Last weekend saw us take a quick hop and a flight over to beautiful Denmark and its capital, Copenhagen. We only had a brief amount of time to spend seeing what this city has to offer, but being so close, just a short one hour and twenty minute flight away from London, we wanted to get on that plane and explore as much as we could as well as catch up with friends and make some new ones! For anyone planning a similar trip I thought I'd share some highlights in the form of my five things to do on a quick visit to Copenhagen, and some photographs to get you inspired before you travel. I hope that you enjoy.
FIVE THINGS TO DO ON A WHISTLE-STOP TOUR OF COPENHAGEN
1. Chill Out Beside The Water
One of the most iconic sights of the city of Copenhagen has to be the brightly coloured, historical beauty that is Nyhavn (New Harbour). Here you can stroll alongside the 17th century waterfront and get your first taste of the city. Many restaurants and bars dot this canal side spot and although the tourist draw of this part of town means they will probably catch you out slightly on the price side of things, it's a stop not to miss for a sunny drink or two by the waters edge. It's also a good place to sample a traditional Danish open faced sandwich on rye bread or Smørrebrød as it's known - but more on that to come below.
We popped into a restaurant at Nyhavn for a quick and cheeky pizza before we flew home, from a restaurant called La Sirene and it was one of the freshest, tastiest pizzas I've had in recent years! Not too bad on the price front either so I'd recommend checking this place out if you're in the mood for pizza with a view.
There are many and plentiful waterfront, canal side strolls to be taken and fresh and beautiful food to be sampled in Copenhagen. Spend a morning strolling serenely by the water, take in the sites and do your best to avoid the many cyclists! Stop somewhere along the way to nibble on something tasty and traditional. Here a notable mention must go to this tasty Smoked Salmon Smørrebrød that tickled our tastebuds at the peaceful Christianshavns Faergecafe alongside Christianshavns Canal.
2. Stroll Around The City Sights
One of the most famous sites in Copenhagen has to be the bronze sculpture of The Little Mermaid seated on a rock by the waters edge alongside Langelinie Promenade. Based on the Hans Christian Anderson tragic fairytale of the same name and now over 100 years old, the sculpture itself has seen its own fair share of tragedy and mishap having been beheaded and restored twice as well as having been vandalised many further times for various reasons. She's worth popping by to see, although you will be greeted by huge crowds of tourists doing the very same thing, all trying to grab a selfie with the famed figure. Still it's a classic sight not to be missed on any first time trip to this city.
Keep an eye out for many other intriguing as well as more modern sculptures as you walk around the city. One such, much newer work, is The Global Visionary or Zinc Global, seated at Nodre Toldbod. Based loosely on the famous Auguste Rodin sculpture called The Thinker this version, made out of machine parts by artist Kim Michael, is quite a sight to see and has proved controversial in Copenhagen with some locals loathing it and others loving it. So take a look for yourself and see what you think!
Oh and if you're looking for a cheeky stop to take the load off and grab a bite to eat then there's a cosy restaurant right by this sculpture called Toldboden which is worth a moment of your time - although be warned, if you miss the brunch cut off point then you'll be faced with a lay out of lots of beautiful food right before you yet not be allowed to taste it! Their fish and chips are worth a bite though so all in all not a bad stop if you have some time to while away, again by the waters edge and with a beautiful and classic Danish style interior to boot.
You cannot fail to notice as you walk around the city, the many unusual and beautiful buildings that make up the uniqueness of the city's landscape. There are some really stunning examples of architecture both old and new dotted around Copenhagen from the more recently built Danish Opera House to many beautiful historical palaces, galleries and churches that capture the eye. Sadly we didn't have time to visit many although we took in a great few of them via the view from the top of The Round Tower (coming up below). But if architecture is your thing then this list of famous buildings in the city would be a great place to start for anyone wanting to explore this side of Copenhagen further.
3. Eat, Eat And Eat Some More!
So I realise I've already mentioned food quite a lot! Well the truth is I love to eat and I love to take photos of my food so stories of my travels are usually filled with oodles of foodie photos. This post continues that theme and as well as the places I've mentioned already I wanted to focus on a few other, very notable and chomp worthy places that we stopped at in order to take in some of the best food (I personally think) that this city has to offer.
