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A Break In Copenhagen

Author: Lauren Coleman

James and I didn’t exchange presents at Christmas and instead agreed we’d go on a city break sometime in the Spring. Top of the list is a holiday to Copenhagen and knowing RMW’s Laura had an incredible time there last year I asked her to share her favourite things about a trip to Danish capital. I defy you not to want to book a trip there immediately…

I was somewhat disillusioned when in 2015 my husband was able to visit Copenhagen, the source of much wanderlust, all in the name of work (the beer industry has a lot to answer for). So, you can imagine my delight when he announced the following year that knowing how much I would love the city, he just couldn’t go without me. Well, Dan wasn’t wrong, I fell absolutely hook, line and sinker for the Danish capital, with its natural flair for design, super friendly and stylish people and amazing foodie hangouts. Regularly ranked as the happiest city in the world, this Nordic hot spot is small enough that it can be easily explored over a long weekend, however you can be certain that before you’ve even packed your case you will be plotting your next trip. I thought I would share some of my must visits with you today, but of course, this post could have been three times the size, with a city so bursting with beautiful vistas, delectable design and culinary greats, so do leave your own recommendations in the comments below.

Stay

The Dane’s aptitude for form means that the City has some of the most handsome boutique hotels, and stylish apartments. Rest assured though, if you’re keeping an eye on the pennies, then don’t be too worried to book into something a little less beautiful and a bit more budget. We actually left it too late to book into our hotel of choice, so ended up in something much more budget, but in the end our room really did become just somewhere to rest our heads. Copenhagen is not a city you want to miss a minute in.

If luxe is your bag, then look no further than Guldsmeden Axel. Though not strictly a good reflection of the Danish design talent, this balinese inspired boutique hotel is not only in a fabulous, central location, but also has an organic spa for unwinding after a day on the cobbles.

SP34 was our hotel of choice, and after diving in to escape the rain and drink hot chocolates we quickly regretted not booking our accommodation sooner so as not to miss out. Located in the city’s Latin Quarter it is shopping and coffee shops galore right on your doorstep. The hotel staff are super friendly, and every element is a lesson in design.

Finally, if you’re after more of a home from home, then there is a wealth of gorgeous properties available on Airbnb. I find it always helpful to understand a little more about some of the areas of town when finding an apartment, so do your research! Østerbro is supposedly best for families, with Nørrebro and Vesterbro the hipster hotspots.

Eat

Copenhagen’s reputation as a foodie haven is well documented, and it’s reputation is well earned, and easily justified. I could write lists and lists of recommendations, in fact we didn’t have a bad meal in our four days, but these were some of my very, very favourites.

Grab a decadent yet traditional breakfast of Danish pastries in Mirabelle, where if you’re not too busy falling in love with the epic tiled floors (I know what you RMS readers are like), then you will certainly be transfixed by the super talented bakers. 
For lunch you’ve simply got to try one of the Danish specialities, the open sandwich, smørrebrød. We stumbled upon Far’s Dreng during our stay and it was a very lucky find as their mouth watering treats atop rye bread were faultless, and the untouristy nature of the place made it feel like you were experiencing some true Copenhagen with the locals. For your evening meal, it depends whether you want to go fancy Nordic cuisine, or… pizza. I know, I know, it always feels a bit naughty to go off piste from a city’s native cuisine, but honestly, you’ll thank me for the Italian detour once you’ve visited Mother and sampled their delicious sourdough pizzas. Located in the super trendy meatpacking district, you’re hanging out with the bearded, bicycle riders here. Sit outside, on one of the long communal tables, drink cocktails and chat with the locals and if its chilly, don’t worry, there are blankets and sheepskins on tap.
Now, for me, the star in the eating crown, was Host. You have to book in advance (shame I didn’t book a hotel when I was booking our table, hey?), but the chefs are masters of the traditional Nordic cuisine and the innovative flavour combinations will blow your socks off. The decor is outstanding, a RMS dream, and you will absolutely need to get your Instagram on. My parting words of advice? Pick the tasting menu – the surprises between the usual course are both intriguing and delicious.

