of my life (and lots of tasty chocolate, too!).

Österlenchocklad: The best chocolate store in Skane

Another stumble-upon location we made a quick decision to pull into was Kronovall Castle. This spot was tucked into the woods, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It featured the most beautiful castle, including acres of grounds with hiking trails and historic buildings, like a blacksmiths shop! And with the leaves being the perfect shade of orange, this place was purely magical.


KIVIK

Kivik, the famous apple region of Skåne, is home to acres and acres of apple orchards. The most famous spple orchard is Kiviksmusteri. Kiviksmusteri produces all kinds of different apple juice and cider, and other apple goods. We loved roaming around the groups, visiting the apple trees, and taking home lots of apple goodies.


SIMRISHAMN

Simrishamn is another community in Österlen. It is located on the water and home to the most beautiful beach (with sand that a really unique shade of orange). The town itself is charming and quaint, with zig-zagging cobblestone alleyways lined with beautiful historical homes.

My only regret is that we didn’t come here in the summer to take a dip at the beautiful beach.


MALMÖ

If you haven’t caught on yet, I love living in Malmö. And Malmö during the autumn season is no exception. As the colours of the seasons continue to change, I find myself non-stop snapping pictures. And can you blame me?

See Also: My full guide to Malmö Sweden.


I told you that autumn in Skåne is beautiful. I’m feeling pretty darn thankful to be living in this picturesque county, where these quaint towns and incredible views are only a short drive away.

Travelling the world is wonderful. But with all these special spots in my very own backyard, I’m feeling really content with staying home for a while. And with so much more to discover, stay tuned for more Swedish road trips coming at ya soon!


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And if you’re living in, or visiting, Skåne, make sure you check out my Malmö Sweden City Guide.

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Fall in Amsterdam

At the beginning of November 2018, I went back to one of my very favourite cities for week – Amsterdam! I first fell in love with this city in the summer of 2015, while at the tail end of a backpacking trip across Europe. I spent three days in the city, and left feeling like I could live there. So when the opportunity presented itself to return for a week, I jumped at the chance.

Given that most people will likely not have a week to spend here, I’ve condensed all my favourite things to do in Amsterdam into a ‘4 Days in Amsterdam’ city guide that highlights all my favourite things to do [and eat!]. The goal of this guide is to provide you with less touristy, more off-the-beaten-path Amsterdam suggestions so you can fall for the city from a more local perspective.


WHERE TO STAY IN AMSTERDAM

I have stayed in three different places in Amsterdam, catering to three different budgets.

Budget: Flying Pig Uptown Hostel

I feel like every young budget backpacker has stayed at one of the Flying Pig Hostel locations in Amsterdam. I stayed here in 2015 and had a great experience. The staff provides a great atmosphere for individuals looking to meet other travellers, and there are a variety of sleeping arrangements available.

Affordable: AirBnb in Amsterdam-Oost

If you’re a fan of AirBnb’s, you’ll love Ilana’s place. Located in Amsterdam-Oost, this location a little bit outside the city centre, but I fell in love with the neighbourhood. It had an amazing food culture and opened my eyes to an entirely new area of Amsterdam that I had yet to explore. The AirBnb is around the corner from the train station for a quick 10 minute train ride to the city centre. Or, if you’re like me and prefer to travel like a local, you can easily rent a bike and ride to almost anywhere you want to go.

Mid-Range: SWEETS hotel

Have you ever dreamed of having your own private bridge house all to yourself? Well, you’re in luck! SWEETS hotel is converting bridge houses all over Amsterdam into private hotel rooms and it is beyond cool. We stay at the Beltbrug location, which was conveniently located around the corner from the trendy Jordaan neighbourhood. If you happen to be travelling to Amsterdam, this is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would not pass up. We can’t wait to go back and stay in another location!

SWEETS hotel Beltbrug

GETTING AROUND AMSTERDAM

The best way to see the city is the way the locals do – by bike! On both my trips to Amsterdam, I have rented bikes from various Black Bike locations and would highly recommend this rental company for great service and affordable prices. If the thought of biking is intimidating to you, I assure you there is nothing to be afraid of. After all, Amsterdam is the most bikeable city in the world!

Biking around Amsterdam

Still feeling a bit too scared to go on a two-wheeled adventure? Amsterdam offers an awesome tram and train system, with daily and weekly passes available for purchase.

Finally – you can walk! The city city is accessible enough that you can walk around and see many of the most famed sights. Just put on a pair of comfy shoes and fall in love with the canals by foot.


DAY 1 IN AMSTERDAM: THE MUSEUM CIRCUIT

Amsterdam is packed with some of the world’s most famous museums. I would pick a couple that interest you and spend your first day immersing yourself in the museum culture. My top personal favourite museums also happen to be the most popular in the city – I guess they are touristy for a reason:

  • Anne Frank Museum. You cannot visit Amsterdam and not go here. Make sure to book your tickets well ahead of time, as it is always sold out.
  • Rijksmuseum. Housing some of the world’s most famous paintings, this world-renowned museum should not be missed.
  • Van Gogh Museum. Everyone loves Van Gogh. What could be better than seeing all his most famous pieces of work in one location?

