Category Archives: Europe

Road trip along the Coast of Portgual: One Week in the Algarve + Portuguese Riviera

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An indulgent week of wine, cheese, fresh seafood, and coastline, at clearance sale prices…and only a short flight from the US.  Sound like a dream vacation?  Read on for our itinerary for a road trip through Portugal.

Ponta de Piedad, Lagos

The Inspiration

In 2008, I’d visited Lisbon, Portugal with my brother on our way to southern Spain.  After exploring the lovely, yet unremarkable, capital, we traversed the coast by bus, eventually crossing the border into Spain.  The views were breathtaking.  Watching the sun set from the bus window, I promised myself I’d return to explore the Algarve coastline.

Fast forward 9 years: Boyfriend and I are brainstorming week-long vacation locations.  We were attempting the impossible:

  • not too far for just one week
  • good food/wine/weather
  • beautiful scenery
  • A balance a relaxing and refreshing: so as not to feel as if we were just going down a Fodor’s checklist. 
  • Oh, and our first international vacation together.  Ante upped.

I offered up the idea of a road trip through Portugal. 

  • Quick, inexpensive flights from NYC. Check.
  • Sunny, not-too-hot days in May. Check.
  • Avoid the summer season descent of European tourists.  Check.
  • Seafood, cheese, and wine to our hearts’ content. Check.
  •  Small enough to visit multiple locations without spending alldayeveryday in a car.  Check
  • Oh, and Portugal is seriously inexpensive. The best of Europe, on clearance sale. 

After some quick Facebook crowdsourcing, we had our itinerary.

The Itinerary

Our road trip spanned one week in Portugal, flying into Faro and out of Lisbon; this itinerary could easily be done in reverse, or as a roundtrip in and out of the same airport.   In the Alrgarve, we stayed in Albufeira, Lagos, and Sagres; we finished our trip with two nights in the Portuguese Riviera (Estoril/Cascais). We spent ~ 2 nights in each town.  If we were to do this again, we would spend more nights in our favorite towns and just add in day trips to other places – which is what I’ll recommend below.

PRO TIP: If you know how to drive a manual car, rent that for your road trip.  We paid ~100 Euro for the week (which included the “one-way fee”), instead of 4x that for an automatic car.  If you don’t know how to drive stick shift: learn.  For Portugal and for life. And if you don’t know how to navigate a roundabout…don’t worry you’ll get plenty of practice on this trip.

Cliff Beaches: Albufeira, Portimao, Praia de Rocha, Falesia

We flew into Faro and began our Portugal road trip with a quick drive to Albufeira, ~45 minutes away from the airport. Albufeira served as our base for our first few days to explore the cute fishing village of Portimao, the beach resorts of Praia de Rocha, and the dramatic “Cliff” beaches of Falesia. We would recommend driving the extra hour on day one and base-camping in Lagos.  All of the sights can be visited as quick day trips from there.  Must: eat at Os Arcos in Portimao.  You’ll need a reservation.  And you’ll need to get the seabass and the garlic shrimp.  You can thank us later.

Our recommendation:  Spend the majority of your Portugal road trip in Lagos and Sagres as your base-camps and take day trips from there East/West.

Lagos

 Lagos is a quintessential ancient port city with a small, cobblestoned “old town,” which is great for gift-buying. Lagos’s central location, great restaurants, bars, beaches and abundance of resorts & Airbnb options make it a perfect base-camp for your Portgual road trip.

Where to stay: Cascade Wellness Resort.  Out of the center of town (quick drive), beautiful pools and great food. Or – lots of great Airbnb options for houses with pools!

What to do: DO NOT MISS: sunset at Ponta de Piedade.  Rent bikes from Praia Dona Anna and bike to Ponta de Piedade, which we would’ve done with more time.  Go on a boat and explore the caves (we did this elsewhere).

Where to eat: Get the fish of the day at Dom Sebastiao, which is an old-school restaurant in town. At Cascade: order the tapas (black pork and Serpa cheese with pumpkin jam); we’ve talked about this dish for years.

