In May, I took a trip to Copenhagen. I’ve wanted to go to this city for a long time, and excitement levels were high. It’s not a cheap place to visit so we took a few steps to keep costs lower:
- We booked an Airbnb which was cheaper than a hotel, and opted for something in Frederiksberg, a mile or so out of the city centre. Buses are frequent, so this isn’t an issue.
- We purchased a City Pass in advance. This gives unlimited access to bus, train, metro and harbour buses, including transport to and from the airport by train.
The station is right in the centre of the city, so it’s easy to navigate from here. We stepped off the train and on to the bus which took us to our tiny apartment (not before we’d knocked on the wrong door and bounced in to a stranger’s flat, announcing to a bemused man that we were here for the weekend!).
The first thing that struck me about Copenhagen was the bicycles. It seemed as if the whole world was travelling on two wheels. All ages, all sexes, people in suits, women in heels, children, families, they were all on bikes, and as a result, the traffic was incredibly light for such a large city. It took me a little while to adjust and not step into a cycle path by accident, but the advantages are huge (and you can hire a bike easily if you fancy joining in).
This view is famous. It’s Nyhavn, the 17th century waterfront.
We took an hour long guided canal tour to get our bearings and see some of the sights from the water. It cost just under a tenner each, and is well worth it. Blankets were provided so we could snuggle up and enjoy the view. Afterwards, we had coffee at one of the many waterside cafes. Again, blankets are placed on every seat (this is the land of Hygge after all!).
High on the to-do list were the Botanical Gardens, 10 hectares of parkland, with 27 glasshouses. I couldn’t wait. It’s a plant loving city, the florists are second to none and the houseplant trend is massive here, so I knew we’d be in for a treat.
This beauty is the old Palm House which dates to 1874.
It’s packed with tropical plants, and you can climb right up to the top.
However chilly it gets outside, you can guarantee warmth in here. And just look at those fantastic spiral stairs!
Botanical delights everywhere.
Afterwards, sip a coffee in the cafe, or stroll through the outside area. There’s a plant shop, too.
We walked here from the centre of town, and loved discovering the streets with painted houses, local bakeries and coffee shops.
Please can I live in one of these?
Soaking up some spring sunshine.
Denmark is famous for its cakes, pastries and bread. I loved the tangy berry tarts, this one is garnished with edible petals. Even the chain bakery, Lagkagehuset is a treat – forget Greggs, this is how it should be!
I loved the homewares, junk shops, and the Danish H&M Home is just gorgeous. The main shopping area, Stroget, is a maze of walking streets that runs from east, the Town Hall Square, to west, the King’s Square and to Nyhavn. It’s the perfect place to meander.
Great displays everywhere we looked.
For a change of scene, try the up and coming Meat Packing district in Vesterbro. This is a really different side to Copenhagen with a funky, industrial feel, great bars and restaurants. There are three separate areas, referred to as White, Grey and Brown for the colour of the buildings. I’d recommend just rocking up and walking, it’s not huge and you see so much if you go roaming. We stumbled across the best little takeaway. Hija de Sanchez http://www.hijadedesanchez.dk a taqueria serving home made tacos filled with freshly prepared fillings, and a cone of piping hot churros and chocolate sauce to follow. There was a long queue, but it’s well worth the wait. Super fresh, super hot, super spicy!
Saturday morning saw us back in the Vesterbro district. A flea market was spilling out all over the pavements, and the apartments surrounding the area were having impromptu yard sales, so I was in vintage heaven.
Be still my beating heart…
I don’t think EasyJet would be impressed if I’d rolled up with this in my cabin bag.
Here, too, is the florist Blomsterskuret, which means ‘flower shed.’ That’s the shop in the picture at the start of my post and has to be my favourite discovery. It’s on a street called Vaerndedamsvej, which separates Copenhagen from Frederiksberg. This street is a fabulous place to get brunch, sit outside and people watch. You’re spoiled for choice as there are so many amazing cafes here.
For something completely different, a visit to Christiania is interesting. Freetown Christiania was set up in 1971 by a group of hippies who occupied some military barracks and created their own rules, independent of the Danish government. In 2012, the Foundation Freetown Christiania was founded, and it owns and leases the buildings. You’ll find homemade houses and workshops, clothes exchanges, cheap cafes and live music. It’s colourful and a little bit chaotic. Photography isn’t encouraged, but I didn’t realise that until we’d been there for a while!
Painted houses are everywhere.
Graffiti is an art form.
You can’t buy a house in Christiania: you apply for one, and if you’re successful, it’s given to you. There are also hippy houseboats, anchored in the waterways.
It’s intriguing. I really can’t imagine this in central London!
Someone asked if I felt safe in Christiania. Yes, I did, although we did see some drugs being bought and sold, which is illegal in Denmark. That’s why photography isn’t recommended.
Back in Frederiksberg, we headed out for cocktails at Neighbourhood Organic Pizza and Cocktails http://www.neighbourhood.dk. Try a Nordic Bellini: apple and basil infused Danish gin with homemade peach puree, lemon and fizz. Or a rosemary smash…delicious.
The pizzas here are crisp and light. Or try their brunch, including apple and cinnamon waffles with vanilla skyr and berries.
All too soon, our stay in Copenhagen was at an end. Just a short hop on the train back to the airport. It really is the easiest city to negotiate, pedestrian friendly, super stylish- and with an amazing cafe culture. It is expensive to eat out, yes, but the food is delicious.
I’m already saving up for a return trip.