Your essential travel guide to Copenhagen – my recommendations on where to stay, where and what to eat, and what to do.
Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, is home to hygge, functional and minimalist interior design and fashion. Copenhagen is perfect for couples, friends or even solo! Keep in mind that although you can grab plane tickets cheap, the cost of living is high (££££). Stick to three days, or four days if you’re planning a day trip to Malmo.
Without a doubt, you can expect interior envy at any hotel or AirBnB you stay in. My hotel choices include:
- Hotel Alexandra
- Scandic Falkoner
- Babette Guldsmeden
- Hotel CPH Living
- Hotel Danmark
- The Andersen
- The Savoy
- Scandic Kodbyen
I’d recommend using hotels.com where possible, because of their 10% student discount. But keep in mind, if you’re part of their loyalty scheme, you won’t be able to collect nights. Or book directly from the hotel’s website, sometimes there are deals which work out cheaper!
In the morning, take a walk toward 108’s The Corner for a coffee and their in-house Danish pastries. Priding themselves on only using seasonal ingredients – something embedded in Noma’s food philosophy – their pastry selection always accommodates what produce and ingredients are most fresh and best. If you’re not near-by, there is an abundance of Ole and Steen branches dotted all around the city. Head in for a latte and their famous cinnamon socials. (And if all this talk of cinnamon buns has your mouth watering, head over to their London branches in Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road or Canary Wharf).
For a light lunch, pay a worthy visit to Andersen Bakery. A Japanese chef, Shunsuke Takati, was infatuated by Danish baking and opened up this bakery as a result. The bakery offers traditional Danish pastries which are heavenly, and pastries which fuses his Japanese heritage, like matchabolle. Gourmet hotdogs are also on the menu, which are house-made and served in a delicious brioche-bread. We opted for the Spicylicious and Beef hotdogs and to satisfy our sweet tooth, we ordered the classic but delicious cinnamon bun.
A must-try when you visit Denmark is their smørrebrød – the Danish open sandwich. It consists of buttered slices of rye bread with a variety of toppings and accompaniments. We visited two spots during our visit, both as good as each other, but offered different experiences.
Fleish is located in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District and serves smørrebrød in their afternoon menu. As soon as you take a seat, the ambience will have you immediately feeling cosy and warm, or what the Danes would call hygge, with their wooden chairs propped up with furry blankets and candles on each dining table. (It does get really busy, and if a table isn’t possible, Paté Paté, a bistro and wine/tapas bar, next door is an alternative option for lunch or dinner).
Kronborg Restaurant offers a more traditional, homey, old-school aesthetic in comparison to Fleish, but still very delicious! If the weather permits, opt for alfresco dining and enjoy the sun as you chow down on an assortment of open sandwiches. Order 3-4 dishes between two. Order the classic, pickled red herring, the paté, and the Danish meatballs.
For coffee shop hang-outs, my favourites include Sonny, Democratic Coffee, CUB Coffee Bar, Coffee Collective and Atelier September. Take a seat, rest your feet, and enjoy your coffee (and of course, a pastry – or two – too!).
For dinner, head over to Restaurant Honey, one of my favourite restaurants, Despite being located very close by to the touristy area Nyhavn, the food is amazing!
The dining concept of sharing plates and carafes creates a chilled and social atmosphere., with a plethora of plates and cups spread across everyone’s table. Choose a main course, from lamb, pork to fish, which is then accompanied by their daily garnishes which changes according to seasonal ingredients. For our dinner, we were served gnocchi in brown butter, baked celeriac with truffle butter and chives, fried apples with cottage cheese and tarragon, and a salad.
Even if you don’t have space in your stomach for dessert – make space! Their soft-serve ice cream topped with in-house toppings was the perfect way to end the meal. The self-serve service enables you to choose your choice of ice-cream and toppings (which is unlimited!) Honey was definitely my favourite dining spot during my visit.
