´Tis is the season to be jolly! There is nothing better than the smell of Glühwein, roasted chestnuts and Christmas carols to get one in the Christmas spirit. These, and so much more, can be found in our favorite Christmas markets in our destinations across Europe. Here, we have gathered some of our favorites and we hope that you‘ll be able to enjoy them as much as we do.
The city of Vienna is well known for its christmas markets andIt’s no wonder!. The christmas markets are an old tradition that can be traced all the way back to the year 1298!! Unsuprisingly, these markets have really changed since then (although still have a traditional vibe!) and nowadays you can find over 20 christmas markets in the city. Our favorite market is The Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of the City Hall. Inside the City Hall you will find an area dedicated to children, where they can learn how to bake christmas cookies and make candles. Another great market is the Christmas Village in the Former General Hospital. This market is smaller and has a very traditional Viennese atmosphere to it and this is where you will find amazing Glühwein.
For more information on opening hours and markets: https://www.austria.info/uk/things-to-do/skiing-and-winter/christmas-markets/christmas-markets-in-vienna
In Prague, Christmas markets can be found almost everywhere across the city, from the famous Old Town Square to Náměstí Republiky. The biggest and the most popular market is by far the Old Town Square. There you will find daily carols being sung, stalls selling traditional Czech crafts and of course a huge Christmas tree. If you are a foodie and want to try Prague‘s festive food we recommend that you check out the market at Náměstí Republiky. Remember to try Becherovka, a herbal liqueur that is usually mixed with coffee, and Pražská Šunka, prague‘s famous Christmas ham.
For more information on opening hours and markets: http://www.myczechrepublic.com/prague/christmas-markets.html
This beautiful city transforms into a winter wonderland during the Christmas season. Our favorite Christmas market is The Basilica Christmas Market which is located on the square in front of St. Stephen‘s Basilica. You will find more than 150 stalls with beautiful hand-made products, especially those made by the skillful members of the Hungarioan Folk Artists. You will have to try a Hungarian delicacy called the Chimney Cake in English, which is sold in many of the stalls in the market and is wonderful to eat while you stroll through the market! Right in the middle of the market there is an ice-skating rink that is wonderful for the children to try and is free for those under the age of 14.
For more information on the opening hours and markets: http://budapestchristmas.com/budapest-basilica-christmas-market
If you are visiting Copenhagen in November or December you must visit Copenhagen‘s famous Tivoli Gardens. The theme park transforms into a winter wonderland and inside you will find a Chrismas market, incredible Christmas lights displays, trees covered in snow, Glühwein sold on every corner and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a reindeer or two! The market itself has over 60 stalls that sell gifts, decorations, arts and crafts and yummy snacks that will get you into the Christmas spirit. This year, the Nutcracker will be shown in the Tivoli Concert Hall and it is a show that is not to be missed.
For more information on opening hours, prices and events: https://www.tivoligardens.com/en/saesoner/jul
Budapest is a great city to explore by bike! The number of cycle lanes and cyclists have really grown in the last couple of years. Biking has become a fashionable and sustainable way to get around the city.
There are over 250 km of bike paths crisscrossing the city and bike-friendly areas are becoming increasingly common. Bike paths are usually detached from the sidewalks with markings or poles, and they are often separated from car traffic.
Where to bike
If you are going to rent a bike on your own, we recommend biking along the Danube, which is part of the EuroVelo route, stoping for a nice cup of coffee in one of the bike friendly cafés along the way. However, the Danube does split into two; Pest, fairly hilly trails in the west and Buda, a flatter terrain in the east. Pest is where you are more likely to find popular tourist sites, yummy cafés, and restaurants.
Some of our other favorite places to bike are Margaret Island (cars are banned from the island which makes biking a dream) and the City Park. Margret Island is a beautiful little green island where you can really enjoy the open space and escape from it all. We recommend that you take your lunch with you and enjoy a picnic.
