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Copenhagen

Copenhagen

7 Mistakes Tourists Make in Copenhagen

August 30, 2017
Frederiksberg

Copenhagen is generally very easy to be a tourist in. Everyone speaks English, we have some of the best food in the world, it’s easy to get around wherever you want to go… the list can go on. Danish tourism is constantly setting new records and people from all over the world come here to get a taste of the Scandinavian lifestyle. However, there are some mistakes you want to avoid as a tourist in order to get the best possible experience.

Here are some of the most common mistakes tourists make in Copenhagen and how you can avoid them:

  1. Shop on the main street Strøget
    Strøget is the main shopping street that runs all the way from Rådhuspladsen (main city square) down to Kongens Nytorv. The street is filled with the most common stores you’ll find in any big city: H&M, Zara, some Scandinavian chains etc. and it’s great if you need something from any of these places. However, if you want to find small second-hand shops, specialized shops or unique, small boutiques, you’ll need to go beyond Strøget. There are many streets both in the city center and in the neighborhoods Vesterbro, Nørrebro, and Østerbro (and Frederiksberg). Instead, check out Pilestræde, Larsbjørnsstræde, and Studiestræde in Copenhagen K (city center), Elmegade, Nørrebrogade, and Blågårdsgade in Copenhagen N (Nørrebro), Værnedamsvej, Istedgade and Vesterbrogade in Copenhagen V (Vesterbro), among others.

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    Købmagergade, a side street to Strøget, from above.

  2. Eat at fast food chains
    Copenhagen is a foodie heaven. Not only is it home to 15 (!) Michelin-starred restaurants, it has so many other nice places to eat – from cozy cafés to healthy salad bars and street food bonanza on Papirøen, there’s really something for everyone. Yes, even veg*ns (check out my guide to vegan and vegetarian places in Copenhagen). So skip McDonald’s, and while you’re at it, skip those tourist trap restaurants around Strøget and Rådhuspladsen as well. Take advantage of the fact that you’re in foodie heaven and eat good food for all meals of the day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive either!
  3. Don’t bike around
    Many tourists who come here aren’t aware of the fact that Copenhagen is the most bike-friendly city on the planet. Everyone bikes everywhere here, and in any weather. You’ll see school children biking to school, men in suits biking to work, and yes, even dogs riding along with their humans on the way to the park. Frankly, biking is the easiest and cheapest way to get around Copenhagen. There are bikes for rent everywhere and high-quality bicycle lanes are on the sides of most of the roads here. It’s great to bike around because you can really explore the city from your saddle, stop anywhere you like and get around the city in no-time. But don’t forget a helmet!

    Biking around in Copenhagen is easy… Just remember to use hand signals! (Photo: Mikael Colville-Andersen)

  4. Don’t use hand signals when biking around
    The Danes are generally very friendly and calm people – until you fail to use the proper hand signals when biking around. Nothing will make them angrier – believe me, I experienced it first-hand when I moved here! Because there are so many bikes in the city, using hand signals is essential for avoiding collisions with pedestrians, other bikes, and cars. They’re easy to do, so you really don’t have to worry about it. You’ll need to signal if you’re turning left or right, or if you intend to stop (unless there’s a red light in which case everyone expects you to stop). Put your left arm straight out to the side if you intend to turn left and vice versa for right. Check with the place where you rent your bike and avoid angry Danes swearing at you in the middle of the street.
  5. Come here in the winter
    Yes, Copenhagen is nice in the winter too but frankly, it’s best during spring, summer or early fall. Winters here are cold, dark, and boring. Everyone’s hiding from the cold inside their homes. Biking around is a wet and cold endeavor. During the warmer months of the year, the Danes are socializing much more and there is so much more to do and to see. If you can plan it, I definitely recommend coming here from April-September.
  6. Stay in the center
    There’s a lot more to Copenhagen than the city center and it’s a big mistake to not explore more of Copenhagen while you’re here. Sure, the area in the center is lovely but you should definitely check out the other areas too! I’ve mentioned some of the streets where you can go shopping above (#1) but there’s more than that too! Check out Vesterbro for cafés, art galleries, and bars. Head on over to Frederiksberg for a bit of calm and greenery in the city or explore Nørrebro for bars, nightclubs, and second-hand shops. Østerbro is perfect for families and design-lovers. Get up on the saddle and explore!
  7. Get a fine in the metro
    Copenhagen’s metro is fairly new, compared to other big cities in Europe and it only has two lines (more are opening up in 2018). But getting the right ticket can be tricky. Copenhagen is divided into zones which decide how much you pay for your ticket. If you don’t have a valid ticket, you risk being fined. If you plan on riding the metro and buses a lot, I’d recommend buying a City Pass which includes trips in the center Copenhagen and to and from the airport. Otherwise, make sure to ask someone for help if you’re just buying tickets on the go. Many people get it wrong when they’re traveling back to the airport from the center and buy a ticket with fewer zones than they need (for Copenhagen center you’ll need 2 zones, to the airport you’ll need
    Photo “Copenhagen Signals” by Mikael Corville-Andersen used under the license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
    Photo “Copenhagen Metro” by Stig Nyygard used under the license CC BY 2.0
    All other photos are taken by me and may not be used without my permission.
Copenhagen, Food

