Guide to Copenhagen, Denmark
The capital of Denmark, Copenhagen would be the second leg of my most recent European escapade. In all honesty Copenhagen was at first not on my list of top places to visit – for what reason I do not know. The lure of exciting world class Nordic cuisine (see: Geranium), flashy architecture, and being home to centuries old fairy tales, in retrospect makes Copenhagen really a worthy travel destination.
The danish streetscape is a beautiful amalgamation of old and new, with centuries old buildings and cobble streets, right alongside sleek modern masterpieces. There is a delightful sense of grandeur, peacefulness, trendy-hip and resilience as you walk the streets and meet the inhabitants of this city. Interestingly Copenhagen has been almost completely burnt down several times in history, most notably the 1728 fires where 28% of the city was destroyed and a little 7 year old boy was allegedly responsible.
Zombies staggering the streets as part of the worldwide zombie walk just outside our hotel SP34 – which I highly recommend. Stylish Scandinavian interior, extremely comfortable beds, and wholesome danish breakfast buffet.
One of the first things organised before arriving in Denmark, was the food destinations. Trying to get a table at Noma was pretty much impossible. As a consequence (and probably overkill) we booked ourselves first into 1 michelin starred Kokkeriet for dinner, then 2 michelin starred Geranium for lunch the very next day. Kokkeriet was no doubt a fine introduction into modern Nordic cuisine. After 15 courses of beautiful food, we could barely contemplate our next meal… but we would soldier on and survive the epic journey. See my previous post on Geranium.
Nyhavn (an old commercial port, now tourist destination with restaurants and shops) is a must visit, even if it is just for a stroll and camera snaps. It is spectacular on a sunny day, with throngs of people, music and cafes spilling out onto the streets. It is no doubt tourist oriented, and I would suggest bypassing the eateries here for one of the many fabulous eateries spread across town.
If you’re worried you might get lost, it might be worth while joining a free city tour (purely tips based) which will give you great insight into the history and culture of the city, with a load of humour from the young Danish guides. I really enjoyed them. If walking all day has tired your feet out, river boat tours would be a nice lazy option.
Remember to make pit stops at bakeries, taste the danish hot dog, and most certainly try a smorrebrod (danish open sandwich on rye bread). One of the better renditions of smorrebrod we found was from Almanak– mackerel, egg yolk and radish; beef and crisps. Aamanns is also worth checking out.
A small detour west of central Copenhagen: to visit HC Andersen’s grave (Assistens cemetry), and the hippy suburb of Kobenhavn N (with Jægersborggade street lined with delicious cafes and bakeries – Meyers Bageri, The Coffee collective). We rented a bike for most of the 4 days we were in Copenhagen.
There is no European trip that doesn’t involve at least one castle or palace. Copenhagen is no exception with the likes of Christiansborg, Rosenborg and the current Royal residence: Amelienborg. Don’t plan to visit them all unless you are a castle fanatic. The National Gallery of Denmark, Royal Library (Black diamond) and the Round tower are also worth visiting.
Another pit stop: Torvehallerne, one of Copenhagen’s famous covered markets – selling mostly gourmet produce and food. Have a peek around at the bustling stalls, and maybe grab a nibble of some danish fishcakes, seafood salads, or some smorrebrods. Beware it gets pretty busy here on weekends during peak hour.
The freetown of Christiania, an evening cycle along the canals, a visit to the new business district in the south (home to Tietgenkollegiet, the round student quarters) are little side trip options. Christiania was an odd experience with marijuana abound, relative dilapidation and no photography allowed inside – starkly contrasting with the surrounding Copenhagen proper. I personally did not enjoy it all that much.
Dinner at Oliver and the Black Circus – a modern Danish bistro / cocktail bar seeking to find that middle ground between the haute cuisine of Noma and the standard cafe cuisine. Think cocktails infused with elderflower; white asparagus cooked simply with scrambled egg and enoki; and white chocolate, rhubarb , red pudding and bellini for dessert.
And a final stop at one of the worlds oldest theme parks: Tivoli Gardens. There’s plenty of cool, quirky attractions and entertainment to please all ages, but don’t come expect any high-tech-super-exhilarating roller coasters. I personally reckon half the theme park is taken up by food stalls / restaurants – clearly shows what I look at.