Sagres

Sagres, sits on the end of the continent.  At the tip of the continent of Europe, surrounded by sawgrass, is the tiny Portuguese surfer village of Sagres.  It feels like the end of the earth in the most delightful way.  A real highlight of Portugal and our road trip.

Where to stay: Memmo Baleeira Hotel, incredible location, short walk into town and right on the water.  Great views.  Value pricing.

What to do: Spend part of the day at Cape St. Vincent, aka end of the continent. Watching the waves crash against the giant cliffs is simply breathtaking. Did I mention we took a tiny boat + a marine biologist for dolphin watching. Dolphins!!!

Where to eat: Eat at Vilha Venha – shrimp in piri piri, drumfish with coriander and garlic. Our friends have raved about Carlos, which is across the street.   Our personal favorite: the local grocery store, which had insanely good wine and cheese; we bought some and climbed the hill next to the hotel – which overlooks the port – to watch sunset there.  According to our hotel’s concierge, the views are just as good as those from the fort (which we skipped).  It did not disappoint.

End of the Continent, views from Cape St. Vincent, Sagres
Dophin cruiser!

The Portuguese Riviera: Estoril, Cascais, and the castles of Sintra

For the final days of our road trip in Portugal, we drove up the coast and explored the Portuguese Riveria resort towns of Estoril and Cascais and the UNESCO world heritage center of Sintra. 

Estoril and Cascais are located about 25 minutes outside Lisbon. Technically, this makes them suburbs of the capital. These coastal towns first gained popularity in the late 19th century as vacation spots for Portuguese royalty; during WWII, they became the residences of European royalty-in-exile.  The towns are beautiful – the architecture charmingly 19th century – and the two are connected by 3km beachfront promenade.

Walking along the promenade that connects Estoril & Cascais

What to eat: try a pastil de nata custard pastry (we had several!).  MUST: Get reservations at Conceito Food Store, one of the best meals we had in Portugal.  It’s a creative, curated tasting menu and experience, based on Portuguese cuisine. Epic meal.  Advanced reservations are a must.

If you have friends who have visited Portugal, chances are you’ve seen photos of Sintra.  Known for its Romantic architecture, photos of places like the multi-colored cake-topper known as Pena Palace have been the constant subject of Instagram photos.  Located in the Sintra Mountains/Sintra-Cascais Nature Park, a winding 20-minute drive from Estoril/Cascais (car sickness is essentially guaranteed), Sintra should be a must on your road trip itinerary.

Touring highlights included the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace. Shopping! We found some of our favorite gifts in Sintra.  We shopped and we walked and we ate. Recommendations include Cantinho Gourmet (16 euro for a to-die-for cheese and meat board, see photo!), chocolate shot glasses filled with sour cherry liqueur (found in every chocolate shop in town) and Port tasting in the wine store across from the Nacional Palace.

Pro tip: hire a driver for the day; Sintra is packed with tourists, making it hard to grab a cab outside the main sites

Could not have dreamt up a better itinerary for the first international trip w the boyfriend…which has only served to create a major case of double wanderlust.  More trips and itineraries to follow!

For other European Road Trip Ideas, check out our Balkan Road Trip through Belgrade (Serbia), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Mostar (Herzegovina), and Montenegro.

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Balkans Road Trip Part V: Montenegro & the Adriatic Coast

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It’s hard not to be enchanted by the coastline of Montenegro.  It is what I imagine Croatia was 15 years ago, on the cusp of becoming a highly touristed destination, but still a hidden gem.  Montenegro is the only country we visited that is on the Euro, making it pricier than Serbia and Bosnia, but still quite inexpensive as compared to its neighbors Croatia and Italy.  The food is the best of all worlds: excellent Mediterranean fish,  pizzas, pastas, and, of course, bureks.

