In 2016, Denmark continues as Scandinavia’s reigning culinary capital with 26 Michelin stars. In Copenhagen, 20 stars went to 16 restaurants, a new record for the capital.
Greenhouse dining is all the rage. At four-star Hotel SP34 (www.brochner-hotels.dk), in the trendy Latin Quarter, dine on seasonal foods in a lush, two-story greenhouse at Väkst (www.hostvakst.dk). Or hunker down in Stedsans’ (www.cleansimplelocal.com) greenhouse for shareable plates of “honest food” from the rooftop garden, with organic chickens and honeybees.
Bees placed atop Tivoli Concert Hall last year now provide honey sold at Tivoli Gardens or served in Nimb Hotel’s (www.nimb.dk) Brasserie. At Fru Nimb, enjoy imaginative takes on that Danish favorite, the open-faced sandwich, or smørrebrød.
BRUS (www.tapperietbrus.dk), a playful brewpub offering activities like brewing, cooking and shopping, recently opened Restaurant Sponton. At 1.th (1th.dk), choose the 2 ½-hour Den Korte or the four-hour Den Lange experience, pairing fine dining with gastronomic story-telling.
Glyptoteket (www.glyptoteket.com) hosts “Gauguin’s Worlds,” with 70 works, until August 28. Just north, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (https://en.louisiana.dk) displays “Illumination: New Contemporary Art at Louisiana” until September 9. An hour north of Copenhagen, Kronborg Castle (www.kongeligeslotte.dk) celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with a three-week festival, beginning August 1. To cruise Copenhagen’s canals, rent a solar-powered GoBoat (www.goboat.dk).
The Tivoli Hotel & Congress Center (www.tivolihotel.com) has added a second hotel tower. Also near Tivoli Gardens, 17-room Nimb Hotel (www.nimb.dk) adds 20 luxury suites, and a roof terrace with a restaurant, bar and Copenhagen’s first heated outdoor hotel pool in 2017. Luxurious Phoenix Copenhagen (www.phoenixcopenhagen.com) near the Nyhavn Canals recently refurbed 48 executive rooms. In Vesterbro, Urban House (https://urbanhouse.me), a cross between hotel and hostel, opened with a hot dog restaurant, a bar, a bike shop and a tattoo parlor.
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Like most Scandinavians, Helsinki residents prize a healthy lifestyle. In May, Vallisaari Island (www.nationalparks.fi/vallisaari) opened with trails, guided tours and a café, a 20-minute waterbus ride from downtown Market Square. Also new is Löyly (www.loylyhelsinki.fi), a sprawling, contemporary-style public sauna and restaurant near Market Square.
Helsinki is also at the forefront of New Nordic and multicultural dining. Pick up the “Food Helsinki? HEL YEAH!” brochure at the tourist office near Esplanadi park, or download it from the Visit Helsinki website.
Not far from the Central Railway Station, eateries around the new Töölönlahti Park include Gastro NOM (www.restaurantnom.fi), famous for ramen-noodle burgers, Aussie-inspired Woolshed Bar & Kitchen (www.woolshed.eu), and Eatos Mexican Diner (http://eatos.fi) for tacos, burritos and quesadillas.
Along downtown’s hip restaurant street, Pieni Roobertinkatu, OX (www.restaurantox.fi) offers imaginative entrees like twice-cooked pork belly with fried Jerusalem artichoke, and spicy butternut squash with quinoa and smoked yogurt in a casual-luxe setting of red-leather sofas and gold lamps. Choose the four, five or “neverending”-course menu.
In the Kallio district, 30-seat Restaurant Kolmon 3n specializes in creative dishes like Arctic char with lemon-barley hash and chickpea steak with tzatziki sauce. Also in the Kallio, at Moroccan-influenced Restaurant Sandro (http://sandro.fi), experience Saturday’s Vegan & Veggie Garden Brunch or Sunday’s Marrakesh Madness Brunch. Sandro’s newest branch just opened in Helsinki’s Eira district.
Teurastamo (www. teurastamo.com), the up-and-coming former abbatoir area, is a 15-minute tram ride northeast of Central Station. Kellohalli (www.kellohalli.fi) serves up dinner along with food-related courses and theme days. Jädelino (www.jadelino.fi) offers Italian-style sorbets and ice-creams, including lactose-free and stevia-sweetened varieties.
In Helsinki’s Design District, until September 25, the Design Museum (www.designmuseum.fi) hosts a retrospective on Eero Aarnio, legendary interior designer and professor known for his 1966 Ball Chair, and colorful puppy and pony sculptures.
