My visit to Copenhagen was brief, but I quickly fell in love with the Danish capital and their healthy way of life. I love a city that you can lose yourself in, filled with different districts with varying vibes and stories to tell and Copenhagen delivered.
With just one day to see as much as Copenhagen as we possibly could, we followed the locals way and rented bicycles to zip around the city. Throughout Copenhagen there are always cycle lanes implemented as cycling is the most popular form of travel, I even saw woman cycling late at night with 9 inch high heels which was beyond impressive. The city is big and if walking, it can be quite exhausting to try and see all of it, so I recommend renting a bicycle or if needs be, take the efficient and easy to navigate metro system.
The Little Mermaid is the most popular sight in Copenhagen and many head there to see the infamous statue. Avoiding the queues, we headed to Nyhaven, where multi coloured buildings jostle for attention from international visitors and cafes and restaurants front each building. The canal floats through Nyhaven and its harbour, where tour cruises dock, waiting patiently for customers. If you head further into the city, you will notice the varying boats in each section of the canal, an area for the smaller sailing boats used for adventurous day trips, one for the grander motorised ones for glamorous family gatherings and areas for small fishing boats used to hopefully gain a large catch. The cobbled streets of central Copenhagen pave the way alongside grand parliament buildings, historic palaces, quaint churches and quirky independent shops. If I had visited for longer, I could have easily spent some time exploring every corner of the city, meandering through back lanes, sipping tea outside cafes and spending far too much money in hipster shops with simplistic interiors, full of original designs.
Wander through the King’s Garden which surrounds the Rosenborg Castle, where perfectly manicured bushes are positioned geometrically to welcome visitors around the world. Head over the moat and learn of the 400 years of splendour the castle has, the crown jewels, the royal regalia and the art that adorns the interior of the building, taking you on a journey back in time. Nearby, the Botanical Gardens are wonderful to walk around at any time of the year. The gardens are vast and the perfect retreat from the city. Stepping into the gardens you are whisked away to a serene spot of nature, filled with flowers and plants in all shapes and sizes. You can head into the Botanical Gardens glasshouse and see more of the plants on show, from cacti to the butterfly garden.
Another wonderful sight to see is the Marble Church in Copenhagen, otherwise known as Fredrick’s Church. Its monumental size and ornate spire can be seen from miles around but what really takes your breath away is the interior design of the church. During the week, you can gain access to the top of the church and take in the most rewarding views of the city, a top tip for your travels.
Free town Christiania in Christianhavn was once a military base that sat abandoned and empty for many years before a community of hippies began to squat there. Since then, the community is striving and thriving with 900 people living in the area, some adopting a sharing and caring attitude with gardens filled with their own vegetables and herbs, whilst others have swish open plan glass houses filled with vintage record players and impressive music collections. Although seemingly catering for tourists and “The Green District”, where drug dealers sell marijuana and hash to visitors, one mustn’t forget that this area, despite being filled with a pop up market selling trinkets and fashion for tourists, is a community and a home for many.
Wandering around the area, I noticed art galleries, independent cafes selling vegan goods and Tibetan food, as well as a play park for young children. It led me to ponder the stigma that is attached to this warm and welcoming community, is it hard for those who live in Christiania to find work outside of this community? Are they judged by their address? Hopefully not as I could see wandering around the area, Christiania is a community, first and foremost.
Other key sights that many stop at (which unfortunately I couldn’t see because I was short on time) was the Christiansborg Palace with the 12th century castle, The Round Tower, Kastellet, the star shaped military fortress, Amalienborg, the Queen’s winter residence and the Tivoli Gardens, a traditional amusement park.
What I really loved exploring in Copenhagen and one which really made me feel that I could adjust easily to the Danish way of life, was the street food market called Reffen at the nearby Paper Island. Similar to the popup’s you will see dotted across London, this food market and urban area is filled with cuisine from all over the world. The sights and smells are enough to make your mouth water and I saw many locals had fallen asleep on a full stomach tasting them all and no doubt after a few beers too, inside the warmth of the food market. As well as the food market and a welcoming bar, there are a number of creative workshops you can immerse yourself in whilst taking in the sweeping views of Copenhagen harbour.
Talking of food, the Danish have nailed it. As well as the healthy lifestyle, chilled mentality and wonderfully green parks, food in Copenhagen is incredible. Not only the numerous food markets that are on offer which highlight the incredible variety of cuisine in Copenhagen (I saw a Cambodian and Nepalese restaurant in Copenhagen too which is really rare!) but it doesn’t stop at what they eat, but even how they eat. Instead of munching on an oversized breakfast covered in oil and grease, they opt for three to five smaller dishes for breakfast or lunch choosing from fresh fruit bowls to waffles with chocolate sauce on top, sensational! Stefanos Brunch did just that. But the best meal I did have was at Natur Trost, to this day, it was the healthiest meal I have ever had in my life. You know those meals that make you feel as if you are glowing goodness from the inside? You’ve been restored in health, mind body and soul? This was that. A warm boiled egg on top of thinly sliced avocado on lightly salted bread next to a bowl of fresh Greek yogurt, fresh berries and granola, neighbouring edamame beans, grated noodles and warm chicken. Incredible.
Copenhagen is known for its diverse nightlife too with eclectic snazzy cocktail bars and watering holes to stumble upon underground music and up and coming artists. Culture Box is one of those venues. It pays homage to legendary DJ’s but also supports emerging artists by giving them a space to play their own music late into the night and early into the morning, all in unison with spectacular lighting and powerful sound systems.
We slept in the Sleep in Heaven hostel which was picturesque and perfectly positioned to nearby restaurants and bars and to a nearby metro station too, making it incredibly quick and easy to arrive from the airport. The hostel was a cute stay with attentive staff but there were a limited amount of toilets and showers which made sharing with many of the other visitors difficult.
Copenhagen was a fantastic city to spend 48 hours in and I wouldn’t be surprised if I come back sooner then I think and for longer.