It took me a while to actually figure out what I wanted to tell about Copenhagen. My favourite city so far. Until I realised I’m not trying to convince you to let this city steal your heart as well. I just like to tell you how I like to spend my days there. Where I like to go, where I like to eat, where I like to go shopping.. I’m by no means an expert, nor am I a tour guide. Just summing up some tips. Might be helpful for you as well. Here we go:
Places to stay.
I’ve stayed in many different hotels in Copenhagen already, but keep coming back to Wake Up Copenhagen. With two hotels based in and close to the city center, very affordable rates and clean rooms, this hotel will most certainly be a great place to stay. That is, if you’re – like me – not particularly looking for a huge and extremely luxurious hotel, but do love to stay right in the middle of all the nice things Copenhagen has to offer. More about that later on in this article.
Looking for other hotel options? Try:
– Hotel ‘d Angleterre – Luxury 5 start stays in Copenhagen.
– STAY – Let STAY be your temporary home if you need space and fresh air around you.
– Andersen Boutique Hotel – Cute and very pink hotel just around the corner of the Meat Packing District
Places to go.
One of the things I – and thank God my man agrees – like to do best when abroad is to just stroll around the city. Discover nice neighbourhoods, find places to have lunch, grab a coffee or to just enjoy that fact that places far away from your hometown somehow always seem to be more interesting than the ones that are close by. Because we were staying in the middle of the city center we most of the time started our daily walks in Nyhavn, one of Copenhagen’s most touristy but still super pretty areas. From Nyhavn we walked alongside the water of The Langelinie.
The Langelinie quay was erected in 1894 in connection with the expansion of the harbour of Copenhagen. In fact, it is a very deep basin which makes it possible for large oceanic ships to doc there. This means that on average a new cruise ship arrive here every other day, especially in Summer, this can be a really nice place to stay. When I was in Copenhagen last Summer, I used this area to go for a running, since I was training for my first half marathon at that time. Somewhere around the middle of the promenade sits The Little Mermaid looking dreamily towards the shore.
Also in that area it’s possible to walk on the fences of the the star-shaped fortress called Kastellet. This is one of the best preserved fortresses in the Northern Europe and even more interesting: it’s still being used. Inside you’ll find houses, a church, a windmill.. it almost felt like visiting a cute little town with star shaped walls around it. Worth a visit (and yes, as you can see below: it was cold that day ;)).
More places to go.
Freetown Christiania is a green and car-free neighbourhood in Copenhagen, but mostly famous for its autonomous inhabitants’ different way of life. Christiania was established in 1971 by a group of hippies (not kidding!) who occupied some abandoned military barracks and developed their own set of society rules, completely independent of the Danish government. Of course this is a super touristy spot as well (you’re not allowed to take pictures inside though!), but since the walk around Christianshavn is supernice as well, certainly don’t forget to check Christiania when you’re visiting Copenhagen.
Of course I can go on and on about places you have to visit when you’re going to Copenhagen. But since I’m not a travel brochure, here’s a small list of things you might want to see as well. Touristy? Yes. Is that a bad thing? Certainly not!
– Sønder Boulevard in Vesterbro – One of the cool areas of the city anyway. Especially in Summer everyone brings there own food and music finds a spot somewhere on the grass. Hipster galore, but good times galore as well.
– Tivoli Gardens – Let’s call is Heaven’s Play ground. Not only for children ;)
– Amalienborg Palace – One of the greatest works of Danish Rococco architecture, built in the 1700’s.
– The National Museum – Exhibitions from the Stone Age, Middle Ages, Vikings, the Renaissance and Modern Danish History.
– Glyptoteket – Art museum built in 1888 by the brewer Carl Jacobsen. Cool thing: the museum contains two main departments of ancient and modern art, perfect mix!
How to go to those places?
I can be very short about this: even though the public transport in Copenhagen in my opinion is perfectly arranged, my favourite way to discover the city is on foot or by bike. Copenhagen – or at least its city centre – isn’t very large, and trust me when I say you’ll find the best places by discovering the neighbourhoods walking or cycling. You can find bike rentals throughout the entire city.
Places to shop.
When you’re as much into the clean, Scandinavian approach of personal style as I am, Copenhagen is you’re shopping heaven. With brands like Acne, Designer’s Remix and Ganni being sold on every corner of the street, you might want to safe some money (or thank me for suggesting the Wake Up Copenhagen Hotel, so you saved enough money to spend on the things that make life even better: shoes. Or bags. Or both.
Kidding. Not kidding. Bredgade (name of the street) is located in an exclusive part of town and therefore home to exclusive shops, while Strøget – main shopping street with shops like Zara and H&M, but also And Other Stories and my favourite department store: Illum – is located in the middle of the city center. Like I said: shopping in Copenhagen is heaven, but here are a few of my favourites:
– Illum – This department store literally has everything: from perfumes to high street and prêt-a-porter fashion. It is particularly great if you are looking for Scandinavian brands to bring home, or if you fancy brands like Saint Laurent.. Celine.. #sigh
– Magasin du Nord – In my opinion, not as cool as Illum, but definitely worth visiting: conveniently located at the beginning of the pedestrianised shopping street Strøget. Selling brands like Samsøe Samsøe, Designers Remix Collection and Baum Und Pferdgarten.
