The Finns drink an awful lot of coffee. It is undoubtedly the national drink of choice, and in fact it’s such a popular beverage that the Finns drink more coffee per capita than anyone other nation in the world – 12kg per person per year to be precise! Coffee is such a way of life for most people in Finland that scheduled coffee breaks during work hours are the absolute norm. Coffee breaks are often called aamukahvi, and these are frequently social affairs where many people get together and enjoy a warm cup.Just as the English have afternoon tea, the Finns also have a coffee table for special events.The coffee table is almost exactly the same as an English afternoon tea (sandwiches, cakes, sweet treats), except of course that coffee instead of tea is the main attraction.
The Finns like their coffee quite lightly roasted (especially when compared to neighbouring to Sweden, where a much darker roast is preferred); while you can get darker roasts, the lighter are much more common. The traditional way of brewing coffee in Finland is very similar to that of Turkish coffee.
With coffee being such a popular and ingrained aspect of Finnish life, it stands to reason that when you travel to Helsinki you can find a pretty decent cup of coffee! In fact, in the last decade the Finnish coffee culture has bounded right into the wonderful world of unique, artisanal, and independent cafes, and that means you’re never too far away from a great cup of coffee. So here are some very nice places you can go in Helsinki and enjoy a relaxing coffee time.
Kaffecentralen is a small chain of three cafes in Helsinki and their coffee is always made lovingly by top-notch baristas who really care about the quality of their coffee. Centrally located, you get not only well-priced coffee but also the chance to buy a great range of coffee accessories. Moko is a fabulous concept store/coffee shop fusion, and here you can get a great coffee as well as browse their fantastic range of homewares, fashion and bits and bobs from around the world. At Cafetoria you can get locally roasted, award-winning coffee from a small company that really knows their stuff. Here you will find lots of different origins and varieties of coffee to choose from, as well as lots of accessories.
If you want a visual as well as taste sensation, you can’t go past Andante, a coffee shop and flower shop all in one, where the coffee is as fantastic as the flowers are beautiful. There are also a whole host of beautiful accoutrements you might want to buy for the coffee lover in your life!
If you want a truly special meal to go with your coffee, Cargo is an absolute must! This vegetarian coffee shop and restaurant uses seasonal produce, and not only does a great coffee, but also fresh juices, sweet treats and offers breakfast and lunch.
If you’re after a coffee shop with a completely different vibes, Helsinki has lots of those too! Café Regatta is a truly fantastic experience. A little red cottage over-looking the sea, Café Regatta is opened year round, and offers guest a special atmosphere and delicious traditional treats to accompany your coffee. You can grill your own sausages year-round and in the summer you can enjoy a relaxing day by the water, even hiring a variety of boats to make the most of your time by the seaside. IhanaKavila is another unique experience, being a coffee shop inside an old shipping container. The surrounding area is set for future redevelopment, but in the mean time is home to an urban streetscape, with graffiti fences, communal gardens, street art and skateboarding parks, along with lots of outdoor events in the summer. It’s a great atmosphere and a completely different experience from a city corner café. For yet another completely different vibe, head on over to Café Vanille, a beautiful and very traditional coffee shop with a range of homemade treats, which is set in a little wooden cottage in the old Russian Quarter on the islands of Suomenlinna.
The perfect accompaniment to a fantastic cup of coffee is a fantastic sweet treat. Finland certainly doesn’t disappoint in this department, and you should make the most of finding the best cup of coffee by also finding your favourite Finnish treat! Like other countries in the region, Finland does a roaring trade in buns. Korvapuusti (cinnamon/cardamom buns) and mustikkapulla (blueberry buns) are a quintessentiallyScandinavian delicacy that no travel adventure would be complete without. Likewise, don’t forget to tuck into another regionalfavourite, fruit pie, particularly lingonberry, blueberry or apple (they’re even better if you’re lucky enough to try one which has been homemade).
For those partial to pancakes, it’s well worth trying out two local favourites, which you may find are a bit different to what you are used to at home. A pannukakku is a fat pancake baked in an oven and served with berry coulis. Similar to a crepe, a sultsina is made of rye flour and served with copious quantities of fresh cream and cinnamon sugar. Also delicious is omenalörtsy, donut-like parcels filled with sweet apple filling.
If you’re after something really decadent and typically Finnish, you can’t go past a lakkakakku (a cloudberry cake with slatherings of whipped cream) or a täytekakku (layers of sponge cake soaked in sweet liquid, usually milk or juice, alternating between layers of fresh fruit and mounds of fresh cream. Also a traditional dish, and something distinctly Finnish is vispipuuro, made from lingonberries and semolina, or Hanna-tädinpikkuleivät, little biscuits made with potato flour. If you are lucky enough to be in this wonderful northern country around Christmas time, be sure to try not only the local gingerbread biscuits, piparkakku, but also joulutorttu, pinwheeled tarts filled with prune jam.
Wherever you go for coffee, and whichever treat you choose to make your coffee that extra bit special, we know you’ll find the perfect place when you visit Helsinki to relax, and enjoy the local coffee scene and Finnish culture!
Many of Oslo‘s restaurants rely on typical Norwegian flavours, ingredients and culinary traditions when it comes to their food. Here we will introduce you to some of the traditional Norwegian food and dishes as well as recommend some of the best restaurants in Oslo.
Traditional Norwegian food
Norway‘s traditional cuisine is based mostly on fish, meat and fresh seasonal vegetables. According to local history, Norwegian cuisine originates from the time of the Vikings, about 1000 years ago. To some, these dishes might seem familiar, whilst to others they might appear wierd and wonderful. As far as we’re concerned, just dig in and enjoy the experience!
