Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

Despite my persistent talents for fantasising, I always think it’s important to have realistic expectations – particularly when travelling. If you accept that it won’t be exactly how you imagine and embrace the – often wonderful – reality; you’ll be much happier. Cos let’s face it, things are never really exactly like the image you had in your head.

Copenhagen though. Copenhagen was exactly how I imagined. Within a couple of days, it became one of my favourite ever cities and the post-holiday blues were real. Get comfy folks; I’m rubbish at editing when writing about something I freakin’ adored.

I wasn’t altogether surprised at how much I loved Copenhagen but I was also relieved it wasn’t a disappointment. What with being firmly in love with the Nordic countries (I have Norway, Sweden and Iceland under my belt) and mildly obsessed with the Danish way of living (A Year of Living Danishly is probably one of my favourite books); there was a lot of pressure on Copenhagen. But it more than delivered. It was a serene, colourful, hygge-filled delight and only intensified my love of all things Nordic.

Whilst I’ve been wanting to visit Copenhagen for a really long time, our trip there actually came about relatively last-minute. It was basically my mum and I chatting about her wanting to visit some new places and me up for being designated planner, and that quickly escalating to booking a family weekend away just a few weeks in advance.

So on a Thursday evening, we moseyed on down to Gatwick for a (delayed) flight with Norwegian airlines. The flight itself was only an hour twenty but the delays made it all feel a lot longer; but we woke the next morning with a fresh day ahead of us and Copenhagen’s beauty to explore.

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

We started the day at Torvehallerne food market which instantly become a favourite of ours. Full of fresh produce, bakeries and a wide variety of food stalls; there’s nothing to dislike and it will please a wide range of dietary requirements (there’s also a vegan bakery about five mins away).

Naturally, my very first port of call in Denmark had to be getting my hands on an actual Danish pastry and I had a minor freak-out when we hit a bakery and I saw the sheer number of snegles (cinnamon swirls). It was pastry heaven and I can confirm that true Danish pastries are mouth-wateringly good.

Can also confirm that Torvehallerne has a Grød bar. For those not in the know, Grød is the world’s first porridge bar which opened in the heart of Copenhagen in 2011. Even the smallest amount of research on Copenhagen brings Grød to one’s attention and I was keen to try out a bowl of their steaming oats. Gotta see if these things are worth the fuss right? This was my breakfast of choice on day two and it was divine. Both my mum and I went for ‘Oat Porridge I’ made with organic whole milk and topped with juicy apples, crunchy roasted almonds and the pure delight that is their thick caramel sauce; I have never had a better bowl of porridge: fact. And yes, of course, I am planning on trying to recreate at home.

Our first stop after eating had to be Nyhavn; the postcard-perfect colourful strip of houses along the water which – because I am true cliché – was probably my favourite part of Copenhagen. It was just gorgeous and so very Danish. I would definitely suggest sitting in one of the outdoor cafes along Nyhavn; it makes a hot chocolate feel extra special.

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

Walking is the best way to view a city in my opinion and we did just that. Whilst everyone is on a bike, Copenhagen is a very walkable city. Nothing ever seemed longer than half an hour away and we frequently found ourselves exclaiming ‘oh we’re here’ as we wandered into a square or street we’d walked through earlier that day. We weren’t great at doing much in a rush but then neither were the Danes; we didn’t have a jam-packed itinerary in order to tick off every tourist site but I found it didn’t really matter in Copenhagen. I’m sure there were more areas we could have explored but I didn’t come away feeling like I’d missed something crucial. Copenhagen was more about breathing it all in and to my delight, the city continuously lived up to my fantasies. It was tranquil, colourful and quiet (seriously: bikes everywhere). Danes just seemed to glow with health and smiles, and everyone was friendly towards us. It shouldn’t be unique but I saw more dads out pushing prams alone in those two days than I have ever seen at home, and it made me equally thrilled and sad (read up on the paternity leave in Denmark if you really want to depress yourself). I also had major regret at going hand luggage only when I had a peek inside one of their beautiful homeware stores. I wanted everything and that really is no exaggeration. Danes know how to do interiors.

Aside from Nyhavn, other tourist activities included climbing up the round tower (the oldest functioning observatory in Europe), wandering through Amalienborg Palace and trekking out to see the Little Mermaid.

The Little Mermaid was one of those tourist spots that everyone and his dog had indicated would be underwhelming; she’s a small statue a right trek out of town after all. And yet I found her to be the exact opposite. I thought she was lovely; beautifully sculptured and perfectly placed. She somehow works with the bleak backdrop and the black, Baltic sea. If you ever go yourself, I’d recommend getting up close to the water and nosing down into those crystal-clear waters. What with the sea grass and reflections, it’s really quite beautiful.

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

We also rented a boat (via GoBoat) on our second morning and I would highly recommend seeing the city from the water. We saw a whole heap of unusual buildings that we hadn’t seen yet including the houses of parliament, the helix spire church and the dragon tower (the old stock exchange). Plus GoBoat boats are electric and come with tables; basically ideal for peaceful picnics on the water.

Aside from tourist sites, we spent a lot of time in cafes which, less face it, I do a lot of at home. But Danish cafes, oh man; GAME CHANGER. I loved how so many of them allowed you to sit outside under a heater; this seemed doubly special whilst in Denmark in October. I was living for the fact that every single one was full of candles and blankets, and were all beautifully furnished and styled. Oh and peaceful! No loud music or echoing interiors in Copenhagen folks. It was all so aesthetically pleasing. I’d be willing to bet that even Danish McDonalds had hygge (if that’s not the case – don’t correct me. I’m enjoying the fantasy). No wonder Danes are so flippin’ happy; cafes that beautiful are truly good for the soul.

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

Naturally, I drank a lot of hot chocolate, ate a lot of pasties and, of course, tried smørrebrød. Getting the opportunity to eat smørrebrød whilst travelling with a vegan is somewhat tricky but I finally managed it when we settled in Café Europa sat outside (with blankets of course) overlooking Stork fountain. This pleasant scene was mildly hampered by the British hen party that came along and ruined the peace by mistaking the fountain for some shit club in Leeds. Insert big fat massive embarrassed eye roll… please let me be Danish? Anyway, I asked the waiter to tell me how to pronounce smørrebrød correctly. He insisted I wouldn’t be able to do it and then begrudgingly admitted that my attempt was actually pretty good. See, I’m basically Danish already. I had the aged cheese smørrebrød on rye bread with cloudberries compote and dark rum. It was honestly delicious. On my next visit to the city, I refuse to eat anything but smørrebrød, pastries and Grød porridge.

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

Our final morning saw us up-and-out early to go see Nyhavn in the morning light and when considerably less busy. I’m so glad we did this because the lighting was gorgeous and a good photo is my favourite kind of souvenir. We also poked our noses into the Botanical Gardens. It was too early for anything to be open but we got a glimpse of the famous palm house and it was very pleasant to see all the golden leaves in the glorious sunshine (it always comes out just as you’re leaving right?!).

Sadly, that was that. We had a final couple of pastries in a café near the metro before hopping over to the airport for our flight home, during which we flew over the Ǿresund Bridge which – in case you didn’t know – goes underwater… they haven’t just, ahem, not finished it yet.

I shall be back to Copenhagen one day for sure. In the meantime, am off to hunt down Danish bakeries based in England.

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen

A weekend in Copenhagen


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