Copenhagen Street Food Festival

August 15, 2016

Who doesn’t love a good food truck when hunger strikes? This weekend I put my walking shoes on and walked down to Søerne for the first Copenhagen Street Food Festival, arranged by Kødbyens Mad og Marked, Rebel Food, Kitchen Collective,and YELP Copenhagen. The whole area from Dronning Louises Bro, up towards Åboulevard, and Sortedam Dossering was filled with small food trucks and the smell of food was in the air, despite the somewhat bad, occasionally rainy, weather.

Jacob was hungry, so he tried the veggie tacos from Yuca taco and they were sooo delicious – even though they were out of guacamole when we came. I loved to see so many people that came out to enjoy the good food and hang out. It was a very well organised event with lots of places to sit (maybe a bit too few waste baskets though), food from all over the world and options for everyone. I’d love to see it come back next year. I am always amazed by what good chefs can do with little means.

copenhagen street food

“If I drink alcohol I am alcoholic, But if I drink Fanta, does that make me fantastic?”

copenhagen street food

A lot of people came down to enjoy the food despite the occasional rain.

 

 

copenhagen street food

I went for the pearl barley risotto, veggie balls, salad and a dressing with some parmesan on top. Absolutely delicious!

As you can see above I went for delicious veggie balls from a place called Average Meatballs, paired with pearl barley risotto, some salad and a dressing, it was the perfect small lunch for me. It tasted exceptionally well and I could have eaten 2 more of these, but it was enough to leave some room for a bigger dinner later in the evening.

 

copenhagen street food

Copenhagen Street Food Festival was a great event for all of us foodies – with lots of vegetarian options!

If you missed the food festival but love street food, I suggest you visit Copenhagen Street Food on Papirøen which can easily be reached from Nyhavn in central Copenhagen.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen from the Top: Illum Rooftop

June 15, 2016
Illum rooftop

The one thing I’ve always missed in Copenhagen is a few high buildings where one can enjoy the view, while sipping on a cocktail or a glass of cold rosé on a hot summer day. Sure, we have Sticks and Sushi at the Tivoli Hotel, but it’s not like you just stop by for a drink on your way out to a party or after work. So when I saw that department store Illum has a brand new rooftop terrace, called Illum Rooftop, I just had to go see it.

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You simply take the escalators all the way to the top (I tried not to get stuck on the shoe floor, where a pair of ridiculously expensive Jimmy Choo sandals begged me to skip vacation this year and buy them, but luckily I remembered I don’t wear leather – phew!). Up there is a food court where you can buy something to drink and find a place to sit, or you can simply grab a table at one of the restaurants’ designated outdoor tables.