FUN TIP: If you happen to be in Amsterdam during the beginning of November, Museumnacht is an annual event that gives you after hours access to some of Amsterdam’s most famous musuems. During this event, we saw the Hortus Botanicus lit up at night, visited an Alice in Wonderland-themed party at the Museum of Bags & Purses, and danced the night away at a silent disco at the Rijksmuseum. This is one of the most popular events of the year in Amsterdam, so if you plan on visiting, make sure you buy tickets ahead of time.


DAY 2: SHOPPING & MARKETS

Anyone who knows me knows that I am always on the hunt for the best shopping districts in a new city, and there is no shortage of shopping in Amsterdam. So, on day 2 of your 4 days in Amsterdam, make sure you make some time for shopping. Here’s some of my favourite places to wander during your shopping day in Amsterdam:

  • De 9 Straatjes: In my opinion, the best area to shop in Amsterdam. Features unique vintage finds and trendy boutiques along some of the most picturesque streets in the canal belt.
  • Floating Flower Market: This market features tons of booths selling the most recognizable flower in the Netherlands: tulips.
  • Sunday Market Westergasfabriek: Located in the west part of the city, Westerpark is home to an outdoor market on the first Sunday of each month. This is the perfect place to find locally-made and vintage finds. If you don’t happen to be visiting during the first Sunday of the month, I would still recommend checking out the Westerpark neighbourhood.
  • Pieter Cornelisz (P.C.) Hooftstraat: Whether you’re interested in doing some window shopping, or splurging on the designer handbag of your dreams, this street is often referred to as Amsterdam’s Fifth Avenue, and is your spot for high-end finds.
  • Jordaan: One of my favourite neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, Jordaan features some of the most beautiful canals in Amsterdam, as well as many bohemian-inspired shops and studios/galleries. I could easily get lost for hours roaming around these streets.

DAY 3: FOOD TOUR

Full Disclosure: I am normally not a fan of organized walking tours. However, the Hungry Birds tour was quick to challenge this opinion.

I knew the food culture in Amsterdam was unique, and as a self-proclaimed foodie I was determined to make sure I visited all the very best spots. So after reading amazing reviews about the Hungry Birds food tour, I decided to take the plunge and join them. After spending nearly six hours walking around the city with a small group of fellow foodies, enjoying eats that included Surinamese cuisine, hot food from a vending machine, dutch beer, fries with peanut sauce & mayo, and Amsterdam’s most famous cookies, I knew I had made the best decision in joining this tour.

I’ll highlight some of my favourite spots from the tour in the ‘Food & Drinks’ section below.

If you love food as much as I do, this is a tour that you need to take in Amsterdam. 


DAY 4: EXPLORE DE PIJP

For your last day of your 4 days in Amsterdam, you need to explore my favourite neighbourhood in the city: De Pijp.

Why do I love this neighbourhood so much? Where do I begin!

  • Albert Cuyp Market: This is hands down the best market in the city. Open seven days a week, this market has been in operation for over 100 years, with many vendors owning market real estate for several decades. Here, you’ll find the best stroopwafels in Amsterdam, fresh herring, an assortment of Dutch cheeses, produce, clothing, flowers, and so much more.
  • Fashion: De Pijp is trendy and offers some of my favourite boutiques to shop in the city. If you love fashion, you’ll love exploring De Pijp.
  • Restaurants: There is no shortage of amazing restaurants in De Pijp. Check out the ‘Food & Drinks’ section of this city guide for more details.
  • Coworking Spaces: Need to get some work done on the road? De Pijp features one of my favourite cafes/coworking spaces I have ever visited: Coffee & Coconuts

All in all, De Pijp is just plain cool. If I were to move to Amsterdam, I would want to live in De Pijp. Spend a day taking in everything this neighbourhood has to offer and I bet you’ll feel the same way!


WHERE TO EAT IN AMSTERDAM

This is easily my favourite section of this city guide because Amsterdam has an incredible food culture! We didn’t even get to scrape the surface of what this city has to offer, but here are some of the best spots I visited on my most recent trip.