Bay of Kotor (town of Perast)

Bay of Kotor (town of Perast)

Bay of Kotor (town of Perast)

Highlights:

  • The only ‘fjord’ in the Mediterranean, the Bay of Kotor, and all of the little towns along the Bay.
  • Don’t miss: make a dinner reservation at Galion Restaurant in Kotor and sit out on the water for the sunset.
  • The walled old city of Budva (which is like a mini Dubrovnik) and 3 miles down the Coast, the (now) private island resort of Sveti Stefan, famous as the vacation destination of Elizabeth Taylor and Sofia Loren

Sveti Stefan, private island resort

View of the bay of Kotor from Galion restaurant (town of Kotor)

 

Word of warning:  Montenegro’s “undiscovered” nature lends it to be a tough place to drive/navigate.  The roads are unmarked, unnamed, sometimes unpaved, un-railguarded on the sides of cliffs, and one lane for two ways of traffic (particularly in Lovcen National Park).

25 Hairpin turns up a mountain later…

Ari & Pierre in the old town of Kotor

 

 

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Balkans Road Trip Part IV: Mostar, Herzegovina

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Just a few hours south of Sarajevo, Mostar feels like a different world.  It is closest destination in Bosnia to Dubrovnik, Croatia and as we entered this mixed Croat/Bosniak city in Herzegovina, we fell back in love with the Adriatic landscape that enticed us to return to the Balkans to begin with – particularly the drama of the mountains plunging into bright blue-green waters.
Mostar is one of the Balkan’s most well-known gems and it is a-bustle with tourists who stop by for an hour or two during the day; it’s even the cover of the current Lonely Planet Southeastern Europe guide book.  There isn’t much to do in the town itself aside from take pictures on and of the eponymous bridge and, for the those who dare, jump off the bridge.   That said, it’s well-worth the stop, especially as a point to relax and break up the drive to Montenegro or Croatia, and a great base from which to go out on day trips and excursion in and around the area.

The famous Mostar Bridge



Where to Eat, Drink, & Stay
Admittedly somewhat touristy, we enjoyed great food at Sadravan and Konoba Taurus, and drinks at the fun Black Dog Pub overlooking the water, included the locally brewed OldBridz brown ale.  We stayed right in town at Villa Fortuna, which has the most charming inn keeper, if not the most reliable internet.

 

from the drive down to Mostar from Sarajevo

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Balkans Road Trip Part III: Sarajevo, City of Heartbreak

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A Tale of Two Cities

Sarajevo is a tale of two cities: the city before 1992 and the city after.

Before 1992

Pre-1992 Sarajevo is that which is first apparent to visitors. It is the literal embodiment of east-meets-west. Everything east of the town center is a mini Istanbul, reflecting its establishment and first 400 years as an Ottoman Turkish city.  Everything to west of the center is a mini-Vienna, reflecting its 40 (highly productive) years of Austro-Hungarian rule, which brought Europe’s first electric-tram system.  It is the city where Gavrilo Princip, trained by the Black Hand in Serbia, assassinated the Franz Ferdinand, future Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the excuse for the start of World War I.  A city formerly known as “little Jerusalem,” where you were never more than a few hundred feet of an Eastern Orthodox church, a Catholic Church, a mosque, and a synagogue.  It was the gem of the former united Yugoslavia, when it hosted the 1984 XIV Winter Olympic Games.

1992-1995: War

From 1992-1995, Sarajevo was under siege, surrounded by the Serb army. The scars of war are visible everywhere. They are the damaged facades of nearly every building. The ubiquitous Sarajevo Roses around town (red resin filled into mortar scars indicating where people were killed). In the tour guides, who are no older than I am, recounting about growing up in a city under siege. They are the abandoned Olympic venues, former symbols of unity and glory, now surrounded by land mines as a haunting reminder of just how transient the coming together of nations can be.

The Present Day City

Current Bosnia & Herzegovina is complicated beyond my understanding.  It is mandated as two territories post-war – the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the Republika Srpska (RS).  It has three postal systems, two tax systems, and three governments with three different presidents (one Bosniak, one Serb, one Croat). The official unemployment rate at the time of writing this was 45%.

