Oh Scandinavia. Just the sound of it makes your heart skip a beat, conjuring up images of arctic treasures and genetically blessed humans.
Copenhagen is a chilly (bloody freezing) mix of classic and contemporary, in both looks and personality. Thanks to a rather unlucky run with fires, this city isn’t a perfectly preserved museum of viking past, however reamins equally as beautiful as its older neighbouring friends. The Danes are unwaveringly delightful and graciously welcome you into their city, which is one of the many reasons that Scandinavia is my favourite part of the world.
Copenhagen is filled with a mix of neighbourhoods, galleries, gardens and palaces all worthy of exploration making this city a diverse place for the rather small size, and offers a perfect balance of upbeat and calm, the choice is yours.
The best way to start your journey here is via walking tour (although that’s the best way to start any new city) because somehow I found Copenhagen hard to navigate. The streets here don’t run straight, curving out in every way till you’ve found yourself exactly where you began. Asking for directions of the near impossible to pronounce street names is something I will leave to you (if you haven’t heard of the app CityMaps2Go, get on to it, offline maps=lifesavers).
The heart of Copenhagen is Strøget, over 1km of shopping joy that was until recently the longest continuos shopping strip in Europe, you get the picture. Even if you don’t enjoy purchasing expensive Danish wares (or hitting up every hight street store you can see at home…) then it’s still worth a wander, it’s also unavoidable and the best way to orientate yourself as it runs through the heart of the city.
If you like ‘nice things’ head to the northern side of the street, where you’ll find amazing Danish designers such as Henrik Vibskov and well selected vintage to suit various budgets.
There are a number of world class galleries here and Louisiana Modern Art Museum, 45 minutes north of the city is not to be missed. With an ever changing collection and visiting works, this huge gallery is a perfect mix of educational and beautiful. Make sure to purchase an inclusive ticket at the main station to cover transport and entrance (200 kroner) for the best value.
A free option within the city is the National Museum, all white walled wonder filled with various curiosities from the world over. It houses and amazing collection of Asian and African cultural artefacts, with a current exhibition showing the story of the Danes suffering and survival within the concentration camps of World War 2.
Nordic. Food. If you haven’t noticed the rather huge influence that Nordic Cuisine is currently putting forth then you should. With blogs and cookbooks from this corner of the world teasing our eyes with artfully styled goodness that looks far to pretty to eat it’s obvious why it’s the fresh face in the food world. Here it’s not hard to find something delicious, but slightly hard to find something delicious fitting the backpacker budget. From the stunning bakeries with all manner of sweet treats and amazing pastries, to the Danish specialty of smørrebrød, an open rye sandwich that looks more like a work of art (and tastes phenomenal), you’ll not go hungry, nor blow your budget.
The best place for food is Torvehallerne, a central hybrid of amazing produce and amazing street food vendors. Hit up GRØD, literally translating as ‘porridge’, for the best sweet and savoury versions of this staple transformed into pure delicacy (trust me). The Coffee Collective also have one of their three branches here and will sort you out with one of the best caffeine hits you’ve had in a long time. All the food here in Torvehallerne is pretty budget friendly and only a short distance from the city centre it’s the perfect spot to refuel (eat your bodyweight in all things good).
If you’re after one of the best coffees around Copenhagen sans Copenhagen price hit up The Spoon Company, serving caffeine goodness for around $4 AUD and a perfect place to spend a morning reading and watching the world go by, it’s tucked away just of Strøget Street.
Freetown Christiania is Copenhagen’s hippy sub settlement. Businesses here operate outside the Denmark tax system and drugs have a blind eye turned to them (in the same way Amsterdam operates). It holds a seedy, dark undertone which you can feel, however as you walk through this graffiti heaven, filled with colour and life it’s clear that if you stick by the rules (strictly no photos) it’s a decent part of town to down a beer and watch the interesting characters pass by.
Nyhavn. You’ve seen it 1000 times over. That postcard prefect harbour, bursting with colour, remaining Copenhagen’s drawcard and is just as magical in real life. It is hectic thanks to its beauty and although filled with restaurants and bars it’s not the ideal place for such things, but is defiantly the place to people watch.
Cisterns. Hidden away in Valby, an up and coming neighbourhood to the southwest of the city, you’ll find Søndermarken park, home to the stunning underground reservoir that’s been given new life as a venue for art exhibitions. Currently showing a mind blowing light exhibit matched with haunting soundtrack it was one of my personal highlights. The surrounding ‘hood’ is worth a look too with cafes, and is home to the Heineken Brewery.
Botanic Gardens: It’s all sorts of green filled, glass house fairy tale heaven and my recent obsession with botanic gardens was only fuelled by this inner city oasis. From the magical lake perfect for afternoon picnic to the sun-drenched glasshouses transporting you to the tropics, this patch of paradise is well worth a wander.
Tivoli. An inner city amusement park that fingers crossed you end up at during October. During the year it passable but when it’s turned into a Halloween heaven, strung with pumpkins and filled with ghouls it definitely worth reliving your childhood at.
Aside from that hit up the Palaces (there are multiple), get lost in the streets and enjoy being surrounded by beautiful people, and beautiful places. The best city views can be found via Christiansborg Palace, even better those views are free x