Since we haven’t summed up our travel highlights from 2017 yet, we thought it was high time to publish our travel summary before we start with this year’s travels. So here it goes, these were our 2017 travels:
January – Gdansk
January started with a weekend to Gdansk, actually by chance. The lot fell on Gdansk when Yasmin were browsing through the offers on travel portal Travelbird. She found a deal that included flight tickets, two nights at a 4-star hotel, breakfast buffet and private transfer for only 1500 SEK per person – but more so, it was the possibility to experience a less classical weekend destination that made her click the BUY-button. Located only one hour away from Stockholm by plane, Gdansk attracted her with great food for low-cost, amazing Christmas lightnings and the opportunity to hang out and eat long hotel breakfasts at the newly opened design Hotel Sadova.
Hotel Sadova definitely was a part of shaping her Gdansk experience. The design hotel opened in June 2016, and is located 7 minutes from the city center. The hotel gave a fresh impression; combining industrial and modern interior with facilities like an indoor pool, sauna and an attractive bar.
Curious about visiting Gdansk? Read:
3 Reasons to Visit Gdansk, Poland
Introducing Hotel Sadova: A brand new 4-star design hotel in Gdansk
February – Riga
After only a month into the new year, we had already transformed into Zombie-mode – and desperate times calls for desperate measures! Since we got a deluxe cruise from Tallink Silja when we won the Newcomers 2016-award at Nordic Travel Blog Event, we decided to use it to go to Riga for a quick spa weekend at ESPA Riga. Tallink’s followers were also able to follow us throughout our trip since we did an Instagram-takeover for them – we hope they enjoyed it!
Yasmin’s favorite spa is located in the heart of Riga, on the 6th floor of Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija. She has a yearly tradition to go there with two of her closest friends to get rid of all kinds of ache and misery, and it works like a charm.
Myttinge cottage in Stockholm Archipelago
February also called for a weekend at Myttinge cottage in Värmdö for a couple of relaxing days filled with long walks, drinking coffee in the sun, ice bathing, sauna and eating lots of food. Värmdö is located about 50 minutes by car from Stockholm city, a perfect distance when you’re in the mood for a “mini-getaway”. The interior in the cabin is, along with the beautiful view, is a strong reason why we keep going back (the cabin has even been on the cover of Swedish Elle Interior).
Although Myttinge is cosy in the winter as well, these pictures are from our autumn stay, just to give you an idea of how idyllic this place really is! A more detailed blog post about our first stay in the cabin (our traditional siblings-getaway) can be found here. Please note that the prices have gone up since our last visit to the cabin. Email dennyshouse[at]hotmail.com for reservations.
March, April, May
Since March, April, May were busy working months with not much room for travelling, one of our favourite weekend activities was to try out new restaurants in our hometown Stockholm instead. A couple of our favourite restaurant experiences included the (then) newly opened Paraden (the owners Bockholmengruppen, also stand behind the popular restaurants Nybrogatan 38, Nytorget 6 and Österlånggatan 17), the rollerskating & burger restaurant Rowlers n Bowlers in Huddinge and the New York inspired restaurant ART at Döbelnsgatan 45.
Paraden’s concept is actually pretty cool; it’s built inside an old movie theater from 1932 and has kept a lot of details that will remind you of its history. The theater seating behind me (in the picture above) is just an example.
Take the commuter train about 20 minutes from Stockholm city, and walk right into an American diner. What makes Rollers n Bowlers in Haninge Centrum so unique is not necessarily the diner itself, but their bowling alley and roller skating rink which makes the venue optimal for a full-blown American teenage date night.
June – Madrid
In the beginning of June Sheida went for a weekend to Madrid to visit some of her friends from her study abroad semester in the Netherlands. Her weekend in Madrid can be summarized; tapas, sangria, a heat wave, the search for the perfect risotto and… Ansel Elgort.