The New York Times summarized: Sarajevo has a charisma that “is intoxicating, but the hustle and bustle belies a tragic past.”

It is hard not to fall in love with Sarajevo, but it is a city that will break your heart.

The eastern side of Sarajevo is a mini Istanbul
The western side of the city is a mini Vienna
mini Vienna

What to do

  • MUST DO: Free walking tour of the city, with Neno, a Sarajevo-born guide, who presents his personal history alongside that of the city
  • Don’t skip the underground Sarajevo War tunnels (near the airport) from the siege time. 25 meters of the tunnel remain open and there is an informative 12 minute documentary.
  • Go see the abandoned Olympic venues, especially the bobsled track. You cannot get there by public transportation, but it is well-worth renting a car, taxi, or going with a tour (most of the hostels and a few of the tour companies will run them). Do not stray off the roads or walk around: landmines surround the area.
  • Do not miss the extremely moving photography exhibit Gallerija 11-7-95, which I also wrote about here.
  • Eat! The food!! Recommendations below.
The siege tunnels from 1992-1995
The Latin Bridge where Archbishop Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, aka the beginning of WWI
The red resin “Sarajevo rose” over the mortar shell scar
The abandoned bobsled track from the 1984 Olympic Winter Games
The abandoned bobsled track from the 1984 Olympic Winter Games

Where to eat

  • Bakeries selling Bureks, the phyllo pastries filled with cheese, spinach, potato, or meat, are on every corner. We highly recommend Buregdzinica Bosna, in the old town. It came touted as the best in the city (we won’t argue with that!).
  • Bosnian coffee at Divan – also in the city, and a great place for people-watching
  • Cevapici, the mini-sausage version of Turkish Kebabs, served with pita and onions.  The city is divided on its favorite Cevapdzinica according to sports team allegiance; Zeljo and Ferhatovic vie for the #1 spot. Both were delicious.

Where to stay

  •  Once again, we opted for AirBNB.  We loved the price at $35/night apartment (6 minutes from old-town ). The only thing we loved more is the adorable host parents who adopted us during our time there. (The Airbnb apartment is next door to the main house; their daughter owns and rents it out.)

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Balkans Road Trip Part II: Driving from Serbia to Bosnia & Herzegovina. Srebrenica.

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Part A: The Road Trip

After a few great days in Belgrade, Serbia, it was time to get on the road and begin the actual road trip.  When I started planning this long-awaited Balkans trip, I looked into several modes of transportation.  Trains = out of the question: many of the train lines were never restored after the war; the few that had been restored are outdated and take twice as long as any other mode of transit.  Our remaining options: bus or driving. We opted for the latter for flexibility in travel itinerary and timing. Despite what transpired, it was one of the best travel adventures I’ve ever had.

We knew of several potential road-trip obstacles from blogs we read before the trip, namely:

  • only manual-transmission car
  • the lack of highways
  • reckless drivers
  • one-lane roads that cling to the sides of the mountainous topography
  • land mines that remain on the side of the roads once you enter into Bosnia (wartime remnants from the Serb army)

And still, there were some obstacles that came as a total surprise:

  • total lack of roads for some entire stretches
  • roads in total disrepair that were barely drivable (7 mph, max)
  • our cell phones not working at all in the Balkans (thank you, Verizon)
  • flooding caused by the torrential rains during parts of our drive

With the detour to stop in Srebrenica, our road trip journey took 8+ hours from Belgrade to Sarajevo, which is only 120 miles as the crow flies.  Stocked with a great Spotify music playlist, a bagful of pastries from Belgrade, and the best co-pilot/company a girl could ask for, we had an incredible adventure – one I won’t forget anytime soon.

Sometimes there were roads…
Sometimes there were not…
Beautiful Bosnian countryside, though we dared not step off the road to take pictures, for fear of land mines.

