If Copenhagen were a person, that person would be generous, beautiful, elderly, but with a flair. A human being that has certain propensities for quarreling, filled with imagination and with appetite for the new and with respect for the old – somebody who takes good care of things and of people. Connie Nielsen
Copenhagen seemed to me like a city of happy people. The calmness is very visible there and the people smile a lot. The places close at 5pm and give plenty time of the day to enjoy life, which is much more than just work. I guess that this happiness comes from the common practice (or rather way of life) called hygge that Danish people seem to be following throughout their lives. Hygge is all about enjoying simple pleasures in life like a walk, spending time with loved ones, cooking dinner or even such a little thing as lighting a candle. Anyway, Copenhagen has been on ‘my list’ for a very long time. Years ago when I still lived in Scotland I thought of taking a little trip to Copenhagen, but always, somehow, warmer places were more tempting, so I would normally chose Spain or Italy over northern Europe. After a very long time of living in a desert of Atacama (by the way, click here to get a free guide to Atacama), where the abundance of heat and sun does not make me deprived of them anymore, Denmark, no matter how windy or rainy it might be, suddenly seemed even more attractive.
What makes the city a little bit more special is actually hygge. If you have been following me for a while, you probably know that my background is in psychology and mindfulness. For me mindfulness is a big part of traveling as it makes the whole experience even better and hygge is a kind of mindfulness to me. Understanding and appreciating the concept of hygge plays a key role in everyday appreciation of life. If you’d like to learn more about hygge I would like to recommend you this excellent book (aqui en Español), which for sure will be nice lecture during the long autumn evenings. Those evening are however a perfect opportunity to slow down and enjoy little pleasures and the hygge concept would come in handy.
While in Copenhagen we met a few locals that were very helpful and happy to give us some pointers on what to do and where to eat (the ‘where to eat’ was especially useful). Some of the tips are kind of obvious and can be found in a guidebook, but I am sure a few of them not mentioned elsewhere would make the trip even more interesting. I am happy to share these tips with you. Enjoy.
What dishes to try
From what I had eaten (and believe me, it was way too much) in Denmark, I realized that Danish people enjoy simple, home made dishes. The food there is comforting and the portions are big. Here you have a few dishes you should definitely try in Denmark that were suggested to us by a few friendly locals we met in Copenhagen.
It is a kind of sandwich that is usually eaten for lunch in Denmark. In some places the sandwich is so big that it is best to share it with another person.
This is a Danish version of meatballs and also very popular in a few other countries in Europe such as Germany or Poland.
These little round pancakes are usually filled with apples and served with sugar and marmalade on the side. As I was told, this sweet treat is a traditional Christmas food.
We know this food from so many other places in the world, but this Danish version comes with a twist. Danish hot-dog is really tasty and is sold in many stands across the country. It was one of the best hot-dogs I ever had.
This popular fish is eaten a bit differently in Denmark. As a snack in bars or as a main dish, herring is pickled, marinated, served with mustard dressing or curried. It seems to be a big deal of herring dishes in Denmark and it is definitely a food you should try.
It is one of the most popular dishes in Denmark, but definitely is not for the ones on diet. It is basically fried pork fat served with parsley sauce and potatoes and red beetroots.
Millionbøf is directly translated in English as “million steak”. It is beef meat cut into little pieces and cooked in a stew-style. It is usually served with mashed potatoes, pasta or rice.
See also: 10 best vegetarian restaurants in Madrid
What to see and do in Copenhagen
The Round Tower
The Round Tower is located in the center of the city and it is apparently the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. It was built in 1642 and until 1861 it was used by the University of Copenhagen. Nowadays it is a nice attraction for tourists as from the tower you can get a very nice view of the city.
Little Marmaid is probably most recognizable sight of Copenhagen. To my surprise it was much smaller that I have imagined, but the line to take a photo with this famous pretty statue was way longer than I thought. To get to the marmaid take a long walk along the coast, it is really quite pleasant.
Blue Planet Aquarium
It is apparently the biggest aquarium in the northern Europe where you can observe many marine creatures, but mostly sharks and mantas. It is a nice activity, but I would not say it is a must in Copenhagen and it is rather pricey.