The Ultimate Bachelorette Party in Stockholm
In June, we also helped planning the most epic Bachelorette Party in Stockholm for one of our childhood friends who was getting married in July. If you are in need for inspiration or in the midst of planning a bachelorette party make sure to read our post “3 activities for the Ultimate Bachelorette Party“. Some of our stops during the day included spa at Clarion Sign where we had our own bridal suite to get changed and drink champagne, a pre party with a suprise guest at a hotel suite at Scandic Angalis and a dinner that was everything but calm at Ochaya, the “restaurant within the restaurant” at Kasai (which later turns into a nightclub). A dinner here is the perfect choice for anything worth a celebration!
In June, Yasmin went on a weekend to Palma and visited a lot of the recommended places from our Palma-guide that Sheida wrote for Travellink in 2016 (read the Swedish version on Travellink’s blog or the English guide here). She also stayed at the incredible Hotel Saratoga which is conveniently located in the center of Palma with it’s own rooftop pool.
Read more about her Palma weekend:
A Palma weekend in 26 photos
Review of 4-star Hotel Saratoga, Palma de Mallorca
No Palma holiday is complete without a pool day at Puro Beach. The beach club opened 2005 by the Swedish entrepreneur Mats Wahlström as a complement to the concept hotel Puro Hotel.
July – Sailing in Croatia
In July Sheida went to Croatia for a week of sailing in the beautiful Adriatic coast with Loving Sailing. Travelling in Croatia by boat was a fantastic experience and so was sailing! There is just something magical about being out on the ocean and seeing dolphins swimming in the wild, setting anchor and sleep in some small bay with the clearest turquoise water and meeting people from all around the world. This year Loving Sailing is organizing yet another girl’s sailing trip to Greece, so if you have the chance you should really sign up for the trip – it’s bound to be epic!
Sailing is also a great way to experience more of the country you are visiting. During our week we sailed from Trogir to Solta – Stari Gard – Hvar, Komiža – Vis – Šćedro – Hvar (Palmižana) before going back to Trogir. One week felt A LOT longer because everyday we went to a new place and experienced something completely new! We also got a chance to see many beautiful bays and places which would be difficult to explore if we weren’t travelling by boat.
Watch our video from sail week in Croatia here:
Visiting Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel
Another highlight from July was when we visited Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel and interviewed the owner and entrepreneur Fredrik Sandell. Even though we had seen pictures of the Hobbit hotel before we visited, we both were surprised about the striking resemblance when we arrived. It’s almost unreal to see a full-scale replica of the Baggins house in the middle of a residential area in Stockholm. The doors opened in June 2017, but the Bed and Breakfast has already been featured in Swedish local TV (Nyhetsmorgon) and newspapers. And – to the owner Fredrik Sandell’s big surprise – without any real marketing efforts from their side, visitors from all over the world have started to find their way to Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel.
Watch our vlog from the Hobbit Hotel here:
July-August – Balkan Roadtrip
In July-August Yasmin went on a 16 day long Balkan roadtrip with her boyfriend through Montenegro, Albania and Greece. One day they were rafting in the world’s second deepest canyon and the next they were drinking home-made rakija with an 85-year-old uncle in a guest house in the village of Godinje in one of Montenegro’s many national parks.
Read her extensive Roadtrip guides with everything you need to know about road tripping in Montenegro and Albania:
Balkan Tour 2017: Route, budget & practical tips for road tripping in Montenegro & Albania
Balkan Tour 2017: Budva – Montenegro’s Miami
Balkan Tour 2017: Rafting in Tara River Canyon, Montenegro
The highlight from Yasmin’s Balkan roadtrip was rafting in Tara River Canyon. The wetsuit protected large parts of the body from the cold water but not the arms – which is why everyone in the picture are holding their arms up so that they wouldn’t get a shock from the cold temperature.
The story of how Yasmin and her boyfriend ended up at the crazy beach club Ploce when they were actually headed to Hawaii (an island in Budva) for a calm afternoon of sunbathing is actually quite funny. Read more about it in her Budva-guide here.
