I've visited Copenhagen 3 times in the last 2 years and I'd move there in a heartbeat (if someone would like to offer me a job and subsequent visa, you know where to find me, haha... but seriously, I'm not joking).
Sometimes you visit a place for the first time and feel an immediate affinity; you feel at home. If there's one city that has had that kind of effect on me, it's Copenhagen. I'm always raving about it and telling my friends they absolutely MUST visit. Yes, sunlight may be sorely lacking during the winter months, but the pretty buildings, charming streets, design sensibility, hygge, and blessed genetics of the Danes, more than make up for that! Plus there's just something about the light (when it does shine) in CPH; it's magical.
Copenhagen is an ideal destination for a weekend getaway (if you live in Europe... not so much now that I've moved back to Australia) though you could easily find things to occupy you for much longer. To work your way through all of the amazing food in this city, would certainly take much much longer!
So here's just a small collection of the thousands of photos I've taken of Copenhagen and a looooong list of my recommendations. If you have any that I've missed, make sure to leave a comment below or send me an email. Get on your bike (or in my case, don't, because I am laughably useless on a bicycle) and get your butt to Copenhagen! L x
The last time I visited Copenhagen I was lucky enough to stay at the gorgeous Hotel SP34, located in the Latin Quarter and part of the Brøchner Hotels group. This particular occasion, I was on a work trip as a guest of Carl Hansen & Søn, and I only wish I could stay at Hotel SP34 every time! Beautiful Danish design (exactly my kind of aesthetic, those bedheads), warm hospitality, delicious organic breakfast, and the lobby bar happy hour (the gin and tonic I had was a pure work of art) are just some of the perks of this place.
When I'm not pretending I'm a high roller, I like to stay at an Airbnb in Nørrebro by The Lakes. Just northwest of the city centre, Nørrebro is the perfect base to get around on foot or by bike (only going by the locals on this one, you will pretty much never find me on a bike) and by public transport if you're going a little further afield. The best thing about Airbnb's in Copenhagen, is that there are so many beautifully styled places, you almost have too many options!
ARCHITECTURE & SIGHTS
Nyhavn is the quintessential Copenhagen postcard; pretty pastel coloured buildings lining the harbour. Basically, if you don't see this place on your visit to CPH, then you were never really there...
Every time I visit CPH, I make a point of walking to the top of Rundetårn, not only to take in the spectacular 360 degree views of the city, but also because of the spiral ramp that dreams are made of. I like to go at dusk, but go any time day; it's always beautiful.
A huge call, especially since I've visited many art galleries and museums in my time, but Louisiana is hands down my favourite art museum in the world. Located in Humlebæk, about an hour's train journey from Copenhagen, the museum is set against a stunning backdrop of coastline and if you're into modern art at all, you really have to make the journey (or else you can't claim to be into modern art at all). The architecture, the sculpture garden, and the calibre of exhibitions is second to none. Make a day trip of it and head a bit further north to Helsingør (or Elsinore) to visit Kronborg, home of Hamlet. And if you're a BIG fangirl like some people I know (or if you're just into boats), the stop by the Danish Maritime Museum.
If you've read my Rome Guide, then you might be familiar with the term AFC (Another F***ing Church) Syndrome. So it may surprise you that two of my must visit spots, for the archinerds out there, are churches...
Bagsværd Kirke was Jørn Utzon's first commission after returning to Denmark, following his resignation from the Sydney Opera House project. Unlike his Sydney masterpiece, Bagsværd isn't much from the outside, positively shed-like, but the interior is one of the most exquisitely designed spaces I've ever experienced. It's a building that definitely flies under the radar, as even Danish Design enthusiast friends of mine weren't aware of this place. Click here for more photos.
A church on a much grander scale, Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint's Grundtvigs Kirke is a schooling in the beauty of brick. I am not a religious person, but I can understand how one might feel closer to God in a space such as this. It is literally (yes, I mean literally, not figuratively) breathtaking.
Both churches are a short train/bus out of the city centre, and both so stunning, that I'll be following up with a couple of architecture dedicated posts!
In Nørrebro, you'll find two of the more eyebrow raising spots on my list. When I suggest to friends they visit Assistens Kirkegård, a cemetery, I usually have to follow up with a long explanation on how I'm not really into cemeteries either, but this one is more like a park and utterly beautiful (see above photo if you're still not sure...). The second, Superkilen, is an urban park with few trees (yes, I know)... definitely one for the designers out there (both the monochrome lovers, like me, and those a little more multi chromatically inclined).
I'm a sucker for a Palm House and the one at Copenhagen's Botanic Garden is a babe.
