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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?