Summer In Denmark (+ a day in Sweden)

June 10, 2013

When you live only a few hours away from the border of Denmark, and your upstairs neighbors who are also very good friends are Danes, you can’t help but love all things Danish. As you know, I’ve been writing about and traveling to Denmark for several years now – in fact, Denmark was were we began shooting years back for my first book. I’ve made many good friends “up north” in the past years and most recently, a wonderful stylist and author from Copenhagen contacted me to offer me a great rate on her summer house next month since she read on my Facebook wall in March that I was looking for a beach house on the Danish coast to rent in July. I really wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary on the coast this year so I’m excited to say that thanks to Facebook (!) we’ll be taking a few weeks off in July to drive up to Copenhagen and then further north, to stay in a gorgeous little cottage owned by one of Denmark’s best stylists. I can’t wait! Really!

Summer In Denmark (+ a day in Sweden)

I’ll take some photos and tell you more about my trip upon my return but I’m very excited about my upcoming trip as I’ve not had a proper vacation in a very long time. That last time I took a real vacation was in 2010 when my husband and I went with our dear friend Esra to Istanbul for 4 days. But that was 3 years ago and since, I’ve been traveling so much for work that it will be nice for once to travel for pleasure. After taking over 20 flights in 2011 and another 10 or so in 2012, my version of a vacation was to stay home. This year, now that we just bought our first car since moving to Europe in 2009, we decided to skip planes and just enjoy road travel again. It’s been so long since we hopped in the car to go anywhere – normally it’s the train for us – but with a car you can meander off here and there and explore (something I love) and in the summer months, isn’t that the best thing to do? Oh, there’s a roadside stand selling strawberries. Stop. Oh! there is a pretty little antiques shop. Stop. Oh honey, can you stop at that cute cafe so I can get a coffee? Stop. There’s a pretty field with flowers, can you stop so I can Instagram that? Stop. Thank goodness my husband is a good sport. When I think about it, I must drive him sorta crazy. But this is typical with blogger’s who are also wives, right?

Our trip to Denmark will be one welcome break and if the weather cooperates, I plan to spend most of my time directly ON the beach. Even if I cannot sunbath, because Danish summers are not tropical by any means, I will be just as content to throw on a sweater, grab a chair, and just read on the beach, snap photos and collect little treasures on the shore. To have a coastal vacation is a dream of mine for several years since I left America – I live inland now and don’t get to the coast nearly as much as my little heart yearns for, so this trip will be a big highlight of the year for me. To smell the salty air, eat some smoked fish and relax in a sweet little cottage  in Nordsjælland (she is even leaving me her bicycle to use!) is something I anticipate highly. It’s all I’m thinking about at the moment! After spending time in the sea cottage, we’ll then rent a space in the center of Copenhagen and spend 4 nights exploring the city. I’ve been there a few times but my husband hasn’t, so we’ll need extra time for him to see the sights and for me to do a little shopping and cafe crawling. :) I’m really looking forward to going to BLACK, the new store there that just opened by one of my favorite ceramicists Anne Black and Kirstine Meier Carlsen.

Summer In Denmark (+ a day in Sweden)

Summer In Denmark (+ a day in Sweden)

I wish I could see Astrid Svangren’s current installation there called BLOOM done with flowers, illustrations and still life vignettes. She is a Swedish artist who does some amazing contemporary work that I find fascinating.

Summer In Denmark (+ a day in Sweden)

I also want to check out the newish restaurant called Höst. Has anyone visited this place yet?

Summer In Denmark (+ a day in Sweden)

We also plan to spend a day in Malmö, Sweden since it’s a close train ride over from Copenhagen and my husband has never been to Sweden. I think he’d really love and with a name like Thorsten, I suppose he really should go there – I’m sure he’d find one of those souvenir shops with his name on a mug for sure, right? He never could when we lived in Boston, ha ha! Have you ever been to Malmö? Any MUST SEE book stores, cafes, shops, antique stores?

July is a good time to vacation because I’m in the midst of my next book and to have a break ‘in between’ shooting and writing will be just perfect. Then I can come back refreshed and energetic – ready to take on the rest of the project so we can turn everything in at the end of the summer.

