Copenhagen, or as the Danes like to call it (much to the Swedes’ dismissal): the Capital of Scandinavia, is the perfect destination for a short city break. It’s fairly small, but it has a lot to offer, so knowing where to go, what to see and what to do is of the essence, and of course – I’m here to help! Let’s get down to business:
12:00 – First order of business: check into the place you’re staying… Don’t know where to stay? Here are some tips:
Luxury: Blow the budget at five star luxury hotel D’Angleterre, which was recently refurbished and has the perfect location by Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn. Every single detail has been taken into account here and just the flowers by the entrance will make you gasp. My favorite day-spa Amazing Space is located in the basement, where there’s also an indoor pool for hotel guests to enjoy. Another option is the trendy apartment hotel Stay Copenhagen by Islands Brygge with a roof top terrace and great views over Copenhagen.
Value-For-Money: Find an apartment on AirBnb – there are some pretty cool ones in Copenhagen, or look on hotels.com or trivago.com for good hotel prices. Most hotels have a pretty good standard here, so there’s little chance you’ll end up in dumpster. If you’re looking for something really cheap, the Generator Hostel is quite popular.
13:00 – After you’ve checked in, you’re probably hungry and want to have a bite to eat. Grab lunch at Swedish-owned Kalaset if you’re up for some traditional café food (their pancakes are heavenly) or try Barburrito if you like real Mexican food (not the dull, Europe-fied version).
A vegan burrito (cheese optional) at Barburrito
14:00 – Walk along Strøget, the main shopping street, and shop from all the large brands if you’re into spending money. Here you’ll find Zara, H&M, the popular & Other Stories as well as Cos and Topshop, and you’ll find the luxury shops such as Gucci, Burberry and Hugo Boss the further down toward Kongens Nytorv you get. If you don’t want to shop at the stores you’ll see in every other European city, I suggest visiting Gammel Kongevej, Nørrebrogade or Østerbrogade and the crossing streets.
16:30 – Want to see Copenhagen’s typical tourist attractions quickly? Hop on one of the open-air guide boats that will take you on a guided tour of Copenhagen through it’s canals. Bring snacks, beer or whatever you like and sit back and enjoy the ride that takes around one hour. When you’re back, you’ll have seen the little Mermaid (which is called little for a reason), the Amalienborg Palace, and the beautiful Christianshavn with the Danish Parliament building among other things. Afterwards, you can either continue shopping or you might want to head back to the hotel for a quick rest and change of clothes.
18:30 – Before dinner, you can toast to Copenhagen with cava by Torvehallerne – try the rose cava. When you’re starting to get hungry again, walk over to La Rocca, if you love Italian food (because who doesn’t really?) – they have fantastic food, really good wine, and friendly staff. Be sure to book if you’re planning a dinner on a Friday or Saturday though. Or, you can try to head on over to PS Bar & Grill and continue the fun all through the night, as the restaurants transforms into a bar (do try the Sangria jugs!). Unfortunately, the vegetarian/vegan selection of food isn’t that great at PS – but they do have a great vegetarian pizza. Want to try the Copenhagen nightlife? There are many places to go; Hive, Sunday & Zen – all hard to get into and not worth the hype if you ask me. Although, if you’re into that kind of stuff, this is where you go. And then there’s the more down-to-earth places like the Jane and Hornsleth.
10:00 – Rise & shine! If you’re not all about that hotel breakfast, I suggest you visit Grød. “Grød” means porridge, but you won’t find any old boring, grey porridge here – try the oat porridge with home made dulche de leche, fresh apple and almonds for example.
11:00 – After the savory breakfast you can head on over to Botanisk Have, if it’s spring or summer – it’s a big garden full of beautiful flowers and plants, grassy areas for relaxing, greenhouses and a small pond with water-lilies (my favorite!). Walk around and completely forget that you are in the very center of Copenhagen for a while.
If you’re here during winter (you poor thing) and you’re into art, head on over to Statens Museum for Kunst instead which exhibits Danish and European art through 700 years – they often have special exhibits and admission is free!
Botanical gardens in Copenhagen
13:30 – Afterwards, hop on the Metro or bus and get off at Christianshavn. Find your way to freetown Christiania, which is a truly unique place. Not only is it regulated by its own special laws, it is located in a really picturesque part of Copenhagen and the people who live here are very friendly and openminded. Christiania is famous for its hash commerce, but people sometimes forget that it offers so much more than Pusher Street. Walk past Pusher Street and discover the funky buildings, the horse stable, the lake and the green areas. Have a beer at Café Nemoland and catch one of the free concerts that are sometimes arranged here, or just walk around and enjoy the atmosphere – it’s very unique. You’re probably up for some lunch now and lucky for you, Christiania houses one of my favorite places to eat – Morgenstedet. It’s a vegan/vegetarian restaurant, small and unpretentious with the most gorgeous and cozy little garden where you can enjoy your lunch and hear the birds sing. Take your time to explore this place, it’s truly special.
Christiania and its funky houses
Vegetarian restaurant Morgenstedet in Christiania
17:00 – Time to explore! Choose one part of Copenhagen that entices you and explore it some more – I’d recommend Nørrebro. Walk around the area, around the lakes and explore the small streets like Blågårdsgade and Elmegade. There are many great restaurants and small cafés in Nørrebro and the atmosphere is..in one ord: hipster informal. Try the famous Mikkeller beers at Stefansgade 25, grab a coffee and do some people watching, shop in the vintage stores (you will need a souvenir after all!) or join the other hipsters on the Dronning Louise bridge as soon as one (1) ray of sun hits your skin. Grab something to eat at thai restaurant Aroii on Guldbergsgade, which shares kitchens with Michelin star restaurant Kiin Kiin next door or just grab a vegan burger at Jægersborgsgade at Astrid och Aporna.
Top image by Jacob Surland / www.caughtinpixels.com.