Copenhagen. Sigh. City of bicycles, sourdough pizzas, ceramics and effortlessly stylish interiors – how much we love you. I spent so much of our trip, gushing on Instagram about how lovely it all was that I’ve pulled together a quick city guide of our favourite places. STAY We stayed in Vesterbro, the former working class area and notorious red-light district that’s pretty much the hippest part of town these days. Now filled with cute cafes, cool bars and high-end design stores, it was the perfect spot for our stay. Only a 15-minute walk from the city’s main central train station, it was dead easy to get to and from the airport. Our AirBNB apartment was gorgeous in the way that only the Scandinavians know how. Filled with a combination of chic ceramics, vintage pieces and easy minimalism, I wanted to pack the entire place up and bring it back to London with me. I pretty much want to get rid of everything I own now and start again now in our flat. (Another reason to stay in Vesterbro, is that it’s where the Larsen family from The Killing season one lived. If you’re as obsessed with the Nordic Noir TV shows as I am, you’ll find that interesting. If not, ignore me and GO WATCH IT IMMEDIATELY).
EAT & DRINK Living with a sourdough-mad boyfriend, it was only natural that on our first night we went straight to the highly recommended Mother in the Meat Packing District. Famed for its organic sourdough base pizzas, it did not disappoint. Even though it was a busy Friday night, we got there early enough that we only needed to wait 15 minutes for a table. The pizza? The best I’ve had in a long time. And if I can have an Aperol Spritz while I’m waiting, I’m always a happy girl. Next on my list was Groed, a tiny restaurant that only sells porridge, dhal and risotto. It was SO good that we visited both their tiny Nørrebro restaurant and their stand in the gourmet food market Torvehallerne. I can’t really describe how good the dhal was except to say, it warmed my chilly bones and was probably the best dhal I’ve ever eaten. On our second visit the dhal had understandably sold out (NOOOOOOOOOO!) so we both went for a mushroom barley risotto (pictured) instead that makes me hungry just thinking about it. I probably should’ve tried one of the porridges that make up a large portion of the menu, considering porridge is one of my favourite breakfasts. Maybe I’ll have to go back and try them out…
I’m not massive beer drinker but the Mikkeller Craft Beer bars came highly recommended and as the boyfriend is a fan of fancy beers, we visited both the Nørrebro and Vesterbro location. Both had an equally relaxed vibe with friendly and helpful staff, and after a day spent trekking all around Copenhagen on foot, it was a delicious beer well-earned. Price wise, most places were about the same as London or ever so slightly more expensive. Not eye wateringly expensive however, like Sweden or Norway.
SHOP I found the Red Cross charity shop of my dreams in Copenhagen. Damn Easy Jet and their luggage restrictions. I ended up buying a 1960s set of ceramic cups that had to be packed carefully in my clothes to fit in my suitcase. We’re still regretting not buying a 60s oil painting and all that other stuff. I would’ve bought a sofa, vintage kitchen canisters, glassware, pottery vases…and so on. Sigh. It was three stories of treasures. I didn’t write down the exact location but I’m pretty certain it close to the vintage area around Ravnsborgadde. There are loads of vintage shops in Copenhagen and, sadly, we didn’t get to any of the flea markets but that’s probably a good thing. I imagine it might be difficult to negotiate, if you’re not Danish (although everyone speaks perfect English so give it a go). Jægersborggade is a lovely street in Nørrebro, where Groed is located. Friends who’d visited Copenhagen said it was a must visit. We loved the Meyer’s Bakery for yummy pastries and rye bread, Coffee Collective for a strong brew and Ladyfingers for delicate jewellery. My favourite was Maia’s Blomsterhjem, a florist and gift shop where I picked up several lovely glass dishes to pop under houseplants. You can find a full list of the shops on Jægersborggade here.
SEE & DO:
- Visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. It’s an easy 30 minute train ride from the Central Copenhagen train station and you can buy tickets that cover both entry and the train fare (you’ll need to go to a counter though, the machines rejected our cards). Such a beautiful space and gorgeous location, it’s well worth a visit and the best thing we did on our trip (other than eat that dhal). The Giacometti Gallery is an incredible light space overlooking a lake and actually took my breath away. We’d already seen the Richard Mosse exhibition that are on last year at London’s Photographer’s Gallery so we only quickly looked around that but the Sculpture Garden and views across the sea to Sweden are incredible.
- Go out for dinner and drinks with your friend who lives a 10-minute walk away from you in London and by happy coincidence is on the same plane as you. You don’t even realise this until you see each other’s photos on Instagram and you haven’t seen each other in yolks (true story).
- Visit the Little Mermaid. Pretty underwhelming but has to be done really. The nearby park is interesting and worth a (brisk) stroll through. I imagine we would’ve lingered further if it hadn’t been so chilly and raining.
- The cemetery where Hans Christian Andersen is buried is pretty too, and interesting to walk through on your way to Jægersborggade.
- Your research before you set off for the day and check what time shops close (early on the weekends). I loved looking around all the design stores but as we discovered many places close early on the weekend so we’d have to go back as they’d already shut for the day. I really liked
- Walk or cycle everywhere. We could’ve hired bikes but it was February – cold, raining and sleeting. It was just easier (and drier) to stay under our umbrellas instead. It seemed like a safe place to ride around though as most the bike lanes are separated from the main traffic. Wander past all the wonderful old buildings and historic palaces. We didn’t tour any inside because we wanted to do other things but they look pretty wonderful from the outside.
- Go see the coloured building and boats at historic Nyhavn. Take photos, even if it’s raining and you’re so cold your fingers feel like they’re going to drop off when you take your gloves off.
- Eat all the rye bread! I’ve always loved a grainy dark rye topped with (preferably) avocado and tomato. Try Smørrebrød, which are Danish open sandwiches with a variety of delicious toppings. Yum.
- Buy ceramics. From the gorgeous traditional blue and white Royal Copenhagen fine china to the 60s cups we picked up in the charity shop to amazing design-stores ceramic bowls. It’s worth it, trust me.
I could write for days about things to do in Copenhagen, and I feel like we only just scratched the surface. What have a I missed that I can put on my list for next time? x p.s. See Hannah’s guides to Copenhagen for loads more ideas. We found them really useful! And here’s a good guide to Vesterbro in the Guardian.