  • Coffee: Craving a warm cup of joe before you start exploring? You’ll find the best coffee in Amsterdam at Scandinavian Embassy. The owners have truly perfected the craft of coffee-making and the coffee is worth the lineup [even if it is out the door].
  • Famous Cookies: Have you heard of Van Stapele? This bakery is a tourist hotspot and for good reason – the cookies are just so damn good. This small bakery only makes one type of cookie and often has a line out the door. I would recommend going early in the day, because they have been known to close early once they have met a daily ‘cookie quota.’
  • Stroopwafels: I have tried a lot of Amsterdam stroopwafels and the best can be found at Original Stroopwafels in Albert Cuyp Market. I loved them so much I recently had my boyfriend bring 12 packages home from his work trip to share with friends and family [that’s 120 stroopwafels!].
  • Brunch: Bakers & Roasters offers two locations, and is described as a New Zealand-style cafe. If you’re like me and brunch is you’re thing, this is the place to go.
  • Lunch: Do you love avocado? If so, The Avocado Show is a must-visit! Every single item on the menu includes avocado. Not to mention, everything about this place is very insta-worthy.
  • Mid-Range Dinner: If you’re looking for a mid-range dinner, with high-quality, fresh food, Wilde Zwijnen is your place!
  • Asian Fusion: Vijfnulvijf Asian Kitchen Cafe was so good, we went there twice! It was right around the corner from our AirBnb, offered a large selection of small plates, and had several allergy-friendly options [for my boyfriend who often struggles at Asian restaurants due to his nut/seed allergy].
  • Vending Machine Eats: FEBO is a Netherlands staple, and a totally unique experience. If you want to visit the original location, it can be found in De Pijp. Here, you can often still spot the inventor/owner of this fast-food chain deep frying their famous croquettes.
  • Fries: For the best fries in Amsterdam, you may need to stand in line at Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx. But I promise, it will be so worth the wait. If you’re feeling daring, try this Amsterdam staple: fries topped with mayo, peanut sauce, and onions, as known as ‘War Fries.’ They are surprisingly delicious!

NOVEMBER WEATHER IN AMSTERDAM

Many people warned me that visiting Amsterdam in November was a gamble, with typical temperatures hovering around zero degrees Celsius, and high risk of rain and wind. However, after spending time in the city during the busy and hot summer months, visiting during the much quieter month of November was a welcome change. I arrived with an umbrella and waterproof gear and was ready to face whatever weather came my way.

I ended up getting very lucky. With mild temperatures and sunny days, the perfect fall weather was an absolute dream. However, this is not guaranteed and if you plan to visit Amsterdam in November, the unpredictable weather is something to be wary of.


I hope you enjoyed my guide to one of Europe’s best cities! The vibe of this city is truly special, and I can’t wait to spend 4 days in Amsterdam again (hopefully very, very soon!).


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And if you’re travelling around Europe this fall (or any season really), check out my guide to Malmo, Sweden – another super beautiful fall destination!

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Have you heard of Montenegro? Chances are you have because you’ve landed on my one week in Montenegro itinerary.

However, typically when I tell people I spent a week in this tiny Balkan country this summer they have no idea where I’m talking about. I get comments like “That’s a city in Croatia, right?” or a very confused “Oh, sounds cool!” with a tone that suggests that they have no idea where that is and are too embarrassed to ask. However, the confusion merited because this stunning coastal country has only actually been an established country since 2006. And it is far less visited then it’s big sister to the north – the very popular Croatia.


SO, SHOULD I VISIT MONTENEGRO OR CROATIA?

I must first disclose that have never been to Croatia (aside from the Dubrovnik airport), so I can only speak to the stories I have heard from others. When we began planning our summer holidays, we were pretty set on spending a week or two in Croatia. I’d heard all about the amazing coastline and beaches, and it had been at the top of my bucket list for years. However, after talking to friends, family, and other travellers who had been there over the last couple years, I kept hearing the same story. Croatia is, of course, beautiful – but it has become very busy, expensive, and very touristy.

Upon doing more research about the Balkans, I began to look at Montenegro and Albania. I learned that they were both cheap, offered similar picturesque coastline, and were significantly less busy than Croatia. It didn’t take much for more to be convinced – we decided that Montenegro was the Croatian alternative we were looking for (and we’re saving Albania for hopefully next summer!).


WHY DO YOU NEED TO VISIT MONTENEGRO?

Well, where do I start? First off, the coastline is straight out of a postcard. Couple that with scaling mountains, clear turquoise waters, the most friendly locals, amazing food, and affordable prices, and you have a recipe for the perfect week long vacation.

Views from the top of Kotor

Are you planning a trip to Montenegro? Here is everything you need to plan your one week in Montenegro itinerary.


WHERE IS MONTENEGRO?

Are you still confused about this fairly new Balkan country? Are you wonder where in the world is Montenegro?

Montenegro is a tiny country that lies directly south of, along the same coastline as, Croatia. And when I say small, I mean SMALL. It’s roughly 13,000 km squared with only ~622,00 inhabitants. Despite it’s small size, it is home to nearly 300 kilometres of mountainous Adriatic coastline, of which 70 kilometres of filled with beaches. And the most southern fjord in Europe: the Bay of Kotor.

See Also: If you as amazed by fjords as I am, read about my time exploring the Norwegian fjords.


HOW TO GET TO MONTENEGRO?

Montenegro has two international airports that visitors commonly fly into: Podgorica and Tivat. These locations have direct flights to many places in Europe, and serve as the easiest way to enter Montenegro.

Alternatively, if you’re headed to the Bay of Kotor or nothern Montenegro, you can fly to Dubrovnik. We opted for this option because it offered us the opportunity to fly direct from Copenhagen, and the flights were much more affordable. However, although a popular option, flying into Dubrovnik comes with a unique set of challenges: crossing the Croatian-Montenegrin border.

