A city full of happy people, delicious food, cool weather and hygge. Go at Christmas time when the city is in full hygge swing, or visit during the summer to enjoy the endless bright blue sky days. There is really no wrong time to visit Copenhagen and I would challenge anyone not to fall in love with this place.
What’s Cool To Know?
Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) loosely translates to cosiness in English. It made the shortlist for Oxford Dictionaries word of the year 2016 and is defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Think lots of candles, dinner with your closest family and friends, a cup of hot chocolate on the sofa wrapped up in a cashmere blanket. Christmas is the ultimate time to experience hygge in Copenhagen and who wouldn’t want to be enveloped in a city full of content, secure and happy people?!
From The Airport To The City
Of course you could get a taxi but if you’re trying to save some money and are planning to travel around the city a bit, I would recommend getting their City Pass. It is available for 24 or 72 hours (I read some articles beforehand saying 48 was available but this is not true as of September 2017). The journey from the airport to the cit is only around 20 minutes.
At the airport there are clear signs for the train station and ticketing machines. The machines are super easy to use, have an English button and there are even stewards standing around in bright orange to help if you need it.
We found it fairly easy to get around Copenhagen, mainly using their trains. Everything is signposted as you would expect and as long as you know which station you are looking for then you should be fine. We didn’t find much information in English in the stations themselves however all announcements are in Danish then English so listen out!
As we were walking from the train station to our hotel we came to a pedestrian stopping and halted as a car was coming. The driver stopped, wound down his window and shouted, “in Copenhagen we are always kind to people who walk”! It’s true, cars and bikes will always stop for anyone walking.
We did a loop walk which I would highly recommend. Google maps says it takes about 2 hours but I’d say it take more like 3 – 4 once you stop to enjoy the sights and take photos. Pick up the loop wherever is closest to your accomodation but you could do something like Rundertårn, Rosenborg Castle, The Little Mermaid, Amalienborg and Frederik’s Church, then Nyhavn. If you plot that on a map you will find plenty of other spots to visit along the way.
Things To See And Do
Get ready for a disappointment with The Little Mermaid. Sorry to ruin the surprise and start off on a negative note but it’s quite a lot of hype for not much. I mean, it’s a nice sculpture but it’s extremely small and has hordes of crowds trying to touch it and get photos right next to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put a barrier around it soon because people were jumping over rocks and water to get to it. You should go see it because it is an icon of Copenhagen and Denmark, just be prepared for the people jostling to get a better photo than you.
On a much more happier and exciting note, Nyhavn is a great place to hang out especially when the sun is shining. You won’t miss it, it’s the place with the colour buildings you will have seen in photos everywhere. Along side the canal there are numerous bars and restaurants so take up a chair and absorb the vibrant, buzzing atmosphere.
The Rundetårn is worth going to for nice views of the city and a unique method of reaching the top. It’s not too expensive (which is a rarity for Copenhagen) and they normally have a couple of galleries open with interesting pieces of artwork.
I would try and time a morning snack or lunch to coincide with your visit to Rosenborg Castle. The gardens here are expansive, well cared for and charming. We visited on a sunny Sunday and whilst there were many people there it was nowhere near busy. Take a blanket, a book or even a football and play around on the grounds.
Amalienborg is the Queen’s winter residence and is a grand square which is rather photo worthy (plus you can see neatly dressed guards on duty). From here you can also see the magnificent Frederik’s Church.
Tivoli Gardens is the second oldest theme park in the world as is meant to be gorgeous during Christmas time when it is covered with hundreds of fairy lights. I would recommend booking in advance though as the queues were quite long. The entrance outside the train station was quite full however if you walk around the corner to the entrance on Vesterbrogade, it was much better. I would love to go back and see a concert or performance here – before you go, have a look online and check out what events are coming up.
We didn’t get to them but a few other places to check out that were recommend to us is Christiania, the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and the Hans Christian Andersen statue outside the Radhus.
Copenhagen has its fair share of Michelin starred restaurants for the discerning diner however it’s important to note that most restaurants in Copenhagen are fairly expensive. Cheap would be anything in the $30 range for a dish range at a restaurant. There are take out places and small cafes the you can get cheaper food for breakfast and lunch but I still found dinner a challenge.
The food here is great though. That is the problem. You want to eat the delicious food that is on offer so be prepared and know this when going. Save up an extra few pennies and allow yourself to indulge.
What To Try
Smørrebrød is a typical Danish lunch and it’s a take on a traditional sandwich – except it’s better. A slice of fresh rye bread is buttered and then a hearty filling is placed on top. It could be roast beef slices with pickles and salad leaves or potato slices with dill and thick cream or sliced egg with shrimps and dill – the combinations are endless. Plus, who doesn’t want more filling and less bread?!
If you’re looking for healthy food on the go, check out ReTreat. They do super healthy and filling salads (think salmon, quinoa, dill, fennel and pepitas or beetroot, quinoa, chickpea and spinach), soups, a range of wraps and rolls plus delicious organic lemonades and smoothies. Also, if you’re feeling really good that you’ve made a healthy choice for lunch but fancy a sweet snack, try their “killer choc brownie”. They say you could get addicted – after one, I was!
Lastly, hot chocolate. One day it was very windy and it brought a chill through town and I hadn’t worn enough clothing, so I popped into the nearest café to get a hot chocolate to warm me up. Well, I’m so glad we happened upon this particular café because the hot chocolate was amazing. Baresso Coffee’s tripo hot chocolate comes as a mug (or take out cup) with three chocolate balls on the end of three sticks, white, milk and dark which are submerged into hot frothy milk. You are then left to stir to your hearts content and watch the chocolate drip from the balls. It isn’t the strongest of hot chocolates but it is like a delicious milky chocolatey dream. Just try it, you’ll thank me later.
The currency in Denmark is the krone. Credit cards, including AMEX, are widely accepted and cash is rarely required. We spent our whole time there without withdrawing cash or exchanging any money.
We found that a private room in a hostel would be roughly the same as a budget hotel so opted for the latter option. There are many right near the train station which provides the perfect base to explore the city that is still within walking distance to public transport.