If you want to bike away from the busy city we can recommend two paths to take. One of them goes along Szilas Creek and it will lead you to Lake Naplás, a stunning place which is home to a variety of flora and fauna, especially birds. Lake Lupa is another great spot to visit and you should absolutely take the ferry to Lupa Island. There you will find a quiet white sand beach, palm trees, parasols and cocktails.
If you are really into biking, you should follow the EuroVelo route even further and visit all of the 10 countries the route goes through…. just an idea :)
Nova Fairy Tales bike tours
Although beer biking has become increasingly popular across Eurpoe (who doesn’t like the combination of two such popular hobbies?!), but most districts in Budapest have now banned beer bikes). So we recommend that you try and keep beer and biking separate, for now, and join our bike tours! With us you can explore this fantastic city and at the end of your 3 hour adventure with us we can recommend some great bars to enjoy a beer or two…... or five! We always say: bike responsibly! Leave the beers till last!
On our 3-hour bike tour you will get to see many of Budapest’s main attractions that are difficult to discover on foot in one day. If you are not very comfortable about stepping on a bike in the city, not to worry! You guide will go over the bike rules and help you pick the right bike for you. It is a great way to enjoy the lovely city of Budapest. The tour starts off by riding along the Andrássy Avenue where you’ll find some amazing Hungarian architecture, at the end of the avenue you will reach Heroes Square and the City Park. You will also get a chance to see the Parliament of Hungary, the Opera House and the House of Terror museum. You will also get a chance to ride along the beautiful Danube riverside where you can admire and take pictures of the beautiful bridges and the thousand years history of the city. As well as the main sights of Budapest, our tours will also help you find some hidden gems that you might not otherwise stumble across.
Our bike tours will let you explore the best of Budapest in a fun (and fast) way!
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
Traditional Danish Cuisine
Many Danish cuisine recipes nowadays originate from the Viking era. For Vikings, it was a necessity to preserve food — meat, fish, dairy, fruits and vegetables alike. Therefore their food was mostly salted, pickled, marinated or dried so that it could be kept for a long time. While Danish cuisine was inherited from the Viking era, it has been adjusted to the modern Danish taste buds. When visiting Denmark, especially Copenhagen, it is a must to pay a visit to a traditional restaurant, as Danish and Nordic cuisine has become increasingly popular worldwide and in Copenhagen you get the opportunity to sample some!
Some of the most traditional Danish dishes, can probably be found in any traditional Danish restaurant. Smørrebrod (an open sandwich) is one that Danes love, and eat at any time of the day. It is rye bread buttered and garnished with a variety of ingredients—meat, fish, eggs, vegetables etc. Stegt flæsk med persillesovs (fried pork with parsley gravy) is not as well-known to the outside world, but it is considered Denmark’s national dish. Another favorite is frikadeller, which is fried meatballs (pork) or fishballs (fiskefrikadeller).
Even though Denmark is one of the most environmentally conscious countries in the world, it is also one with the highest meat consumption per capita in the world (even though it has been falling continuously). Of course, this means that in almost all traditional Danish dishes there is some kind of meat. However, vegetarians are just as easily able to find something to eat too! An example of vegetarian restaurants would be Veve (set menu: 750 dkk). It offers a special experience to its customers and its menu is inspired by kitchens from all around the world.
Restaurant Schønnemann is one of the oldest restaurants in Copenhagen, established in 1877. It is a lunch-only destination and is well known for its wide variety of choices, its delicious open sandwiches (smørrebrod), and for its seafood dishes.
Another restaurant with typical Danish dishes is Restaurant Puk, which offers many exciting choices for those wanting to sample something traditional. Both these restaurants offer high quality food with medium prices.