August – Weekend at Steam Hotel, Västerås
What better way to start the new semester than with a weekend to the newly opened Steam Hotel in Västerås? The hotel is located a one hour drive from Stockholm and suits well for a weekend getaway. One of our favourite things with Steam Hotel was the spa area Voltage Lounge and the heated outdoor pool on floor 7 which is open all year round. Read our review here.
August – Finland
In August we also visited our mum’s hometown Pori, in Finland, for a family reunion with our relatives on our mother’s side. It was nice to come back to Finland for a couple of days of sauna, traditional Finnish food and of course eating Tiikeri-ice cream at the Pellehermanin park.
October – Cavtat & Dubrovnik, Croatia
In October Yasmin went on a weekend to Cavtat & Dubrovnik. Her long weekend in Croatia at the end of October offered sunshine, a magical cliff side bar and lots of seafood! She stayed at a hotel in a small town called Cavtat which is less than 10 minutes by car from Dubrovnik Airport. Apart from spending one full day in Dubrovnik where she went by boat (which took about 1 hour each direction) she just took it easy, read books and even went on Aqua-Zumba (did we mention that she just turned 30 hehe?!)
Buza is a “hole in the wall” bar that can not be missed if you are in Dubrovnik! We can imagine that it is quite crowded here in the summer, but when Yasmin visited the bar off-season it was easy to find a good table without any hassle and enjoy this amazing view.
If you love sushi & oysters we would recommend a lunch at Sushi & Oyster Bar in Dubrovnik! The food, wine and the service was very good during our visit, which compensates for the higher price level compared to many other places in Croatia. The restaurant is centrally located in the old town of Ul. od Pustijerne, 20000 (near the cathedral).
December – Interrail trip through the UK with Europarunt.se
One of the best trips of the year was definitely our “off season” Interrail trip (or should we say Winterrail) through the UK that we did in collaboration with Europarunt.se. Going on a eurotrip in the winter might sound quite odd, but it’s actually something that we can really recommend! Not only is it much less crowded on the trains, the Interrail passes costs less off season, and we never had to reserve a single train seat during our entire trip (meaning: we could be more flexible and also spend money on far funnier things than train reservations!)
We started our trip from London and then took the train through York, Glasgow, Loch Ness and Edinburgh. We and visited countless Christmas markets, crowded pubs, magical winter landscapes in the countryside and not to forget; stayed a night at the Dungeon suite at one of the world’s 25 most haunted hotels!
Read about each of our stops & our Interrail summary here:
Interrail Stop 1: London
Interrail Stop 2: York
Interrail Stop 3: Glasgow
Interrail Stop 4: Loch Ness
Interrail Stop 5: Edinburgh
Interrail Stop 6: Dalhousie Castle, Edinburgh
Summary of our Interrail trip (Including Budget, Route and Practical Tips)
Visiting Loch Ness was a dream come true and staying at Kilmichael b&b where the lovely owner Charlotte worked was a big reason for why Loch Ness has become one of our best travel experiences ever! If you are planning to visit Loch Ness, Kilmichael is the place to stay at!
One of our most memorable memories from our Interrail trip was staying a night at the Dungeon Suite at Dalhousie Castle, one of the world’s 25 most haunted hotels. Did we see a ghost or experience anything paranormal? Read our post to find out!
Have you ever been to any of these places and what are your travel plans for 2018?
Fredrik Sandell, the owner of Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel
Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel has opened – and it’s located in the middle of a residential area in Stockholm suburb Nacka, 15-20-minute drive from the city center. You can now spend the night in a replica of the Frodo and Bilbo Baggins-house, and experience the magical Hobbiton setting IRL. We are Nodes got a grand tour of the 1- room Bed and Breakfast, so join us as we interview the Hobbit Hotel owner, try on the precious ring (!), and learn about hobbit breakfast habits.
