A Guide to Copenhagen
Copenhagen is one of my all-time favourite cities. I might be slightly biased as I have been a scandi-file for as long as I can remember as my best friend in primary school was Swedish and ever since I have been fascinated by this part of the world that could not be more different than my own hometown, Brisbane.
But putting my bias aside, the Danish capital has it all - incredible food (it is home to NOMA after all), friendly people, plenty to see and do, as well as an incredible mix of old and new architecture. Copenhagen is always at the top of “most liveable cities” lists too, and for good reason. It is easy to get around, it’s safe, incredibly progressive and there is plenty to keep you entertained.
NEIGHBOURHOODS TO EXPLORE
Sitting slightly south-west to the city centre, Vesterbro is home to some of the best places to eat, drink and shop. It is less touristy than the city centre and has a much more local, hipster vibe. We loved it here so much we extended our stay another few days.
Meating Packing District
This small district is located right next to Vesterbro. It was once (yes, you guessed it) a warehouse district where meat was processed, packed and sold. These days it one of the hottest spots to eat and drink and where many creative businesses set up shop.
I normally don’t like city centres of most big cities, I find them sterile and touristy, but Copenhagen is an exception. The beautiful cobblestone streets, cosy cafes, historic buildings and picturesque waterways make it easy and enjoyable explore. Nyhavn, the colourful row of buildings by the water, is probably the most well known landmark of the city and is not to be missed!
Norrebro is another up-and-coming hipster neighbourhood where you can find hygge (a Danish term that translates to cosy and good vibes) cafes, bustling restaurants and stunning lakeside parks. Be sure to check out the incredible Superkilen urban park.
EAT & DRINK
I was extremely lucky to be able to eat at NOMA when we were in Copenhagen, which was an incredibly generous wedding gift we received. A lot of people ask me if it was worth the money, which is a hard question to answer. In a nutshell, I think it is. You don’t often get the opportunity to eat at the best restaurant in the world. The food was one of a kind - creative and unusual, but most importantly, delicious. Plus the staff were incredibly friendly and enjoyed getting us really drunk! But if you’re not really into food I would give it a miss.
This lively venue is the Danish version of a beer hall. It has lots of large, long communal tables both inside and outside. You can enjoy plenty of beers on tap along with good old fashion southern american food like ribs, pull pork and mac’n’cheese, all of which are served to you on cafeteria trays. It's located in the Meatpacking District and there are plenty of places to bar hop to before or after.
Who would have thought I would eat some of the best italian good of my LIFE in Copenhagen?! This place is a local favourite and we went here on a saturday night and it was full of people celebrating birthdays and many first dates taking place which made it a fun place to dine and people watch. This place came recommended by our Airbnb host and they have sister restaurants called Osteria 16 and Mercato which are meant to be just as good. Book ahead!
Papiroen (otherwise known as Paper Island)
If you can’t put your finger on what you feel like, head to this food truck precinct located on the water. In the summertime the crowds spill out onto the waterfront and enjoy the day long sunshine, but it's a great place to come in winter too as the trucks have parks themselves away from the elements in an old former newspaper warehouse. You can find everything from tacos to fish and chips.
This indoor market housed in two sleek looking glass halls is full to the brim with fresh food stalls selling meat, veggies and fruit. There are also plenty of food stalls that you and eat and drink at too. My pick of the bunch is the taqueria, Hija de Sanchez, where you can get authentic crispy fish tacos with plenty of crumbled queso on top.
The quintessential Danish cafe - beautifully designed, understated, cosy and beautiful. Not only does this place not serve meat, it doesn’t even have a kitchen. All the food is prepared on a single induction plate on their steel table which makes the menu small, but the food delicious. Even if you’re not hungry it's a great place to perch yourself in the window with a coffee and people watch on the city centre’s streets.
Last but certainly not least is Mad & Kaffe, home to one of the best breakfast spots I have been too. It has long lines, but if the weather permits, stick it out. Once you finally get a seat you get given a form to fill out and you pick and choose what you want for breakfast, like a mini smorgasbord to start your day. I think the breakfast plates here are the most Instagrammed things in Copenhagen!
THINGS TO DO
If you’re visiting Copenhagen in the warmer months, Go Boating is a must. Cruising through the cosy canals you get to enjoy the city from a different angel. You can rent these small, solar powered boats which fit up to 8 people and don’t require a license or experience to operate (they max out at about 5kms an hour). The boat has a table in the middle perfect for bringing your own picnic along.
Whether you’re an art lover or not, this museum is a great day to trip take out of the city. Located only 40kms away via a quick train trip from the city. The beautiful waterside museum was built as a private residence in 1855 before opening its doors to the public in 1958. It has an impressive collection of over 3000 works, many of which are Danish, exhibitions, a store and a restaurant serving delicious nordic food.
This place is by far the most fascinating place to visit in the city. Christiania is a independent society residing in once-abandoned army barracks that was established by hippies in the 70s. It is car free and operates by its own rules separate from the Danish government, for example, you can’t buy a house here, you have to apply for one and if you’re successful the house is given to you. The district sprawls long the water, with beautiful handmade houses and parks dotted throughout as well as many workshops, music venues, galleries and organic cafes. Be careful with your camera, the residents here are welcoming but don’t appreciate photos being taken.
WHERE TO STAY
I recommend getting an Airbnb in Vesterbro, it means you will be well located and you won’t have to spend too much money either. We stayed in this apartment which was perfect for what we needed. Plus, Danes have such incredible style that you will feel like you’re in a modern boutique hotel in most apartments.
I have only seen photos of this place, but it is on my bucket list for next time. It is the epitome of beautiful danish design with a very relaxed vibe, busy bar and full of incredible timber furniture.
This hotel has been given the nickname The White Lady. She is a beautiful, regal old (1755) building that calls some of the best real estate in the city home. I was lucky enough to stay here during my first visit to Copenhagen and I can say the luxury rooms were VERY comfortable. It also had fantastic views of the ice skating rink across the road too.