He kept staring at me as I walked to his both. Meeting his gaze, he smiled and said: “I like your tattoos”. In astonishment, I managed to mumble a thank you and handed him my passport.
Danes are often touted as the happiest people on earth and Copenhagen has for several times been named Monocle's most liveable city. That first encounter with the border officer was but one of the many occasions where we could feel the Danish hospitality. Always nice, polite and happy to help, Danes seem to enjoy life to the fullest. Whether it’s picnicking in a park listening to some Jazz or sitting down in the sun with a beer in hand a bicycle not far way.
Copenhagen is best visited during the summer months when the sun never quite seems to go down the horizon.
The original hip district of Copenhagen draws comparisons to London’s Shoreditch or New York’s Williamsburg. But in true Danish fashion, it eschews the frantic rhythm of bigger cities for a cool, laid back pace.
The neighbourhood is easily accessed from the airport. A quick bus ride from Nørreport St got us to the heart of Nørrebro where we stayed for 4 nights.
More so, the area has plenty of bars and cafés to enjoy a slice of local life. Rent a bike from one of the many shops around and enjoy the city and the neighborhood on two wheels. Places of interest are never more than 15 minutes away.
Købmagergade 52A • 25DKK
As we walked the cobbled passageway of the world’s most famous round tower, it was hard not to notice how wide the corridor was. Built as an astronomical observatory, the tower is most noted due to a 7.5 turn spiral corridor leading up to the top.
The corridor, technically called an ‘equestrian staircase’, has been the stage to a couple of noble ascents on horseback. While rides on regal carriages are not on offer, walking up the tower is more enjoyable. It gave us the chance to peek into the tower’s hollow core, enter the former library and even see the worlds smallest latrine.
But perhaps the most interesting feature of Rundetårn is its interior design. The restrained and spartan style of design highlights and even heightens its complex build. Vaulted ceilings and pristine white walls refract the light coming from the small windows.
Who would have thought that a 17th-century building could be hygge?
Øster Farimagsgade 2C • Free
There are few things that calm the mind as a wander through a garden. If it happens to be a botanical garden with a 19th-century glasshouse then that’s even better.
After Sunday brunch we strolled to Copenhagen’s lush botanical gardens to explore swathes of green and its elegant palm house. With more than 15000 species of plants, rocks and moss, as well as fishes and birds, the garden’s biodiversity is hard to beat.
While the summer months are the best to visit, the gardens have the advantage of looking beautiful under any weather. Imagine the fiery reds of Autumn or the lawn under a fresh coat of sparkling snow. Don’t miss them!
Dantes Plads 7 • 90DKK
Walking through the glass doors saw us arrive at a place where our senses could disengage. The ample lobby with marble floors and a soft light offered a feeling of ease like time had decelerated.
Glyptoteket, founded by the brewer Carl Jacobsen, is one of Copenhagen’s most celebrated museums. It’s not only the staggering amount of oeuvres (more than 10,000) that makes it impressive but rather its elegant space that hosts them.
There are three wings of the museum. Each one carrying their own architectural style intrinsically connected with the collections they house. This was a deliberate choice from the curators based on Jacobsen’s beliefs on how art should be contemplated.
Yet, the building’s beating heart is its circular winter garden. Mosaic floors, tall palms, a central fountain and a white iron dome, give the visitor a sensuous place to relax, and the perfect way to end the visit.
Like a simple yet cooked to perfection dessert after a decadent and complex meal.
EAT & DRINK
Griffenfeldsgade 28 • £
We dare you to find another café that fully captures the spirit of Copenhagen!
Casually chic but unpretentious, Atelier September is part of the city since 1987. Initially, as a shop focused on Art Nouveau and Art Déco it started to stock Modernist furniture in the 90’s. Today a café, headed by Chef Frederik Bille Brahe, operates on the shop front while the shop moved to the back of the premises.
The café serves light plates and drinks, providing a hygge space to catch up with friends or just enjoy some personal time. Another thing to appreciate is having fine Japanese tea served in a true wabi-wabi bowl.
Copenhagen Street Food
Papirøen • Vegan Options • £
In one of the city’s many islets lives a street food market, using the name of Papirøen (Paper Island). Extremely popular with the locals and on weekends, it’s an enjoyable space to spend the afternoon.
Grab food from one food trucks and tuck in sitting down at one of the deck chairs by the riverfront. With views to the National Theatre and Nyhavn, it’s not hard to see why the hype. Especially on a sunny day.
Enghave Plads 10 / Elmegade 30 • Vegan • £
There are vegan ice creams and then there is Nicecream. With two locations in Copenhagen, this parlour serves delicious 100% vegan, coconut milk ice cream. Both the Minty and the Cookie Monster are refreshing and light enough to cut the decadence of the nut milk.
But sweet tooths can indulge by choosing Brownielicious, Chocoholic or Creamy Coffee. Not feeling Ice Cream? Try a fruity ice lolly or a vibrant Açaí bowl. Wouldn’t mind one right now!
Good to know
- Ryanair direct flights to Copenhagen from London Stanstead and Luton. But make sure to always search Skyscanner for the best possible deals.
- Getting to Copenhagen city centre is easy and hassle free. Either take the metro to Nørreport St or the train to Københvn H (Central Station). The trip lasts roughly around 30 minutes.
- Tickets are valid for an hour and can be used interchangeably for metro, train and bus. No need to buy additional ones.
- Buy public transport tickets on Mobilbilletter app. Tickets are paid by credit card and all major cards are accepted.
- Download Citymapper to know the best routes, live schedules and how to get around.