Looking for the best food holidays to take in Scandinavia? Check out our guide to the best Scandi and Nordic food trips, from a gander around Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen, to wood-fired cooking in style in Stockholm, Sweden.

Gothenburg, Sweden

West Sweden's coastal city is a foodie hot spot, particularly in the spring and summer when the city's courtyards and terraces come to life. Try cinnamon buns and coffee at Da Matteo, flash-fried herring at quirky food truck Strommingsluckan and bags of plump prawns by the river outside the charming ‘fish church’ seafood market. Head out on the ferry to the archipelago for a taste of Styrsö’s car-free island life and cinnamon buns at charming Café Obergska before a brisk dip off one of the sandy beaches.


Check out more local favourites in Gothenburg here

Where to stay in Gothenburg: stay at über trendy Hotel Flora, a boutique hotel in the centre of Gothenburg combining an airy workspace, buzzy bar and rooms kitted out with huge beds, monsoon showers and Swedish teas and coffee stations. In summer, the shaded terrace on the hotel’s first floor is a pleasant, secluded spot to enjoy some quiet al fresco time (at night it’s lit by flickering lanterns). Come morning, the breakfast counter is laden with cold meat cuts, tubes of Kalles caviar to spread on thin wheels of Leksands crisp bread, and freshly baked croissants from Johnséns in the city’s Haga district.

Doubles from £171, check availability at expedia.co.uk or booking.com.

Gothenburg river with boats and a large bank building on the river

Aarhus, Denmark

The 2017 capital of culture, Denmark’s second city, Aarhus, is the perfect spot for a cosy winter getaway. No trip to Scandinavia is complete without a pastry, so start the day at Langenæs Bageriet for a cinnamon horn and chocolate Danish. Wash that down with a coffee (roasted in house) from La Cabra, or join a class and learn how to brew at home. If you want to step away from the traditional Nordic cuisine, book a table at Nordisk Spisehus where you can expect dishes like blackberries with marzipan and honey.

More like this

Read all about the best places to eat in Aarhus, here

Where to stay in Aarhus: Hotel Oasia have simple Scandi design in light-filled rooms with gingham beds and wooden floors. The central location is close to the train station and shopping districts. Don't miss the breakfast buffet before a day of exploring.

Doubles from £121, check availability at booking.com, expedia.co.uk or bestwestern.com

chocolate Danish in aarhus, denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

The Danish capital is packed with high-end restaurants, but we’ve found the coolest (and most affordable) places to eat and drink in this vibrant city. Meyers Bageri is a must visit for snegls – a take on a cinnamon bun, which is more buttery and topped with thick chocolate. For a weekday brunch, head to the aptly named Granola for a breakfast plate of golden pancakes, muesli, chopped fruit, yogurt, almond cake and whipped chocolate spread. And don’t leave before paying a visit to Lidkoeb – a stylish yet cosy cocktail bar with its own whisky den.

Read all about the best places to eat and drink in Copenhagen, here

Where to stay in Copenhagen: for a primer on mid-century Danish design that’s almost as good as a trip to Copenhagen’s Design Museum, book a room at stylish Hotel Alexandra. The hotel owner has curated pieces built in Denmark in the 1950s and ‘60s, so the bedrooms’ wooden floorboards and large windows form the perfect backdrop to a collection of rattan headboards, graphic turquoise armchairs and wooden writing desks.

The stylish lobby area doubles up as an all-day hangout, with an honesty bar, complimentary wine hour and a record player ready to play the hotel’s selection of vinyl. In the morning, head down to connected bistro Godtfolk and create your own breakfast wheels from the continental buffet laid out in the conservatory – dill gravalax, Danish sausages, holey cheeses and slices of seeded, malty rye. The hotel is perfectly situated for exploring all of Copenhagen’s foodie neighbourhoods in one weekend, with Vesterbro’s Meatpacking District 15 minutes’ walk West, Torvehallerne food market a brisk 10-minute walk through Ørsteds Park, and Tivoli and the train station less than 500m away.