Part B: Stopping in Srebrenica on Yom Hashoah

I was 11 years old when the genocide in Srebrenica took place in July 1995.  I had just finished 5th grade.  And I remember hearing the news coverage. Hearing of the systematic massacre of 8,300 Bosniak (ethnically Muslim) boys and men age 12-77 by the Serb army. Hearing of the Dutch UN peacekeepers who stood by and watched.  Here’s a link for a brief recap of the history.

It’s hard to explain why I needed to stop in Srebrenica  It’s not “my” history. Perhaps as a Jew, I felt compelled to bear witness to the other 20th century European Genocide.  What I hadn’t realized was that the day of our trip was Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day.

I fear that any commentary I might write bears the risk of trivializing the experience, making it seem trite. I will just share that the memorial prayer at the cemetery, with its echoes of the Holocaust’s “never again” haunted me.

 “…May mothers’ tears become prayers that Srebrenica Never happens again to no one and nowhere,”  

Because it did happen, again. And in our lifetime. As the world watched, again.

In Sarajevo, Gallerija 11/7/05 is a exceptional two-room gallery with a photo exhibit and a 27 minute documentary that is not to be missed.  It includes the Serbian broadcasts at the time and is a must when visiting the region.

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Balkans Road Trip Part 1: Belgrade, Serbia

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Why Belgrade?

It’s not a city known for it’s beauty.  In fact, it is often referred to as one of “Europe’s ugliest capitals.”  But what Belgrade, Serbia lacks in aesthetic, it makes up for in personality.  A city whose most recent history includes its dark role as the capital of former Yugoslavia, Belgrade is one of Europe’s oldest, and most conquered, cities. (Having been settled by Celts and conquered 38 times – by the Romans, Slavs, Byzantines, Frankish Empire, Bulgarian Empire, Ottomans for 500 years, and Hapsburgs.) It was the perfect start to our Balkans Road Trip.

With a handful of delightful pedestrian boulevards (Knez Mihajlova  and the Bohemian Skadarlija in particular) scattered amongst the city’s crumbling Soviet-era cement blocks, Belgrade’s true charm lies in its under-developed tourism (and prices!) and perfectly developed, thriving nightlife.

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With Ari’s Serbian friend Tamara in front of St. Sava church, which has been under construction for 80 years
Remnants from the 1999 NATO Bombing
The iconic Hotel Moskva
The main pedestrian area Knelz Mihailova
Sunset from the public park at the Fortress looking over the Sava and Danube rivers
The famous Victor monument
Knelz Milhailova at night
me & the bro walking around the bohemian Skadarlija street

We arrived for both the largest football match in the city (with riot police lining every street) and the Belgrade marathon (which was drastically different from my favorite day in New York).

What to do in Belgrade:

  • “Walking tour”  There are free walking tours that run daily, or you can do what we did and create your own (click for our map), check out the itinerary below – you can see almost everything in <2 hours.  Best of all, nearly all of Belgrade’s attractions are free (and are local, not tourist, spots)
  • Belgrade Underground – our one paid tourist activity, and glad we did it.  A great (and passive) way to discover the hidden underground places from Belgrade’s 38 times being conquered, including Yugoslavian bunkers, ancient Roman ruins, and Ottoman buried wells. 12 Euro.
  • Serbian Nightlife!  See below – don’t miss it!
Walking through the underground bunkers
Entrance to the Yugoslavian secret bunkers
Looking out from the fortress onto the Danube
Ari in front of the ancient Roman ruins…in what once operated as a club
Military remnants & the military museum
Gov’t buildings at night

Eating, Drinking, and Nightlife in Belgrade:

