Exploring Copenhagen, Denmark
This coming September, I will have known one of my best friends for twelve years. That’s half of my lifetime & a rather impressively long time to still enjoy another’s company. We’ve spent a heck of a lot of time together during our twelve years. In school, our teachers used to make comments to our parents about us being glued together at the hip. Our days went like this: if one of us wanted to go somewhere, the other followed suit. Even now, years after school, we can usually be found together most of the time. The best example of this was when I decided to walk the Camino de Santiago, and I didn’t even really have to convince her to come with me. She just did.
As far as I can remember, we’ve journeyed abroad no less than nine times together, & visited a total of seventeen cities. Not including travelling within Ireland, obviously. Quite frankly, I think she’s a keeper.
A few months ago, we realised that it had been close to three years since our last trip abroad together. This was enough to prompt us to start looking up flights, accommodation, cities etc. Spain, Croatia, Poland? Denmark? Denmark stuck, and everything fell perfectly into place for Copenhagen. It was decided.
I had visited previously, and the Danish capital remains one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. I speak for both of us when I say that we loved every single second of our time there. We spent all day every day being amazed by the beauty around every single corner. Cobbled streets, pastel buildings, rose bushes, bikes as far as the eye can see. Not to mention cinnamon rolls, amazing coffee, quirky parks, an incredible atmosphere, & an overall sense of calmness. That last one sounds a little bizarre, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt so safe in a city.
Heaps of photos & recommendations on where to go, what to do, where to drink, & where to eat below!
exploring copenhagen: where to stay
Copenhagen Downtown Hostel // the same place I stayed the first time I visited Copenhagen, and I still loved it this time ‘round. It’s a casual chilled out kind of place & the staff are super lovely. We stayed in a 4-bed female only dorm during our stay & it was perfect. Quiet, clean, and cozy. Added bonus: you get a free dinner if you book through their website, and the alcohol is gloriously cheap.
exploring copenhagen: what to do
The Round Tower // this eluded me on my first trip to Copenhagen a couple of years ago, so I was eager to visit this time around. It turned out to be one of our most favourite things in the city, we completely loved it! The price of a ticket is dirt cheap, like 3 euro, and it is beyond worth it. Instead of the usual pain of having to climb up a billion steps, the path up the Tower is a welcoming spiral slope. Winning!
Tivoli Gardens // a whole day out that is totally worth the money. There are a couple different ticket options, but we opted for an all-4-one band. It gave us entry into the gardens and unlimited goes on every ride in the park. It was ideal for us, because you can sit around relaxing, watching whatever happens to be on the open air stages between rides! There are peacocks roaming free, fairy-lights strewn overhead, & plenty of restaurants and bars to keep everyone happy. We spent our day working our way through the rides, going back to the ones we liked, drinking beer, watching ballet, & exploring the aquarium.
partially free attractions
Rosenborg Palace // the whole truth: we only wandered down to Rosenborg Palace because we spied it from the top of The Round Tower & thought it looked pretty. Wandering in is like wandering into a movie scene set in Paris. The roofs of the surrounding buildings, the people picnicking with glasses of rosé & baguettes, others celebrating a birthday with bunting wrapped from tree to tree. It was surreal in the very best way. During our wandering we came across the royal guard about to make their journey over to Amelienborg Palace for the changing of the guard.
Amelienborg Palace // we didn’t plan on paying to visit the inside of the palace, although I’m sure it’s worth it. We planned our visit around seeing the changing of the guards, which happens everyday at noon. The toy soldiers march into the centre of the square and slowly make their way around to each of the four houses to change guards. Coincidentally, the day we decided to visit was also the King & Queen’s 50th wedding anniversary!
Botanical Gardens // it was a terrible idea for us visit the Gardens when we did, as there was far too many drinks the previous night. The sheer heat inside the glasshouse nearly killed us. It’s this huge big beautiful old greenhouse that makes you feel like you’re walking through the forest. There’s this gorgeous cast-iron spiral staircase that leads you up to a top level to walk amongst the super tall plants. That was perhaps our worst idea ever – there was even less air up there. After this ordeal, we spent some time breathing in the quality fresh air of the gardens, which was most delightful.