New Nordic cuisine
In recent years some Danish chefs have been part of the New Nordic Cuisine movement, which is an innovative way of cooking based on high quality and local production. The restaurant that took the lead and had a great impact on the success of the New Nordic Cuisine movement was the internationally acclaimed, two Michelin star restaurant noma (set menu: 2,250 DKK). Noma (short for Nordisk mad – Nordic food) was ranked the world’s best restaurant in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. Before it closed down in 2016 (in order to reopen with a new concept in 2018), it had two stars in Guide Michelin Nordic Cities for 2015 and 2016. After its huge success noma opened a spin-off restaurant 108 (full tasting menu: 1,950 DKK) in 2016, which has already been awarded with one Michelin star.
Other Danish restaurants that follow the New Nordic Cuisine are Geranium, Restaurant AOC, and Radio. Geranium (set menu: 2,500 DKK) has a very dynamic style and its chef Rasmus Kofoed, considered one of the world’s best chefs, tries to involve all the senses in the restaurant’s dishes. Radio (set menu: around 400 DKK) was established by the famous chef Claus Meyer. All ingredients are organic, Danish, and contribute to an extraordinary taste experience.
Traditional with a twist
The Standard is a Michelin awarded restaurant situated right next to the main Copenhagen canal. In Almanak (set menu: 1,195 DKK) you can eat ”food that a grandmother would have made if she had known what we know today”, or you can have a taste experience like never before in Studio (set menu: 1,300 DKK), with dishes that represent Danish nature.
One of the most well-known pastries is a “Danish”. What is surprising however, is that a “Danish” is not Danish! The Danes call it Wienerbrød because it actually originates from Vienna. The danish came to Denmark in 1850 during a bakers’ strike. Bakery owners had to hire bakers from abroad, especially Austrian bakers, who started making Wienerbrød. The Danes liked it so much that they started asking for it even after the strike and the recipe was adjusted to the Danish liking.
Lagkagehuset is a pastry house, with locations all around town, where you can find many pastries, bread, cakes and desserts if you are hungry while walking around Copenhagen! Lagkagehuset is also located at our walking tour start point - try it out!
Lakrids (liquorice) is relished by the Danes! It comes salty, sour, sweet, fruity, chili or chocolate coated. So many different flavors! The best lakrids you can find is at Lakrids by Johan Bülow (from around 80 DKK).
Of course, Danish cuisine is not only about fancy restaurants. The Danes also love their street food. There are hot-dog stands (Pølsevogne) all over the centre of Copenhagen. On Amagertorv 31 there is an organic hot-dog stand called DØP (Den Økologiske Pølsemand) (30-50 DKK). It was established in 2009 by Claus Christiansen; all bread and sausage recipes are his own, and his hotdogs are said to be the best in town! In Denmark there is an obsession with sausages (pølser in Danish), maybe even as much as in Germany. Rød-pølse (red sausage) is one of the local favorites and you can find it at any hotdog stand.
There are also many food halls in Copenhagen. A popular and very central one is Torvehallerne. There you can find stands with traditional Danish food such as Smørrebrød, but also different cuisines from other countries. Another food market, which opened in 2017, is Tivoli Food Hall – a great way to enjoy lunch in Copenhagen from all over the world and have fun in one of the oldest amusement parks in the world!
If you prefer a more rough setting you should check out Reffen Street Food market.
Danes like to have a drink during their meals. Usually, and especially during celebrations, they have “snaps”. In Denmark Akvavit (in Latin this means water of life, how ironic…) is always used for “snaps” and is considered the national drink. Don’t forget to “Skål!” (cheers) whenever you drink “snaps”!
Denmark also has a long history of beer brewing. It has Carlsberg (probably) the best beer in the world, Tuborg (which is beloved, especially for its annual Christmas beer), and many microbreweries that are growing in number and strength. A great place to try some beers would be Brus or BrewPub, which also has a restaurant and a great courtyard to enjoy a beer during the sunny summer days in Copenhagen!
The Danes have made food an experience and a pleasure for the senses. If you are wondering what to eat in Copenhagen and you are a foodie you shouldn’t miss visiting at least one of the places listed above or trying some of our traditional Danish food suggestions. You won’t be disappointed!
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 :-)