I am back with stop #2 of my Scandinavian adventure —> COPENHAGEN! Copenhagen was sort of a last minute decision. We had 3 days during our trip unplanned for the longest time because we couldn’t decide where we wanted to go in between Norway and Iceland. Mark and I decided on Copenhagen because 1. we wanted a little city action during our trip 2. The proximity to Bergen (where we were flying out of to Iceland) made sense and 3. Copenhagen is known for their FOOD. You know I am all about dat food. Copenhagen was the first time Mark and I would be traveling together alone and we were both really excited about that. If you remember, we were with Lars and Solfrid for 8 days in Norway (PS: If you haven’t read about the first part of our trip in Norway…you can find that post HERE), so we really didn’t get any 100% alone time. We did get some pointers from my friend Mel, who I went to design school with. She studied abroad in Copenhagen years ago and ended up relocating. She gave us a long list of all her favorite places and we even stopped at her house for dinner and a beer one night.
We arrived to Copenhagen on a Friday night and found our way to our Air BnB via the Metro. It was super simple and very reasonably priced. However, once we got to our stop we had to walk about 10 minutes with our giant suitcases, which really wasn’t a big deal. Thankfully it was beautiful out! If it was raining, we would have just called an Uber from the Metro station.
<< STAY >>
Instead of going the hotel route, we decided on an Air BnB which was an excellent choice! We scored big time with our host, Morten, because he was generous with recommendations on where to eat and what to see. We paid a little bit more to be very centrally located…right on “The Lakes.” The Lakes are 5 manmade lakes right in the middle of Copenhagen. This made navigating anywhere super simple…and a great place to run in the morning!
We stayed in a 1 bedroom flat that was just adorable. It was perfect for us and I highly recommend it! We paid $171/night and it was worth every penny. Everything you’d want to see or eat in Copenhagen was a no more than a 20 minute walk and most things were between 5-10. If you are a person that needs a lot of space, this place may not be for you…but in all honesty, most flats in Copenhagen are small!
Photos from AirBnB.com ^^^.
<< SEE >>
Mark and I spent a total of 4 nights and 3 full days in Copenhagen. You could for sure do all of this in 2 days…especially if you rent bikes (we walked it all!). Copenhagen has the most insane biking community. Like I can’t even explain the amount of bikers there are. In some areas in the city, the bike lane was bigger than the car lane! Most people don’t even have cars and just bike year round to where they need to go. Mark and I decided to do everything via foot because I feel like you see more on foot! Plus- then we didn’t have to deal with locking our bikes, carrying around helmets (which not many people wore in Copenhagen…tisk tisk). There were many places in the city where you could do daily rentals for bikes, so if you want to bike it’s’ very accessible!
Mark and I got really lucky again with weather. Out of the 3 days, it only drizzled for part of one day! It was also the perfect temperature for jeans and a tank. WAHOO. Here’s what we did…
Paper Island: Thought I’d start off with my favorite activity in Copenhagen. PAPER ISLAND or Papirøen. This is a giant marketplace where you can get Copenhagen Street Food from all walks of life. We’re talking Mexican, Asian, Scandinavian, Paleo, Vegan, etc! Think food trucks of all ethnicities unite on an island. Clearly this was my cup of tea for so many reasons. It was a bit of a walk from our AirBnB, but we again lucked out with the weather this day. We stopped for lunch and a beer (scroll down!).
Torvehallerne Food Market: This place is legit a dream and I would move here if I could 😛 It’s basically a huge organic food market in the heart of Copenhagen. You can pick up local produce, specialty items, and even get yourself some lunch from local businesses. There was a wine place, a small brewery, bakeries, coffee shop, meat shops, flower shops etc. Give yourself at least an hour or more to walk around this place! It’s partially indoors, so if it’s raining this would be an excellent place to come walk round! Mark and I stopped here the first day and picked up some breakfast essentials (veggies, fruit, eggs, and a loaf of bread) so that we could save some mula and eat in our own kitchen. Note: since this place is very centrally located, prices are inflated! Just keep that in mind.
Shopping District: When in doubt…if you are in a new city —> GO SHOPPING. The shopping district in Copenhagen really is the heart of town. We went on a weekend so it was absolutely PACKED! We loved going into the Danish/Scandinavian shops and even saw a few American ones. I suggest eating either before or after coming to this street because all food prices are inflated due to it being in the city center!
Royal Palace: We looked at it and that’s about it! It’s pretty centrally located so if you are in to palaces you can totes go in, but we opted not to. Snapped a pic and called it a day.
Round Tower: This was the only paid attraction Mark and I went to while in Copenhagen. We aren’t really museum people, so we didn’t go that route, however we like seeing cool shit…especially if we have to climb it! The Round Tower was pretty cheap to get into and you get to walk all the way to the top of the tower to see a great view of the city. On the day we went it was sort of muggy and overcast, but we could still see everything! this isn’t a MUST do, but a fun, cheap activity.
Nyhavn: This is THE beautiful, iconic street with colored buildings that everyone sees in photos and postcards. It’s is lined with 17th and 18th century townhouses, bars, and cafes and is right on the water. It was really cool to see, but absolutely packed with tourists. Like MEGA packed. Thousands of people on the streets and hundreds doing canal boat tours. We stopped here on the way to Paper Island (you have to walk through it to get to the bridge), but only stopped to snap a photo. If we ever come back to this street again, it will be during the week so hopefully less people are there!
Freetown Christiania: This was by far the most fascinating thing Mark and I did in Copenhagen. Christiania is exactly what it sounds like- a free town. It’s like a little liberal village in the middle of Copenhagen that has their own laws and currency. This place is very hard to explain if you have never been, so if you are in Copenhagen…it’s a must! One of the most peculiar things about Christiania was the marijuana street (that’s what I call it). They were legit selling weed out in the open. There were 20+ vendors all set up, but it was so bizarre because the store owners wore masks to cover up their faces just in case the police came. Yes, weed is illegal in Denmark. Anyways, there were signs everywhere that said no phones or cameras on this one street.
