We feature an original post by our guest contributor, Ania Trica from Trica Design Studio.
A two week journey from inside the pretty interiors of Stockholm to the majestic outdoors of Norway – Visiting three Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Denmark and Norway
Pst September, along with my husband and two friends, I traveled from Toronto to three Scandinavian countries in search of a great design adventure. I found what I was looking for and I’m excited to share my discoveries with you!
First stop: Stockholm, Sweden – The Great Indoors
If you’re an interior design buff like me you need to visit Stockholm! The city’s architecture is typical European: low rise, turn of the century apartment buildings mixed with some modern and some old architecture dating back to the middle ages. Even though the city is clean, highly organised and pretty, I was more blown away by the interiors. Every shop, hotel and restaurant interior is styled with exquisite taste.
We stayed at – Downtown Camper by Scandic
Maybe you’ve heard of this hotel chain, maybe you haven’t, prior to visiting the Nordic countries I have never heard of this chain of hotels, and I’m surprised because they are beau-ti-ful! The hotel’s “camper” theme is over the top but not tacky; common areas and the suites are finished with materials such as concrete, corten steel, wood, leather and felt. Each space is also furnished lavishly with quality Scandinavian style furniture from companies such as: NORR11, Jess, HAY, KEF, muuto and Norman Copenhagen, just to name a few.
Hay Market is another hotel by Scandic and well worth a visit. The romantic Gatsby era (1920s) theme throughout the hotel is extravagant and pretty. Grab a drink at one of the main lobby bars and admire the interior architecture within.
Streets and alleyways are lined with pretty shops. Most of these shops lure pedestrians in with their muted pastel flower displays, even furniture and décor stores such as H&M Home and Zara Home sell blooms! One of my favorite stores to visit was BoConcept , I loved their showroom and all of the furniture on display, BoConcept also has locations throughout Canada and the United States if you’re interested.
Hitting- up some modern art and architecture – Moderna Museet The designer and artist in me had to visit a modern art museum, and it did not disappoint. The museum exhibits works by: Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and many more artists from the various relevant art movements in the 20th century. The museum is also connected to ArkDes a small museum that exhibits Swedish architecture (models) and furniture from the HI-group (furniture design).
If beautiful interiors all around aren’t enough, go down to the subway station to experience some more beautiful art. Stockholm’s subway line has been called the longest art exhibit in the world. The subway lines run very deep underground (some stations have three lines one below another). The most beautiful stations are found on the lowest levels at main transfer stations and feature colourful hand painted murals that span the tunnel walls.
Next stop: Copenhagen, Denmark – a happy place to be
Six days into our Scandinavian adventure we fly to Copenhagen, Denmark. As we step out of the subway we see bikes…everywhere and all around us people riding bicycles. The bike system in Copenhagen ranks 2nd best in the world, followed by Amsterdam. Bicycles in Copenhagen have their own wide bike lanes and a separate stop light system. It’s a little overwhelming at first but it’s the best way to tour the city. The city has a young, hip and friendly vibe; people are happy to chat and to recommend places to visit in the city.
Since bicycles are the way to go, we did just that; most of our sight seeing was via bike. One of the most memorable stops was the star shaped fortress called Kastellet. The construction of the fortress dates back to the 1600s. Bicycles are not permitted on this fortress and in most parks in Copenhagen, however the grounds provide for a very pleasant stroll.
We finally make it to the most instagramable location in Copenhagen: Nyhavn. (check out the main photo-with me in it!) If you’re planning to visit Copenhagen a great resource is VisitCopenhagen Other locations worth checking out are:
- Tivoli Gardens (an amusement park built in the late 1800s).
- The Spiral Tower church (to get a great view in the city).
- Freetown Christiania (a Kensington Market equivalent, all the local recommended we should venture here).
- The Botanical Gardens.
- Paper Island (street food style market hall).
- Torvehallerne (glass market hall).
- Jægersborggade (small street with artistic shops and cafes).
- Strøget (long pedestrian street with posh shops).
- Studiestræde (vintage shops and shops for everyone).
Last Stop: From Bergen to Stavenger – The Great Outdoors of Norway
For our last stop, we toured around southwestern Norway. We parted ways with our companions who went to Oslo, the capital, while my husband and I rented a car in Bergen city and drove through the country to experience the great outdoors. We drove through the mountains, fjords, tunnels (that cut through mountains and the sea), on long bridges, in ferries and narrow winding roads. It was incredibly romantic (in a fine art history kind of way). The villages we saw were small and scarcely populated, sheep roamed the country with little or no fences to gate them in. The landscapes we saw were pure, untouched and incredibly majestic.
“In Norway I experienced nature as the ultimate and greatest designer and architect.”
The countries we visited are vastly different from one another and each offers a different cultural experience and a different beauty. In each Scandinavian country, however, people spoke English very well, were friendly and were willing to help. If you are planning to go to Scandinavia you will have a remarkable and unforgettable experience.
If you liked this post and would like to see more pictures you can check out my instagram: @ania_trica. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
(all pictures are my own)