Good design is part of the Scandinavia DNA, which makes shopping - or even just window shopping – an absolute pleasure. From tried-and-true classics to up-and-coming talent, this is where you will find Scandinavia's best style buys.
How to shop: Helsinki
Start here: Stroll along the lovely Esplanadi boulevard to find Finland's biggest brands, including the flagship stores of Marimekko (Mikaelsgatan 1, marimekko.com) and Iittala (Pohjoisesplanadi 25, iittala.com). Finnish furniture company Artek also has its HQ nearby, but we love the Artek 2nd Cycle shop off Mannerheimintie (Pieni Roobertinkatu 4-6, artek.fi, open Thursday to Saturday only), which has seconds and vintage pieces from designers such as Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen. More quality Finnish brands can be found in the Stockmann department store (Aleksanterinkatu 52B, stockmann.com/fi).
Then try: The Design District is the place to find young Finnish designers. For easy-to-pack souvenirs, visit textiles specialists Kauniste (Fredrikinkatu 24, kauniste.com) and Johanna Gullichsen (Fredrikinkatu 18, johannagullichsen.com). If pressed for time, shops like Lokal (Annankatu 19, lokalhelsinki.com) and Made in Kallio (Vaasankatu 14, madeinkallio.com) stock the work of a range of local talents.
One more thing: If cute cards and wrapping paper make your heart beat faster, pay a visit to Papershop (Fredrikinkatu 18, papershop.fi).
How to shop: Copenhagen
Start here: Georg Jensen is one of Denmark's most successful exports, known for his elegant jewellery and flatware. His Copenhagen headquarters (Amagertorv 4, georgjensen.com) is a good place to start any Danish design odyssey. From here, it is an easy stroll to Illums Bolighus (Amagertorv 10, illumsbolighus.com), a beloved homewares haven that offers floor after floor of furniture, textiles, jewelleries and other delights.
Then try: Best of the new breed of design emporia is the marvellous multi-storey Hay (Østergade 61, hay.dk), where you will find everything from sofas to sheets to stationery, all with a clean yet funky aesthetic. Another must-visit is Designer Zoo (Vesterbrogade 137, dzoo.dk), which offers artists and designers workshop space as well as selling their wares. For more fresh takes on design trends, try Normann Copenhagen (Østerbrogade 70, normann-copenhagen.com).
One more thing: Ceramicist Anne Black doesn't just sell her own work at Black (Gammel Kongevej 105, blackcph.com); she also stocks well-chosen homewares and fashion pieces from across the globe.
How to shop: Stockholm
Start here: First stop for many design aficionados is Svenskt Tenn (Strandvägen 5, svenskttenn.se), where Josef Frank's famous (and famously expensive) textiles, featuring tulips, parrots and elephants, are on display. Right next door, Malmstenbutiken (Strandvägen 5b, malmsten.se) showcases the work of another Swedish design icon, furniture designer Carl Malmsten. For contemporary design, head to the ever-inviting DesignTorget (Kungsgatan 52, designtorget.se). Its colourful range, from shelving to sunglasses, makes this budget-friendly retailer one-stop shopping at its best.
Then try: For stylishly printed fabrics, ceramics and jewellery, head to HAPPYsthlm (Stora Nygatan 36, happysthlm.se). Handmade housewares are available at Iris Hantverk (Kungsgatan 55, irishantverk.se/en); their wooden brushes are absolute classics. Fans of hipster chic will want to head to Grandpa (Sodermannagatan 21, grandpa.se), which stocks a well-chosen selection of vintage items and accessories as well as jewellery and fashion.
One more thing: The café/retail store is a favourite Scandi hybrid, and Snickarbacken 7 (Snickarbacken 7, snickarbacken7.se) is a favourite, beloved for its coffee and its Gothic arches as well as its mix of art, gadgets and furniture.
How to shop: Oslo
Start here: A good overview of local talent is on display at Norway Designs (Stortingsgata 28, norwaydesigns.no), which has been showcasing all sorts of design – from ceramics to stationery, kitchenware to fashion – for 60 years. More local glass, ceramics and utensils can be found at the GlasMaganiset department store (Storetorvet 9, glasmagasinet.no), which stocks local brands such as Wik & Walsøe and Hadeland Glassverk.
Then try: Style bible Monocle is a big fan of Pur Norsk (Industrigata 36, purnorsk.no), and it's not hard to see why. The ever-changing range includes everything from toys to T-shirts, kitchenware to furniture. Other well-curated design shops include the whimsical Ting (Akersgata 18, ting.no), its sister shop for children, Små Ting (ting.no/smating-oslo) – look for the charming costumes from Ugly Children's Clothing – and Røst (Prinsens gate 22, butikkenrost.no), the place to pick up sleek homewares.
One more thing: Fuglen (Universitetsgata 2, fuglen.no) is a Clark Kent-type venue: café by day, cocktail bar at night. It is decked out with a mouth-watering range of vintage Scandinavian furnishings, crockery and glasses, all of which are for sale.
This article brought to you by Viking cruises.