We elected to save a little travel time and fly between Amsterdam and Copenhagen, especially given the inexpensive flights between the two cities. We paid $75 each for a flight that lasted just over an hour, whereas the train ride between the two would take somewhere between 11 and 15 hours. While the fjords we visited in Norway (see more here in part four) were my favorite aspect of the trip as a whole, Copenhagen was my favorite city.
In addition to loving the city, we also had an awesome Airbnb all to ourselves. Not only was the apartment super easy to find and absolutely adorable, we were welcomed by champagne, chocolate and extensive city guides and recommendations left by our host, Rannvá. Not all Airbnb hosts are created equal, and Rannvá definitely set herself apart as a particularly great one.
My first piece of advice for Copenhagen is that you should definitely check out Copenhagen! Get yourself a plane ticket, like, yesterday. From there, the rest is up to you, but here are my highlights:
Take a Free Walking Tour
I wasn’t kidding when I said I love these! In Copenhagen, this was our very first activity, which was a great way to get our bearings.
Nyhavn, or “New Harbor,” is the picturesque waterfront area you’ll likely see on every other postcard at any given souvenir shop in the city. Very touristy, but worth at least a look for the colorful, historic buildings.
Climb to the Top of the Round Tower
This was a great way to see Copenhagen from a different vantage point. If you’re in a new place and can find something (anything!) to climb, do it! It’s always interesting to get a view of your new surroundings from above.
Smørrebrød are open-faced sandwiches built on rugbrød (rye bread) and topped with any number of ingredients, ranging from shrimp and pickled herring to apples, cheese, hard-boiled eggs and more. Mine, pictured below, featured chicken salad and bacon. Traditionally, the first topping is a layer of butter (smørrebrød translates to “buttered bread”), which will keep the rest of your toppings from getting the bread soggy.
In hindsight, I wish I had tried a lot more of this classic mainstay of Danish cuisine while I had the chance. If you feel like reading more about its history and seeing some photos of smørrebrød that are way prettier than the one I snapped below, check out this beautiful post on Green Kitchen Stories.
Visit the Lego Store
I grew up in a family that loved Legos (or “Lego” in the singular as the rest of the world refers to the classic building sets) and was excited to visit a Lego store in the company’s home country of Denmark. There was actually a line to get into the store when I stopped by, but it moved very quickly. In addition to a Lego tapestry, a giant dragon and a few life-size figurines at the front of the store, there was also a very cool (Lego nerd alert) large-scale model of Nyhavn. Don’t worry, I remembered to pick up a keychain of a Lego man dressed as a hot dog before I left. PHEW.
Eat More Hot Dogs, Of Course
Copenhagen is full of traditional pølsevogns (translation: sausage wagons) and we were excited to partake. My favorite came from a stand called Døp (Den Økologiske Pølsemand) conveniently located at the foot of the Round Tower. Døp offers an organic take on the classic Danish street dog.
Relax on Papirøen
Paper Island is the home of a previously abandoned warehouse that’s been converted into Copenhagen Street Food, a diverse and lively assortment of food and drink vendors. Just outside the building you’ll find an array of outdoor seating, from waterfront lounge chairs to picnic tables and more. Full of tourists and locals alike on a beautiful, sunny day – the undeniably positive vibes only enhanced by the upbeat Reggae music – it was my absolute favorite part of Copenhagen, and definitely helped us to understand why the city (and Denmark as a whole) has been repeatedly voted the happiest place on Earth.
Update: I’m so sad to hear from Erin at Oregon Girl Around the World that Papirøen has closed as the area is now up for redevelopment. Here’s hoping that something similar crops up again in another part of the city!
Speaking of Sun…
We couldn’t believe our luck with the weather during our entire trip. After hearing so much about Northern Europe being cold and grey, that was not at all what we experienced. And as I’ve had my fair share of trips where the weather gods have not been on my side, I (literally) basked in every minute of those rays.
Experience the Nightlife
While our participation in the nightlife of all four cities we visited was relatively tame (we were always so exhausted from sightseeing all day, we rarely felt like going out), I’m glad we rallied to partake in a bit of Copenhagen’s. At Rannvá’s recommendation, we headed to the city’s Meatpacking district and visited Jolene, a hipster haven with some very straightforward menu messaging (pictured below).
After Jolene, we ducked into Mesteren & Lærlingen, where we snagged a corner seat and watched one of the best dance parties I’ve ever witnessed. (In hindsight, why didn’t we join in?! Regrets.) We ended our night at the uber-trendy Noho before we indulged in the rare but oh-so-satisfying luxury of catching a cab back to our Airbnb instead of getting lost (again – oops!) on the metro.
We loved: I mean, honestly, basically everything.
We missed: Tivoli Gardens. I was intrigued by this historic amusement park, but we ran out of time before we could see it. A few days later I heard from a friend via Instagram that I had to check it out, but we had already left. Doh! Next time.
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I’m sharing this post to two lovely link-ups. Monday Escapes is hosted by Lisa at Travel Loving Family, Sarah from Extraordinary Chaos, Karen from Mini Travellers, and Claire from Tin Box Traveller. City Tripping is hosted by Cathy at Mummy Travels and Elizabeth at Wander Mum. Be sure to click through to their sites for more travel inspo!