Prior to making this journey, I heard about and read about how difficult this process can be, especially if you are arriving by bus. I read about stories of queuing for hours at the Croatian border, only to have the bus be pulled in for hours for passport control. I was determined to avoid this chaos. So, we opted to hire a private driver to get us to Montenegro. We scheduled a car through Airports Taxi Transfers for 80 euros each way. The driver took us from the airport directly to our Airbnb and the border crossing process was a breeze (mind you, there was very little traffic). The whole transfer took only two hours door to door, and based on the experiences that I’ve heard about from others, I’m still convinced it was the best 160 euros I’ve ever spent.


TRANSPORTATION IN MONTENEGRO

What’s the best way to travel around Montenegro? Is there a public transportation system in Montenegro? I had so many questions about transportation in Montenegro that I found very difficult to answer prior to going. So I’m here to spill all the tea on the ins and outs of Kotor Bay transportation.

Driving in Montenegro

Can you rent a car in Montenegro? Sure! However, full disclosure, I have never experienced anything quite like Balkan drivers. They drive in the middle of narrow, winding two-lane highways with little consideration for oncoming traffic, and quickly swerve around cars as they approach them. And speed limits – what are those? Needless to say, I would be personally a bit too scared to drive on these roads, but if you feel confident that you can navigate the craziness, renting a car is absolutely the easiest way to get around Montenegro.

Buses in Montenegro

To travel within the Bay of Kotor, we often used the bus system. Similar to the residential drivers, the bus drivers don’t seem to obey the traditional rules of the road (for example, we had a bus driver quite literally roll up to every stop, open the door, and keep slowly rolling while passengers hopped out). With that being said, I still felt way more secure in a bus than in a car. And the buses run regularly between towns, and are very affordable.

Taxis in Montenegro

Are you an rideshare lover like me? Well, sorry to break it to you but there is no Uber in Montenegro (or Lyft).

However, we had our Airbnb host order us a cab a couple times, and there are always plenty of drivers available for hire. For pricing reference it cost us roughly 15-20 euros to get from Perast to Kotor (which was approximately a 20 minute car ride).

Water Taxis in the Bay of Kotor

If your budget has a bit more wiggle room in it, there are water taxis all over the Bay of Kotor that are happy to drop you off where ever you need to go. We entertained this as an option to get from Perast to Kotor, but at 40 euros a ride the price point was outside of our budget.


WHERE TO STAY IN MONTENEGRO?

When we booked our stay in Montenegro, we wanted to spend our time somewhere quiet. Additionally, we only wanted to stay in one place the entire week (which is very unusual for us) in an effort to have some time to relax.

Based on this, we decided to stay in Montenegro’s most beautiful town – Perast. Perast is popular with tourists; however, is not a popular location to rest your head because it lacks nightlife and is generally very quiet (yes, even in July). Many people opt to stay in Budva or Kotor because there is “more to do,” however we loved the quietness of Perast, and could easily travel to Kotor in 20 minutes. Plus, there were plenty of fantastic restaurants and so much to do in the Bay of Kotor that we were never bored.

With that being said, if you are looking for the best beaches in Montenegro, Budva is your spot. It is home to a beautiful coastline filled with beaches and resorts. Also, if you’re looking for the best nightlife in Montenegro, you should stay in Kotor or Budva. Keep in mind, Kotor hosts cruise ships nearly every day in the summer, and therefore it gets very busy inside the Old Town walls during the day. However, it quiets down at night, and there is a lot to do. So ultimately, you can’t go wrong – it all depends on what you’re looking for!


If you have decided to focus your itinerary on the Bay of Kotor like I did, read on for my one week in Montenegro itinerary.


THE BEST APARTMENT IN PERAST

We opted for the cutest Airbnb with the most spectacular views. Seriously – Look. At. These. Views.

Not only were the views of Perast perfect from our apartment, but it had everything we needed: a small kitchen, spacious living space, central location, and air conditioning (which is SO necessary during July in Montenegro). All at a very affordable price of about 60 euros per night.

For more information on Apartments Franovic, check out their website here or the Airbnb listing for the apartment we stayed in here.


THINGS TO DO IN THE BAY OF KOTOR

Bay of Kotor Boat Cruise

One of my absolute favourite days in Montenegro was spent at sea with 360monte. We spent the entire day sailing around Montenegro, swimming in caves and submarine tunnels, and taking in the most perfect views. This experience is a must if you’re spending time in the Bay of Kotor.

Swim – Lots!

There is no shortage of places to take a dip in the Bay of Kotor. In fact, one of my favourite things about Perast is that you can swim just about anywhere. The waterfront is lined with docks and stairs that lead into the sea, which provide the perfect setting to jump in any time you please.

Swimming Dock in Perast
Pirate’s Bay Beach Bar

An absolute highlight of our time in Perast was Pirate’s Bay Beach Bar – in fact, we loved it so much we went twice. This spot provides the perfect spot to lounge, swim and indulge in drinks by the sea.

TIP: Stop by and reserve a lounger the day before for only 15 euros (they go fast the morning of). I’d suggest grabbing a front row seat along the dock portion, it was much quieter than the beach, and doesn’t have enough room for people to put down their towels in front of your lounger from unimpeded views 🙂

Walk Up the Walls of Kotor Old Town

For the best views of the Bay of Kotor, you must walk the walls of Kotor Old Town. The walk can be a bit strenuous in the summer heat, but the views at the top are so worth it. Just don’t make the mistake we did, and leave in the morning before the afternoon heat picks up. And bring lots of water.

