I bought G flights to Copenhagen last Christmas and although it seems like miles away now, we thought it would be best to go in summer – so we booked for 3 nights for July.
We bought a guidebook before we went and asked friends and family who had visited for things to do and see. From the sounds of it, most people walked around, drank nice coffee and ate incredible food. There also didn’t seem to be loads of really touristy ‘must see/do’ things – which actually I was glad about. It meant that G and I could mooch around for a few days, relax and spend some quality time together.
We flew from Stansted early Thursday morning and were happy to be escaping the 40°C London heatwave. Within no time we had touched down in Denmark and caught a train 3 stops to Central Copenhagen, it was easy peasy. Luckily our hotel was only a couple of minutes walk from the train station so our travel really was hassle free. Before going out to explore we unpacked and took a little tour of our hotel which was beautiful.
Without knowing we’d actually booked an eco-hotel, which meant that everything from the interior décor to the towels and even the complimentary toothbrushes were environmentally friendly. The rooms of this boutique hotel were simple but quirky and beautifully laid out for our arrival. The only downside of Axel Guldsmeden was that they did not have air conditioning (only a standing fan), which would have been fine if we hadn’t been staying on the heatwave weekend that hit the whole of Europe. This did make sleeping almost unbearable which was a bit of a shame.
However, the rest of the hotel was beautiful and it boasted a gorgeous outside seating area for guests to enjoy food and drinks. It was surrounded by overhanging plants, sofas were dressed in fur throws and a greenhouse stood in the corner if inside seating was preferred. We utilised this space every night for pre-dinner drinks!
When we started to explore the city, we realised that the easiest way to get around was by foot, bicycle or electric scooter. Scooters were by far our favourite mode of transport and it was a quick way to see many parts of the city and soak in all the sights.
I was generally surprised by the lack of tourists that we saw as we ticked things off the map. The Botanical Gardens were lovely and I expected it to be of similar popularity as Kew Gardens or the type. However, we enjoyed strolling around at leisure without having to dodge hundreds of people!
You can’t go to Copenhagen without visiting Tivoli Gardens – this is the second oldest amusement park in the world and although parts of it are somewhat tacky and full of screaming kids, popcorn and soft toys to be won, it also has some amazing restaurants, cute little coffee spots and the best ice cream! You have to pay to get into the park but we didn’t pay extra for any of the rides and just walked about for our first afternoon.
The Nyhavn Canal – aka the insta spot of Copenhagen – was as beautiful as it looks on the pictures and really does look like you’ve stepped into a picturebook! The cute little houses are all sorts of colours and the place is teeming with restaurants, bars and pubs. Definitely a spot for lunch (see below for my recommendation…) We had our obligatory photo before exploring the side streets which were full of boutique shops (my fave was Monday Sunday where I spent too much money on new dresses!)
The strangest place we found was Christiania – an almost deserted part of the city across the water from the hustle and bustle of Nyhavn. We wandered around for the whole morning trying to find somewhere for breakfast, and failed. However we did stumble across an intriguing gateway that led us to what looked like a junkyard. This was no junkyard. Strictly no photographs allowed. Seedy people and people who didn’t look seedy but were. Their ‘Anthem’ on Wikipedia is ‘You Cannot Kill Us’…nice! Essentially it’s home to lots of people selling weed openly and freely and is widely talked about as a place where it is legal, but it is not – confirmed by many people walking round with t-shirts branding ‘legalise the bush’! Interesting place…
Strøget was more my kind of scene – it’s the longest pedestrianised shopping street in Europe, trust me to find that…! Copenhagen is home to numerous designers, well known highstreet brands and also their own department stores. We spent an afternoon shopping and found a rooftop bar on the top of Illum where we went for a couple of cocktails on our last night. I felt right at home!
The Mermaid is a disappointment…there I said it! Although I think a fair few have said it before me. This famous landmark is probably Copenhagen’s most iconic tourist attraction which I obviously stopped to take a photo of, but didn’t hang around for long. There were masses of people queuing for photos with it, but it was small and unimpressive!
Anyway that didn’t dampen our spirits because there was much more to do, see and…eat.
The food was (as usual) a highlight and I’m going to go through my recommendations for anyone travelling to this beautiful country…
BEST FOOD EVER. You must order their side of mac and cheese. It’s honestly making me hungry even writing this. A lot of the restaurants in Copenhagen are sharing plates or set menus. We decided to choose our own plates instead of going for their recommendations because I wanted mainly veggie options. But it was just delicious. The restaurant itself doesn’t boast a fancy interior but it was open to the street and there were people enjoying food and/or cocktails that flooded out onto the street. My top favourite food place of our trip!
This greenhouse restaurant is tucked away in a corner of Tivoli gardens and because it was so hot when we went, we enjoyed an outside table and more sharing plates. The food was amazing, but slightly less choice than Pluto (not necessarily a negative as what we chose was delicious!!) After dinner and a cold bottle of rose we were taken to our own little part of the garden with a fire pit and toasted marshmallows until we were told the Gardens were closing. A perfect first night to our trip!
One thing I thoroughly loved about Copenhagen were the open sandwiches. Sounds simple, right? But somehow they make a piece of bread with a bit of salad, sauce and fish/cheese/meat I N C R E D I B L E. Not only the taste, but built so exquisitely that they’re too pretty to eat. We came across Kompasset when we were walking down the Nyhavn Canal and it was a gold find because it was one of my favourite meals of the trip and had THE best chips I’ve ever had. Highly recommend for a lunch spot!
This is Copenhagen’s version or Paul or Pret – full of people all hours of the day wanting a coffee and a snack. But the snacks on offer here were mouth-wateringly good. Dannnnish Pastries galoooooore! I had a couple of treats from here during the weekend – both cinnamon pastries with more sugar that I dare dream of. But a must for a quick breakfast, or for an afternoon iced latte.
Was recommended Tolboden for brunch and we’d booked this for our last morning. We were lucky that we’d booked because it poured it down with rain and I think most of Copenhagen had opted for a 2 hour buffet brunch. There was a multitude of food on offer from freshly made smoothies, breads of all types, shapes and flavours, granola, yoghurts and sauces, eggs, meats, cheeses, roasted vegetables, cold fish pates and ice-cream, waffles, pancakes and brownies! Top tip – plan what you want to eat carefully, as we saved the eggs/hot stuff for the end but were too full to even have a mouthful.
A little (actually quite large) food market is situated in two buildings with a bit in-between. We popped here for breakfast one morning and found some freshly made acai bowls. But there was everything on offer for all times of the day from wine bars, to burger pop-ups, porridge shops to bakeries. Definitely something for everyone and worth a visit.
So there’s a resume of what G and I got up to with my favourite food spots. If you have any further recommendations comment below, or if you want to know anything else about our stay ping me a message. It was a truly beautiful city and one of the most trendy but relaxed cities I’ve visited.