Doubles from £125, check availability at booking.com or expedia.co.uk

Breakfast plate at Cafe Granola Copenhagen

Helsinki, Finland

Head to Finland’s seaside capital for your fix of vegan and veggie-friendly cafes and restaurants. Begin your day with a trip to Andante – a flower and coffee shop. Expect matcha lattes and raw cakes (think blackcurrant and lingonberry cupcakes). If you’re there in the summer, visit design shop LOKAL for stylish Scandi homewear and a scoop of blackcurrant leaf ice cream. If you want classic Scandinavian dishes, visit Vinkkeli for fuss free seasonal dishes like white chocolate panna cotta with redcurrants.

Read all about the best places to eat in Helsinki, here

Where to stay in Helsinki: Art-Deco themed boutique Hotel Lilla Roberts makes a statement from the moment you enter the stylish lobby. Relax in the quiet courtyard or make the most of the free hotel bikes to epxlore the city. The hotel bar, Bar Lille E, is a destination in itself for those in the know on Helsinki’s hip cocktail route. The spot-lit wooden bar (which sits next to a crackling fire) makes a stylish backdrop to a menu of Nordic-inspired cocktails. Each cocktail comes with a little extra, be that a tiny cheese triangle and small cup of black coffee on the side, a little juniper salmon smorrebrod or a tiny bed of grass to enhance the freshly mown smell.

Doubles from £130, check availability at booking.com or expedia.co.uk


Trondheim, Norway

The Norwegian city of Trondheim is renowned for its striking location in the central Nordic fjords, a buzzy cycling culture which boasts the world’s first bike lift, and its unique gastronomy.

Michelin-starred Heidi Bjerkan is one of the city’s culinary pioneers. Her contemporary restaurant Credo transforms the very best of the region’s produce into dishes such as scallops, blackcurrant leaf oil, apricots and ginger, or brioche bread with fermented plum jam, sea urchin, finger lime and lardo.

Meanwhile, stylish, nature-focussed wine bar Spontan Vinbar specialises in small plates, including monkfish with cloudberries, and local cheeses with rye bread and apple purée. But the cosiest spot in town has to be Sellanraa Bok & Bar, a café-bookshop that serves up local coffee roasts, fresh-baked cinnamon canelés and chocolate tortes with salted caramel.

Where to stay in Trondheim: the Brittania Hotel is the definition of elegance. Every inch of the hotel has been designed to be luxurious, dripping in marble or gold. The beds have special mattress made for enhancing sleep, the breakfast buffet has endless pastries along with local produce like cured meats and cheeses, the bar serves cocktails made with foraged ingredients and the staff are incredibly welcoming. The hotel's own Michelin-starred restaurant makes an extra memorable holiday experience for dinner.

Doubles from £249, check availability at booking.com, expedia.co.uk or lastminute.com

Trondheim on the river Nid. The spire of Nidaros Cathedral can be seen in the background.

Gotaleden walking trail, West Sweden

Hop on the train from Gothenburg to Jonsered, a tiny riverside hamlet home to popular Poppels Bryggeri, where you can taste a range of Swedish beers matched with the likes of torched shrimp, ricotta and chanterelle ravioli, and Swedish roe scooped up with crisps. Round the corner is Brödfabriken, where you can chill out with classic cinnamon bun and coffee fika under a blanket by the river. From here, follow the Gotaleden walking trail, treading through forests blanketed with tiny flowers, winding along rivers and clambering over rocks around Lake Aspen. Reward yourself in Lerum at psychologist-turned-fromager Hans’s Garage Fromage. Hans takes great pride and joy in travelling to remote parts of Sweden to source speciality cheeses to sell in his converted garage shop. Try the likes of clotted cream-like Vallattinge, award-winning Hagbard hard cheese from nearby Halmstad and Mellanbocken, a five-year-aged goat’s cheese from the far north of Sweden.