Explore Kotor Old Town

Kotor’s Old Town is super charming and offers photo opportunities everywhere you turn. For the experience, explore in the evening after the cruise ships leave to avoid the crowds.

Visit of the Cat Museum in Kotor

I know what you’re thinking, a museum about cats – have you lost your mind? Maybe I have. But regardless, this museum is cool. It shows photos of cats that date back centuries, highlighting how they have not only been the best friends of many notable people, but have also been used in advertisements and propaganda since the beginning of time.

It only costs one euro, and supports a good cause.

FUN FACT: Kotor is filled with cats everywhere and it is a known fact that Montenegin’s have a fascination with these little furry friends. In fact, many locals believe that cats saved the town of Kotor and have remained a symbol of good luck ever since. Anddddd, with that said, I present to you my Montenegro cat montage (sorry not sorry, I couldn’t not post these photos).

Visit Our Lady of the Rocks

Located a short boat ride away, and visible from the town of Perast, Our Lady of the Rocks is a man made island that a blue-domed church that rivals the famed Santorini domes.

To get there, you can hire a boat in Perast. There are a ton of boats for hire alongside the water – all you have to do is walk along and hire a driver to take you over. If you’re visiting, I would highly recommend taking a guided tour of the interior of the church, if possible. It was a really cool experience and we learned a lot.

TIP: If you happen to be in Montenegro on July 22nd, you’ll be able to witness an annual ceremony called Fašinada at sunset from Perast. During this ceremony, locals tie a string of boats together and head over to Our Lady of the Rocks. The boats were decorated with flowers while music played. Once at the island, the locals threw rocks into the water surrounding the mad-made island with a goal of preserving the island. It was such a special ceremony to witness. If you’re eager to learn more about the Fašinada tradition, click here.

Kayak in the Bay of Kotor

There are a couple spots along the Perast waterfront to rent kayaks, which we took advantage of. It was a great afternoon water activity!

See Ancient Roman Mosaics

In the town of Risan, the oldest in Montenegro, ancient Roman mosaics were discovered. The mosaics have been preserved to replicated what is believed to be an ancient Roman villa, and can be visited for a small fee. I had no idea that the Bay of Kotor was filled with so much history, and this was really cool to see.


BEST RESTAURANTS IN PERAST

Best Grill: Konoba Školji

We tried several restaurants in Perast, and this one was, quite simply, THE BEST. Affordable. High quality. And most incredibly kind staff. We loved it so much, I felt inclined to write a (lengthy) TripAdvisor review. In case you need convincing, here’s an except from what I wrote:

“Where do I begin with this spot? We stumbled upon it when we were walking down the street in Perast one night, and went it when we noticed the outdoor grill.

We were greeted by the friendliest staff who was eager to provide us with a top notch experience. The atmosphere was perfect, felt very authentic and traditional.

And then, there was the food. All I can say is WOW. We were looking for a local grill meal the first night we went and had the cevapi. The portion was huge and delicious. Our server told us to come back a second night to try the slow cooked lamb, which cooks for several hours throughout the day in a bell hanging over the grill. And it was so good we came back a third night to have the lamb again!

We also tried the salads, with the freshest produce. And the desserts (homemade tiramisu!!). All very highly recommended.

A special shout out goes to our server Momir. He went above and beyond to give us the best service, and offered amazing recommendations. I can’t say enough about all the servers here, and the entire experience. If you’re in Perast, you need to stop here!”

Best Seafood: Hotel Conte & Restaurant

The seafood here is top notch. It has a reputation as the most popular restaurant in Perast – and for good reason. We dined here twice and loved it. It’s a bit on the more expensive side, but still a bargain compared to a similar quality meal in other countries. And the views along the water are perfection, especially at sunset.

TIP: if you want to dine along the water at sunset, make a reservation. It’ll be so worth it.

Best Pizza: Bocalibre

I know what you’re thinking – pizza in Montenegro? Well, if you’re looking for something different from the usual seafood and meat dishes, this spot offers great pizza.


BEST RESTAURANTS IN KOTOR

Best Barbeque: BBQ Tanjga

I truly can’t say enough about this spot for outstanding barbeque. When you walk into the tiny restaurant you’ll be greeted by the staff and asked to pick a platter of meat, as well as sides. You then go around back and they bring you your freshly cooked platter. And whoa, it was SO MUCH food, so arrive hungry and be prepared to eat… and eat and eat.

Best Restaurant in Old Town: Konoba Scala Santa

Full disclosure: We didn’t eat here.

However, I was told by a couple people that according to both tourists and locals, this is the best restaurant in the Old Town.

BONUS: Amazing Cevapi in the Bay of Kotor

Looking for cevapi? Of course you are!

We ate a lot of cevapi in the Bay of Kotor, and the best version we had was at Кафе Grill MM in Risan. This lovely little patio is in a park, down the street from the Roman mosaics, and was the best cevapi we had in Montenegro. And as an added bonus, it was served with the most incredible hand cut, homemade fries.