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The restaurants are as follows: Be Steak (a lot of meat, so obviously I’d skip that), Corallo Lobster Bar (again, not for me), Maio (Italian dishes – but beware: they serve foie gras, which is highly unethical), Palæo (for the Paleo diet fanatics), Rossopomodoro (Neapolitan pizza), Skagen Fiskrestaurant (Fish…for those of you who eat that), Original Coffee (coffee, obviously), The Bagel Co (bagels, obviously), and Domori (Italian chocolate).

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Unfortunately the weather wasn’t all that great when we visited the rooftop yesterday afternoon, but I can just imagine sitting here with a friend, drinking a few glasses of wine and chatting the night away.

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Every Friday, you can join the Illum Rooftop Friday Bar for after-work cocktails from 16-21. Hope to see you there sometime! 🙂 Illum Rooftop is open every day until midnight, Sundays until 18:00.

 

Copenhagen, Food

6 Healthy Restaurants in Copenhagen

April 3, 2016
healthy restaurants in copenhagen

There’s no denying I love a really big and greasy pizza or a creamy pasta dish combined with a few glasses of wine. However, I try to limit my unhealthy meals to one meal per week in order to not gain weight. It’s pretty easy to eat healthy at home when you’re the one in charge of cooking the meals, but eating out can be a challenge. I find this to be true especially for us vegetarians, as vegetarian meals in restaurants somehow tend to be loaded with either carbs or fat – or both. During the periods where I’m serious about my workouts I tend to eat more at home because of this, which is actually quite boring when all of you’re friends are going out to eat. Thankfully, there are more and more healthy choices and last weekend I set out to hunt them down and make a list of the best healthy restaurants in Copenhagen.

  1. Hafnia Bar – this little gem is quite new to central Copenhagen but used to be located in the suburb of Hellerup for a few years. It’s made quite a splash among the Copenhageners who seem to love their bowls, sandwiches and juices. The location, close to Kongens Nytorv and the lovely park Kongens have, is perfect and the café has a lovely atmosphere whether you’re working on your laptop alone or catching up with your friends. You’ll find both vegan and meat options here and they’re all healthy. The juices are quite expensive though at 60 DKK for a large juice.
    Where? Store Regnegade 26A, CPH K

    hafniabar

    Acaí bowl with extra protein at Hafnia Bar.

  2. Social – A new addition to the cafés and restaurants in Nørrebro, Social manages to stand out with its gluten free and healthy menu. It’s located right by the canal just a step away from Dronning Louise’s bridge. The staff is friendly and the healthy sandwiches are equally huge and delicious, served with home made, warm zucchini bread and perfectly ripe avocados – see top photo for evidence!
    Where? Peblinge Dossering 4, CPH N
  3. Bob/Bio Mio – Don’t let the big BOSCH signs fool you, there are no electric appliances for sale here. Bob’s Diner, formerly known as Bio Mio, offers organic food for both veg*ns and meat lovers and has plenty of tables. Despite this, it was completely full on a Saturday night, so I suggest arriving early or booking a table in advance. They serve wine by the glass and by the bottle and have a small selection of cocktails as well. This place is perfect for a date.
    Where? Halmtorvet 19, CPH V
  4. Simple Raw – If you have some extra cash to spend and want a really healthy, raw and vegan meal I’d recommend a visit to Simple Raw. You’ll find everything from breakfast and brunch to healthy salads and burgers – heck, even delicious desserts.
    Where? Oehlenschlægersgade (yeah, I can’t pronounce it either) 12, CPH V and Gråbrødre Torv 9, CPH K

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    Simple Raw from the outside, located on Gråbrødre torv

     

  5. WeDoFood – located a few steps from Bob/Bio Mio, WeDoFood is great for days when you don’t have time to cook and need something easy, quick, and healthy. You choose one of the “classics” for 69 DKK or make your own salad and pick and choose whatever you want in it. I usually do the latter and have never been dissappointed. There are some seats inside, although I wouldn’t go there to sit for hours and talk, but on sunny summer days you can also sit on the tables outside or just get your salad to go.
    Where? Halmtorvet 21, CPH V and Østerbrogade 151, CPH Ø
  6. Souls – This place officially opens April 1, but looks like a great concept. It’s located in the heart of Østerbro and is run by two Aussies who describe it as “an alternative for people who want worry-free food on the go”. Here you’ll find buckwheat pizza, avocado smash, quinoa pancakes and healthy juices. Plus: all of it is plant-based (meat available).
    Where? Melchiors Plads 3, CPH Ø

