8 Days In Scandinavia With Our Managing Editor Bea Taylor

For design-lovers, Scandinavia is one of those must-visit destinations.The reason? Two well-known words; ‘Scandi-style’.

You hear about it, you see very good examples of it online, but when you experience it in person, something just clicks — there’s a reason why we’re always looking to what the Scandi-girls are wearing, or what Scandi interiors are doing!

I recently had the very good fortune of taking an eight-day tour through Scandinavia with Eurail, and honestly, I can’t think of a better way to travel through this region than by train — the flexibility of travel and beautiful scenery captured along the way are only the start!

Below, join me on a Scandinavian design-inspired journey and discover five places to visit on your next trip.

Bea Taylor

Inside the dining carriage on the train.

Gothenburg station in Sweden.

Drinks on the train whilst watching the scenery fly by — need I say more?

Traveling by train

For us here in Australia — or New Zealand (!) — when we think of travel, we think of flying. But, the beauty of Europe is there’s an alternative option; trains.

It might be slower than flying, but who needs to get anywhere fast on holiday anyway? There is something quite romantic about sitting in a train and experiencing a more scenic tour (the seats are comfy, there’s wifi on board… and kids under 11 travel for free). Why not enjoy the journey AND the destination?

We traveled with a Eurail Pass, which allowed us to pre-plan all our train trips throughout Norway, Sweden and Denmark — and change them on the app if and when we needed to (and we did!). It’s an incredibly easy-to-use system, you simply purchase a pass for the number of days you will be traveling and book as many trains as you need to in that time.

One of the floating saunas on the harbour in Oslo. In the background, the Opera house.

Another floating sauna!

Lunch at Engebret!

Engebret’s green ‘theatre’ room.

Sommero’s rooms are peachy pink with a Gatsby-like flair.


Norway’s quiet capital city is a great place to start your trip. And, if you’re a ‘when in Rome’ type traveler, you’ll likely want to head down to the floating saunas on the harborfront and beat the jetlag with some hot/cold immersion (just don’t forget your towel).

Stay at Sommerro — a haven of peachy-toned, Great Gatsby-esque interiors (that feel just the right amount of ‘done’). The lighting in the rooms alone is enough to justify your stay. Plus, the in-house restaurant, Ekspedisjonshallen, does the best Nordic breakfast each morning; breads, meats, cheeses, boiled eggs, pickles and pastries… (and that’s just what I selected!).

Dine at Engebret, Oslo’s oldest cafe (serving Norwegian home cooking since 1857!). It was originally a cafe for artists (Edvard Munch had a table) and has remained so ever since, now even with its own artist grant awarded annually to a young creative. You’ll enjoy traditional Norwegian cooking here — we had seafood soup and reindeer sandwiches.

For a more modern dining experience, sustainable restaurant Kolonihagen Frogner should be on the cards (and not only for the fairy floss that’s served with dessert). This cosy restaurant champions organic, foraged ingredients — beetroot and horseradish have never tasted so good.

Visit: You can’t leave Oslo without seeing a Munch, preferably The Scream. Luckily, there are a few opportunities to catch this famous painting (in fact, paintings, as he made a few versions), either at the MUNCH Museum or at the National Museum Of Art. If you pop into the latter, you’d also do well to browse the museum shop, which will have you wishing you had more space in your suitcase (like me!). Here is where we were introduced to Norwegian interior design house, Fram Oslo — a family business that works with local designers and makers who make the kind of product you’ll have in your home for years (and they ship to Aus!). Finally, if you are after local art, pop your head into Too Many Prints.

Inside the newly opened World of Volvo, in Gothenburg.

Sought-after Swedish design store Artilleriet is a must-see in the Magasinsgatan District.

Scandinavia’s lighting game is next level.

You’ll also find Grandpa in the Magasingatan District.

AND, the best cardamon buns! Find these at da Matteo.


Gothenburg, Sweden has been named the world’s most sustainable destination for eight years in a row. We stopped here for a day trip, en route to Stockholm.