ARE YOU SOLD ON THIS HIDDEN PARADISE YET?

My biggest Montenegro tip. GO. And go now. Before it gets more popular. Before it becomes unbearably busy like Croatia. Because reality is, there is no way this perfect summer spot will stay quiet forever.

Also, as you probably noticed, this one week in Montenegro itinerary focuses on the Bay of Kotor area. However, there is SO much to see and do in Montenegro, and we truly only scratched the surface. I already can’t wait to go back and explore other parts of this hidden paradise (and spend some time in the mountains!).

And in case I haven’t convinced you yet, here’s a few more of my favourite memories:


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And if you’re looking for information on another one of my favourite hidden paradises, check out my itinerary for Milos, Greece.

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Looking to explore Norway on a Budget? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

I don’t know about you, but I have dreamed of visiting Norway for a long time. I scrolled through pictures of turquoise fjords, scaling mountains, and lush greenery and knew it was a place that I had to see in my lifetime.

However, my dreams of visiting Norway were conflicted by one thing: Norway is infamously expensive. I heard this over, and over, and over again. And settled for the fact that you must be wealthy to visit Norway. So, alas, this dream trip was put on the back burner.

However, when my parents decided to visit me in Scandinavia, I began to revisit the idea of Norway. I wanted to show them the absolute best of Scandinavia after all. So, I began doing a ton of research and suddenly, the thought of visiting this dreamy country didn’t seem so unattainable anymore. So, it was decided – we were off to see the fjords!

Is Norway Expensive? Simply put, yes.

I am not going to see here and lie to you and tell you that Norway can be a super cheap vacation.

But, is it impossible to visit Norway on a budget? Not at all.

And I’m going to share with you the best way to venture across Norway on a budget with my 5-Day Oslo to Bergen Itinerary.


DAY 1: VISIT NORWAY’S CAPITAL, OSLO

Oslo may not be what you imagine when you visit Norway, because it really is just a modern city. However, it is the perfect gateway to seeing everything Norway has to offer. This means that one day in Oslo is plenty of time to explore. And best of all – there are plenty of affordable and free things to do in Oslo.

Things to Do in Oslo

Oslo Islands: In the summer months, take a (very affordable) ferry across to Oslo’s island archipelago. In the interest of time, we went to Hovedøya, which is the closest of the islands. It was a lovely little island suitable for walking around, exploring old ruins, and swimming in the Oslo fjord. You can find more information on all of Oslo’s surrounding islands here.

Oslo Harbor Front: Walk along the harbor front to take in beautiful sites of the city. If you’re feeling brave, take a jump into the water!

Oslo Opera House: The Oslo Opera House has a very unique design and absolutely must be visited. They often have events going on that you can check out as well.

Akershus Fortress: Make sure you take some time to walk around the grounds of the impressive Akershus Fortress.

Best Restaurants in Oslo on a Budget

The Salt Village: Here you’ll find a small village of food trucks serving a variety of food – suitable for all diets. Once you get your food, you can sit on the outdoor patio overlooking the Oslo Opera House. They also host tons of cool events, so check out their website to see if anything is happening while you’re there. (Tip: we ordered the grilled cheese from Good Mood and it was soooo good. And better yet, only 90 NOK for a huge lunch portion).

Skur 33: Looking for the best Italian food in Oslo? Okay, you probably weren’t because when you think of Norway, you don’t associate it with Italian food. But I’m telling you, Skur 33 is the real deal. They have the most gorgeous waterfront space where you can sit along the water and admire the views. This isn’t necessarily a “budget” place, at about 225-275 NOK (or 20-25 EUR) for a main course, but when you factor in the quality of food and the incredible patio views, it is a very good value for your money. (Tip: I have nothing to say but you must get the lobster risotto).

Where to Stay in Oslo on a Budget

City Box Oslo is centrally located, affordable, and offers clean and spacious rooms starting as low as 999 NOK (100 EUR) a night.


DAY 2: OSLO TO FLÅM BY TRAIN

On day two, you’re up early and ready to see what you (hopefully) came to Norway for: NATURE.

We booked all of our Norway transportation through Norway in a Nutshell. I offer so many more details about this service, and answer the question “Is Norway in a Nutshell Worth It?” later in this post, so be sure to check it out!

Part 1: Oslo to Myrdal

I would highly suggest leaving as early as you feel comfortable to make the most of day two. We left around 8:00 am and began the four and a half hour train ride toward Flåm.

Many people ask which side of the train is better to sit on from Oslo to Myrdal. From my experience, if you are able to choose your seat, it is the left side (although it may seem like the right side is better in the first hour or so). However, either side of the train is great and scenic. And there is always an option to go to the dining car for views of the opposite side.

On the way to Myrdal you’ll pass some incredible views. You’ll begin the journey venturing through some small picturesque Norwegian towns as you make your way to the top of the mountain range.

Once at the top, you’ll see snow capped mountains and bright turquoise waters, like this one. In fact, this very location was used as a Star Wars filming location!

