In March, Kuba and I took a six-day trip to Scandinavia. We spent three days in Bergen, Norway and the next three in Stockholm, Sweden. It was a first for both of us, and we were really excited to see what Scandinavia had to offer. Our first stop was Bergen. From what I’d heard about Norway, I knew that we were in for some pretty spectacular nature. Bergen is quite a small city (less than 300,000 people). When we visited at the end of March, the weather was just as dreary as they said it’d be. Although cold and rainy every day, it didn’t put a damper on our trip. With umbrellas in hand, Kuba and I spent our time wandering the small town. My two favorite Bergen activities were the the Fløibanen Funicular (cable car to the top of Mount Fløyen), and the Fjord Cruise. The funicular was a really neat experience. Although unlucky in weather, this meant that we had the funicular mostly to ourselves. When we reached the top, it was actually snowing! The wind was whipping and it was freezing cold, but you couldn’t beat the view. There was even a gift shop and cafe to warm up in.
Another highlight of Norway was our Fjord Cruise. Although the cruise wasn’t exactly cheap (around $60 per person), we had heard good things and wanted to explore more of Norway’s countryside. The 3-hour cruise ended up being worth every penny. We got to go out on the front and top decks to see everything up close. If possible, it was even colder than the top of Mount Floyen! But we buttoned up and put on our bravest faces. The wind was so strong that my eyes were nearly closed in every picture we took! The scenery was so picturesque and gorgeous that I don’t think any of us even cared. We saw fishing villages, gorgeous mountainsides, and waterfalls. We even got close enough to a waterfall to gather some fresh water. After climbing down from the top deck (for about the 5th time), we warmed up with some hot chocolate and enjoyed the cozy boat on our way back to the Bergen dock. Even though the weather didn’t cooperate with us, Bergen had something special.
I swear the city has a touch of magic.
The second part of our trip landed us in Stockholm, Sweden. The first thing we noticed upon arrival was the change in weather. Although the temperature was only around the mid 50’s, Kuba and I felt like it was summer! We shed our umbrellas and went exploring. There is so much to see in Stockholm. With a population of nearly 910,000, you can imagine how different Stockholm was from Bergen. The city has a cool, hipster vibe with many young people. One of my favorite places that we visited was the Skansen Open-Air Museum.
Kuba and I spent the majority of the afternoon here, exploring the world’s oldest open-air museum. There was a lot of history involved and many animals native to Scandinavia. We saw bear cubs just out of hibernation, pigs, seals, and even some sloths and spiders at the aquarium! It was a really cool, vast outdoor area and even had a town square with glass blowers, pottery makers, and a quaint cafe. Another spot worth visiting in Stockholm is the Fotografiska museum. This is an eclectic photography museum with a contemporary vibe. I’m not much of an artsy person myself, but I really enjoyed wandering around exploring the photos. There is also a restaurant/cafe on the top floor of the museum with an amazing view of the city.
Even though we had visited our fair share of restaurants in Stockholm, our favorite by far was a Japanese-inspired restaurant called Bistro Barbro. We didn’t make a reservation but were lucky enough to grab seats by the bar. This was actually one of the best spots in my opinion, as we got to see the chefs prepare the dishes right in front of us. We ordered 4 dishes between the two of us (each dish is meant to be shared). Our favorite dish was the tuna rolls topped with chipotle sauce! The cuisine was much different than anything we’d ever tried and it didn’t disappoint. The bill didn’t come cheap, but Kuba and I decided it was worth it for a great last meal in Stockholm!
Overall, I really enjoyed our little Scandinavian adventure. Norway’s fjords were breathtaking and the vibe in Stockholm was cool and hip. I also couldn’t help but notice how friendly Scandinavians are. No matter where we went, locals were more than willing help us out by practicing their English. I highly recommend checking out Norway and Sweden on your European travels if you haven’t done so already!