I first went to Copenhagen last weekend, but I loved it so much that I am already considering moving there (one day)! :)
Maybe it was the sun, which was out three days in a row, but Copenhagen really felt like the perfect city to live in: beautiful, cosmopolitan, slow-paced, friendly. It’s a capital city that offers a lot of different opportunities, so you don’t get the “small town” feeling, yet it’s good-sized so you can walk or cycle everywhere.
Copenhagen has a great sense of space: there are boulevards, parks and gardens, waterfront promenades and a beautiful harbour. Most of all, everyone cycles and simply looks very relaxed and laid-back.
I was in Copenhagen for only three days, but I have collected hundreds of photos of the city, the food and – of course – the coffee! I have decided to split my travel diary into a few posts: Copenhagen Day 1, 2 and 3. I will save the coffee photos for a special Copenhagen Coffee Tour post.
My best friend Giovanna and I have travelled together around the world many times, but since I moved to London , we hadn’t been able to go on holiday together, so we decided to pick a European city we both had not visited and meet there for a long weekend.
We found accomodation through AirBNB and booked a room in Tinna and Emil’s flat in Nørrebro, one of Copenhagen’s trendiest district. Not only it was the perfect location to enjoy the city’s best food and coffee, the flat also had a great atmosphere with its quirky decor, to-die-for kitchen and bright rooms.
Sharing Tinna and Emil’s flat reminded me why I loved Couchsurfing: living in a real Danish home and getting a glimpse of how life is for a young couple in Copenhagen. Highly recommended (if you don’t mind sharing the bathroom with the hosts).
I arrived at the flat in the late evening on Friday and, when we ventured out to the restaurants on Jægersborggade, we discovered all kitchens close at 10pm. We were left with the only one option of buying takeaway pizza to eat on the street. With so many great restaurants in Nørrebro, it felt like a missed opportunity, but Giovanna and I had so much to chat about that we didn’t mind.
On Saturday, we started the day with breakfast at Riccos Kaffebar followed by a walk in the Botanical Garden. We confused street names on the map and convinced ourselves that we were in the King’s Garden, therefore spent the time looking for a castle and art museum, and wondering why all the plants had tags on them! :P We only realized our mistake hours later!
The garden was beautiful and I am glad we went there, albeit by mistake!
Keen on having a good meal after the takeaway pizza, we headed to Kaffe Kalaset, which was recommended to me by friends as the best place to have breakfast in Copenhagen. It’s indeed a great brunch spot!
I ordered a full vegetarian breakfast with scrambled eggs, grilled vegetables, felafel, potatoes, hummus, cheese and fruit; yoghurt with fresh berries and homemade muesli; bread and butter. Giovanna ordered the kødbyen, organic rye bread with scrambled eggs and bacon.
Kalaset was very close to Nørreport station, so after brunch we visited the food courts at Torvehallerne: these are two modern and bright glass buildings, with butchers, fishmongers, fruit and veg stalls, as well as delis, cafes and bakeries.
Since one of Coffee Collective shops is located inside Torvehallerne, we ended up going back there every day. Thanks to the sun and outdoor seating area, the market was packed with visitors every time.
The afternoon was spent wandering through the city: admiring the view from the top of Rundetaarn; watching street artists in Amagertorv; walking along the Strøget (one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets); dancing at a “free hash” festival in Rådhuspladsen (City Hall square); and enjoying some down time at Tivoli Gardens amusement park.
Making the most of the long daylight hours (the sun set around 9pm), we managed to complete nearly all the sight-seeing must-do’s on the first day. Not content though, we also squeezed in a quick visit to the famous Little Mermaid.
The statue, based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, sits on a rock in the harbour off Langelinie promenade, north of Copenhagen’s city centre and close to the Kastellet fortress. It is Copenhagen’s icon and major tourist attraction.
Being hardcore tourists, however, has its downsides, as we found ourselves at 9pm with nowhere planned to go for dinner! Scared of ending up eating pizza again, we decided to go to Nyhavn, a 17th century waterfront, where there’s plenty of restaurants and bars.
With a bit of forward planning, we could have dined at one of the best restaurants in the area, such as Geist, Told & Snaps and Retour. Because ours was a last minute decision and we hadn’t booked anywhere, we ended up in eating at one of the many touristic places by the canal: the Heering bistro. Although the food wasn’t bad, it was over-priced and the service was lazy, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
Giovanna tried the Tartare of Salmon and the Brændende Kærlighed, a traditional Danish dish with mashed potatoes, bacon, butter brown onion and beetroot; I ordered the Boeuf Bearnaise with baked tomato and pommes frites.
That’s all for our first day in Copenhagen, but stay tuned: more to come soon! To see all my food and coffee tips, check out my Copenhagen list on Foursquare.
***We purchased a 72-hour travelcard for 192 DKK (about £22), which we could use on all buses, trams and metro. I would recommend this, as it was very useful to explore the city.