Where to stay in West Sweden: take a short train ride to spend the night at Nääs Fabriker, an old cotton factory built in 1890, now home to a stylish hotel with onsite restaurants, shops, bakery and brewery. Wrap up in your robe and pad to the al fresco lakeside spa to sink into the jacuzzi, dip in the lake and warm up in the sauna. Book a table in the plant-adorned conservatory room in the main restaurant for dishes such as grilled scallop with fried chorizo crumble, venison tenderloin with Swedish mushrooms and blackberries, and lingonberry and malt hop sorbet.

Doubles from £93, check availability at expedia.co.uk or booking.com

A lake surrounded by trees and a large cotton mill converted into a hotel

North Jutland, Denmark

Say Denmark, think Copenhagen. But travel further north and you’ll be rewarded with pristine coastal views, beautiful architecture and cleverly cooked seafood. In Jutland, the most northerly part of Denmark, begin in the region’s biggest city, Aalborg, and then head north towards Skagen, Lønstrup and the Grenen sandbar, where the North Sea and Kattegat Sea collide in a tumult of frothy waves. Here, white beaches lie undisturbed, the sea is as clear as it is cold and the houses are clean, white and unfussy. Dress like the Danes, who never go anywhere without a big woolly scarf.

A must-visit restaurant is Villa Vest in Lønstrup, 50 minutes north of Aalborg by car. Impossibly romantic, it looks as if it’s floating on the sea and makes the most of its happy situation with panoramic windows. Watch the sun set while enjoying beautiful plates of grilled oyster brioche, turbot with hollandaise and pine powder, and white chocolate mousse with sharp rhubarb sorbet – food worthy of a Michelin star, although the chefs here are only interested in making ‘ordinary people’ happy.
Read the full review of our hygge trip to North Jutland

Where to stay in Jutland: the accommodation in Jutland tends to be understated, but also genuinely characterful and even inspiring at times. Brøndums Hotel in Skagen, for example, might have shared bathrooms (private bathroom options are also available in the annex) and no TV to speak of, but the sumptuous 1840s building – adorned with oil canvases painted by those bohemian artists who flocked to Skagen in the 1920s – is breathtaking, and our room, though small, felt as if it was once lived in by a romantic poet. Plus we loved the Edwardian basins and radiators.

Doubles from £119, check availability at booking.com

North Jutland, Denmark

Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden’s capital is a must visit for cinnamon buns, rye bread and glasses of glögg. Start the day at Il Caffé for squishy cardamom buns and a cup of filter coffee. If you want lunch café-style, head to Katarina and order the reuben sandwich on rye bread. For Michelin-starred food, Ekstedt is a must visit. Wood-fired ovens create new Nordic dishes like birch-grilled pork and wood-fired almond cake.

Read more about where to eat in Stockholm, here

Where to stay in Stockholm: design-led Hotel Skeppsholmen is set in lush grounds by the water on Skeppsholmen island, connected to the city by a small bridge, making it a peaceful bolthole after a day of eating, drinking and site seeing. Peruse the breakfast buffet selection that includes likes of cured salmon, holey cheese and cinnamon buns from Dalarö Bageri out in the archipelago. Enjoy on the awning-covered terrace and look over delicate pink flowers in planters to the water, also an idyllic spot for lunch.

Doubles from £256, check availability at booking.com, marriott.com or expedia.co.uk

Reuben sandwich at Katarina Cafe Stockholm

Stockholm archipelago

Take the ferry from Stockholm harbour or hire a boat with friends to sail past granite islands home to quintessential Swedish red fishing huts and mansions. Begin at waterfront Finnhams Café on Ingmarso island with freshwater bass, dill flecked Skagen toast and hand-picked chanterelles. Hike the Båtuffarleden trail winding through forests, taking dips in the water and rowing a wooden boat between granite rock stations. Stable-turned-bakery, Ingmarso Bageri, emerges from the forest like a mirage for a well-deserved fika of heavenly cinnamon buns, chocolate espresso balls and apple cream-filled pastries beneath pretty parasols.