The National Museum
The National Museum is located in the Princess Palace, however it is no longer used by the royal family. It displays a collection of exhibits from the Stone Age through Middle Ages to the pieces of Modern Danish History. A visit to this museum is a big lesson through history.
Bakken is the oldest amusement park in the world. Can you even imagine that it opened 431 years ago?! It is located in the woods with the trees over 400 years old and 2000 deer freely wandering. Make a full day excursion together with a picnic in the woodlands and a horse ride. After the ride on one of the 33 roller coasters enjoy a coffee or a pint of beer in a London bus converted into a pub. Another thing that will fill up your day to Bakken is the old-fashioned cabaret show at Bakkens Hvile.
It is a beautiful place to see. Amalienborg is a residency of the Danish royal family and one of the must see places in Copenhagen. Go there at noon for the change of Royal Guards, which are called Den Kongelige Livgarde. They march from their barracks in 100 Gothersgade by Rosenborg Castle through the streets of the city until they arrive at Amalienborg.
This is a place that comes to life in warmer months of the year. From April till September you can enjoy yourself in one of the best amusements parks in the world with a brake for a show in one of the restaurants inside the park.
The New Carlsberg Glyptotek
This art museum with a collection build around a personal collection of art pieces of Carl Jacobsen (a son of the founder of Carlsberg breweries) and such masters as Degas or van Gogh can be found there.
Carlsberg Brewery Museum
It was my first beer tasting/learning experience and it was rather interesting. From learning all about beer production and the history of this particular brand to seeing a collection of thousands of bottles of beer, this museum is really worth a visit if beer is something you like.
It is a place where the science is fun. In this science center kids (I’m sure adults would enjoy it too) can try different scientific experiments is a fun way.
Boat tour from Nyhavn
Where there are canals in a city there are boat trips, one of the most fun way to explore the place. It is especially enjoyable in Copenhagen since the city is so colorful and full of hidden gems.
H.CH. Andersen museum
A house straight from a fairy tale. We all know from the childhood such stories as “The Little Marmaid”, “The Snow Queen” or “Match Girl”. In this museum you can transform yourself to those fairy tales and discover the fantasy world of one of the most loved children authors.
Paper Island is a very creative and interesting place in the harbor in Copenhagen. It used to be a warehouse buy accutane no prescription storing paper (hence the name) and now it is a place where people meet for a drink and a street food trucks (with tasty foods from all over the world )inside the building. Just remember that in Denmark people eat early and the food is sold only until 9pm.
Neighborhoods worth visiting:
Christiania is a hippie ‘free town’, which a very surprising and unique place to visit. I did not know that places like that exist in Europe and when I entered Christiania I was literally speechless for the whole ten seconds. It is a marijuana free trade district where the vendors in open air market along Pusher Street display neatly labelled different types of marijuana. After a gun shooting accident last year, Pusher Street was closed, however it seemed to be very vibrant trading when I was there not long ago.
Christiania is a nice place for a walk, a coffee stop or a live music night. On Sundays afternoons the place becomes crowded with people. coming for a drink and a concert. This is also a place for jazz lovers, so if you are one of them go to Jazzklubben and have a try at a
This colorful part of Copenhagen is probably one of the most picturesque places in the city. It is also the most crowded as far as I could see. From the breakfast time till late it is packed with people taking photos with the canal and colorful houses in the background. This charming harbour part of Copenhagen is where most tourists go for their meals and an ice cream or waffle treat. For me it is best for cute colorful addition to my photos and a pleasant walk.
This is my second favourite place in Copenhagen. This port is located in in the Indre village where many old-Dutch style houses can be found and their are still in a perfect shape, even though they have been built in 1600s. It looks quite similar to architecture you can find in Amsterdam, which apparently inspired the design of Christianiashavn, which is translated as “Little Amsterdam”.
Since Copenhagen is known for its diversity and something for all, Norrebro is an extra addition to this already interesting city. It is a hip, alternative neighborhood very popular among students and creative minds.
What places to visit near Copenhagen
North form Copenhagen there is a beautiful Northern Europe’s biggest Renaissance castle of Kronborg that is definitely worth attention. It is mostly know for the Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which still becomes alive every summer at the castle courtyard.