Visit The Magasinsgatan District, where your vintage shopping needs will be satisfied. Here you’ll also find Artilleriet — a beautiful store showcasing the best of Swedish Design — and da Matteo (where you’ll score the best cardamom buns).

The newly opened World of Volvo is also worth a visit, not only to marvel at (and smell) the timber-lined interior but to immerse yourself in art, food and, yes, cars.

Remember to look up when in Stockholm!

The underground commute is also equally enjoyable with over 90 stations featuring large art installations.

Ett Hem‘s cheesecake — mouthwateringly good.

The courtyard of Ett Hem (a member of Small Luxury Hotels).

Inside Ett Hem, your Scandi-style dreams are realised. Photo – courtesy of Ett Hem.

And a communal-style kitchen and dining room. Photo – courtesy of Ett Hem.

Sweden’s iconic design house, Svenkst Tenn.

A design house with a cafe!

Yes, they do ship to Australia!

The apartment-style design house is the brand’s only physical store.


Stay at the Bank Hotel (a member of Small Luxury Hotels), which, as the name might suggest, used to be a bank! Tall bronze doors greet you upon arrival whilst marble and black and white tiled floors sweep you up to your room, which if you’re lucky will have a view out across the city.

Ett Hem needs no introduction (yet here I am introducing it anyway) and should most definitely be on your list for accommodation. It’s a hotel, but it feels more like a welcoming home, with shared communal areas and the kind of design you instantly want to try and replicate. It’s intimate, personal and would frankly be hard to leave to see the rest of the city.

Dine at Ett Hem (if I sound like I’ve drunk the kool aid, that’s because I have). Simply put, if you can’t book a room at Ett Hem, allow yourself a lunch or dinner at this beautiful location. Fresh, seasonal produce and a cheesecake you’ll think of everyday after.

For a dining experience that will change how you think about food, head to Brutalisten — a restaurant with a manifesto. Their main rule is simple; one ingredient per dish, and only water and salt may be added. For each dish this one ingredient is divided and cooked in different ways. For example, a potato smoked and whipped, crisped, boiled, and turned into broth to create Potato Amandine — the best and most flavourful potato dish you’ll ever eat.

Visit Swedish interior design house Svenkst Tenn. It was founded in 1924 by Estrid Ericson, who was 30 at the time (!). This iconic Swedish brand will cause you to question the famously minimalist nature of Scandi-style — because it’s a wonderland of pattern and colour.

Architect, artist and designer Josef Frank, who was recruited to Svenkst Tenn by Estrid in 1934 — and who’s designs remain as key pieces in the Svenkst Tenn’s offering — believed patterns were crucial to creating a calming room, saying a space needs something for the eye to rest on. Something to think about!

And, whilst you’re exploring the city, make sure you spend some time hopping on and off the metro. Sounds like a bizarre thing to do for your average commute, but the Stockholm Metro is actually one big gallery, with more than 90 stations featuring artworks (and by artworks, I mean huge installations covering the station walls).

MJ’s in Malmo has a charming pink internal courtyard.

An ‘open-air bath’ in the Baltic Sea (outside temperature, a chilling six degrees).

Ribersborg Kalbadhus, a 19th-century open-air bath and sauna.

A delightful dinner at Malmo local Theresia Swanholm’s house thanks to A Slice Of Swedish Hospitality.

Theresia prepared a classic Swedish spring smorgasbord.


Right across the channel from Denmark (you can see the bridge!), Malmo is Sweden’s third largest city with sweet little design stores around every corner — although if you really want to hit the jackpot, head to Möllevången area.

Stay at Story Hotel Studio Malmo, and wake up to beautiful views across the water to Denmark.

Or, for something more eclectic, look to the wonderfully kooky boutique hotel, MJ’s, with its pretty pink internal courtyard and rooms filled with rich colour.