Complete your visit with a Get out Kayak tour to discover nature only accessible by kayak, then warm up in the dinky sauna and hot tub while looking out over the archipelago.

Where to stay on the archipelago: Stay overnight in the baker’s cottage at Ingmarso Bageri, or sail on to Harö Natur, where your bed for the night is a unique choice between a floating greenhouse, boujie boathouse or glass-fronted treehouse. In the summer months, two Italians take residence to man the pizza ovens, or you can opt for the evening tasting menu; a succession of contemporary Swedish dishes that might include roe with dill oil and horseradish cream, smoked char with celeriac and cucumber celery jus and woodfire oven lobster with jalapaño cream.

Check rates and availability for Harö Natur at 59north18east.com/reservation

Two kayaks in the water by Stockholm's archipelago islands

Östersund, Sweden

Situated in the middle of Sweden, Östersund is a Unesco Creative City of Gastronomy and boasts one of the highest numbers of small-scale food artisans and organic farmers in the country. Innovative bistro Republiken Bar & Kök (republiken.net) serves everything from moose carpaccio to cellar-matured goat’s cheese from local farmers. Nästgårds Farm Restaurant (open in summer) and its sister BUA (nastgard.se) create menus with sustainability at their heart, with dishes such as halibut with coriander seeds, rose pepper, green tomato and fried sourdough. The menu at Hamngatan 12 (hamngatan12.se) fights against food waste by using surplus produce and with upcycled dishes including its potato and leek soup topped with crispy pork belly. But for something iconic to the region, Wedemarks Café (wedemarks.se) is where the smörgåstårta was invented, a savoury layered ‘sandwich cake’ of rye bread, shrimps, salmon and pickled vegetables.

Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia is the first Baltic country to get its own Michelin guide, and here you can enjoy excellent-value tasting menus in diverse locations, from Tallinn’s trendy UNESCO city centre to birch-lined beaches and lakeside houses. Tallinn'ss two star-receiving restaurants both lie on the water outside of the city centre. In a contemporary building with views over Tallin Bay and the Gulf of Finland, chefs at NOA Chef’s Hall use open fire to cook Norwegian scallops, Canadian lobster and locally foraged herbs in a contemporary seven-course tasting menu. In the harbour, 180° by Matthias Diether boasts a large, U-shaped open kitchen, where creative, modern tasting menus are prepared. For reasonably priced dining experiences, take a tour of the Bib Gourmand winners, including Tallinn’s buzzy all-day brasserie Härg, Mediterranean-style dishes at Mantel ja Korsten in a pretty clapboard house on the edge of Kadriorg park, and modern harbour-front bistro Lore Bistroo.

Tallinn overview of rooftops, a church spire and colourful buildings

Fjaerland Fjordstove, Norway

Bedrooms are slightly on the spartan (and, in some cases, small) side at this friendly, family-run hotel in Norway but staying here is all about the fjord and the food. Owner Bård fishes for trout and mackerel straight from the balcony overlooking the spectacular Sognefjord and locally-caught halibut and monkfish (fished at depths of up to 500m) are regularly on the menu (and sometimes cooked over the large outdoor fire pit). Hardcore fish fans can enjoy mackerel in tomato sauce and sour herring for breakfast, as well as waffles and brunost “brown cheese”, a sort of caramelised cheese that’s beloved of Norwegians but an acquired taste for most of the rest of us. Deer, honey, vegetables and dairy are sourced locally and herbs come from the hotel’s own garden.