– By Malene Birger – Danish high fashion, their flagship shop is absolutely gorgeous.
– Henrik Vibskov – Henrik Vibskov is a filmmaker, musician and fashion designer, and his boutique in Copenhagen is a good place to visit for quirky, contemporary designs with plenty of patterns and avant-garde twists.
– Kassandra – recently discovered this cute shop with premium labels like Prada, Celine, Lanvin, Miu Miu.
– Norgaard – Copenhagen-based designer Mads Nørgaard’s shop on Strøget is one of the stores I always need to visit at least once when I’m in Copenhagen. You’ll find Mads own collection here, alongside Miu Miu and other well-known brands.
– Illum Bolighus – Best interior store I’ve ever been to. Period.
– Naked – Girls only sneaker store, so if you’re into sneakers, definitely pay them a visit!
– Rezet – Also: cool sneakers. Nothing more to add.
– Acne Archives – Do I need to say more? Acne on sale, anyone?
– WoodWood – Contemporary fashion and lifestyle brand, but also selling brands like Nike, LEGO, Barbour, and Eastpak as well as niche brands and artists such as Peter Sutherland, Elmgreen & Dragset, So-Me and FUZI UVTPK.
– Ganni Postmodern – If you want to shop past Ganni collections, this is the place to be.
Places to sip coffee (especially when you’re better half is a coffee freak).
I don’t know anything about coffee. I like the occasional Starbucks visit (and Copenhagen only has two of them in the city center and one on the airport ;)), but can’t say I’m a real coffee lover. And then there’s my boyfriend. A true love of a proper coffee. He was just as excited about the coffee places in Copenhagen as I was about finding that awesome pair of starry Jimmy Choo boots on sale (The ones you didn’t buy in a attempt to do what’s right, you say? Yep, those. #FML.).
So here are three tips, brought to you by Lennart:
– Forloren Espresso – Relatively new, but already well-established coffee bar just around the corner of Nyhavn.
– The Coffee Collective Torvehallerne – best thing about this: the coffee was amazing – even I thought so – and there’s lots of cute little food stands in the same area as well.
– Kompa’9 – Organic coffee in a livingroom-ish environement (except for the toilet, that can be found in the garden behind the place. I kid you not).
Places to eat.
One of the things I really like about Scandinavian cities in general: the possibilities when it comes to proper food. Healty food. There are salad and juice bars on every corner of the street, but also the options for dinner are way better then anywhere else if you ask me. Of course this is something you have to decide for yourself, but when I’m spending five days abroad, I don’t eat at super fancy restaurants every single day. Yeah sure, we like to treat ourselves to a nice dinner in one of the cool local spots, but we might even enjoy discovering cool local places that turn out to be pretty affordable even more. A few tips:
– Madklubben – Excellent food at reasonable prices. The concept is quite simple. You choose one, two, three or four courses from the menu and pay a fixed price. Madklubben has several restaurants througout the city, with all completely different menus. We went to Madklubben Bistro de Luxe and Madklubben Steak (which was fully packed on a Saturday night.. reservation required ;)).
– WeDoFood – My favourite salad bar, in Vesterbro.
– Torvehallerne – The place to find over sixty (!) stands selling everything from fresh fish and meat to chocolate and exotic spices, as well as small places where you can have a quick bite to eat. Really nice in Summer as well, because every is sitting outside to enjoy their food/drinks.
– Copenhagen Street Food – Nothing to add: take the ferry to the other side of the water (ferry departs from Nyhavn) and enjoy the food from all the different food trucks. Yum!
– Into burgers (hell yeah!)? Try Halifax Burgers or Cocks’n Cows (douze points for that name).
Also worth mentioning:
Since this wasn’t my first time in Copenhagen (I lost count!) and since we had 5 days to spend, we decided to finally go an visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, located in Humlebæk, about 30 minutes from Copenhagen (by train). This turned out to be a great choice. It is the most visited art museum in Denmark with a permanent collection of both contemporary and modern art, dating from the 40’s up until now, but also a number of exclusive exhibitions. The museum is also acknowledged as a milestone in modern Danish arhitecture, but became quite obvious as soon as we entered the building: super modern, clean, large windows, details of wood, but right in the middle of a beautiful forest on one side, and the possibility to look over the sea (and even see Sweden) on the other side. When we were there we saw a special exhibition – Eye Attack – a visual experimental showcase of all kinds of optical illusions, which will be there until June 2016.
Have you been wearing those shoes the entire week, Debbie? Well, practically, yes.