  • A mix of Eastern European with some Turkish influence, Serbian food is not particularly inspiring.  The highlight was the cheese-filled phyllo dough burek pastries, which we lived on the entire weekend.  Note: Almost all bakeries (pekaras) are closed on Sunday, which we learned the hard way.
  • Nightlife starts late in Belgrade.  Begin with dinner/snacks at 10pm at a kafana traditional tavern.  The best kafanas have live bohemians bands playing Serbian traditional music; increasingly-rowdy tables of guests “order” their favorite sing-alongs.  Make sure to order some rakija, the traditional Serbian brandy shots made from various fruit.  We had apple, pear, plum, and peach, each less palatable than the one before, but all part of the experience.  Reservations for kafanas are required, even if they look empty.
  • Conclude the night with one (or many) of Belgrade’s clubs.  We went to Plastic, which is the most well known in Serbian nightlife.  People don’t start arriving until about midnight; the official party closes at 4 and moves next door to Mint, the after-party club with the same owners.  As the weather warms, people walk from one to the next of the floating clubs along the river, which boast international DJs and impressive parties.  There are no cover fees to enter the clubs, but reservations are required.  Drinks are extremely inexpensive – with Rakija/whiskey costing $2-$4 per drink.  No wonder the nightlife is so impressive!
  • Lastly, I have to mention the homemade wine.  It’s terribly sour…but apparently it’s Serbian custom to mix it with Coca Cola, which forms a saccharine drink they call “bamboo.”  Don’t ask.
The band serenading patrons in the smoke filled kafana
#untzuntz at Plastic
#letustakeaselfie at the club
Sour homemade wine + Coca Cola = bamboo?

Where to stay

  • Luxe: Located in the heart of the old town, Belgrade’s beautifully designed Square Nine Hotel is an award-winning boutique hotel. Price tag ~ $230/night.
  • Budget: At $54/night, our AirBNB rental a few minutes walk from the city center cannot be beat for budget travelers.

Our (approximate) walking tour


1. Tasmajdan park and Church St Marko
2. National Parlament 
3. Terazije Street (with the iconic Hotel Moskva)
4. Trg Republike
5. Skadarlija  – great Kafanas!
7. Studenski Trg 
8. Knez Mihajlova – the main pedestrian thoroughfare 
9. KALEMEGDAN FORTESS – go for sunset, you’ll be glad you did! 
10. Belgrade Port 

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Balkans Road Trip

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In 2011, my brother and I spent a magical week exploring souther Croatia: both Dubrovnik and Sipan Island off of the Adriatic Coast. The beauty of the coastline mesmerized us and we ate one delicious meal after another. However, we were less enchanted by how over-touristed Dubrovnik is. We promised ourselves we’d come back and explore the lesser-known parts of the Balkans. And the idea of the Balkans Road Trip was born.

We began in Belgrade, Serbia and ended in Podgorica, Montenegro, the following week. The itinerary combined equal parts history, culture, and off-the-beaten path adventure. Throw in some excellent food and happening nightlife. The ultimate Balkans Road Trip.

I wrote posts on each of the destinations, which you can link to below. With the exception of the treacherous drive from Belgrade to Sarajevo, a road trip was an excellent way to get around the Balkans and experience the region.

Days 1 & 2: Belgrade, Serbia
Day 3: Full Day road trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina with a stop in Srebrenica
Days 4 & 5: Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Day 6: Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Days 7 & 8: Kotor, Montenegro Kotor/Budva/Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Day 9: Depart from Podgorica, Montenegro

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Stockholm Stopover

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On our travels from Denmark to Iceland, we had a short stopover in Sweden, which, despite uncooperative weather (blustery rains from start to stop), we really enjoyed.

We began by visiting the Vasa Museum, which houses the eponymous Viking warship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1628.  Located on the island of Djurgarden (Stockholm is comprised of 14 islands), we then took the ferry to Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old city, and one of the world’s best-preserved medieval towns.  Gamla Stan also is home to many of Stockholms best cafes and restaurants  – and more importantly, the majority of the handful of restaurants open on a Sunday evening.

