It’s been a great year so far, in terms of trips, and it’s been an interesting challenge to find sustainable vegan food while exploring too!
After going home to Italy in February, I went back to Sweden with my Canadian pals. Last year we went to Gothenburg, this time we went to Stockholm and Copenhagen for a few days at the beginning of May.
I liked Stockholm a lot! I love that it’s a cluster of 14 different islands interlinked by a myriad of beautiful bridges and that it is so bike-friendly. The air was always fresh, it never seemed to be very polluted and I didn’t really see any traffic jams.
We didn’t need to use public transport, we simply hired the Stockholm City Bikes which were surprisingly affordable at 165 SEK or under £15 for 3 days.
We got a card from one of the many 7-11 shops and we were able to cycle up to 3 hours at a time, anytime between 6am til 10pm.
There are bike banks dotted all around the city, we cycled everywhere we wanted to during our stay there and walked the rest of the time. It was lovely to easily rely on bikes to get around.
Cycling also made us realise how surprisingly easy it is to go from the bustling centre to the quiet edge of the city in minutes.
Ideal if you want to have a little break and find some beautiful natural spots.
We got to a path where we could not hear anything but the wind, the water and buoy bells. Incredible :)
When we first got to Stockholm we got some really nice salads and fresh bread from a little supermarket near our hostel. Mine had falafels and spicy houmous – falafel really is the international vegan staple meal! :D
Everyone speaks excellent English so there was no problem at all finding out if something was vegan when I couldn’t figure out what some of the ingredients were. The people I asked were extremely nice and happy to help :)
I also never had so many coffees in a single week in my life! I may have been unconsciously thinking of all the coffee-drinking in the Millenium series / The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy…
Most, if not all cafés had soy milk available so it was easy-peasy to choose a vegan option.
We didn’t have a fixed itinerary, we just cycled and found interesting places in the city.
We did visit one museum, Fotografiska, which had several completely diverse exhibitions which got us talking a lot.
The building really stands out and the view from their café is stunning, so I really recommend it if you have the opportunity to go.
On 30th April, Walpurgis Eve, a night to celebrate the arrival of Spring, we went out looking for the bonfire near where our hostel was in Gamla Stan, but by the time we got there it was less of a bonfire and more like a camping fire…There was a really good atmosphere however, and the fire warmed us up as we felt the light rain and the chilly air of Stockholm on our faces.
During our cycling adventures we also biked past some swamps on our way back from Djurgården, the Royal Park. No landscape was the same, this city has enough to be appealing to any sort of visitor.
Most of the time the weather was good and we enjoyed beautiful views of the city…
… and blue skies.
And now, to the food! :)
We weren’t exactly looking to taste super traditional Swedish food, but rather spontaneously finding places where we fancied eating, so we had amazing pizza for lunch one day…
…Mexican food one night…
…and sometimes we just bought something from the local coop and had a picnic in the
Arctic air fresh breeze outside :)
Prior to our trip I asked our Swedish colleague for some tips on what to do in Stockholm and he recommended several places to eat too, so we went to Flippin’ Burgers in Observatoriegatan.
I had their vegan burger, but I had to have it without the bun as it had milk in it. It was nice and the restaurant has a really cool U.S. diner vibe and they serve milkshakes, floats and lots of different types of beer too.
It’s very, very popular so be prepared to queue up for a little while.
The only place where it was trickier to find vegan food was the airport, the few options included fruit, nuts and these kind of smoothies.
We then flew from Stockholm to Copenhagen – flying was about a quarter of the price compared to taking the train! – and had a great time visiting it, we wished we could have stayed longer…
Everyone seems to be very happy and relaxed in Copenhagen, as opposed to everyone looking so busy and stressed in London…but maybe the fact that we were there at the weekend contributed to that too :)
It was really exciting to walk around the city where some of my favourite series, The Killing and Borgen, are set. I even spotted Pilou Asbæk, who plays Kasper in Borgen, strolling with his family on the bridge opposite Christiansborg Palace, the seat of Danish Parliament ! :D
Copenhagen too is full of full of bridges linking one area to the other, every street also has wide bike lanes and although different sources cite different numbers, I have read that up to 50% of Copenhageners cycle to work.
I actually have never seen as many bicycles as in Copenhagen, not even in Beijing.
Cycling isn’t the only alternative way to see Copenhagen, you can even see it from the river itself…
…or just by being by it.
The Parental leave system in Denmark is very flexible so it was nice and refreshing to see so many men walking around with their children.
We visited the Botanisk Have – Botanical Garden – and it reminded me of Kew Gardens. It’s a beautiful green area in the middle of the city and it was a beautiful day when we went there.
We also strolled around the picturesque Nyhavn for a few hours…
Before going on our trip I had a look on Happy Cow to check a few vegan-friendly places as my friends are super lovely and were more than happy to give them a try.
We went to L’ Appetit in Frederiksborggade, which was so nice, we went there twice! They had vegan-friendly food in big portions for about £7, with choices of veggie burgers, samosas, falafels and 4-5 different salads. The lady working there was really nice and pointed out all the vegan nosh.
I also tried different types of bread from a chain called Holm’s Bager. These were so nice and tasty, I think they were made with different flours, including rye, topped with seeds and oats and filled with raisins and other good stuff.
The lady working there checked which ones were dairy free for me.
And of course, it was very easy to get hold of another usual great vegan snack: nuts! This pot had the ingredients written in English too, could it be any easier to find vegan food in Copenhagen?
We may have spent less than a week away, but this was certainly one of the best trips of my life!
I do love travelling. I personally think it involves different elements that can make you grow as not much else can.
Organising, researching, meeting and talking to new people, seeing and experiencing something new… it can really help open your mind and make you think there are different kinds of life around you… And even if you do happen to have a bad experience, you can learn from it.
After this trip I felt inspired, I loved experimenting with pictures and it makes me feel reassured that it is possible to have more sustainable cities, it can take as little as more safe cycling routes, for example.
Here are some links if you would like to know more about sustainability in Sweden and Denmark:
- Copenhagen – European Green Capital
- Sustainable Projects in Denmark
- Copenhagen Sustainable City Design
I am very happy to have been able to see a little more of Sweden and to walk around Copenhagen, I really cannot wait to go back!
Have you been to a city that is known for its eco credentials?
What do you think are the elements that make a city or country more sustainable? Does it apply to everywhere?