Where will you go on vacation this summer? Tell me all about YOUR plans! Also, if you’ve been to Copenhagen within the last year, what did you LOVE and what do you recommend I check out? I’m particularly interested in beautiful shops, restaurants and cafes and the most photogenic neighborhoods…

(images: RUM, Black and Host)

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  • Reply hayley walker June 10, 2013 at 2:03 pm


    I would just like to say how much i love your work, its amazing and I love your eye for detail and the small things. I’m from the uk and have just finished uni studying interior design, my interest points more in the direction of styling and when i came across your work, it makes me want to do it even more. great inspiration!

  • Reply my hyggelig June 10, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I love this post ~ can not wait to hear more about your trip! We went to Sweden in 2008. On our journey home we flew over Denmark and I saw all the sandy beaches, ever since I have dreamed of doing just what you are doing. I can’t wait to hear the recap! :) Denmark so intrigues me.

    My husband has developed flight anxiety after years of stressful work flying. It’s hard for both of us, but instead of fighting it ~ this year we too are driving – to Aspen. We leave in a few days and can not wait! It has been horribly cool and rainy in Minneapolis, not like Summer at all, more like April. So we are excited to go where we know we will have sun and dry air, and more heat.

    Since we used to live in CO, it will also nice to be somewhere easy vs. all the world travel we have done in the past. Both have their charms. But I agree, after so many flights the idea of sitting together in a car sounds oddly relaxing (and I used to HATE ‘road trips’). Happy Vacationing!

  • Reply Margarita Lorenzo June 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I am sure you will have a fab time, I am writing from my sunny Gran canaria, where I will be for a few good weeks, working but enjoying my my mum and friends from over here, and specially my walks on the beach and trips to the North and center of the island. A so much needed break from city life…

    This shop looks so good, I know that one day one day i will have my own shop in Gran canaria, just waiting for the economy to recover and things get better in Spain, as it is awful right now. Saludos!

  • Reply Marte Hjeltnes June 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Some small Malmö tips:
    -This little cafe is super nice, Rosie´s Coffee & Wine, Beridaregatan.8.
    -Moderna Museet, they have a great Edvard Munch exhibition until 25 august, Gasverksgatan 22.
    -Bastard, fine restaurant, Mäster Johansgatan.11
    -Shopping. Aplace, clothing store, Davidshallsgatan.14.

    Enjoy your stay in Malmö, its a super city!

    Regards Marte

  • Reply Shannon June 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    If you haven’t been to Odense yet, where Hans Christian Andersen was born, you must check out this magical little town including a museum, the home where the author lived when he was small… and as I discovered AFTER my own visit with my mom a few years ago- the church where my own great great grandfather was christened. Have a beautiful drive!

  • Reply iHanna June 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I ♥ Copenhagen! I think you will fall in love if you visit the shop Husflid, it’s not in the center of everything, but worth the walk along the canal. Craft and second hand material mix. Adorable!


  • Reply Bec June 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Holly,

    all I can say is that you HAVE to see the Turning Torso in Malmö – it’s really impressive. I’m in love with Sweden since I studied there nine years ago. Always feels like coming home in some way. You should also visit the shops Indiska and Lagerhaus – they got a lot of things you just can’t walk by.

    Have a great time!

  • Reply Sim June 10, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    I love danish style, simple and sophisticated in the same time … I have friends there and I know it`s a great place to visit and a feast for the eyes.
    I heard also about a great restaurant `Noma`, I haven`t been there but my friends told me that it`s an unique experience and the cuisine it`s impressive.

  • Reply Andreia June 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    It sounds fantastic! I live near the sea and Summers here are good – Holly, you must plan a trip to Lisbon and have sunbaths in Cascais , I’m sure you’ll love it :)
    but, north Europe is actually one must go trip, for me…

  • Reply An June 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Hi Holly!
    I’m going to the States in a month – spending two weeks and a half in Charleston and Savannah. I’m so looking forward to it – I’m totally smitten by all the beautiful pics I’ve seen so far of gorgeous houses, abundant flowers and moss dripping oak trees.
    I’m sure Denmark will be amazing too – I’d love to go to Denmark and Sweden (and Norway) too some day. Will you be checking out the famous Noma restaurant in Denmark? That one’s on my bucket list for a couple of years now :)
    An xo

  • Reply svala June 10, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Born and raised in Iceland though I have lived in the US South West for the past 16 years my decor and fashion style remains quite Nordic.

