The Danish capital has always been at the forefront in terms of setting rules and trends. It’s long been a creative haven known for nurturing homegrown talent in an unparalleled fashion (grants, residencies and scholarships are readily available to its citizens). The city also teems with an unreal amount of beautiful people and offers scores of incredible restaurants and bars to settle into after a full day of cycling across pristine cobblestone streets and soaking up quaint Copenhagen history at one of its number of castles. It’s the best playground to visit with anyone: your partner, your best friend or your mom. Welcome to the cool little brother of Oslo, and the friendly aunt to Stockholm, featuring no mention of a smorgasbord things to see and do and just a hint of and delectable Danish foods.
Crashing in the city
Located in the hip neighborhood and Vesterbro, Bertrams Hotel Guldsmeden is the place for grown ups only and offers a free organic breakfast. It’s amongst the thick of it in terms of great coffee and great craft beer and it’s also right by the palace, city hall square, central station and other main tourist attractions.
Another great option is the fabulous Skt Petri in the inner city. Its huge, marble floored, plant filled lobby has been in numerous Danish films and TV shows and is also brimming with fashionistas come fashion week. The hotel’s renovation a couple of years back celebrates its history as a famous department store and champions sustainable hospitality with light and energy saving fixtures and systems as well as food waste programs in their three restaurants. Try the downstairs for brunch and stone baked pizza on the terrace for dinner.
Playing in fairytale land
Cliche or no cliche, no trip to Copenhagen is complete without trips to two things: The Little Mermaid and Tivoli Gardens. Catch a cheap tourist cruise boat of the canals from historic candy-colored Nyhavn and see the mermaid in all her tiny bronze statuette glory, then spend the rest of the day on rides at Tivoli Gardens where you can also take in a colorful parade, fireworks, fountains and amazing restaurants that are above and beyond what you’d ever expect at a theme park.
Should your plan involve being more dressed up and going shopping, hit up the epic Magasin du Nord department store just off Nyhavn at Kongens Nytorv. There you’ll find exclusive Scandi brands like Ganni and Saks Potts as well as mainstay designer faves like Gucci and Paul Smith. Enjoy the downstairs grocery department and chocolatier before splashing on an organic cologne in the beauty department. Next up, check out the chicer than chic Illums next to Royal Copenhagen porcelain, for all your best and most impressive souvenirs. This main strip of designer stores is delightfully calm and pleasant.
Figaro – or Hamlet upcoast?
Check out the opera on the water in the centre for a one-off evening (the foyer houses art from Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson) – or catch the train to Kronborg Castle north of Copenhagen in Helsingor during summer to catch Shakespeare at the real life inspired digs for Hamlet, Elsinore. Just an hour by train and scenic as anything, a day in this seaside town is worth a look.
Famed for its dining scene, Copenhagen is in known for more than Noma – though if you can get a reservation, the seasonal tasting menu will give you an experience of a lifetime. Expect eye popping plate creations like king crab created out of bread with crab meat on top, fat oysters and foams and air that make your taste buds water. Also worth a visit is the amazing seasonal new nordic dining room Host, where you can eat razor clam broth, seasonal meats and cheeses and natural wine pairings for a reasonable price surrounded by fairy lights and olive trees. For something more casual, check out smorrebrod open face sandwiches with a twist at Royal Smushi at the porcelain headquarters and Orangeriet in the kings’ garden. ■