Doubles from £198, check availability at booking.com

Living room with a view of a lake

Hrifunes Guesthouse, Iceland

A cosy guesthouse in the remote southeastern corner of Iceland, Hrifunes’ isolated location means the wi-fi's a bit dodgy but who cares when the views (including the northern lights, if you’re lucky) and food are this good? The two-course dinners are jolly affairs, served at a long communal table with other guests from all over the world. There are no options – you get whatever the owner Hadda feels like cooking – but it’s always delicious and as wild, local and seasonal as possible. Hadda and her husband, Haukur, are both licensed hunters so you could be served wild goose or puffin, or sea trout from a local farm, Icelandic lamb from the neighbours or berries, mushrooms or herbs foraged nearby. The freshly-baked bread at breakfast is also well worth getting out of the very comfy beds for.

Doubles from £129, check availability at booking.com

Platter of tartines on a table in front of a log burner

Helenekilde Badehotel, Denmark

In Tilsvideleje, on the 'Danish riviera', Helenekilde has been a classic bathing hotel since 1904 but was bought and done up – extremely stylishly – in 2009 and is now a hip yet hyggelig seaside retreat favoured by Copenhagen’s cool crew (here's where they eat and drink when in the city). Swim in the sea, play petanque, have a massage, practice yoga in the outdoor pavilion or borrow one of the hotel’s bikes to go exploring, Danish style.

Food is simple, seasonal, modern Nordic, with fish provided by the local fisherman Johnny and wines from nearby Ørby Vingaard, where owners Søren and Birthe handpick the grapes themselves. Try one of Ørby’s whites with a starter of oysters with buttermilk, horseradish and cucumber, or one of their dessert wines to go with a classic Danish dessert of red porridge with double cream and strawberry sorbet.

Doubles from £271, check availability at booking.com or expedia.co.uk

Helenekilde Badehotel

Sund Nergården, Sweden

Just an hour south of Stockholm but tucked away in the rolling Sörmland countryside, this Swedish b&b is a real find. Niklas and Johan, the charming and talented couple who run it, have decorated the rooms in quirky, shabby chic style (think old doors as headboards) and, in the summer months, you can stay in one of two dreamy glamping set-ups overlooking Lake Sillen, complete with outdoor showers and hammocks.

Organic and biodynamic produce is sourced from local farms and suppliers and Johan is a skilled sommelier, so let him choose you a natural wine to go with plates of moose salami, pickled spruce shoots or pikeperch fresh from the lake. Start the morning with a dip (warm up in the sauna on its floating pontoon on chilly days) before tucking into a breakfast buffet that includes homemade almond and apricot bread, pickled herring and rosehip soup.

Doubles from £350 per night, check availability at sundnergarden.se

Sund Nergårde
Sund Nergårde

Stedsans in the Woods, Sweden

If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in West Sweden, Stedsans in the Woods is a must-visit. Set in the heart of the Swedish forest, this restaurant with cabins focuses on bringing its guests closer to nature. Make sure you visit the floating sauna in the middle of the lake, or take a few books and sit by the water’s edge. The daily changing menu is made up of foraged foods like the forest flower salad, or cep mushrooms sautéed in butter with tarragon. After dinner, snuggle up around the campfire with blankets and appreciate the stillness of life on the lake.

Read more about our trip to Stedsans in the Woods, here

Check rates and availability at stedsans.org

Floating Sauna at Stedsans in the Woods, Sweden

The Norrmans, Denmark

Swedish interiors stylist Anna Norrman and her chef husband Lars made the leap across the Øresund to open
The Norrmans, a stylish boutique b&b in Stevns, an hour south of Copenhagen. Breakfast comes on a tray, which you
can take up to your lime-plastered, earthy-hued room, or out into the glorious garden. You can also order a picnic lunch to
take as you explore the surrounding area. Dinner is a communal affair, consisting of whatever Lars fancies rustling up – it could be wood-fired pizzas, a French-inspired feast or a barbecue in good weather. Either way, it’s all served with plenty of good wine and interesting company.

Doubles from £173 per night, check availability at booking.com or expedia.co.uk

The Norrmans

Words by Tatty Good, Gurdeep Loyal, Alex Crossley, Kathryn Good

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