Five days into the new year and one of my targets for 2017 has already been met. Of the five new cities that I would like to visit this year I can now chalk off Copenhagen in Denmark having just spent three days there.
It was already on our radar for its ‘hygge’ or ‘way of staying cosy(!!)’ in Danish and it didn’t disappoint. We stayed in a perfect apartment found on Air BnB, very central and stylishly decorated. It was a two bedroom place and perfect for exploring the many backstreets of the Indre By area of central Copenhagen. A 15 minute/9 krone metro ride from the airport and a 10 minute walk and we were there. Our days consisted of strolling the streets, many coffee and hot chocolate breaks to get out of the cold and seeing a few sights. This is predominantly how our city break vacations pan out as we are not big museum or church goers but are happy to admire the architecture of some of these buildings and marvel at their place alongside more modern dwellings. Copenhagen has something for everyone, there is enough history to occupy the philanthropists, enough shopping to occupy the material girls and boys and enough cafes to occupy the dawdlers and wanderers.
Our first stop after arrival was of course Joe and the Juice, as they are just about on every street corner like Starbucks’s are in New York. Founded by a Danish guy they sell hot drinks, a small but tasty selection of sandwiches and all manner of juices to wake you up, keep you up or send you to sleep!!
After checking in and dropping our bags in our little haven of ‘hygge’ we ate lunch at Palaeo, a café with a very good selection of food, all freshly prepared using only Paleo ingredients – a pulled pork wrap made out of egg with fresh coleslaw for example. Later on we met friends at the Torvehallerne, an indoor food market with a fantastic range of produce. Two buildings stand next door to each other with Christmas tree sellers in the middle, with one hall specializing in coffee, baked goods and snacks whilst the other hall offered more dining opportunities with pizza stands, sushi, tapas, butchers and fishmongers. The smells and sights are incredible and you could easily while away a day in here feasting on all manner of beautifully prepared and presented food. We had coffee and cake at Laura’s bakery and plumped for the Snegl – a type of cinnamon Danish pastry which didn’t look anything like what I know a Danish pastry to look like but tasted equally as good. As it was my birthday we had a few glasses of champagne and then headed to Mother, a sourdough pizza restaurant with a burgeoning reputation in Vesterbro, on the opposite side of the railway tracks to the centre. The area was full of warehouses, which I imagine Mother once was, but the restaurant does a good range of pizzas at great value and is well worth a visit.
The next day we combined culture with some shopping and first of all climbed the Old Tower for some fantastic rooftop views over the city and then walked to Nyhavn, to see the old docking area where the sailors used to hang out. The pretty coloured houses are now mainly restaurants and bars but still full of locals and not completely a tourist trap. From there we crossed the water to Christianshavn to walk the canals and its clear the further into Christianshavn you walk that this was once a grimy, rundown part of town now on the way up and becoming more residential with first class restaurants and offices.
Back in the heart of the city we went for lunch in Illum, the biggest department store in Copenhagen. We ate in Eataly, a basement restaurant cum delicatessen which has chains all over Europe. A great concept and very good food!! We had plans to visit the Design Museum but underestimated the walking time and wanted to pass by the Royal Residence first to see where the Royal family live. This is made up of four buildings around a central monument with guardsmen on attention outside each building. The changing of the guard happens at 12 midday every day and is not to be missed, apparently!!
On our way back we stopped in a few Danish stores such as Wood & Wood, which sells on trend men’s and womenswear and also Norse, a fashionable meanswear store. Also on our hitlist was Naked – a girls only footwear store which sells trainers that cannot be bought in other shops. We ate dinner that evening at the Torvehallerne dining on fresh Sushi and Sashimi from SushiLovers who have two other branches in the city. The sashimi and beef tenderloin were outstanding.
The following day we checked out of our Air BnB and moved on to The Carlton Guldsmeden in Vesterbro. This is part of the Guldsmeden chain of hotels and is quirky but very stylish too. The simple things are done well, with a nice relaxed feel about the place, well designed and laid out, good toiletries in reception and in the bathrooms and the rooms are unfussy but with details taken care of. We passed our day in the snow strolling around Vesterbro on Vesterbrogade and Istegade, the two main streets with an eclectic range of stores as well as the smallest hotel in the world, consisting of one room and one café space for 5 people!! We lunched late at a diner on Istegade called Jagger, with out of this world cheeseburgers, and after an afternoon stroll and evening nap we had dinner at Madklubben, a very popular local restaurant literally not even a minute’s walk from our hotel. The receptionist had told us we wouldn’t be able to get a table until much later but they have tables for walk-ins which meant we were able to be seated immediately. A very reasonable priced menu with a few selections satisfied our needs and we were home for an earlyish night before an early departure the following morning.
An Uber 15 minute taxi ride, no queues at security and we had plenty of time to have an omelette for breakfast at Gorms before taking our flight. All in all, a very enjoyable 4 days. if you were tight for time you could quite easily see the city in a couple of days but it is nice to be able to take your time and wander the streets not knowing what shops, cafés or bars you will come across.