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Scandinavia Spectacular

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Norra Esplanaden, Helsingfors, Finland
At midnight in June and July, Helsinki glows. Here, AFAR's founders stroll the Esplanadi, a grassy park and cobblestone walkways bordered by two avenues in the heart of the city, after a dinner at Restaurant Gaijin (www.gaijin.fi). In the day,...
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South Harbour, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
Cruising the Baltic in the middle of summer is an experience not to be forgotten. We had the opportunity to dock in the South Harbor, which is conveniently located within walking distance of the city's center. This is a view looking north toward...
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Bulevardi 6, 00120 Helsinki, Finland
Beyond these doors lies an incredible dining experience. We did the tasting menu and were super impressed. [From website] Restaurant Gaijin is Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg’s second restaurant. Gaijin takes you on a journey to North Asia. Located...
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Kalevankatu 17, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
New Nordic cuisine has been imported from Finland’s Scandinavian neighbors and adapted to the local palate. At A21 Dining, guests enjoy seasonal dishes such as lamb with meadow herbs and nettles, or fudge with wood sorrel and wild strawberry...
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Unionsgatan 29, 00170 Helsingfors, Finland
One of Helsinki's biggest tourist attractions is the Lutheran cathedral downtown. The plaza in front of the church features a statue of Emperor Alexander II of Russia. There are a number dining options in the area, but one of my favorites is...
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Iso Roobertinkatu 14, 00120 Helsinki, Finland
Bar Llamas has an inconspicuous presence on the pedestrian street Roobertinkatu in Helsinki's design district. The patio outside is small, but often crowded with Helsinki hipsters. Inside, it's a whole other world than you might expect. Tricked...
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Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København, Denmark
Unfortunately I spent most of our trip to Copenhagen in soggy tennis shoes cursing the weather and complaining that we couldn’t picnic in the rose gardens of Rosenborg castle. To escape a sudden downpour we hustled inside the castle to quickly dry...
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Bernstorffsgade 5, 1577 København, Denmark
Visit Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and you can instantly see why it was the inspiration for Disneyland. The famous amusement park is set right in the middle of the city and draws locals and visitors with concerts, restaurants, and of course rides....
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Hammerichsgade 1, 1611 København, Denmark
When the days get long, Copenhagen’s cobblestone streets blossom with bicycles, café tables, and jazz bands. Check out the lively music scene during the annual Copenhagen Jazz Festival. In between gigs, explore this compact capital on foot or...
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Vimmelskaftet 49, 1161 København, Denmark
We saw an Irish bar in Copenhagen's city center. Auspicious beginnings for what would be a really great trip, my first international jaunt since I was a tween. After a stressful flight, though, it was all we could do to calm our nerves by walking...
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Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden
In a city known for clean lines, Stockholm’s Södermalm district (“Söder” to locals) is surprisingly nonconformist. A slum in the 18th century, the neighborhood is now home to a mix of clothing and furniture shops; Thai, Greek, and Turkish...
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Nytorgsgatan 38, 116 40 Stockholm, Sweden
To take a break, or to fika, is an integral part of Swedish culture, and many locals escape to cafés at least once a day. The word fika was once slang for kaffi (coffee). But fika is more than a cup of joe. The ritual often involves pastries, or...
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Drottninggatan 45, 111 21 Stockholm, Sweden
While many clubs and bars readily serve alcohol and hard liquor, it’s more challenging for you to just buy a bottle off the shelf at a store. The government heavily regulates the sale of alcohol and hard liquor, so you must buy liquor from one of...
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Blasieholmsgatan 4A, 111 48 Stockholm, Sweden
I had the pleasure of visiting Stockholm twice this summer for business. On both trips, I could not get enough of this restaurant, B.A.R., near the Grand Hotel. Despite its location in the middle of tourist central, this is a gem that is quite...
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Hantverkargatan 1, 111 52 Stockholm, Sweden
It's one thing to visit castles, cathedrals, and museums. But a city hall? Normally, I would have the same reaction. Stockholm's Stadshus, though, is not your average city hall. For starters, it holds the exclusive and much respected Nobel Prize...
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Skånegatan 79, 116 35 Stockholm, Sweden
Let's face it, Stockholm is three things for travelers: It's cold. It's expensive. And it's home to some of the most gorgeous human specimens on this dear planet of ours. I may have found the perfect place to remedy these issues, should they be...
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Kirkeveien, 0268 Oslo, Norway
When I visited Vigeland Park on a beautiful sunny day last August I simply couldn't believe my eyes. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. Absolutely breathtaking... I spent hours there wandering around the...
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Grüners gate 1, 0552 Oslo, Norway
Tim Wendelboe is a micro roastery in a happenin' little neighborhood in Oslo called Grünerløkka. It's a cozy place with only a few chairs, but you can order and stand at the bar or take a cup to go as you stroll the streets. You won't find sugary...
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Nobels gate 32, 0268 Oslo, Norway
The Vigeland Park reminds me of Central Park in New York City. The grounds are huge and very well kept. This is the place that you might have heard of - there are over 200 statues of people in action created by artist Gustav Vigeland. In the...
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Grønlandsleiret 15, 0190 Oslo, Norway
Fifteen years ago, this was a place for the homeless to sober up during the early morning. Today it's a thriving pub with original 100 year old frescoes on the wall. Check out the beer menu, which is extensive.
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Brynjulf Bulls plass 1, 0250 Oslo, Norway
The Nobel Peace Center was opened in 2005 and is absolutely fascinating…and very humbling. It was established by Alfred Nobel (who was Swedish) in his will. He gave no reason for this but some feel it was to assuage his guilt over being the...
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Huk Aveny 35, 0287 Oslo, Norway
This small museum houses 3 unearthed Viking Ships and I found the history fascinating. I didn’t realize that the Viking burial ceremony was similar to the Egyptians. Their belief was that the dead needed food and drink (2 oxen were killed and...
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Sentrum, Oslo, Norway
If there were ever a three-dimensional ode to Nordic design, the impressive Oslo Opera House would be it. On the waterfront in the Bjørvika neighborhood with the Oslo fjord as a backdrop, the otherworldly building is home to the Norwegian National...
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0553 Oslo, Norway
My favorite Oslo memory was shopping at their Sunday flea market. During the week the neighborhood is alive with locals shopping at boutiques, sipping their morning coffee at one of the many cafes or simply walking their dogs through Birkelunden...
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Tøyengata 53, 0578 Oslo, Norway
Norway’s most famous artist, Edvard Munch, was raised and studied in Oslo at the end of the 19th century. It’s here that that the painter, most famous for his work The Scream, decided to move beyond the then fashionable style of...