    I really like your blog and hope that you get to visit with Iceland soon.

  • Reply Charlotte June 10, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Som more Malmö tips:

    – Miloii a really nice store at Friisgatan
    -restaurants and cafes at Friisgatan
    – Udda Tina -acolorful and bice interior design store at Södertull
    – Malmö modern- nice interior and furniture store close to the train station
    – stores and cafes around Davidhalls torg

    Some stores in Copenhagen I promise you will love

    – Liebe
    -the street Straedet and the surroundings where you will find the above
    mentioned stores

    Warm welcome to Malmö!


  • Reply Sue Schlabach June 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Some Vermont friends just returned from Denmark and Sweden and it remains high on my list of travel destinations. I am in love with that reclaimed wood ceiling. My pulse has quickened. I’ve pinned it. Now gotta start adding to the pile of reclaimed wood that isn’t quite big enough to get the job done.

  • Reply Iva Y June 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    That restaurant looks amazing!!

    As for roadtrips – gotta love them! :) I once made my boyfriend go off the highway and drive towards what I thought was a lavender field, only to find out it was photovoltaic panels, haha. Needless to say I did not Instagram that :)

  • Reply Maggie June 10, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Wonderful! Enjoy.

  • Reply dunja June 10, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    dear holly, i will visit cph in august, too :-) i love this city so much!! my favs are:
    bungalow store, gronlykke, liebe shop, hay store
    for lunch: smushi at royal copenhagen cafe,
    and the shoppingwindows of illums bolighus are amazing.
    the most beautiful marrocco-style-cafe is: cafe de la menthe!!!!
    enjoy it and have a great time,
    best wishes,

  • Reply lisa :: the red thread June 11, 2013 at 12:09 am

    That sounds so lovely Holly – what a gorgeous home to be staying in!

    I’m travelling to Copenhagen next week – I can’t wait! So I’m looking forward to reading any tips your readers have to offer. Ann Black’s shop is top of my list too.

    We will be doing a bit of driving in Denmark too, and then on to Norway (Oslo, Voss and Bergen), followed by Stockholm and London.

    What I’m not looking forward to is the travelling time… 26 hours from leaving Australia to arrival in Copenhagen!

  • Reply MieCPH June 11, 2013 at 1:06 am

    How cool! I’ve been following you for ages now, and I love your blog. I’m from Copenhagen, and here’s a list of a few places and shops you should deff check out :)
    – For a night out and a few cocktails Ruby’s @ Gammel Strand: This is a bar decorated exactly like an old apartment. The cocktails are great and the interior is cosy.
    – For dinner Gorm’s @ Magstræde: They have specialized in gourmet Italian, prices are fair and the restaurant is again really really cosy.
    – For Breakfast and brunch: Granola @ Vesterbro. In general Vesterbro, Istedgade the end away from Central St. is great, with edgy shops and the best caffees and nice places to hang out for dinner or cocktails around Halmtorvet and Kødbyen (The old meat district, with heaps og restaurants, bars, clubs and caffees in the old factories).
    For shopping: Grønlykke and a lot of small stores @ Strædet. Furthermore Plint @ Købmagergade is great, and Pang @Christianshavn
    For other great small shops wander the streets of Frederiksberg, and Nørrebro (Elmegade among others).
    For coffee after sightseeing Mormor’s (Grandmom’s in English) almost right beside the castle Amalienborg. It’s decorated with oldschool granny stuff.
    For jazz on Wednesdays: La Fontaine @Strædet
    For great Scandinavian Design: Illums bolighus @Strøget
    For nice clothes and more shopping: Silkegade, Pilestræde, Vognmagergade etc
    For second hand shops: Larsbjørnstrædet, and the area called Pisserenden.
    That’s all from me, I hope you have a great time here in CPH :)
    Best regards

  • Reply Shalagh Hogan June 11, 2013 at 3:44 am

    So glad to hear you and Thorsten are road tripping. I laughed at the “honey can you stop for…” part. It was how we traveled Ireland and I found out I could travel with the man so I married him.
    I look forward to seeing and hearing about your travel adventures. Beach is relaxing. I live 45 min. from the Atlantic Ocean and we still get there maybe only twice a year.
    Enjoy staying at a stylists place. Looks like you’ve got more than enough referrals for places to eat and see.
    Skoll, Hollie and Thorsten.