If you are interested in trying some of these traditional dishes we recommend Kaffistova ($$-$$$), Sofie‘s Mat og Vinhus ($), and Restaurant Schrøder ($$-$$$). Dovrehallen ($$-$$$) has food at a good price and the Frognerseteren Café and Restaurant ($$-$$$) has a great view over the city and itself mimics a cute Norwegian cabin.
Modern food & beer
Maaemo ($$$$$) is probably the most famous restaurant in Oslo. It has three Michelin stars and they only use norwegian ingredients in their cuisine.
If Maaemo isn‘t within your price-range there are many great restaurants, eateries, foodhalls and bakeries to look to on almost every corner. For vegan/vegetarian options there is the Kasbah ($$-$$$) and if you want to have some great Italian pizzas with a Scandinavian touch we recommend Den Gode ($). The options are endless and it is hard to get dissapointed with Oslo’s food offerings.
If you like food markets, we can recommend Fisketorget ($$-$$$) for some great Nordic seafood dishes. Mathallen Oslo ($$-$$$) is where you will find gourmet restaurants and shops, whilst Vippa Mathall ($) offers great eats from all over the world.
For those who are interested in local breweries, here are some of the best places to try Noway’s beer: Oslo Mikrobryggeri ($$-$$$), Amundsen Bryggeri & Spiseri ($$-$$$), Grunerløkka Brygghus ($$-$$$) and Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri ($$-$$$), which is one of Oslo‘s favorite place to party.
Videocredit: Bleed / True stories / Visitnorway.com
Copenhagen is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. This is understandable as the city is super flat, making biking very easy. Copenhagen is also covered with around 350 km of designated bike lanes, which are raised from the road and are very safe to ride on.
Even though Copenhageners love to complain about the weather, that doesn’t stop them from riding their bikes every day, no matter how bad the weather is (below zero, rain, snow, and wind). Copenhageners just love their bikes!
A third of the population commutes to work every day by bike. The bike culture is so strong that bikes have not only outnumbered cars in Copenhagen, but also people! There are 40,000 more bikes than people in central Copenhagen. So what better way to explore this wonderful city than by bike? Let’s see what is important to know when biking in Copenhagen for the first time.
Find a bike in Copenhagen
The first thing to do is to find a bike! There are many options for renting a bike in Copenhagen such as bike shops and online rentals. If you are staying in Copenhagen for longer than two weeks even buying a second hand bike wouldn’t be a bad idea!Rent a bike in Copenhagen The average cost is around 90kr for a day’s bike rental in Copenhagen and 350kr for a week. Always have a test drive before leaving the bike shop to make sure it’s working properly!
Here are some bike rental options to check out:
Biking rules in Copenhagen
It’s very important to be aware of cycling rules when biking in Copenhagen if you want to stay safe, not get a fine, and don’t want to hear any curses from the locals!
#1 You must keep on the right side of the lane
#2 Before you stop, you first have to raise your hand to warn cyclists behind you
#3 Give hand signals to the left or right before turning
#4 Watch over your left shoulder before overtaking cyclists
#5 Always overtake other cyclists on the left
#6 Do not ride against the traffic flow or on sidewalks/pavements, pedestrian crossings or pedestrian streets
#7 Cycling is not allowed in parks in central Copenhagen
#8 To turn left at an intersection you must first cross to the opposite right corner of the intersection where you stop and wait for the traffic light to change before continuing
#9 A short ring on the bell is often a signal that a cyclist wants to pass – so please keep to the right
#10 From dusk to dawn, bicycles must be equipped with both front and rear bicycle lights
#11 It is prohibited to ride more than one person on a bicycle unless it is a cargo bike or a bicycle with a child seat or a bicycle trailer
#12 Watch out for the bus stops. Always stop when people are about to disembark from the bus!
#13 Use of phones while biking is not allowed. Same goes for headphones.
Wearing a helmet is not compulsory in Denmark. If you would like one though, you can rent them at all bike shops. It is also very important to lock the bike at all times! There are more bike thieves than you would expect in a city where there are more bikes than people!
Bringing a bike on the metro or train in Copenhagen
On the s-train bikes are always allowed free of charge. The only exception is Nørreport Station, where cyclists are not allowed to take their bikes on or off the train during rush hour.
On the metro, cyclists have to buy a ticket (13kr) for their bike. Also, during rush hour, bikes are not allowed in any metro station.
Taking the bike on the buses also allowed. However, there is only space for two bikes on each bus, but you need to also be aware of prams,and rush hour , as buses are usually very crowded. A bike ticket (13kr) is needed, but you can only buy this in the train or metro stations.
Cargo bikes are not allowed on any means of public transportation.
Rush hour is Monday-Friday 07:00-09:00 and 15:30-17:30.
So now that you know everything about biking in Copenhagen, grab a bike and explore all Copenhagen’s attractions on two wheels!
Wondering what to do in Copenhagen? If you would like to have a bike tour and get to know the city through the eyes of a local, Nova Fairy Tales offers one of the best bike tours available in Copenhagen!
We at Nova Fairy Tales are so excited to introduce our new travel blog! We want to truly inspire you when it comes to your travels, and this is where we’ll do it! We want to give you our best recommendations about the cities your visiting, planning a trip to, or dreaming about traveling to one day!
Here is where we will write about some of the historical places we visit on our tours and interesting information/facts about the cities and countries in which we live. We want you to truly experience what these cities have to offer.
We will be giving you great tips about restaurants, cafés, shops, festivals, and places to go to get back to nature. We will give you the inside information from our amazing guides about hidden gems in the cities, so get ready to explore! They know the cities like the back of their hand. Are you excited? Because we sure are :-)