One of the best meals that we had has to be the delectable tasting menu at Höst where a delight of contemporary Nordic food graced our palates during a lovely evening of food and wine in cosy, cool and chic surroundings. Eating here really is an event in itself that takes all evening, a way to unwind, chat, eat and drink as you are served not only a starter, main and dessert but a pre-starter, pre-main and a pre-dessert as well! All paired with well thought out wine selections making it a meal to remember. I'll let the mouthwatering photos below tickle your tastebuds and do all the talking, but I'd definitely recommend an evening here for something very unique and memorable.
Sunday, our last day in the city, was all about the meatballs and so we turned to The Union Kitchen to get our fix of their delightful balls of the day! Beef meatballs with mash and gorgonzola sauce did the trick at fixing both hangovers and hungry belly's as did their delightful bloody marys with added bacon. The vibe here is cool and relaxed and it's a lovely spot to spend a Sunday brunching with friends, recovering from the night before. I'm reliably informed that their hangover burger is well worth a bite as well!
Another very notable food and drink suggestion, especially good for a Friday night, goes to the stylish PS Bar and Grill. We ate here the night we arrived and the food was delicious, small plates and bigger bites all washed down with pitchers of unusual cocktail combinations. Sadly none of my photos really came out because the low lit evening vibe that kicked in shortly after we arrived didn't allow for my usual snappy shots! However this was a very cool venue full of very beautiful people and with tasty food (the tuna was amazing) and top cocktails (try a sloe gin and tonic, you won't be disappointed) making for a very cool place to begin the weekend.
4. Take In An Aerial View
Whenever I visit a new city I like to find somewhere high up from which to get an aerial view and understand the lay of the land. I'm not altogether that good at directions! So this always helps me get a feel for a place and gives me some bearings on which to go by. The Round Tower in Copenhagen looked likely to do just the trick so I knew it was somewhere I'd like to visit should we get the time.
Before visiting Copenhagen I read quite a few posts from fellow bloggers to get inspiration for the trip and this one from Carolin over at Style Lingua was probably the first that brought the tower to my attention. So I'm glad we found a few spare moments to make our way up the unique 209 metre spiral ramp to take a look out over the city from up at the top. The tower, dating back to the 17th century, is also one of the oldest functioning observatories in Europe and is still used today by many visiting amateur astronomers.
It proved a lovely way to take in the city landscape below, even though it's actually only 36 metres tall, so not that high by todays city tower standards, it still gives you a chance for a beautiful perspective of the red and green roofed city laying out at its feet. I'll leave you with a few photos to show you just what I mean.
5. Take A Trip To Christiania
I think it's probably fair to say that no first time trip to Copenhagen is complete without a stop at Freetown Christiania. This unique and controversial part of the city has existed since 1971 when hippies decided to set up camp amongst some old abandoned military barracks and established their own autonomous neighbourhood, with their own self rule and way of life that is completely separate to the rest of Copenhagen. Now it has around 850 residents and functions utterly independently of the Danish government.
It hasn't been without its problems though and since 2004 has been the subject of regular police raids leading to some conflict and much discussion about the area, especially about its open cannabis trade which is illegal in Denmark but active in Christiania.
To my mind the jury is out on what I feel about such a place, though it was interesting to take a look around and the local residents welcome regular visitors. Just make sure to heed to the do's and don'ts when it comes to photography. For your own safety it is definitely best to follow the rules as clearly indicated by the many signs visible around the area when you visit. Below are just a couple of snaps I took before entering the community itself but once inside keep those phones and cameras well away.
I hope you've found this beginners insight into a quick trip to Copenhagen useful, especially if you're planning a visit there yourself.
Where We Stayed: We stayed at Hotel Skt. Annae (pictured below) which was a lovely spot, very conveniently and centrally located and perfectly comfortable - although the room was very stuffy and the air-con was broken but staff were quick to fix this with a well placed and competent fan!
If you're looking for further reads on the city before you go you may find these additional posts useful, as I did, when planning your trip:
- Frugal City Guide: Copenhagen and Copenhagen Insiders (and what to wear when you're there) by The Frugality.
- 10 Places In Copenhagen I Always Show My Friends When They Visit by Guide To Copenhagen.
Thanks for reading and happy travels!