108 is the sister restaurant of the best restaurant in the world (in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014), NOMA. (Although it would have been quite an experience, NOMA was far too expensive, upwards of £300 per person – maybe in another life?) Both restaurants are known for their reinvention and interpretation of the Nordic cuisine, using only seasonal, fresh produce and famous for their fermentation kitchen which they share together. 108 is a cheaper alternative to experience New Nordic Cuisine. I discovered 108 by watching this MUNCHIES video, and I was in awe with the way the head chef, Kristian Baumann, spoke about food. For reference, we ordered cured squid, raw Norwegian scallops, braised oxtail and beef short ribs (for two). My favourite dish were the scallops – it was unbelievably fresh and delicate, and was plated beautifully. However, overall, the meal was quite average for me.
Visiting a food market gives you a great opportunity to sample a variety of different Copenhagen’s Street Food Market. Open from 12pm till 8pm, it’s an optimal place to grab lunch or dinner. Similar to Shoreditch’s Dinerama, there are a variety of different cuisines from 50DKK+, as well as alcohol. If the weather permits, sit outside by the waterfront in the sun with a cocktail in one hand and food in the other. Otherwise, there is indoor seating to accommodate for any rainy/cold weather. I highly recommend trying the fish and chips and the duck and chips stall located on the left-hand side of the market upon entering.
Other dining options include Manfreds, a farm-to-table restaurant, so you can expect fresh, quality produce. Opt for the ‘Chef’s Choice Menu’, which consists of 7-8 courses to share family-style, and make sure to order their famous tartar from the a la carte menu! Gasoline Grill for some delicious, juicy burgers! It’s in an old petrol station (the Landgreven 10 branch specifically) so it’s also definitely Insta-worthy too. And lastly, ILUKA, a seafood restaurant.
For sweet treats, a #CopenhagenFoodie spot is Gelato Rajissimo which serves delicious gelato and the Insta-famous waffle stick with melted chocolate and sprinkles!
A perfect treat whilst you’re walking along Nyhavn. Another choice is Osterberg Icecream located in Osterbro, which a selection of unique flavours like jack fruit and durian!
Sit on a bench at Nyhavn and people watch. No matter what time of day, you’ll always find locals with friendly faces biking around; people enjoying al fresco dining and drinks by the water, chatting and gossiping; and freelancers sitting in coffee shops with their laptops. The neighbourhood definitely has a charm to it.
Visit the Botanical Gardens. Visit the Botanical Gardens inside the University of Copenhagen, it’s absolutely beautiful (and humid!). Whilst you’re there, pay a visit to Rundetaarn, attached to the University’s Library, it provides a lovely view of the city.
Visit Christiania, also commonly known as the ‘Green Light District’, Freetown Christiania is a commune in the borough of Christianshavn, with a population of almost 1,000 residents.
Tivoli Gardens. If you’re a fan of amusements parks, schedule a day at Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world. However, bear in mind the park is only open from Mid-April to Mid-September.
Shopping. Denmark is famous for its reputation of being the happiest place in the world, but its fashion and interior design comes right after. So shopping is a must when visiting. To discover and explore Danish fashion, recommendations include Playtype, Acne Studios, Weekday and Norse Store Women. Remember to make a visit to Acne Studios outlet store, Acne Archive, with luck you’ll score some heavily discounted bits! If you’re a lover of stores similar to Dover Street Market, Storm is a must-visit. To shop Danish interiors, browse Frama and Dansk Made for Room, which sells a curated selection of homeware; and a beautiful ceramics store called Keramik and Glasvaerkstedet; and of course, a visit to Copenhagen wouldn’t be complete without a visit to HAY House.
Museums. There is a wide range of museums for you during your visit to Copenhagen. Favourites include the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Design Museum, and ARKEN Museum of Modern Art. Be sure to book in advance, if not remember to bring your student card for entry discount.
Day trip to Malmø. Malmo was never on my radar till my colleagues at my part-time retail job boasted about how amazing the city is. Only a 40-minute train ride away, Malmø offers great food, shopping and atmosphere! On every foodie’s list should be a visit to Saluhall, a food-hall market with a variety of stalls and eateries.