Travel Inspiration

Stockholm vs Copenhagen

Stockholm vs Copenhagen

When it comes to the Scandinavian capitals, you’d be forgiven for getting them a tad mixed up – as a collective they’re architecturally similar, ridiculously clean and well-organised and consistently ranked among the best cities to live in Europe. So when it comes to deciding on a Stockholm vs Copenhagen city break you might just find yourself having a bit of a “potayto, potahto, let’s just go where the wind blows us” sort of approach. But you’d want to think again, as each have their own distinctive personality. Copenhagen is a petri dish of innovation, where forward-thinking entrepreneurs can be spotted thinking up their next great concept in trendy cafes; Stockholm is more of a shrine to yesteryear, where locals enjoy life much as their forefathers did, enjoying a good smorgasbord (buffet) in a cosy medieval-style tavern. Keep reading to discover the best of both Stockholm and Copenhagen.


  1. For a Traditional Nordic Feel… Stockholm
  2. For a More Contemporary Nordic Feel… Copenhagen
  3. For Nature… Stockholm
  4. For Food… Copenhagen


For a Traditional Nordic Feel… Stockholm

From the Gothic style of the Stockholm Cathedral to the intricate Baroque design of the Royal Palace, Stockholm is a treasure trove of traditional Nordic architecture. To seriously strike gold you’ll want to head to the old town of Gamla Stan, a relatively compact island which is home to the city’s most emblematic toy-town buildings: autumnal-coloured townhouses housing traditional cafes and restaurants. We can arrange for you to be whisked up onto the rooftops with one of our local guides to get a bird’s-eye view of the labyrinthine cobbled streets below and to learn the rags-to-riches tale of one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval centres. The city is also crawling with some of the region’s finest museums and our team of experts can help you pick out the best museums in Stockholm ahead of your trip. When in Copenhagen, the place to be for historic architecture is most definitely around the 17th-century waterfront of Nyhavn Harbour – think charming cages bordered by the gentle canal on the one side a great-big, brightly-coloured townhouses on the other.


For a More Contemporary Nordic Feel… Copenhagen

While Copenhagen still prides itself on preserving its pockets of medieval architecture, the city has more of an eye for what the future holds than the past. Cutting-edge architecture and urban spaces are cropping up across the city – old car parks are being turned into public sports and leisure spaces (Konditaget Lüders and Israels Plads), old museums are being spruced up with juxtaposing extensions (Ordrupgaard Art Museum) and run-of-the-mill residential spaces have been turned into architectural attractions in and of themselves (Dortheavej Residence and BLOX). Make sure to explore the city by bike like a true local. You can enjoy a long cycle ride on the Bicycle Snake, a bridge suspended 20ft above the canal, or make your way through Superkilen, a park designed to celebrate the many communities sharing the city with its hundreds of benches, fountains and playgrounds brought from countries as far-flung as Jamaica,  Thailand and Ethiopia. If you’re keen to soak in a bit of Stockholm’s contemporary spirit, make sure to interweave visits to modernist spaces like the physics-defying Aula Medica and the well-designed Fredriksdal Quay into your itinerary.


For Nature… Stockholm

While both Stockholm and Copenhagen are home to an abundance of pristine parks, nearby beaches and elegant harbours, we’re going to hand the award of best nature to the ‘Venice of the North’: Stockholm. The city itself is made of 14 islands, meaning you’re never far away from a glassy, teal canal, while the Stockholm Archipelago is home to a further whopping 30,000 islands and islets, all of which are accessible by boat. Stockholm’s beaches are also among some of the best in the country, with coastal haunts like Smedsuddsbadet and Langholmsbadet becoming the go-to spots in the summer. Our team of experts can tailor an outdoorsy adventure to your fancy – be that kayaking through the canals to some must-visit sights, jetting off for an evening wildlife safari in the wild nearby forests or enjoying a leisurely cycle ride through the city’s best parks. If you have your heart set on Copenhagen but you’re still keen for a dose of a nature then you still have plenty of options. Take a walk through the wild-flower fields of Søndermarken park, enjoy a cycle ride through the beautiful Dyrehaven deer park or brave a refreshing dip in the havnebad harbour bath.


For Food… Copenhagen

When it comes to the foodie scene of Stockholm vs Copenhagen, it’s not an easy choice, but we’ll hand this one to Copenhagen due to its sheer innovative spirit. The city is a real leader of the sustainable New Nordic movement, which totally rethinks how food is sourced, prepared and experienced. In fact, NOMA – a world-famous culinary institution – recently announced it was closing its doors due to falling short of its sustainability ideals. How’s that for commitment to change? We can arrange to send you on a gastronomic adventure with one of our food-obsessed local guides where you can sample ethically-sourced smoked fish and artisan meats at the Torvehallerne food market, meet entrepreneurs and micro-restaurant representatives at the lovely locavore market and visit microbreweries and concept restaurants in the vibrant foodie neighbourhood of Norrebro. For something a little more high-brow head to Michelin Green-Starred ARK to enjoy a nine-course plant-based tasting menu or to the seriously-immersive Alchemist to savour a whopping 50-course high-concept meal. Stockholm is also a real linchpin in Scandinavia’s fine-dining scene, with notable institutions like Frantzen and Ekstedt demonstrating the city’s dedication to creativity and innovation.


Header image: Dagmar SCHWELLE/LAIF-REA