Copenhagen

Drink

You cannot go to Copenhagen and not drink beer, and coffee. I don’t even really like beer or coffee, but when in Copenhagen I do! Craft beer is big business over here, and you can’t go far without hearing the name “Mikkeller”. The Mikkeller Bar in the heart of Vesterbro shouldn’t be missed, with 20 taps from Mikkeller and other great breweries around the world.

For coffee, Dan my coffee snob obsessed husband, mostly recommends Coffee Collective in Torvehallerne, Democratic Coffee in the Danish public library (they’ve also won awards for the best croissant in Copenhagen for many years) and Prolog in the aforementioned meatpacking district, Kødbyen.

I cannot go without telling you about Lidkoeb. Now, you’ve heard me say that usually I’m not a beer kind of girl, well a cocktail girl I am. So one night, after a flavoursome bowl of ramen in, you guessed it, a Mikkeller establishment, all I wanted was some big, boozy cocktails. It’s said that Lidkoeb make the best cocktails in the city, but it’s not easy to find. Hidden away in an old apothecary lab, and not signposted from the main road, you’ll need Google maps and no fear of a fairly dark alley, but trust me, this watering hole is one super stylish place that you’ll be delighted to have found. Try the Lynchburg Lemonade from the top floor gentleman’s style whiskey lounge.

Visit

For pretty, head to the Botanical Gardens. The Palm House and Cactus House are paradise, and the gardens themselves have so many stunning spots you’ll want to spend all day. Grab a picnic from the nearby buzzing Torvehallerne, a food hall come market with all kinds of gourmet treats, and sit amongst the flora and fauna.
Next up, a short walk away is The Round Tower, originally built as a astronomical observatory tower, you will catch some wonderful views across the city, whilst witnessing Danish architectural history. 
Nyhavn is the image that is synonymous with Copenhagen. Pastel coloured buildings line this tourist hotspot canal, and it is certainly not to be missed. Food and drink here is said the be some of the worst (and most expensive) in the city though, so keep walking until you reach the river and head into The Standard for a bite to eat instead.
Tivoli is the famous pleasure park and amusement park, and I am truly disappointed to say we didn’t visit. I took the advice from friends that said it was a tourist trap, and not very special, but in hindsight, if it’s fairytale atmosphere was good enough for Hans Christian Andersen then I probably should have allowed myself to be drawn in by the squeals of delight and carousel music.

Shop

Can you believe we didn’t have much time for shopping, too busy sightseeing and eating evidently! Rest assured though, the credit card still got an impressive bashing in Illums Bolighus and Hay House. I’m also certain that RMS readers will have some brilliant recommendations in the comments below.

Top Tip

Hire a bike! Copenhagen is not a place for cars, and you’ll feel like an authentic Dane when you’re pedalling the cobbles. Their version of the Boris bike is genius, an easy ride complete with sat nav, but equally as good is to hire a basic bike from your hotel, or borrow it from your apartment owners.

So ladies, do you have anything to add to Laura’s very comprehensive guide? Anyone else checking flights?

{Contributors}
Author
Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman

39 thoughts on “A Break In Copenhagen

  1. It looks lovely – definitely one for the list. My husband and I did something similiar at Christmas and just bought little gifts – we’re going to Vienna in March. It’s still a few weeks away but I’m already excited!

    1. Vienna is incredible! Laura – if you haven’t already booked your hotel, look at Hotel Daniel, such a fab place. x

  2. If you visit in summer consider taking a kayak tour! The city is beautiful from the water.

    Also, if you have time I’d be tempted to head over to Lund in Sweden for the day, so you can go over “The Bridge” (scandi crime nerd alert).

    Museums too. The Danish National Museum is one of the cleverest and best designed I’ve visited and the artefacts are amazing- the silver Gundestrup cauldron down to very rare Bronze Age textiles preserved in bogs. Also the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotech for classical things in a stunning building.

