This Copenhagen City Guide has been a long time coming. Okay, even that’s a major under-exaggeration. Apologies. But it’s finally here!
If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember that for Harry’s birthday (back in September 2018!) part of his present was to go to Copenhagen for a long weekend at the end of Jan 2019.
When I was frantically trying to think of gifts I could get him (we all know he’s a terrible person to buy for!) I thought I’d have a browse at flights to see what was around. Turns out you can get some pretty cheap deals off-peak! £30 return flights? Sold.
As we were going to Copenhagen in January, we knew it was going to be cold. Personally, we quite like a little winter city break. We’ve previously done Berlin in December (that was cold!) and we’ve just come back from Vienna, for yet another one. There’s something I love about seeing a different city in winter, all wrapped up, wandering around taking it all in. It’s generally quieter than summer time too, and so falling into coffee shop after coffee shop to recuperate and get warm is my idea of bliss.
And? Copenhagen did not disappoint. You can see my Instagram highlights to see just how cold it was. We’re talking thermals, snow, minus numbers all day everyday and yes, it was just as freezing as you can imagine. But it was total heaven.
Copenhagen totally took me by surprise. It’s hands down one of my favourite cities I’ve been to now. And it’s somewhere both Harry and I have said we would happily go back to year on year.
I’ve even gone so far as to say I’d love to buy a flat there for us to have a base to visit all the time, whilst Airbnb’ing it out the rest of the year. Life goals and all that!
Anyway, you get the idea. Copenhagen is DREAMY.
So, if you’re thinking of heading there soon, or your Copenhagen city break is all booked and you’re trying to plan out your trip – you’ve found the right place. Here, I give you…
…My Copenhagen city guide!
This is quite a hefty post as I wanted to include as much detail as possible. But I’ve tried to break it down for you to make it as user-friendly as I can! So, if you don’t have much time, you can simply look at the headings and see what sections you want to read. Or, you know, you could just grab a cup of tea, a blanket and enjoy…
A quick overview
They say that Copenhagen is one of the happiest places to live. Even in winter, when you’re freezing your little socks off, you can literally sense this in the atmosphere. As weird as that may sound.
Both Harry and I commented on this as we wandered through the streets. We both got an overwhelming sense of complete and utter happiness. Weirdly, it felt like home. Which I’ve never experienced anywhere else I’ve holidayed.
Their style is impeccable – clean, simple but so stylish. I had serious outfit envy. The interior of their restaurants and shops is also dreamy – minimal Nordic design, which Harry and I fell in love with. In fact, it’s only since visiting Copenhagen that we suddenly felt so sure about our own interior style preference. So, you know what interior choices to expect once the renovation kicks off…
The streets were impeccably clean too. It was something I picked up on instantly and even commented on to Harry. Plus the people are all so friendly and accommodating!
Of course, all of this goodness has to come with one slight downside. Copenhagen isn’t a cheap city break. Like, at all. Restaurants are expensive, alcohol is very expensive – in fact, we only had one evening where we drank alcohol with our meal because of this. But is it worth it? Abso-friggin-lutely!
I’d booked for us to have a long weekend stay (for 3 nights). We stayed in Hotel Axel in Guldsmeden. It was a great location – just down the road from a train station. Perfect if you’re planning on using public transport to get around. And if you walked straight through the train station, you come out right by Tivoli Gardens!
The hotel itself was lovely. Including the interior. Obviously.
We had a four poster bed in our room, and the hotel has a very cute little courtyard to sit out in. The dream in the summer! The staff were super helpful too, recommending lots of places to visit.
Oh, and if you’re trying to be more eco-friendly, this is the place for you. The hotel is all about being sustainable whilst not compromising on comfort and quality. Bonus! We’d definitely stay again.
Travelling in and around Copenhagen
Copenhagen as a city isn’t that large compared to others. Everywhere you want to go is walkable. In fact, despite the cold, Harry and I didn’t get any public transport whilst we were there – despite there being lots of different options available. I always love to walk around as much as I can when on a city break. I find it the best way to really see all the areas which you would potentially miss otherwise.
Having said that, public transport is available and I would recommend looking into this if you don’t fancy walking 25,000+ steps a day. It’s certainly tiring! Despite everything being within walking distance, some areas do take around 30-40 minutes to reach by foot. Something worth bearing in mind.
Where to eat:
Without a doubt, it’s worth popping in to Lagkagehuset if you’re a pastry fan. It’s actually a chain (which we didn’t realise) so you’re sure to find one nearby. Despite this, it feels quite fancy and the pastries are just delicious! After all, you can’t not try a Danish pastry when you’re in Copenhagen!
We stumbled upon this little cafe on our first day when we were wandering around getting our bearings. The window was all steamed up from the warmth inside, and it looked so inviting. It’s only a small place, but it was full (we were lucky to get a table!) with people chatting and laughing. This was the first time we tried Smorrebrod – a traditional Scandinavian open-faced sandwich, and we LOVED it!
The Coffee Collective
If you’re in Norrebro, this cute cafe is a must. Again, the interior was lovely! We didn’t actually have any food in here, but we stopped for a quick drink to warm up and the vibe was so laidback.
Again, this is a chain restaurant – they have a small stall at Torvelleherne market (I’ll get onto that in a minute) where we had pastries that were SO good I made Harry order another as soon as we’d finished the first. Oops.
Head to Torvelleherne market and you won’t be disappointed. This isn’t your usual market that you may think of. For me, I automatically think markets are full of people rushing around, shouting from market stalls and a mix of smells which aren’t always the nicest…
Torvelleherne market is a different experience altogether. Encapsulating the Nordic way of living, it’s slow paced, clean and stylish. Despite being busy, it didn’t feel stifling. There are lots of different eateries here for you to choose from, as well as fruit and vegetable stalls, beer and wine shops and flowers galore. Beaut!