Even though we had seen pictures of the Hobbit hotel before we visited, we both were surprised about the striking resemblance when we arrived. It’s almost unreal to see a full-scale replica of the Baggins house in the middle of a residential area in Stockholm. They opened only a month ago, but the Bed and Breakfast has already been featured in Swedish local TV (Nyhetsmorgon) and newspapers. And – to the owner Fredrik Sandell’s big surprise – without any real marketing efforts from their side, visitors from all over the world have started to find their way to Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel. “We had Germans visiting yesterday, and an English couple the week before. I want this to become an international tourist attraction.”
We were super happy to be among the first ones to visit Sweden’s first Hobbit Hotel
Entrepreneurial Lord of the Rings fan
During the time we were visiting, several neighbors stopped by for a chat, and an upcoming guest that had reserved the room for her parents, walked by to say hi and check out the 1-room building. “The interest from neighbours and people walking by has been huge”, Fredrik explains. And we can clearly see why – the hotel is extremely welcoming, and not only because of its extraordinary exterior and interior, but also because of its owner and founder; Fredrik Sandell. He’s a true entrepreneur who has a impressive amount of energy and passion for his project(s). Besides the Hobbit Hotel, he has a full-time job, runs two cafés and trains two soccer teams.
Our first question was of course excatly HOW big of a Lord of the Rings-nerd he is? Fredrik laughs, he has heard the same question many times before. “I wouldn’t describe myself as a hardcore Lord of the ring-fan… Although I have read the books twice, and I stood in line from 4 am to get in to the movie premieres.”
Don’t forget to check out our new vlog from HobbitStockholm!
How it started
Originally, the idea was to build a small apartment for their daughters to stay in when they got older, but the idea quickly evolved to become something bigger – and with time, the Hobbit Hotel was ready to welcome its first guests. However, it took almost 8 months to even get the permit to build the house. At first, Fredrik considered doing only the exterior inspired by the Baggins house, but when he mentioned the idea to his friends, he could tell by their ecstatic reaction that he should go all in with the Hobbit concept. And we’re lucky he did, because the interest for extraordinary and genuine travel experiences is just growing, and we’re confident that the Hobbit Hotel is going to be a huge success!
Fredrik has planned and designed the hotel, which has got underfloor heating, a fridge and freezer, toilet, running water – everything one could need for a comfortable stay. Visitors can try on the “Precious ring” (if they dare), and Fredrik has geared up with plenty of Hobbit and Lord of the Rings video material for the dedicated fans.
Yasmin tried the Hairy Hobbit slippers and pictured herself as a Baggins…
The ultimate Lord of the Rings experience
Here’s how Fredrik recommends his visitors to experience the hotel in the best way possible:
“You come here to unwind, preferably after a full packed day in Stockholm city. You arrive at the Hobbit house, sit down in the patio and pour up a drink (prepared in the fridge) and relax for a while. Later, you out for dinner somewhere nearby, come back home, light the fire and watch Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies as long as you are awake… There are 18 hours of video material! When you wake up the next day, it’s time for breakfast number 1. As you know, hobbits eat two breakfasts, so after the first round, you can take a stroll around the area or go for a swim, and then it’s time for breakfast nr 2, which consists waffles.”
So, for any of our international readers or local followers, make sure to take your Stockholm visit or staycation to a new level! We want to thank Fredrik for the grand tour of the Hobbit house, and we look forward to following him in the future – something tells us this is not the last project he will launch that will take the travel community with storm!
How many can stay in the room: Double bed for 2 persons, plus extra mattresses (maxium of 4 persons)
How to get there: You can take plenty of different buses (409, 471, 414) from Slussen. Jump off at Nacka Forum, and take a short 5-10 minute walk to the house.
Address: Lillängsvägen 91, 131 41 Nacka
Price: From 2000 SEK (200 euro) and up.
Read more about the rates and practical information on their official website: http://www.hobbitstockholm.se/
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