  3. I love Copenhagen! We’ve been in summer and winter and both times it was wonderful. I second Mother pizzas and also recommend the street food market at paper island – we had lots of fun spotting random faces we recognise from scandi dramas in there! Tivoli is a lovely old theme park (busy but still has lots of charm!) and the Christmas markets they have in winter are fab. We bought really cute Christmas decorations from a little market in Christiania and they are still some of my faves on the tree year after year. Also check out Just Spotted for the most lush Scandi prints! Xx

  4. I went for 24 hours for work in August and stayed just next the The Standard and our hosts took us there for dinner. Being a vegetarian really worried me and I coped, but think it can be tricky out there. I was overjoyed when I walked a few minutes from the hotel and saw nyhavn. I absolutely Scandinavia and the Baltic and Copenhagen had bend on my list for a long time. Here in the U.K. I cycled a Dutch style bike everyday and I had serious envy that I didn’t have a chance to cycle around out there! Def on my list to go for a weekend, even if it might bankrupt me!

  5. This is great, thank you so much for the tips. I visited Stockholm last year and absolutely fell in love and I have been dying to go back this year…perhaps Copenhagen may be on the cards instead. Its always good to try new places and it sounds just as delightful! x

  6. Ah, I love Copenhagen! I took my husband as a surprise for his 30th and we’re both mega fans of it. We stayed in the Guldsmen Axel that Laura mentioned and it was gorgeous. The spa was such a nice treat too. It’s also within walking distance of the Meatpacking district which is a great area – our favourite two restaurants were there. One of them is all about meat and beer so not a great recommendation for you Lauren! But for anyone else, you definitely should go to warpigs (http://warpigs.dk/). The other one is a fish restaurant called Fiskebaren (http://fiskebaren.dk/en)…industrial décor type, a bit like Pizza East in London, but serving amazing seafood and wine. It was our favourite restaurant of the trip. We also went to sticks n sushi – there are branches in London now but the one in Copenhagen is on top of a hotel and has amazing views, would definitely recommend. I did have grand illusions of taking him to Noma but they swiftly went out of the window when I looked at prices…But lots of ex chefs have set up restaurants that are much cheaper, depending on how foodie you are. And another big fan of the bikes – they’re so good…they have sat nav screens and little motors! The cycle system is brilliant and we felt really safe. And it also meant we had zero arguments, which usually happens when we’re cycling in a new city. So everyone’s a winner! If you’re a fan of Nordic noir, they do walking trips which we didn’t do because there wasn’t one running on the days we were there but would have done if we could, because we love the killing and the bridge. And now I’m going to go look at flights as I want to go back. Hope you have a fantastic trip. X

    1. My husband absolutely loves War Pigs but it was a bit too “in your face” for me. Super loud but really buzzy. I’m like you, cannot wait to go back! Xxx

    1. It wasn’t actually as bad as I anticipated. Everyone had said it was very, very expensive but we followed our age old rule, £100 a day (not including shopping) but for all food, drink, museum entry and we came home with money xxx

  7. I’m going to Copenhagen this year too! This is perfect timing as we are about tp start to looking at hotels. Some great tips!

  8. What’s it like in feb and march? Very cold I imagine but just worried a lot of things might be closed down for the winter?

    1. Cold but still perfect for a city break just take lots of layers, and scarves! I also don’t think anything really shuts down as such so you’ll be safe xxx

  9. Laura, you gave *the best* recommendations for Copenhagen for when we went last June, I absolutely loved the city as well! We took Oscar with us who was 7 months old at the time, and I must say it was the most baby-friendly city I’ve ever visited. The top floor of Ilums Bolighus has a palatial complimentary baby room with everything you could possibly need! Xxx

    1. Ahh Hannah I’m so glad you enjoyed my recommendations. Everyone says it’s such a family friendly city, I’d love to take B in the summer months xx

  10. Myself and my husband just got back from CPH on Monday- we loved it. I had been about 10 years ago and it has massively changed into a foodie heaven!! We had an amazing meal at Pate Pate in the meatpacking district and you can’t miss a trip to Papiroen it’s foodie heaven!!!!! Every shop is amazing. I imagine it’s even better in spring/summer! Have fun!!