Visit: Ribersborg Kalbadhus, a 19th-century open-air bath (as in, the Baltic Sea) and sauna housed in a sage and red, Wes Anderson-like building at the end of a wharf. Now, this is a togs-free sauna (separated by gender) BUT, if you’re less free (like me) you can wear a towel around yourself in the sauna and togs in the sea — although the local ladies would encourage otherwise (it’s “better for you” to be in your birthday suit).

For the art lovers, a trip to the Modern Museet should be on the to-do list, too. You literally can’t miss this building, it’s traffic-cone orange with a large black and white sculpture out the front. Inside, the equally orange cafe and shop is a great place for a coffee out of the cold, and inside the museum you’ll find two exhibition spaces showing contemporary art.

Dine at a local’s home (yes, I really did just say that!). ‘A Slice Of Swedish Hospitality’ offers the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Swedish culture by having dinner with a host family.

It was one of the most enjoyable nights of the trip. Theresia Swanholm’s family opened their home to us and prepared a classic spring smorgasbord. We drank traditional schnapps, sung traditional songs (at least, the Swanholm’s did and we hummed along) and learned about each other’s lives — heavenly!

The scenes in Tivoli Gardens are as idyllic as you’d expect.

The gardens themselves are as much an attraction as the rides.

Nimb Hotel sits within Tivoli Gardens.

Kilden, a restaurant inside Tivoli Gardens.

Kilden’s greenhouse dining area.

The restaurant grows its vegetables onsite.

It’s very important to taste everything.

Morning tea at one of Copenhagen’s favourite bakeries, Juno the Bakery.

A new course at every location, traveled to by bike!

A dinner with Cykelkokken.

Ready for course number two.

When in Copenhagaen…


Copenhagen needs no introduction! With the non-stop peloton of incredibly cool cyclists (not in lycra and helmets, I might add), sweet little cafes and cobbled streets hiding the best vintage stores, it’s little wonder why this is a top destination in every traveler’s Scandinavian itinerary.

Stay at Nimb Hotel (another member of Small Luxury Hotels), inside the world’s second oldest amusement park — Tivoli Gardens! There’s nothing quite like opening up your window to view a pantomime performance on a peacock-shaped stage set amongst beautifully maintained gardens. This is like Disneyland’s cooler older sister (in fact, Tivoli was actually a source of inspiration for Hans Christian Anderen and Walt Disney — there you go!).

Visit Tivoli Gardens. There are rides, performances, beautiful gardens and great places to eat, Kilden being one of them (they grow most of their vegetables on site!).

Obviously, you’re visiting Copenhagen for the shopping, so let’s get into it. Quickfire, because we don’t have all day (although I could go on all day):

For homewares and design; HAY House (predictable, but worth it), Louise Roe, LOU and Studio Arhoj (see the glass blowers and ceramicists at work) — these are a few stores I managed to pop my head into, but in all honesty, you could stroll the streets all day and find great design spots along your way. Many cute cafes also tend to have a design/shop element to them too, and are great sources of inspiration — and coffee!

For vintage shopping; Jerome Vintage, Magnolias and Time’s Up Vintage were all FANTASTIC, however even more can be found in Nørrebro.

Dine at Juno the Bakery for mouth-watering pastries — it’s a popular spot for a reason. Otherwise hit up Hart Bageri or Lille (and go there hungry, because you’ll want to try the lot). Hot tip, if you see any bakeries with sourdough buns, ask to have one with cheese — they’ll slice it, butter it and fill it with local cheese, delicious!

For traditional Danish smørbrød (open-faced sandwiches) paired with Danish beer and homemade schnapps, head to Michelin-recommended Aamanns 1921.

And, for an experience you won’t forget, check out Cykelkokken — dinner on bikes! Well, a beautiful new course at each new scenic spot around the city, traveled to by bike and prepared by a chef who cooks on a specially-designed kitchen bike. This was such a fun dinner, and a great way to see the city — plus you get to join the peloton!

Bea travelled through Scandinavia courtesy of Eurail.

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