  • Reply lisa :: the red thread June 11, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Oh I forgot to say that Justina Blakeney just spent 6 weeks in Copenhagen and has put together the best little e-book on her favourtite shops. Yay!

  • Reply Leslie June 11, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Don’t miss Saltimporten Canteen in Malmo, they are wonderful chefs!

    See the link for an article in Bon Appetit.


  • Reply Ria June 11, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Oh Holly, your post is so wonderful and brings me back to Denmark at once. We´ll spend two weeks in August nearby Ringkobing at the Northseeside and I just smell the salty air and hear the waves rolling to the cost. The best thing in Denmark beneath the friendliest folk, the seaside and the sun (we are lucky enough to sunbath at every vacation until it was rainy in Germany) are the gosh fleamarkets were I found just the things seeing in magazines and books for a penny. My kids and my husband already knows that we only could have little luggage to have place enough in the car for my “findings”!
    I´m happy that you´ll drive to Denmark, because YOU teached us at Blog Boss the importance to have vacation and a break sometimes…
    Best regards, Ria

  • Reply Clara June 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Holly,

    A couple of cool places we visted in CPH last year…. Dyrehaven in Vesterbro is a really nice cafe by day/bar by night and the best pizza is at Mother in Kødbyen.
    Have a great time ! : )

  • Reply Pernilla June 11, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Don’t miss the fabulous modern art museum called Louisiana in Humlebaeck on the coast just south of Helsingör. Lovely museum, beautiful garden by the sea, good restaurant.
    Thank you for all the inspiration you pass on through your work!
    Enjoy Scandinavia!

  • Reply Lisa June 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Malmoe tips!

    Just next to “Lilla torg” (where all the tourists go) you find the best restaurant in Malmoe: Bastard. Fantastic food and great atmosphere! If you want to sit outside – again, avoid Lilla torg and go to Café Siesta (it’s a restaurant) on the next street. Sit on a beautiful street among old Swedish houses.

    Have a nice trip!

  • Reply Angela June 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I am so jealous!
    Copenhagen is one of my favourite cities.
    Scandinavia is the best!

  • Reply Pysselbolaget June 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I always visit for books, for interior design and for graphic design. Don’t forget to visit Louisiana museum, a short train trip from Copenhagen.

  • Reply sam June 12, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Hi Holly,

    Sounds like a wonderful vacation to Denmark/Sweden you’ve got planned! I’d love to share some of my Copenhagen and Malmö tips, so here they are:

    Torvehallerne (especially Gorm’s for pizza, Un Mercato)
    Rue Verte,
    Beau Marché, gorgeous store and cafe,
    Bibendum, wine bar,
    The Log Lady, bar and cafe, Studiestræde 27, 1450 Copenhagen
    Fil de Fer, gorgeous vintage store,
    Kalaset, great brunch cafe (blueberry pancakes and brunch plates are fantastic) also good for burgers later on,
    Sticks’n’Sushi, great sushi,

    Blomster Pigan, gorgeous florist right near the central station,
    Coffee Maniac, fantastic coffee and excellent toasted sandwhiches,
    Slottsträdgårdens Kafe, cafe set in beautiful gardens,
    Lilla Svarta, lovely store, women’s fashion, some homewares,
    Double Standard, great store, women’s fashion, accessories, some homewares,

    And of course we would absolutely love it if you visited our store in Malmö, Petite Violette!

    Have a wonderful vacation you two!

    All the best,

  • Reply Bea June 13, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Here are some Malmö tips:

    An absolute must is Dolce Sicilia, right on the square Drottningtorget. They make to die for, handmade Sicilian gelato, also great coffee! They also have a second location in Västra hamnen.

    For second hand/antique book stores, take a stroll along Helmfeldtsgatan, near the Opera house. There are several there as well as ceramic and various boutiques.

  • Reply fenny setiawan June 13, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I always want to go to Scandinavian area, such as Denmark and Sweden, I heard it is a very child friendly country. I know someday I will be able to visit with my family. So enjoy your holiday :).

