“If Copenhagen were a person, that person would be generous, beautiful, elderly, but with a flair. A Human being that has a certain propensities for quarrelling, filled with imagination and with appetitive for the new and with respect for the old. Somebody who takes good care of things and of people.” Connie Nielsen.
There are few cities in the world that have captured my imagination and my heart quite like Copenhagen, the stunning Danish capital. Though I was only just there I am already feeling nostalgic for its cobbled streets, coloured houses, beautiful people (seriously Denmark what is in your water that makes people so attractive?) and delicious food. I have had the pleasure of visiting Copenhagen twice, once a few summers ago and then again this Christmas. While there was nothing better that sunny, warm days eating ice-cream by the water I personally am a sucker for European Christmases which despite the cold leaving me feeling warm and happy (perhaps its the Danish “Hygge” – a word unique to their culture describing the happiness you feel by enjoying life’s simple pleasures).
I could write for years about the joys of Copenhagen and I’m afraid this post is already quite a ramble but I hope if there is only one thing you take away from it then this is it; Copenhagen will make you fall in love and leave you wanting more. For those fortunate enough to be visiting, or for those dreaming of an escape, here are some highlights which are not to be missed. Tak Venner!!
If you only get out of bed and do one thing in Copenhagen make it this. The colourful 17th century waterfront not only makes the perfect Insta (yes, I am really that basic) but it is also the most iconic place in Copenhagen.
Tivoli Gardens, Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V
If Nyhavn is the most iconic landmark in Copenhagen then the Tivoli Gardens must come a close second. Opened in 1843 it is one of the worlds oldest amusement parks still in operation and a delight for young and old! At night, particularly around Christmas, it is splendid lit up.
Freetown Christiania (sometimes just called Christiania) is one of the oddest places I have been but certainly not to be missed to get a proper feel for the liberal, colourful city of Copenhagen. Christiania is a self-declared autonomous neighbourhood with around 1000 residents which for 45 years has been self governed after being founded as a ‘social experiment’ by a group of local artists and squatters. The area is famous for its legal use of cannabis, as well as its street art, graffiti and unique ‘architecture’. Don’t be afraid to explore (it’s not a dangerous place, just an odd one) but note that photography is not permitted and will not make you popular with the locals.
Copenhagen Walking Tours
There are a lot of companies around Copenhagen that offer walking tours and I personally am a fan of the free tour offers by Sandemans (a company I’ve used around Europe many times). This tour is the perfect introduction to Copenhagen and a great way to discover many of the cities hidden gems and amazing history.
Rent a Bicycle
Whilst the thought of riding a bicycle overseas in a large, busy city may be terrifying (Berlin, I’m talking to you) Copenhagen will soon change your mind and present you with one of the most rewarding ways to get around town. The city has a network of dedicated bike lanes making it easy and safe to get around. But be warned, Danes do not tolerate you messing with their biking zen (going the wrong way down a lane, stopping in a lane or blocking them on the path…sorry on all accounts) so make sure you observe the road rules. Grab a map from your accommodation if you want to make sure you hit major landmarks or alternatively just meander down the beautiful lanes and get lost discovering this awesome city!
Rundetårn, Købmagergade 52A, 1150 København
The Rundetaarn, or Round Tower, is an iconic building in the centre of Copenhagen and a great vantage point if you want sweeping views of the city. An easy walk as it actually has no steps, instead you follow a curved plane around the tower.
I never made it to this museum and quite frankly I could kick myself that I missed out. Everyone who goes has only amazing things to say of this contemporary gallery and I can assure you it’ll be the first place I go when I make my long-awaited return to Denmark. I decided I should post about it here so you don’t miss out as well because really why should we both suffer?
The Yoghurt Shop, Grønnegade 37, København
A great stop for a healthy breakfast or snack during a day of exploring The Yoghurt Shop was our go-to place for breakfast each morning as it’s just around the corner from the Generator Hostel (see below) where we stayed. There is a wide selection of yoghurt, toppings and bowl sizes – making it a budget friendly stop too!
Lagkagehuset, Ny Østergade 12, 1101 København / +45 72 14 47 37
I’m all about that bakery life and I found myself here more times that I would care to admit. A great stop of breakfast treats; just a street down from the Generator Hostel but also The Yoghurt Shop mentioned above if you’re like me and enjoy doubling up on the most important meal of the day.
If you’re on the lookout for quick, tasty and cheap Asian food then look no further than Ramen to Biiru. With a couple of locations around town (I ate at the one above) this is a great spot to get your noodle fix. We cycled here on the day we rented bikes and it was a welcome spot to thaw out from strong winter winds and fill up before exploring the city further.
With a couple of spots around town Gorms Pizza on Magstræde (the oldest street in Copenhagen, a spot not to be missed) is a charming pizzeria! The restaurant itself is warm with the glow of candles, dim lighting and the smell of fresh pizza cooking away in the fire and the food is absolutely delicious. Plus, it’s just a stones throw away from Storget (the main shopping street) making it the perfect place to rest wearing feet and weary wallets!
Bæst, Guldbergsgade 29, 2200 København N / +45 35 35 04 63
This organic, Italian inspired restaurant in the hip neighbourhood of Nørrebro is the perfect setting for a long dinner with friends or loved ones. The food, which pays homage to the restaurants roots in Puglia, Italy, is created by Michelin starred chefs (who also run the starred sister restaurant Relæ). The food is delicious and there is a great drinks list to match.
If you’re looking for further foodie inspiration check out Mad About Copenhagen – the team is producing awesome content and I found a lot of the above recommendations through them!
While there are some seriously stylish and unique accomodation options around town (obviously, the city is a beacon of good taste) a budget-friendly option is the Generator Hostel. I stayed here on both trips and could not recommend it enough, particularly for travellers looking to stretch their budget a bit further. Rooms are decently sized, very clean, there is an awesome common area with bar and kitchen and the hotel offers tours, bike rental and tickets to major attractions in the city. Most importantly though you cannot beat the location. Smack-bang in the middle of town just a stones through away from the best food, drinking, shopping and sightseeing in Copenhagen. If you’re pressed for time and want to see a lot, or you’re not so keen on bike riding and want to tackle the city on foot, this is THE best starting point in the city.