From Gamla Stan, we took the T-Bana metro back to Normalm, where we were staying, stopping at Icebar at the Icehotel/Nordic Sea Hotel along the way.  Despite the kitsch, the atmosphere was fun and the drinks were cold (vodka + lingonberry juice, anyone?).  With the summer sun, it was still light out when we left, creating the illusion our one Stockholm day was not as brief as it really was.

Where to eat:  We loved Kryp In in Gamla Stan.  Housed in a cozy space in Gamlsa Stan, this top rated restaurant serves beautifully presented traditional Swedish food, such as baked smoked salmon, dill potatoes, and bleek roe.

Where to stay: I’d aim for the neighborhoods of Normalm or Gamla Stan to be centrally located near the city’s top sites.

Ice Bar

Ice Bar

Ice Bar

Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan

Stockholm, Sweden

Amusement Park on Djursgarden overlooking Gamla Stan

Vasa Museum, Stockholm

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Food, food, and more food: 2 Days in Copenhagen, Denmark

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It is said that it’s difficult to have a bad meal in Copenhagen, Scandinavia’s culinary capital.  Having spent the past 2 days eating our way from site to site in the Danish city, we would resoundingly agree.  From open-face smorrebrod sandwiches to the confectionary shops found on nearly every street, we loved every bite.

Nine out of every ten adults here rides a bicycle, making this walkable city also one of the most green in the world.  In just two days, we saw most of the city’s  notable sites.  I should note Copenhagen’s famous architecture  – with the contemporary settled in next to the Renaissance and Rococo.   Highlights include the colorful houses along the Nyhavn quay, the late-Baroque Amalienborg Castle, and Henning Larsson’s Opera House.

Other highlights of our walking tours include seeing the Little Mermaid Statue, dining in the trendy neighborhood of Vesterbro, meandering through the controversial semi-autonomous free-zone of Christiana (photos not allowed!), strolling down Stroget – Europe’s longest pedestrian only street, and exploring Tivoli – the world’s oldest amusement park.

When to go:  Summer months –the weather is at its warmest (we had beautiful 70 degree days), and the summer sun doesn’t set until nearly 10PM.

Where to stay:  We used airbnb and found an amazing apartment centrally located in Vesterbro – in walking distance of all of our top destinations.

Where to eat: Madklubben Vesterbro for a trendy build-your-own meal experience,  Kanal Cafeen or Hallernes Smorrebrod (in Torvehallen artisinal food market) for the best open-faced sandwiches, La Glace for decadent pastries.  Oh, and Noma, the restaurant that replaced El Bulli as the S. Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant (reservations need to be made months in advance).

bikes everywhere!

Tivoli

Tivoli

3 Types of Herring: Mustard Herring, Wasabi Herring, and Herring Salad, served on Scandinavian rye

Town Hall

Guerilla Marketing!

King’s Gardens

Rosenborg Palace

View of the Marble Church from the Opera House

Hans Larsson’s Opera House

Exiting Christiana and re-entering the EU and all its laws…

Street art in Christiana

Christiana: No hardcore drugs, weapons, or violence…everything else is game

Entering Christiana

Our Savior’s Church

Thorvaldsen’s Museum

Smorrebrod!

Copenhagen Sunset

Nyhavn

Marmokirken marble church

Late-Baroque Amalienborg Castle

Amalienborg Castle Royal Guards

the park near the Citadel

charming Copenhagen

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May Travel Booked!

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After days of deliberation, we finally booked our May post-graduation trip!  A big thank you to everyone who helped and shared ideas and itineraries on facebook, via email, and here on the blog.  All of our in-country activities are still tentative, so please keep sending suggestions if you have them!

 

Scandinavia + Iceland, May 2013

May 23:  Depart from NYC

May 24:  Arrive & Explore Copenhagen, Denmark

May 25: Copenhagen, Denmark

May 26: Stockholm, Sweden

May 27: morning: Stockholm, Sweden, afternoon: Reykjavik, Iceland

May 28: Golden Circle, Iceland

May 29: TBD Iceland

May 30: Fly back to NYC

Scandinavia + Iceland Trip May 2013

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