    Souls restaurant Copenhagen

    Buckwheat pancakes at Souls

Copenhagen

Favorite 5 for Brunch in Copenhagen

March 16, 2016

You know those mornings all too well; you wake up a little bit later than usual, linger in bed an hour longer than your usual Monday-Friday morning, maybe your head aches just a little bit from the cocktails the night before, and all you really want is a nice, big brunch to kick the day off and chat about last night. Copenhagen offers many good cafés and restaurants for these situations, but not all of them are great. Therefore, I’d like to present my five favorite places for brunch in Copenhagen:

Møller Kaffe & Køkken: This place opened in the summer of 2015, so it’s quite new but I like it a lot. The concept is you get a paper menu, with all the dishes described, and you cross of the meals you want for your brunch – a concept I love. This way you only get the food you actually want to eat and you can compose your own platter depending on how hungry you are. The home made nutella is a must! They only serve brunch dishes and are open until 16:00 (kitchen closes at 15:00). You can’t book a table here, so prepare to wait.

Wulff + Konstali: Tucked away on Amager, southern Copenhagen, is this charming brunch restaurant which has the same pick-and-chose concept as Møller Kaffe & Køkken (although to be fair – Wulff + Konstali was first). This place quickly gained momentum among the Copenhageners, especially the Instagram crowd, so it can be quite hard to get a table if you come around 11-13 on weekends, and you can’t book a table here either. However, brunch is great – especially the croissants.

Brunch selection at Wulff + Konstali

Brunch selection at Wulff + Konstali

Den Blå Hund: You know how Friends has Central Perk? Den Blå Hund is my Central Perk. It’s located really close to where I live on Frederiksberg and I love to hang here, be it for a cup of tea, a hummus salad or just a glass of wine on a late evening, DBH never fails. It’s not that it’s extraordinary in any way – to others it’s just another café, but to me it’s the place I go. What I want to say is that I might be a little bit biased here, but I truly think their vegetarian brunch is one of the city’s best brunches. Plus, you always get a glass of cava for 25 DKK – I can live with that.

Marchal/Hotel D’Angleterre: Looking to really splurge or do you have something to celebrate? In that case, you should reserve a table for the famous Sunday brunch at five star Hotel D’angleterre’s Michelin-starred restaurant Marchal. Here you can indulge in traditional brunch dishes made in an exceptional way, as well as truffles and champagne – but it will set you back 595 DKK, so I’d say you only go here if you’re after an over-the top luxury brunch in Copenhagen. The featured photo in the top of this post is from the brunch buffet at D’Angleterre – can you imagine the brunch?

Kalaset: I’ve recommended Kalaset before in this piece about vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants and it’s really great for brunch – especially for vegans. You can chose from 6 different brunch plates – three bigger, full brunch plates and three that are just smaller, limited versions of the big ones. There’s you classic brunch with bacon for meat-eaters, a vegetarian one with e.g. scrambled eggs, vegetables, and falafels, and a vegan one with lentil-ratatouille, falafels, hummus, grilled veggies etc. It’s located in Nørrebro, close to Nørreport and shopping. I love to visit Torvehallerne and buy fresh vegetables and flowers after my Kalaset visits.

 

 

brunch in Copenhagen at Kalaset

Cozy Kalaset

 

Photos: D’Angleterre (top photo), Wulff+Kunstali’s Facebook page, Kalaset

Copenhagen

How To Spend 48 Hours in Copenhagen

September 25, 2015
Copenhagen

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:

DAY 1

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).

Copenhagen for a day

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.

 

DAY 2

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!

Copenhagen garden

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 Copenhagen

Christiania and its funky houses

Christiania Copenhagen

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.