After wandering around, we decided on having lunch at Hallernes Smorrebrod. We had to wait a short while as there was a queue (it’s obviously a firm favourite) but the Smorrebrod was so worth it! And it was so filling!
When we did our research before visiting Copenhagen, we had a look into some Michelin star restaurants – as a birthday treat to Harry from me! Noma is the number one restaurant in Copenhagen to visit for this – but the waiting list is huge. As we weren’t that organised, we looked elsewhere. I’d heard really good things about Host – an award winning restaurant. We booked this one in advance, which I would highly recommend doing.
Hands down, this was the best meal we had in Copenhagen. The interior of Host is simply gorgeous, the service was amazing and the food was heavenly! We opted to go all out (you’re only there once and all that jazz!) and have the 5 course meal and we’re so glad we did. Every single course was delicious, and it felt like such a special evening to celebrate.
If you’re looking for a real treat while you’re in Copenhagen, this place is worth looking into!
Sushi n Sticks
Sushi n Sticks is a Japanese restaurant (which again is a chain). We ended up stumbling upon this place, as we didn’t have a real plan of where to go for our final dinner. It was actually super quiet when we dined in (we headed out a little earlier for food) but the service was top notch. Our waiter took the time to really explain what each dish was, and made recommendations too. And of course, the food was really tasty! A good option if you’re not one for fussy, OTT food and if you like to have lots of little dishes to share.
If pizza with a little twist sounds good to you, then MaMeMi Pizzeria is the place to head to. It’s a very small, cosy space which we loved. We didn’t book and it was super busy – even off-peak, so we ended up eating at the bar. Although it was actually a really nice experience to be up close to the chefs cooking, if you want to go here I’d recommend booking in advance to secure a table.
If you fancy skipping dessert at the restaurant you’re eating out at, and you’re a cheesecake lover, head to Bertels. They have a few seats in here, but we took ours to go. Purely because we ran across Copenhagen to get there in time before it shut as Donna had highly recommended this place! We opted for pistachio cheesecake. And yes, it was a great choice.
This is an area in Copenhagen that we walked to just to have a little wander around. Although there’s not much to do here, we wanted to see what it was like as we’d seen this area mentioned quite a bit.
It has an extremely chilled out vibe to it, with lots more coffee shops to stop and warm up in. But the main thing I loved about this area was all of the shops. Including the most amazing plant shop I think I’ve ever been in, just down the road from Coffee Collective. Stroll, browse and explore at your leisure.
If the weather isn’t on your side, Bastard Cafe is THE place to head to. A cafe full of all the board games you can ever imagine. Harry and I loved this place! It was full of people – eating, drinking and just enjoying each others company over a good game. Bliss. This place gives you all the hygge vibes and is the perfect place to escape to for a few hours.
The round tower is a nice little addition to your day out if you like to explore a little bit of history. There’s not much to see inside the tower itself (it’s a simple, winding climb up!) but it gives you brilliant views across Copenhagen when you get to the top. Well worth the exercise.
This palace is the home of the Danish royal family. You can wander around all of the buildings, and the architecture is just gorgeous. Another little ‘must-see’ addition to your day out.
The famous row of colourful restaurants that you immediately think of when you hear ‘Copenhagen’. This is a must-visit and is just as pretty as it looks in pictures. This area is perfect for a little stroll to take in the sights. This Copenhagen city guide wouldn’t be complete without adding this on here.
This was one of my favourite things we did whilst in Copenhagen. I’m not normally a huge fan of museums, particularly art museums (dare I say it!) However, this museum is completely different to any other I’ve been to.
Nordic design is massive, as we all know. The Design Museum is all about showcasing this and showing how its developed – from kitchen appliances, stoma care products, to the design of chairs.
I know many people recommend visiting the NY Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum (which we also went to) but I personally found the Design Museum far more interesting, with lots more to look at than art! Although the Botanical Garden in the Glyptotek is pretty special…
Shops worthy of your £££’s
If you’re into all things interior, especially Scandinavian interior, HAY is the go-to place for this. We absolutely loved wandering around this department store and wanted pretty much everything! HAY is now one of my firm favourites for online shopping. You can bet I’m eyeing up lots ready for when we renovate…
Again, this is another department store we loved to have a little wander around. Full of gorgeous interior items, it’s worth having a peek to see if something catches your eye.
Paper Collective is full of gorgeous prints, postcards and art to buy. Well worth having a little look around if you want to buy a new piece for your home to remember your trip by.
Other places worth looking into…
Tivoli Gardens are super famous and are probably one of the top things that come up when researching where to go as a ‘must-visit’ destination in Copenhagen. Unfortunately for us, the gardens shut in January, so we had to give this one a miss.
Atelier September cafe
This famous Instagram cafe apparently not only looks good, but the food is actually good too. Phew. This place was recommended to me, but we just didn’t have enough time, or space left in our stomachs to go here! It’s worth looking into though if you’re in need of a spot of lunch, whilst also wanting to get that photo for the ‘gram!
This museum is a bit further out of Copenhagen, so you’d have to take the train here. Again, this was recommended to me but we just didn’t have enough time when there was so much else to see in Copenhagen itself. Worth adding to your list if you love museums, and you do have a little more time to spare…
If you’ve ticked everything off your list to see and do in Copenhagen, a train ride over to Malmo, Sweden would also be a nice little addition to your trip! We were planning on doing this but ran out of time (we were in Copenhagen for 4 days) but it’s on the list for our next visit!
And that’s it! My Copenhagen City Guide. I hope it’s helpful if you’re off on your travels soon. Copenhagen really is THE best. Totally not jealous at all…