FOOD & DRINK
New Nordic cuisine has been getting a lot of airplay recently (Noma, anyone?) and there is good reason, there are so many great places to eat and drink in Copenhagen; here are some of my favourites.
I'm a coffee snob, so one of the first things I research before visiting a new destination is where to get good (Antipodean-approved, thank you Beanhunter) coffee. The Coffee Collective has a few outlets in CPH, but my favourite to visit is the one in Nørrebro on Jægersborggade, because of it's proximity to two of my other favourites...
Grød is a porridge restaurant. Why would anyone want to visit a porridge restaurant, you ask. Topping combinations such as fresh sticks of apple, homemade caramel sauce, and roasted almonds, is why.
And... Meyers Bageri also with several outlets across the city (and one in New York!), is home to the most delicious cinnamon bun, kanelsnurre.
If you're eating breakfast for the 'gram, then Café Atelier September near Nyhavn is your spot. Order a cup of matcha, or if you're a bit more adventurous, go for the hojicha for some roasted green tea goodness.
Torvehallerne is a foodie's dream with produce stalls and tons of options to grab a quick bite (including Coffee Collective and Grød).
If street food is your scene, head over to (the now much more easily accessible) Papirøen to overindulge at Copenhagen Street Food.
Geist is one of the first restaurants I tried in Copenhagen almost 5 years ago, and it still delivers the goods. Masterminded by Bo Bech, this place does food with style, with everything designed to share. It is also one of the few finer restaurants in CPH that I found able to cater for vegans (everyone else probably didn't want to remove the taste-giving butter... and to clarify, the vegan isn't me)!
The Meatpacking District is full of many spots to eat and imbibe, such as Kødbyens Fiskebar, a restaurant that is all about seafood, which is just slightly ironic in the Meatpacking District. Around the corner you'll find Gorilla, a new addition to my Copenhagen list, after a seriously insane 15 course tasting.
I visited Formel B with a friend the last time I was in CPH, upon her suggestion. It didn't disappoint. Order the Sea Buckthorn en Surprise, as pictured above... Yes, I had no idea what "Sea Buckthorn" was either, but the dessert was divine.
For something more casual, Spuntino delivers Nordic style modern Italian and their 5 course tasting menu is incredibly good value, in a city known for its eye-watering price tags.
There is some seriously good Italian food to be had in Copenhagen, the hyggelig Bæst serves homemade charcuterie and wood fired pizza. Just make sure that if you order the Bæst charcuterie selection, that you are HUNGRY.
New kid on the block, 108, just earned it's first Michelin star and is the little sibling of Noma. With a pedigree like that and one of the prettiest fitouts around, it's not to be missed.
Top of my list to try is Christian Puglisi's Relæ, owner of the No.40 spot on the most recent World's 50 Best Restaurants list. Puglisi set up Relæ with front-of-house Kim Rossen, both Noma alums.
Most restaurants take bookings and I'd recommend booking well in advance if there's somewhere you really want to try. Quite a few restauranteurs have multiple offerings, so there are plenty of options even if your first choice isn't available.
If you're looking for a cosy cocktail bar post dinner, Ruby is the place.
SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP
I'm obsessed with Scandinavian brands; their cool minimalism is right up my alley, so I always enjoy a little (perhaps a little too much) retail therapy whilst in Copenhagen. Many of my favourite brands can be found along or just off Strøget, the main shopping strip.
My Dad introduced me to Georg Jensen as a child (gotta start them young, y'know?), which was probably the start of my love affair with Danish Design. The flagship store is a stunner.
Samsœ and Samsœ is one of the brands I wish was more readily available in Australia, my bank account probably doesn't.
For minimalist basics with an edge, Moss Copenhagen.
Weekday is actually a Swedish brand, but I make sure to pick up a pair (or three) of their super affordable, super comfy jeans every time I pass a Weekday store!
If sunglasses are your thing (they definitely one of my things) be sure to visit Han Kjøbenhavn. It started out as an eyewear label, now also offering some great menswear.
Though it's not available in a store, one of my favourite Scandi brands is jewellery label Still With You. Lovingly handmade in Copenhagen by Renathe, I first stumbled across SWY when one of Renathe's mood boards popped up on my Pinterest feed! If you love minimalist jewellery, go check out SWY, the website has just had a babin' refresh.
Hay House, Frama, Carl Hansen, Stilleben, Klassik, and Normann Copenhagen's new flagship are musts for any interior design enthusiasts. And if like me, you're a bit of a typography geek, don't miss Playtype for all of your typographical needs.