The Little Mermaid // what trip to Copenhagen would be complete without getting to visit The Little Mermaid? She’s located a bit further afield than most of the other attractions, but just think of it as a Hans Christian Anderson type pilgrimage. Of course, the statue is a huge attraction in the city, so don’t expect to have her all to yourself – I took five photos during our time there: in three of the photos it looks like she’s being attacked by a swarm of tourist canoe boat-ers, there are some miscellaneous heads popping up in two of them, & in the last one she’s (rather rudely) having her nipple tweaked by some drunken man.
Agnete & the Merman // you have to hunt this statue down – it is so cool! It’s a group of statues under the water at Slotsholm Canal & it never ceases to fascinate me. Hard to see on a sunny day, but so worth checking out.
Nyhavn // we were pretty lucky during our visit, because we had to walk through Nyhavn basically anytime we wanted to get anywhere. There’s something magical about this old harbour – there’s jazz music & a nice atmosphere in the air at all times. It’s also one of those places you just have to visit to get that quintessential Copenhagen photo.
Canal Tour // this was my second time doing a canal tour in Copenhagen & even this time around I loved every second. Our canal tour left from Nyhavn, where there are a couple of companies offering different routes. We did the standard one that brought us out & around Christianshavn, as well as past a few of the main attractions – Amelienborg Palace, the Opera House, the Black Diamond Library, & The Little Mermaid.
do it for the ‘gram
Krusemyntegade // you might find yourself wondering why on earth I’m recommending you visit a random road well out of the city. Well, if you’re anything like me (or half of the other people on Instagram), then this is definitely a road you’ll want to see. We affectionately started to refer to it as Instagram Road – pastel colours as far as the eye can see, roses crawling up the side of nearly every house, bikes parked nonchalantly all over the place, & an odd bench here & there for sitting back & taking it all in. It’s basically Copenhagen’s version of St. Luke’s Mews.
Magstræde // no, this is not just another beautifully photogenic street, it is the oldest surviving street in Copenhagen. The street (which still has its original cobbling!) was two seconds from where we were staying, & we were entirely unable to pass up an opportunity to walk down it at every chance we had.
exploring copenhagen: where to get coffee
Original Coffee // confession: good coffee shops are the first thing I investigate when planning my trips away. Original Coffee was top of my list, & we certainly weren’t disappointed. Added bonus: the branch at Illum shopping centre is located on the top floor, so you can sit outside & watch the world go by beneath you.
Espresso Roasters // admittedly, the only reason we stopped into ER was because we had been traipsing all over town looking for a coffee shop that was meant to do the best cinnamon rolls ever, but we couldn’t find it & we were totally desperate & on the verge of becoming hangry. Turns out that the cinnamon rolls here are fab! Heated ever so slightly & perfectly spiced.
exploring copenhagen: where to drink
Husted Vin // we didn’t actually get to go to Husted Vin, but I’m adding it to the list because I want you to go & tell me how it is. Typically, the one day we had planned to go there it was closed, but it had been open every single time we’d walked past previously.
Biergarten @ Tivoli Gardens // I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again: I have this thing with Germany, which pretty much means I love all things German, especially beer & pretzels. I’m only a little bit ashamed to tell you that we visited the Beirgarten twice during the handful of hours we spent at the Gardens – both times indulging in a ½ litre tankard of beer & just once devouring a hot freshly baked salty pretzel. We regret nothing. Added bonus: going on roller-coasters a little tipsy is the most fun thing to do ever!
exploring copenhagen: where to eat brunch
Sonny // we walked past this hipster looking cafe on our way into the city on our first morning & immediately made plans to go back for breakfast the next day. The interior is gorgeous, the menu is full of health options (as is every other menu in Copenhagen), the music is very hipster-chic, & the coffee is wonderful. Added bonus: they offer a jasmine & orange iced tea, which is totally amazing & definitely a good choice.
Atelier September // similar to Sonny, the menu is full of health. We both opted for the ‘Grapefruit & Blueberries with granola’ breakfast, which certainly left me feeling healthy. Luckily, they also had croissants & poppy seed danishes pumped full of butter, & for this we were truly grateful. It’s worth visiting here to see the space alone, but also for the amazing coffee & mismatching ceramics. Think: a gorgeous open room with communal tables & an open work station.