The Lakes: This is a chain of 5 man-made lakes centrally located in Copenhagen. It’s 6.4km all the way around the lakes, so great for running, walking or biking. We ran them twice along with hundreds of other people. It sort of reminded me of The Lakes in Minneapolis with the amount of people who run them! If you are in Copenhagen and a runner- this is a MUST! Our Air BnB was right off one of the lakes, which we named “Swan Lake” because this is the lake where all the swans live on.
Nørrebro Neighborhood: We explored the Nørrebro neighborhood because this is where Mel lives. This is an adorable, hipster neighborhood that’s quiet and quaint. Mel and her boyfriend invited us over for dinner, which was really fun…she made us bean burgers, which were absolutely delicious. One of her recs was to spend some time on Jægersbroggade, a trendy street that has adorable shops, organic cafes, etc.
Asistens Kirkegaarden: This is Copenhagen’s famous cemetery where many famous Danes such as H.C. Andersen are buried. Mel was actually the one who recommended we come here and Mark and I were a little hesitant because in the states people don’t just visit cemeteries. Mel explained that Danes actually hang out in this cemetery, sunbathing and picnicking. I’mm glad we went because it was a beautiful park and I’m glad the community gets use out of it!
<< EAT >>
From the research Mark and I did on Copenhagen, I knew I was in for a mega foodie treat. This is definitely where we splurged and spent the most money out of all three countries on food and drink. 1. I can’t do math so I never knew what I was spending money on and 2. COME ON IT’S COPENHAGEN. They are known for their food!
Pintxos (Tapas Bar): This was BY FAR our most expensive dinner we had out of all 16 days. We actually didn’t plan on spending as much as we did, but we were greeted and taken to their back patio and told that there was a set menu that night. a 14 course tapas meal at $50 per person that looked and smelled AMAZING. We hadn’t really eaten much all day and we were starving, so we just rolled with it. Of course a 14 course meal needs wine…so we ordered a bottle of those too! Pinxtos was recommended to us by our AirBnB host, so we knew it had to be good! It’s a Spanish tapas bar and was absolutely delicious. I probably would have been good with about half the meal, but hey- you’re only in Europe once and Spanish-style tapas are one of my favs!
Cafe 22: I am all about breakfast and this place didn’t disappoint. It was located right across the lakes from where we were staying and we spotted it during our morning run. Sunday brunch buffet…can’t pass that up! Their flat pancakes were delish…Fresh pressed coffee, too!
Joe and the Juice: This juice and smoothie bar was recommended to us by lots of Instagram friends and rightfully so. It’s a chain, so there are many of them located scattered across the city. It was a great place to go for a quick smoothie/juice and their bathrooms are always reliable 😛
Laura’s Bakery: Laura’s Bakery is located in the Torvehallerne Food Market and their bread was fantastic! We got a half a loaf of their whole grain seedy bread to have in the mornings with coffee and I’m so glad we did that! We also took home a few pastries because they all looked phenomenal.
Lagkagehuset: SNAILSSSS. This was the place to go to get Danish pastries. We stopped here a few time for an afternoon cup of jo and sweet treat! One of Mark’s good friends from college studied abroad in Copenhagen and this was THE place she told us to go!
Hija de Sanchez Taquería: TACO CRAVING <— This happens to me about once a week and I was so glad we found Hija de Sanchez! It’s a food truck/stand located in the outdoor part of the Torvehallerne Food Market.
Brass: This is where I ate at the Paper Island. They serve gluten free egg wraps packed with organic veggies and meat. IT WAS SO GOOD. I got an egg wrap with braised organic pork, spinach, cabbage, radish, pickled peppers, and a yogurt tahini dressing. I’ve never seen a wrap made from pretty much just egg, but this guy was FULL of flavor and packed with veggies. I’d eat this again, for sure!
Coffee Collective: The name Coffee Collective reminded me a lot of Colectivo Coffee in Milwaukee. They actually had similar vibes, too! We stopped here a few times because it’s a chain and come recommended to me by Mel!
Mikellor Brewery: My friend Mel and her boyfriend took us here after we had dinner at their house. It’s a local micro brewery in the Nørrebro Neighborhood. They had over 50 beers on tap! WOAH. Beer was much more expensive than what it is in the States, but not as expensive as Norway. I want to say a beer was around $12-$15 depending on what you ordered. Again, I can’t do math, so who knows :P. I’ve been getting more into beer drinking thank you to everyone in my life (Mark, Sister, Lin, Emily, etc.), so they would have been proud with my wheat beer choice!
My overall impressions of Copenhagen is that it’s a very trendy and health conscious city. I love how active everyone is and how there is a big focus on health when it comes to food and drink. There were so many organic cafes and that really made my heart happy! I also really love Danish architecture and design. The minimalistic style is totally my cup of tea and it was great to get re-inspired from all of the beautiful buildings and Danish products. The proximity to the water was also great.
I think if we were to plan this part of the trip over, we would have shortened it by 1 day and lengthened Iceland. The reason being is that everything you need to see in Copenhagen is pretty centrally located and you can easily do it all in 2 days. We had some poor planning when it came to our flights in and out of the city, where we wasted almost a full day flying from Copenhagen to Iceland. Copenhagen was definitely more of a city stay and I do have to say we didn’t go to a single museum. If you are in to that, then you will for sure love Copenhagen! If you’re planning on doing a Euro Tour or Scandinavia in general, don’t skip out on Copenhagen. Especially for the food and drink!