I have a profound love / slight obsession with Scandinavia, the countries, the culture, the fashion. Since first visiting Sweden many years ago my style has been stamped with the Scandi signature, hence my excitement when River said it was next on our list. I knew we wouldn’t be disappointed, maybe bankrupt but not disappointed!
Copenhagen is contagious. It is beautiful, filled with historic architecture and an infectious casual vibe which hits you immediately. The enticement to explore the endless nooks and crannies hidden down winding cobbled streets lined with candy coloured houses is overwhelming. It truly is a wonderland of water-coloured coffee shops, hipster street style and bicycles. Grab a pew and unwind, let the afternoon hours drift away watching the city go by in one of the many squares dotted across the centre.
As a city it is relatively small, getting around by foot or more commonly by bicycle is best. We opted to stay in First Hotel Kong Frederik, located just a short walk from the central train station, easily accessible by regular trains to and from the airport. Kong Fredrik is perfectly situated for a mini break in Copenhagen. It’s a hotel brimming with history, once housing a recording studio the names of many a musician, actor and producer are embossed on plaques in the lobby, from the Pet Shop Boys to Lenny Kravitz. A lovely touch and one that makes you think who’s footsteps you’re standing in. The hotel has an extremely popular pizzeria and a bar that regularly has a waiting list at street level and the rooms above have a decadent, almost librarian feel to them with wooden panelling, ceiling lights and slash windows. You certainly feel rested after a nights sleep, the endless reviews about how comfortable the beds are are definitely warranted. Go see for yourself.
Day one and we were eager to see the Meat Packing district, known by the Danish as the Kødbyen. A bustling neighbourhood that was once the home to butchers and wholesalers is now the hip place to been seen with a hotdog. Every Saturday/Sunday throughout the summer the area is filled with food stalls, jazz music and drinks are flowing. It has been recently refurbished and is now one of the coolest hang outs in Copenhagen… When we visited it was raining. Nonetheless we explored the district and grabbed lunch at Warpigs, a popular fixed restaurant there that specialises in ribs and steaks enjoyed around communal tables. River was in his element, luckily Mac and Cheese and a large array of home-brewed beer was available too for the annoying Pescatarian that insisted on lunch in the MEATpacking district! Still, it is a must see especially if you visit during the summer months.
Copenhagen is built around a network of canals that navigate throughout the city. A popular beeline for tourists to see the city from the water. Many board these water tours at the famous Nyhavn Harbour, a short walk to the east of the city from our hotel. Although a busy, societal place it didn’t feel overwhelmed by tourists. In fact, with the central canal a constant flow of city tour boats, the rows of restaurants filled with locals soaking up the sun and daily buskers entertaining, Nyhavn unsurprisingly became our regular hang out of the trip. A great place to grab a beer, sit and enjoy late into the evening. Having said all this, I was nearly abandoned for a group of Norwegians! A very merry group of Norwegians who were, shall we say, enjoying a sunny day cruise over to Copenhagen and had stopped off at the picturesque Nyhavn to also have a beer. Note to self; don’t leave River to get the beers in next time! 30 MINUTES later… he returned and with two beers, albeit two beers he’d somehow had bought for him from the Norwegian who thought he’d met John Lennon! Didn’t know what I was more relieved about, the fact that by this point I was now gasping for a beer or the fact they hadn’t dragged River back to Norway with them!
There are dozens of things to see and do in the city, many of which you stumble across when walking round the city. The Copenhagen Opera House, Amalienborg Palace, Christainsborg Palace, the impressive Black Diamond Library and of course the home of the Little Mermaid to name but a few. Copenhagen has a very regal feel about it and we were lucky enough to be there when the changing of the guard happened. A very different experience to the changing of the guard we have both witnessed in London. If, like us, you are familiar with the over crowded, usually raining, iPhones in the air, trying to catch a glimpse ritual in London then you’ll know it’s best to watch it on TV. However, in Denmark it was an altogether different experience. You are huddled into a square in the centre of the palace grounds ready to watch the guards march around you. Constantly moving as a crowd to watch the demonstration from all angles. It lasts no longer than 20 minutes but is an interesting experience nonetheless. Situated behind the Nyhavn Canal at the Amalienborg Palace is where the changing of the guard ends everyday at 12.00pm. It is on the walk up to Amalienborg that you will find Cafe No.11 a quaint Danish cafe, perfect stop off for a coffee and pastry in the heart of Copenhagen. From here it’s a short walk to the enchanting botanical gardens. A lush array of gardens, flowers, lakes and picnic spots for a sunny day.
The city has an extensive shopping district entertwined with eateries. A few of our favourites were Cofoco, found south of the city in the Kobenhavn V district. A basement restaurant serving traditional Danish food, tapas style. The Greasy Spoon Diner, found on Studiestræde directly behind our hotel. Despite the name it is a gem, serving sliders for breakfast filled with hash browns, runny eggs and avocado. DREAMY. Grab a table outside under the heaters and blankets to watch the hipsters pass by. If you’re lucky enough to be in Copenhagen on the first Sunday of every month, the American Pie Company found on the corner of Klosterstræde and Skindergade in Kobenhavn K district is the most perfect place for Sunday brunch. Choose from savoury or sweet pies, with rich, american style fillings. We definitely recommend the cinnamon bun cake with bourbon hot sauce. Naughtiest but tastiest brunch, lets face it after walking/cycling around the city you deserve it…right?
All that’s left to say is, well, we’re already looking when to go back, how soon is too soon? Go to Copenhagen, you’ll not know how you ever coped before.