  11. Eeek, this post is just a few days too late for me – we’re the same as Gemma, literally got back from Copenhagen on Monday! Luckily we did most of the things Laura suggests (Illum Bolighus is my spiritual home), and we’ll just have to go back to do the rest!

    At Torverhallerne, I would specifically recommend trying the Kanelsnegle (translates as cinnamon snails!) from the counter called Granny’s House. They are obscenely good. Like a cross between French pain au raisin and a more bready type of cinnamon bun, crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle – ahh I want another one right now! We were staying in an Air BnB that required us to walk/cycle past Torverhallerne on the way into town so we stopped *every single day* to get one (and twice on the last day). We also had a great veggie focused tasting menu at Manfreds in Norrebro – it’s the little sister of Relae, a Michelin starred place over the road, and the prices are really reasonable (for Copenhagen) – yum!

  12. I just came back from Copenhagen last week too after a wee break to celebrate my big 40 (eek).

    We got mega cheap flights through Ryanair (£25 return) so I thought we’d splash out on accommodation but all the fancier or more expensive hotels on booking.com had really bad reviews which put me off and in the end we stayed at Best Western Hebron literally a few minutes walk from Central Train Station. It had great reviews and didn’t let us down. Refurbed bathroom (with underfloord heating – a god send with the cold weather) and handy for walking into town!

    My husband did very well and booked Host for my birthday dinner which was amazing! We went for 3 course set menu and go 3 wonderful surprises in between. Things were set on fire! The place was packed considering it was a Monday night.

    We also ate at Baest and Ramen to Biiro – both owned by the Mikkeller brewery. The former does charcuterie and pizza (all the cheese and charcuterie is produced in-house) – it’s insanely busy and you have to book even on a Tuesday! The latter is a Japanese Ramen bar which was amazing – again just the ticket as we walked miles and miles in the cold!

    Sadly going at this time of year meant Tivoli Gardens and Paper Island (street food er island on the river!) were closed.

    I weirdly found it difficult to get a sense of direction in Copenhagen – I’m normally quite good! We’d set off thinking we were heading into the city and end up in the burns. Lots of phone checking on google maps which meant taking the gloves off 🙁 I wasn’t a happy bunny at times.

    My advice would be to go in the warmer weather when it’s nice to amble about getting lost and ending up in different suburbs. It’s not as much fun in -5!

    The quick flight from Edinburgh also made it a great city break 🙂

  13. This is so timely as we’ve just decided to go for our first anniversary in June! Can’t wait to try all your recommendations xx

  14. We’d really like to go with our 13 month old as we have heard it is a great city break with a baby. Do you have any recommendations for doing it with a toddler in tow?! Thank you!

    1. Hey Georgina – I have a friend who lived in Copenhagen with her toddler for a bit (she’s a free spirit type of lady!) and I know she highly rated the Children’s Museum, which I think is super interactive. There’s also obviously Tivoli if you go in the Summer, and Copenhagen zoo. Danish culture is super welcoming for kids, I’d definitely return with little ones.

    2. I got the sense when we were there that it was super family friendly. There’s lots of amazing parks and green spaces. Leave the toddler recommendations with me, my friend went last year with a little one in tow so I will ask her and come back to you! Xxx

  15. Copenhagen is possibly my favourite city!! Hotel Alexandra is a beauty, and in a great location. I highly recommend Grød which Translates as porridge but is the most amazing thing ever! There are a couple of branches in the city. Also second the street food market…the only problem is choosing what to eat there!!

  16. LOVE this post Laura, it’s as fab as I was expecting, so many great recommendations – bookmarking for future Copenhagen adventuring 🙂

  17. Getting so excited! Thanks so much for everyone’s recommendations. Think we need to book to go for at least a week now 😉 x

  18. I would recommend trying at least one of the Cofoco restaurants (Host is one of them). We ate in three of them (Cofoco, Les Trois Cochons – French, Scarpetta – Italian) when we visited 5 years ago and all were excellent!

  19. I would add Louisiana to the list of attractions. It’s a beautiful modern art gallery a short train ride from the main station in Copenhagen. The sculpture garden & views are amazing. Good cafe & shop too.

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