Every year, around our wedding anniversary, we usually take a little trip somewhere. This year we headed to Copenhagen. A few people had commented and messaged me on instagram asking for my recommendations for things to do and see, places to eat etc, so while I am by no means a travel photographer or blogger I’ve popped a few recommendations here for you if you are interested. You may have already seen some of these photos on my personal instagram.
Copenhagen is a beautiful city, especially the older parts of town, much like many European cities, but it is also worth going out from the city centre a bit for some of the restaurants.
We visited in the middle of January, and it was completely and utterly freezing. We were very lucky with the weather, it didn’t rain or snow the whole time we were there, but it was really cold, especially when the wind picked up a bit.
It’s also a very expensive city, we spent a bit more than we had planned to on food and drink, so definitely bear that in mind. We rented an Airbnb which we often do, and normally we would then buy food in and cook in the rental, however this time there were so many places that we wanted to try for breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, and drinks that we actually ate out a lot more than normal.
Ok, so a little caveat about how my wife and I like to explore cities. We basically pick places for food, drinks and coffee, and generally just wander between those spots taking in the sights as we go.
My first recommendation for Copenhagen is to rent bikes. It is easily, one of the best cities to cycle in, the infrastructure is totally built for it. There are a number of bike rental option about, from bike rental shops to public hire bikes, Bycyklen, which is what we used. They have tablets with gps and maps built in, and they even have a little electric motor to assist you a little (although personally I think that is cheating). There are bikes everywhere, which made for many nice photos, I had to restrain myself.
As I’m sure you can see from the photos above, the architecture in Copenhagen is simply stunning, and as I mentioned, we kind of just casually wandered around the city taking it all in. Some highlights for sure were:
- Nyhavn Harbour is definitely one of the most picturesque parts of the city full of wooden boats and colourful buildings
- Christianshavn is another area with nice Canals to walk around, we didn’t bother checking out Freetown Christiania though
- While in this area, if you are here in Spring, Summer or Autumn, check out the tower on the Church of our Saviour. It is a tower you can climb with the final steps in a spiral on the outside of the spire! You can see it in a couple of photos above, however we weren’t able to go up as it was closed.
- Copenhagen doesn’t have a super distinctive skyline the way other cities do, but there are still a couple of towers that are worth climbing to take in the view. The tower at Christiansborg Slot is free and gives a nice view over the city in all directions (assuming it isn’t too gloomy a day). Just beneath the view point at the top of the tower there are a few sculptures that were to be used in the rebuilding of Christansborg Slot after it had burned down. Some of these sculptures even have the original pencil marks of the sculptors which I found fascinating.
- However I much preferred Rundetaarn, an old observatory with a really unique helical equestrian staircase to the top!
- The Royal Library, known as the Black Diamond, is a fascinating building, an amalgamation of old and new architecture. It also has the Photography Museum in the basement.
- Rosenborg Slot is another example of incredible architecture, and its genuinely a castle surrounded by a moat!
- Amalienborg Slot is the royal palace and residence of the Queen of Denmark. If you can, visit it about 11:30am, as the changing of the guard procession will happen at 12 noon every day, which we caught by accident but was well worth watching.
- Botanisk Have, the botanic gardens would almost certainly have been more interesting in the spring or summer when the plants and trees would be in bloom, but the palm house here was still fascinating, and had some of the largest bamboo I have ever seen! It also had the added perk of warming us up on a freezing cold day!
- Superkilen park in Norrebro is a really interesting urban park worth checking out if you are in that part of the city.
- Shopping. While we didn’t do much shopping for a few reasons, one being that it’s not our thing, and two, it was absurdly expensive, there is a good shopping district known as Stroget, and while it is made up of mostly big brand names you can get anywhere, there are a couple of cool danish design, and other shops worth checking out, like Hay, The Lego Store, and Sostrene Grene (although there is one of those in Belfast now I believe.)
Ok, now onto our favourite part of exploring new places, food and drink! While we aren’t massive foodies, we do like to go to places that have a good reputation for quality food and drink, and there was plenty of that in Copenhagen, although I will warn you it is all very expensive!
The most important meal of the day is breakfast, so they say (Whoever “they” are), and there are no shortage of spots for breakfast in the city. Unfortunately for us we had a shortage of days, so only got to check out a couple of spots, all of which I would highly recommend.
- Granola, Frederiksberg – a very cosy little cafe for breakfast or brunch.
- Grod, Norrebro – (ridiculously amazing bowl of porridge, the danes love their porridge)
- Cafe Atelier September – again we had porridge here too (salted porridge, with lemon and olive oil, sounds odd, but is delicious). They also serve coffee from Koppi Coffee Roasters I believe, although I didn’t actually ask
Lunch & Dinner
There are so many food spots in the city that we checked out for lunch and dinner and I’ve recommended a few below. We couldn’t afford or get a reservation at anywhere like noma, but you don’t have to go Michelin star to get great food in Copenhagen.
- Hot Dog Carts – I will start with the Hot Dogs. Copenhagen is (apparently) famous for its Hot Dogs, who knew? You can get them from little carts dotted all over the city, and they are probably one of the cheapest things you can eat, but don’t let that fool you, they are in fact delicious!
- Jagger – No nonsense burgers and fries, and make sure you try the honey tabasco sauce! Amazing! They also do tasty tasty milkshakes! We ate here twice actually
- Mother – Simple but tasty pizzas in Kodbyen, you will probably need a reservation here though. We were lucky enough to snag a table walking in, but there were several people turned away after us.
- Ol & Brod – This Restaruant run by the team behind Mikkeller, is really really great! I had possibly one of the tastiest meals of my life here, they also have Mikkeller beer on tap.
- Baest – This is another Pizza restaurant but is some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. They have a charcuterie and dairy on site to make all their own cured meats and cheeses
- Slurp Ramen Joint – I’ve never had ramen before, so thought I’d give it a try, and oh my it was good!
Coffee and Pastries
One of the highlights of Denmark surely has to be the pastries, and washed down with a good cup of coffee definitely helps too!
- Coffee Collective – there are a few branches over the city. Their coffee is really excellent and you should definitely try to seek out at least one of the branches (We went to 3)
- Democratic Coffee – another great spot with excellent coffee and very tasty pastries.
- The Corner @ 108 – 108 is the sister restaurant of noma, and The Corner is their coffee shop, which has Tim Wendelboe coffee on bar, and the most amazing pastry I had on our trip.
- Mirabelle Bakery – probably the most expensive cream buns I’ve ever bought in my life! Totally worth it though.
For a night cap there are no end of cool bars, with nice cocktails, and good beer available.
- Mikkeller – Again there are a few locations across the city, but we stuck to the one in Vesterbro, it gets busy on a Friday night though so be prepared to stand
- Lidkoeb – So last year when we were in New York we went to the Dead Rabbit, but Lorraine was pregnant so couldn’t enjoy the cocktails in the worlds best bar. This year however we were both able to enjoy a cocktail each in this cool cocktail bar (once we found the entrance – It’s up an alleyway with the name painted on the wall) – it was only one cocktail each though which came in at £26!
- War Pigs – Just around the corner from Mother, this craft beer bar and BBQ joint has a huge selection of craft beer on tap (If they have it try the Coffee & Lactose IPA on Nitro), and if you are peckish they have loads of meat options for food.
If you do go to Copenhagen I’d love to know if you check out any of the places above and what you thought of them! Also, if you happen to be planning a trip to Iceland anytime soon, do check out my blog post from a couple of years ago about our trip to there!