Budget is probably not the first word that springs to mind when you think of Scandinavia. I had heard that it is one of the most expensive travel destinations in the world, so why were we including this in our budget plans?
For some reason Scandinavia had never been a destination that had appealed to me. I had naively thought only about freezing dark days all year round and canned fish for every meal. Well I was right about the freezing temperatures but what I hadn’t thought about was the beautiful architecture, welcoming and stunning people and the fact you can have Fika without fish!
We touched down at Copenhagen airport at around 2pm and had already made a lot of plans to fill what little time we have in the Danish capital. As Steve has a background in architecture there was plenty of sights he wanted to see in the city, the first being the ‘8 Tallet’ which was conveniently placed between the airport and the city. This is a huge residential complex all made in a figure 8 shape. Hard to describe so here’s a link
A few months earlier back in Vancouver we were introduced to a friend of a friend who was a temporary resident of the city. Kate, was happy to meet us at the train station and have us to stay for the evening. Although we had only met one time before there was no need for awkward small talk, Kate felt like an old friend. She gave us a list of local tips for making the most of the city on a budget.
We were very pressed for time in Copenhagen and as this was my first time in the city I did not want to leave any corner unexplored. We made our way through the urban commune of Christiania, saw the beautiful coloured housed at Nyhavn, caught a seabus to see the statue of the little mermaid, observed the many sculptures at Superkilen and found cheap eats at the street food market.
The next day we ended our very brief visit to Denmark and caught the train over the Oresund Bridge to Malmo, Sweden. Malmo, may not exactly be a tourist destination but for Steve and I it meant catching up with his very good friend and old housemate Malin. IMO the best way to experience a place is through the eyes of a local and spending four days and nights with Malin was the absolute best way to experience Sweden. We were introduced to a few of her friends who we went out with, spent time at their apartments and even met one of their mothers (a lot in just four days).
One highlight from our time in Malmo was our afternoon at Ribersborgs open-air bath, a traditional Swedish sauna. I was slightly apprehensive to visit as it had a zero tolerance for clothing meaning you had to be in a room of naked strangers; on top of this it was customary to take a plunge into the icy Baltic Sea. Well after the experience I cannot recommend it enough, the icy water pumped the blood through my body like it hadn’t ever before, plus the view of the ocean from the sauna provides a view to divert your eyes from the various exposed body parts around you (for me it was a nice distraction from the sweat dripping onto my back from the man behind me).
Four days in Malmo was not enough it’s definitely on my list of places to return too. I thought I’d be leaving Scandinavia without a penny in my pocket but if you’re not out shopping every day or paying for accommodation then sticking to a budget is very possible.