See Also: If beautiful views are your thing, then you must check out my Douro Valley, Portugal itinerary – and prepare to be blown away.

Part 2: Myrdal to Flåm

Next, transfer trains in Myrdal to the legendary Flåm Railway – which is often coined the most picturesque train ride in the world. This old-fashioned train way a bit touristy, and very busy, but all the hype about the views was REAL. I mean, seriously, just look at these pictures.

Similar to the previous leg of the journey, I would also recommend sitting on the left side of the Flåm Railway, if possible. Also, if you’re looking to get the best pictures (without a glare) you’ll want to select a seat that has windows can be pulled down.

Things to Do in Flåm

Once you arrive in Flåm, I highly recommend resting your head here, and spending the rest of your day admiring this picturesque town. Here, you’ll be at the head of beautiful hikes through the surrounding mountains. You can also rent boats (we rented a paddle boat), swim in the fjord (if you’re lucky enough to have warm weather – which IS possible, even in Norway), or have a quiet waterfront meal.

Here’s some highlights from our time in Flåm.

Where to Stay in Flåm

We loved Flåm Marina & Apartments. If you are just one couple, this spot would be a bit of a spurge at around 300 euros a night for a two bedroom apartment (luckily, we were two couples sharing the cost). However, if you have room in your budget to splurge one night, this is the night to do it.

Located around the corner from town, away from the hustle and bustle of tourists, I think I can safely say this spot was the highlight of our time in Norway. With balconies facing the fjords, a dock that we could jump off into the water, boat rentals, and a beautiful waterfront restaurant, I couldn’t recommend staying at Flåm Marina & Apartments enough.

Another great perk – this spot has it’s own kitchen. So, you can save money by buying groceries, cooking in the apartment, and eating at home – all while enjoying the fjord views from your private balcony.


DAY 3: FLÅM TO BERGEN BY FJORD CRUISE, BUS & TRAIN

Ready for another early morning? Well, if you want to see the best of Norway in five days, you gotta start early.

Fjord Cruise

We were up and onto our next leg of the Norway in a Nutshell tour around 9am. The next step is a fjord cruise through the narrowest fjord in the world: the Nærøyfjord. Like everything in Norway, the pictures will never do this experience justice. It was simply breathtaking.

My #1 tip for the Nærøyfjord fjord cruise: dress warm. Even though it was warm outside (around 25 degrees), it was still VERY cold on the deck of the fjord cruise. It seemed like most people got a memo that our group must have missed, because my thin jacket was not cutting it. Luckily, I had coffee to keep me warm.

Bus Trip

Once you arrive in Gudvangen, you’ll transfer to the most thrilling part of the Norway in a Nutshell journey: the bus ride. En route to Voss, you’ll scale the side of mountains on winding roads on a massive bus – don’t try this at home, kids. The whole journey was equal parts thrilling, terrifying, and just simply incredible.

And, One Final Train Ride

White knuckled, we arrived in Voss for the last leg of the journey by train to Bergen. This one hour journey highlights so much more of Norway’s undeniable beauty and offers the perfect opportunity to have some down time before arriving in Bergen.


DAY 4 & 5: EXPLORE BERGEN, NORWAY’S MOST POPULAR COASTAL CITY

Things to Do in Bergen

Bergen is a beautiful coastal town and there are tons of things to do in Bergen on a budget. Here ar some of my favourites!

Visit the Top of Mount Fløyen: You can take the Bergen Funicular up the mountain to see the best views of the city. Or you can walk up, which take about 45 minutes up a moderate, steady incline. The benefit of walking up is that you’ll navigate through some of Bergen’s prettiest neighbourhoods (where I swear every house had a luxury electric car parked in the driveway).

Go for a Hike: The top of Mount Fløyen serves as the head to many of Bergen’s most popular hiking trails. We hiked to the lake made famous by the “Death in Ice Valley” and the walk there was absolutely gorgeous. My parents were a bit more adventurous and hiked all the way to the top of the mountain, and the views were incredible.

Visit Bryggan: The iconic harbor area in Bergen is beautiful and is great for walking around and taking pictures.

Mariakirken i Bergen: This beautiful church is located right behind Bryggan. Also, take a walk around the surrounding neighbourhood. I completely fell in love with all the colourful sided houses.

Nøstet Neighbourhood: Speaking of colourful sided houses, if you love them as much as I do, you must visit the Nøstet neighbourhood.

Best Restaurants in Bergen

Pingvinen: This super cutesy little restaurant with delicious moderately priced food (TIP: try the Norwegian meatballs!).

Bergenhus Brewery: Also moderately priced with good food, a good craft beer selection, and amazing views of Bryggan.

Where to Stay in Bergen

We stayed at the most perfect Airbnb in Bergen. It was centrally located, around the corner from a grocery store, and most importantly affordable (about 1,350 NOK or 130 EUR per night for a two bedroom apartment). Click here to read more about it.


Is Norway in A Nutshell Worth It?