    This Summer we are going to Western Australia to enjoy a mild Winter. Yes, we love Winter haha, because Malaysia is always a Summer place. We will do a road trip to the South and having a farm stay in the winery village for three days, then spend the next five days in PERTH to relax and meeting some friends and relatives. We rent a holiday home in Perth, it will be our first time to stay at Holiday home as normally we always opted for hotel.

    Kinda of excited :)

  • Reply Vera June 13, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Hello Holly,

    I was about to go to Copenhagen for a romantic week end wi with my husband, who was there for work, and I was all packed, when the vulcano Eyjafjoll erupted in Iceland, and I had to cancel… Week-end with my mother in law and my three bambini instead! Oh well.

    I don’t think anyone mentioned this restaurant yet:

    You’ll have to book in advance, though…Noma was voted the “world’s best restaurant” by the british magazine Restaurant.
    It’s about 200Eur/person for a menu (without drinks);.ouch!
    Hope you have a great time in Copenhagen, I might see it some day!

    I love what you do! Great inspirations. Thank you :-)

    Vera (in Poitiers, France)

  • Reply sam June 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Forgot to mention, if you are in Malmö you could also visit the studio/gallery of Ann-Katrin Braf who makes the gorgeous white ceramic rabbit lamps sold by Anthropologie. It’s at Västra Rönneholsvägen 35, not far from the centre at all.

  • Reply Justina June 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    @lisa :: the red thread: Thanks for this–anf I’m so excited for you Holly! What an amazing little getaway you’re gonna have– and yes you will love BLACK!

  • Reply Heidi June 13, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I would definitely recommend visiting Jægersborggade in the Nørrebro neighbourhood of Copenhagen. They have beautiful shops (eg. Vincents for the beautiful, delicately thin ceramics), great restaurants (Manfreds, Relæ), and amazing coffee (Coffee collective regularly wins barrista competitions, and their beans and coffees are just delightful). The street has a really cool and positive vibe, and it’s just great to see so much life and all the successful little shops that have popped up over the past few years.

    For Danish smørrebrød, I would second Clara’s recommendation for Dyrehavn. I also really like Rabes have though, which is more of an old sailors joint with lots of patina. I bet your husband would be happy with either of the places :)

  • Reply Therese June 13, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    And when you go to visit Anne Black’s place, go for a walk 300 m up the road, and visit me in my shop “Sikka”.

    Gammel Kongevej, are full of great shops and also Værnedamsvej is worth a closer look.

    I hope you enjoy your stay in Denmark – and that you are lucky with the weather :-)


  • Reply Desiree June 14, 2013 at 12:37 am

    We were just in Copenhagen with a top team of international bloggers to discover Danish design and the city is just amazing. To be honest it felt a bit like Amsterdam and I think also the people are a bit alike and free as the Dutch

    i really felt at home and we enjoyed some pretty good things. Host also fot me was a dream come true It is beautiful :)

    Lucky you to go onto vacation to Denmark , I am drooling over Scandinavian summer home pictures and lifestyle for years Enjoy!

    • Reply decor8 June 14, 2013 at 9:42 am

      @Desiree – That sounds like a fun blogger’s trip! Those blog tours are pretty cool, it’s smart that companies are sponsoring them to gain more exposure. I’m glad you had a good time! I’ve been to Denmark several times, I live so close – I really love Copenhagen. It’s funny though, to me it felt nothing like Amsterdam. The people were so much different and the way they look and dress and act. Also the shops had a different feeling to me too. But this is just as an American speaking – it’s what my own eyes see and what I felt as I walked around. When I was in Copenhagen I kept thinking that it felt really unique and unlike any place I’d been before!

  • Reply Bea June 14, 2013 at 12:51 am

    @Bea: Oh, one more tip, this is for Copehagen, visit the beautiful art museum Glyptoteket , centrally located: They also have a stunning café with fountains, palm trees and sculptures, just check out the pictures on the website to get an idea.

  • Reply Laura / June 17, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Hi Holly

    Allow me to drop a few links, since this comment othervise would be to long.

    My ten top interior shops in Copenhagen you will find here

    Download sweet Fridas issue #3 of her Trendenser for IPad, and find our guide for the Capital

    Make an appointment here

    You will love it!

    Lots of sweets/ Laura

  • Reply Laura / June 19, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Oh, and Holly. This sweet little book just came out. Pretty much the answer to your needs.

    Have a sweet trip/Laura

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