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Fjordside Oslo epitomizes the great outdoors in the city. Southeast of Central Station, Oslo’s newest neighborhood, Sørenga, features a “floating park” with Norway’s largest seawater pool. New outdoor activity center Friluftshuset (www.dntoslo.no) offers kayaking lessons, a bouldering room and evening lectures. Come summer 2017, expect kayak rentals.
There’s urban farming at nearby Losæter (www.loseter.no/en). Designed with Amy Franceschini’s Futurefarmers art collective in San Francisco, there’s a greenhouse, gardens, a bakehouse, and an apiary abuzz with bees. The Well (https://the well.no), Scandinavia’s largest spa and bathhouse, recently opened with 11 pools, 15 different saunas and steam rooms, Japanese-style hot springs and treatment rooms. It’s a 25-minute shuttle ride from Clarion Hotel Royal Christiana (www.choicehotels.com).
The Munch Museum’s (www.munchmuseet.no/en) “Jasper Johns + Edvard Munch” traces connections between Norway’s greatest modernist and America’s great Abstract Expressionist until September 25. At the National Gallery (www.nasjonalmuseet.no) until October 16, “Japanomania in the North, 1875-1918” explores Japan’s influence on Nordic design.
This fall, the Grand Hotel’s (www.grand.no/en) beloved Grand Café reopens under the management of Fursetgruppen, which also runs Tjuvholmen Sjømagasin and Ekebergrestauranten.
West of Oslo Cathedral, at Happolati (http://happolati.no), chefs Mads Kjøll Moen and Rune Hinnland Bjørneng produce stylish Asian cuisine in a stylish venue. At Sentralen (http://www.sentralen.no/en), enjoy six performance stages, two bars (Gold Bar and Marble Hall), and a new restaurant where Chef Even Ramsvik offers New Nordic cuisine with global panache.
New Comfort Hotel Karl Johan (www.nordicchoicehotels.com) offers 181 stylish rooms, a restaurant and bar, and free WiFi on Oslo’s famous shopping boulevard. Nearby is the new 151-room Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz (www.thonhotels.com).
Near the Royal Palace gardens, Camilla’s House (www.camillashus.info) has seven sumptuous rooms in the grand Swiss-style wooden house where 19th-century Norwegian writer Camilla Collett and husband Professor Peter Jonas Collett once lived.
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Explore Stockholm’s splendors more easily with the new Stockholm Pass (www.stockholmpass.com) and Stockholm Prepaid Card (www.stockholminfo.se). Also new: Free admission to 18 state-owned museums, including the National Museum and Moderna Museet.
In 2016, Skansen (www.skansen.se), world’s oldest open-air museum, celebrates its 125th anniversary. Catch the Stockholm Culture Festival (www.kulturfestivalen.stockholm.se), August 16-24, and Parkteatern (www.kulturhusetstadsteatern.se/parkteatern), offering free performances till September.
At Gröna Lund amusement park, “Mamma Mia! the Party” (www.mammamiatheparty.com) offers Mediterranean dinners and performances of ABBA songs. Also on Djurgården island, “Life of the Vikings” (www.vikingaliv.se) opens in April 2017, complete with a Viking-ship cruise.
Until August 28, Bonniers Konsthall (www.bonnierskonsthall.se) mounts a retrospective of young artists’ works over the past 30 years. “Artists at the National Museum” (www.nationalmuseum.se), until September 4, displays works by major artists, from Rembrandt to Cindy Sherman
Until September 11, the Moderna Museet’s (www.modernamuseet.se) “Yayoi Kusama in Infinity” celebrates Japan’s avant-garde artist. At Artipelag (www.artipelag.se), till September 25, is “The Legacy of Andy Warhol.” Millesgården (www.millesgarden.se) examines architect-designer Josef Frank’s works till October 2.
New restaurants open almost daily. At Omakase Köttslöjd (www.omakassekottslojd.se), 15 diners enjoy 15-20 dishes. Meals at 500-seat Mother (www.gruppf12.com) honor Mother Earth’s plants, animals and people. Renovated Hermans (www.hermans.se) offers vegan and vegetarian fare, and Agrikultur (www.agrikultur.se) uses only the freshest ingredients.
In August, award-wining chef Klas Lindberg opens Portal (www.portalrestaurant.se). In December, Food Village (www.foodvillage.se) launches with a market, bakery, café and restaurant.
At Stockholm’s venerable Grand Hôtel (www.grandhotel.se), Burmanska Palace renovations include the Princess Lilian Suite, with two terraces and a spa. New Haymarket by Scandic (www.scandichotels.se) features a brasserie, wellness café and cocktail bar in the historic PUB building, while renovated Scandic Continental offers panoramic roof-terrace views. In January, The Winery Hotel (www.thewineryhotel.se) opened with its own urban winery.
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