When I first began researching transportation in Norway, the “Norway in a Nutshell” route kept popping up everywhere. Then, when I looked at the price that starts at 2,200 NOK (or roughly 220 EUR) per person, I thought it seemed like a scam. That is, until I began researching the cost of transportation in Norway (which, similar to everything else in Norway, is expensive).

After biting the bullet and purchasing the Oslo to Bergen trip with Norway in a Nutshell, I think our whole group is in agreement that the package is a very good value. Here’s what was included:

  • Four and a half hour train ride from Oslo to Myrdal
  • One hour train ride on the legendary Flåm Railway from Myrdal to Flåm
  • Two hour fjord cruise through the Nærøyfjord, the world’s narrowest fjord
  • Two hours on a bus, scaling the side of a mountain
  • One hour train ride from Voss to Bergen

Sure, you can book each of these legs separately and save a marginal amount of money (and I must stress that during the summer months, the savings are truly marginal). However, what I appreciated about “Norway in a Nutshell” is that each leg of the tour was timed perfectly with the next leg, and there was no guesswork about where we needed to go next. Additionally, all tickets were emailed to us in a comprehensive package.

If you’re considering booking Norway in a Nutshell, ultimately you need to consider how much your time is worth. Because I am confident that if I would have booked this tour on my own, the amount saved would not have been worth the hassle.

Should I start Norway in a Nutshell in Bergen or Oslo?

This is a question I asked myself prior to booking my Norway in a Nutshell Tour. The most popular Norway in a Nutshell option is to complete the entire tour in one day, and to start and end in Bergen. However, in my opinion, this is a very long tour to do in one day. Additionally, one of my favourite parts of the trip was the journey from Oslo to Myrdal, where we were able to witness firsthand the exceptional diversity of Norwegian landscapes.

On this journey, we gradually climbed to the top of the mountain range, drove through snow-covered mountain tops, and even saw Star Wars filming locations. This entire experience would have been missed if we began the tour in Bergen.

With that being said, the Oslo to Bergen tour would be very very (very) long to do in one day. Which means you should stop en route and spend time in the mountains. There are many locations you can stop, but we ultimately chose Flåm. Although a bit touristy (there is a port for one cruise ship), the town is so incredibly picturesque. And despite the cruise ship being there, it wasn’t very busy – likely because the tourists all leave on tours during the day.

In the late afternoon the ship left and we felt like we had the entire town to ourselves. This experience is not something we would have had if we had chosen to do Norway in a Nutshell in one day, which is why I think it is so beneficial to do the tour over two days if your schedule allows for it.


TIPS FOR VISITING NORWAY ON A BUDGET

  1. Grocery Shopping. We saved a lot of money by preparing breakfast and lunch at home. And truthfully, we didn’t feel like we missed out on much – because, generally speaking, you don’t visit Norway for the food. I also always had a couple protein bars, or some fruit, in my backpack for when the hunger struck.
  2. Apartment Rentals. When I was looking for places to stay, the Airbnb properties were often significantly cheaper than hotels. Additionally, this gave us the flexibility to cook at home, since we had a kitchen. Add in text about Airbnb credit here.
  3. Camping. Apartments are great, but if you’re the outdoorsy type, consider camping. Have you heard about “the right to roam?” Basically, it is a national law that gives you permission to pitch a tent in nature, almost anywhere you would like. For more information on the right to roam in Norway, click here.
  4. Cut Back on Alcohol. The cost of alcohol was crazy, starting around 90 NOK (or 9-10 EUR) for a small beer. And don’t even get me started on the cost of wine. So, if you enjoy a few drinks on vacation, it may be wise to stock up at Duty Free before arriving in Norway. Or head to the grocery store to save a bit of money.
  5. Nature is Free. What makes Norway so magnificent is the nature – and exploring this doesn’t cost a penny.
  6. GO NOW. Did you know the Norwegian krone is the weakest it has been in years? Sure, Norway is always expensive, but it is less expensive now than it has been in the past. So don’t wait any longer and just book that flight!

HOW TO GET TO NORWAY

Looking for the cheapest airports to fly into in Norway? The answer is Bergen and Oslo. This is because they are international hubs to both Europe and the rest of the world, and serve as a connection point for those travelling to more remote Norwegian locations. We were able to cut costs by flying from Copenhagen to Oslo, and home from Bergen, whereas remote airports were significantly more costly. In addition, outside of these hubs, many locations are only accessible by car. And have you SEEN the price of gas in Norway?


WEATHER IN NORWAY

It should be no surprise that Norway is a rainy country. Additionally, even the south of Norway is quite northern compared to the rest of the world. This means that warm weather is never guaranteed – even in the summer months.

With that being said, if you’re planning to visit, pack accordingly. I’m talking clothes for warm weather, cold weather, and most importantly, rain. And don’t trust the weather forecast, because it is almost never correct.


READY TO VISIT NORWAY ON A BUDGET?

Using this Oslo to Bergen itinerary, I am confident that you will fall in love with Norway just like I did.

And if you’re travelling around Scandinavia, don’t forget to check out my hometown using my Malmö Sweden City Guide. Or if you’re crossing the Oresund Bridge top Denmark, don’t forget to keep an eye out for all the best spots to take pictures in Copenhagen.


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