It takes around 40 minutes to get there from Copenhagen by train. Take the coast line from Copenhagen Central Station or Nørreport Stationto the town called Elsinore. Reserve the whole day as the town itself is quite nice for exploring.
Roskilde is a little town just a short train ride from Copenhagen. It is famous for two reasons: it is a former capital of Denmark and holds one of the biggest rock festivals in Europe in July. It is a small place and you can go there on a few-hour long excursion during which you can visit an incredible Gothic cathedral where Danish monarchs are buried. I especially liked (despite the criticism of some people I talked to) the Viking museum displaying very well preserved ships from the 11th century.
It is one of the best art museums I have ever seen. It is not Louvre or Uffizi, but the art collection there is quite impressive. The building and gardens are also beautiful. The museum is located half an hour away from Copenhagen is it is quite hidden, which adds an extra mysterious touch to the visit. The French and Danish collection there is rich and displayed in a very interesting way.
See also: A colorful weekend getaway in Malmö.
Where to stay in Copenhagen
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71 Nyhavn– I stayed in this hotel for a few nights, not the whole of my stay in Copenhagen. It is not the cheapest, but located at the Nyhavn canal with lovely views. I loved the history and elegance of the hotel and its beautifully decorated rooms. It is really a place for a romantic getaway and even the most fussy people will enjoy the place.
Andersen Boutique Hotel– A lovely boutique hotel with a free wine hour every day. It is a hotel with design, style and personality in the heart of Vesterbro.
Where to eat and drink by the locals
It was our favourite place in whole Copenhagen. We liked it so much that went there twice (which normally don’t do as we want to see as many places as possible). This bar that was opened in 1728 has such great atmosphere, food and live music that is always booked full and most of the people going there as the locals. It must be good then. The first time we wanted to eat there it was so crowded that there was no chance for a table. Then we met two Povls, who squeezed us in there and told many stories about the bar and the city.
Where: Lille kongensgade 4
Hviids Vinstue is even older than the previous bar. It was opened in 1723 and located just next door from Skindbuksen. It’s big and nice and definitely worth a visit.
Copenhagen Street Food Market
Food markets are the thing I love most about places I visit. They are lively, full of people and serve different types of food, so while in Copenhagen this is where you should stop by for sure.
Where: Trangravsvej 7
It is one of the oldest places to eat in Copenhagen serving food since 1877. The specialty there (apparently worldwide known) is herring and smørrebrød (which is served with at least 15 kinds of herring).
Where: Hauser Plads 16
This center-located restaurant is most famous for serving Christmas food and open sandwiches. The classic dishes to try there are homemade curry herring with boiled eggs, onions and capers, smoked eel with scrambled eggs and Danish meatballs with red cabbage.
Where: Brolæggerstræde 12
This place does not only serve food. The chefs get creative and are driven by art and inspired by current exhibitions in Gallery Krebsen (which is just across the courtyard). At least eight time sa year the decor and the menu changes according to the theme of the exhibitions in the mentioned gallery.
Where: Studiestraede 17
It is one of the oldest Tivoli’s restaurants in Copenhagen and a place where you can try 12 kinds of famous schnapps. Grøften is very well known in Denmark and if you fancy meeting someone famous, this is the place to go to.
Where: Vesterbrogade 3
Denmark is a perfect country to be reminded to be mindful. The people there by following hygge practice mindfulness even without thinking about it and that is the whole point of being mindful: enjoying a present moment, slowing down and cherishing the little pleasures. Today I’d like to invite you to read this little quote about idea of hygge. I would love to know your thought about it.
“We were all tired after hiking and were half asleep, sitting in a semicircle around the fireplace in the cabin, wearing big sweaters and woolen socks. The only sounds you could hear were the stew boiling, the sparks from the fireplace, and someone having a sip of mulled wine. Then one of my friends broke the silence. “Could this be any more hygge?” he asked rhetorically. “Yes,” one of the women said after a moment. “If there was a storm raging outside.” We all nodded.”
? Meik Wiking,
Thank you for visiting. Copenhagen was for sure one of the cities that I enjoyed most in Europe. Quiet, creative, colorful with a splash of culture and modern design. I hope these tips are a little bit helpful for your trip to Copenhagen.
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