8 Things You Absolutely Cannot Miss in Copenhagen
I just got back from a few weeks in Europe, including a wonderful weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was my second time there and, after already loving it my first time, I think I love it even more now. I will eventually do a full Copenhagen guide but in the meantime, here are the essentials — 8 things you absolutely cannot miss!
Cocktails at Lidkoeb
Vesterbro is, according to Visit Copenhagen, the “former working-class area turned hip”. It is my favorite part of the city (to stay, eat, drink, play) and home to my favorite place for cocktails: Lidkoeb.
Lidkoeb is located off famous Vesterbrogade Street in a building dating back to 1886. The bar opened in 2012 and has a cozy atmosphere and a wonderful selection of cocktails on a rotating menu. It is wonderful any time of year, as they offer outdoor seating (perfect for summer) and a beautiful interior (perfect for the colder months)!
Before or after drinks at Lidkoeb, grab dinner at Madklubben Vesterbro down the street. It is a beautifully designed urban space featuring a menu with food from all around the world. I learned while writing this that it is also the “most visited restaurant in Denmark”, and for good reason! Although the restaurant seats more than 300, it is incredibly popular and often books up completely so make sure to make reservations in advance.
Photos via Lidkoeb.
Walk around Freetown Christiania
Christiania is, according to Visit Copenhagen, an "alternative hippie society". It is open to the public and incredibly interesting to explore. All of Christiania is completely green, car-free, and the people there follow their own set of rules completely independent of the Danish government. I don’t have any photos of it because you are not advised or permitted to photograph inside Christiania so make sure to keep that in mind if you do visit. Inside you will find many restaurants and if you are there during summer don’t miss Nemoland offering free concerts every Sunday.
Spend an evening playing at Tivoli
Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park located in the center of Copenhagen. It is the type of thing that seems a bit like a tourist trap on paper but in reality is a complete blast and something to not miss!
Tivoli opened in 1843 which makes it the second oldest amusement park in the world. It still has a lot of old school charm, in my opinion, and feels like a carnival without the modern cheesiness we often see at parks these days. There is something there for everyone, from the upside rollercoaster "The Demon" and "The Golden Tower" dropping 63 meters in a few seconds to the classic carousel (which I might have gone on myself while the boys went on The Golden Tower). If you are looking for a fun evening activity, the park is magical at night and stays open until 11 or midnight depending on time of year. In addition to rides there are also restaurants, concerts, and more.
Pricing options vary. Currently you can pay 120 DKK (currently ~$18) for entrance and then pay for each ride individually or buy an unlimited ride pass for 230 DKK (~$36). Our local friends said if we wanted to go on 5+ rides it made sense to buy the unlimited pass, so we did.
Photos via Tivoli Gardens PR.
Stay at Axel Guldsmeden
Axel Guldsmeden is an eco-conscious hotel located in my favorite neighborhood, Vesterbro! Even better, it is located just two blocks from the train station which you will more than likely arrive at (whether you come via train or plane). The entire hotel is beautifully decorated featuring southwestern decor and the bed was so comfortable I almost did not want to ever leave. There’s also an in-hotel restaurant which we did not visit but makes for a very convenient option if needed! And, if you are up for a real treat, they have a Balinese-inspired spa that looks incredibly dreamy in their photos.
Brunch at Mad & Kaffe Vesterbro
Mad & Kaffe is a place I discovered during my first trip and fell in love with due to the fun breakfast concept. You get to create your own breakfast featuring any combination of items on the menu, selecting either 3 items, 5 items, or 7 items. The menu is split into different sections; “greens" such as 1/2 an avocado with chili oil and baked almonds, “dairy" like scrambled eggs with chives and mushrooms, “bakery” offering things like organic sourdough bread with organic butter, “meat and fish” including a chicken nugget with sweet and sour sauce, and more!
Sound amazing? It is! The only unfortunate thing being that it is apparently no secret because I went back this time and the wait was crazy. The waitress told us that they open at 8:30 and by 8:45 it is completely full so we headed back the next day at opening time and were able to score a table. By 8:45 every table was full and by the time we left the line outside was extremely long already.
If you do make it there and find the wait to be too long, check out Cafe Dyrehaven about half a block away. The avocado toast is delicious!
Eat street food on Paper Island (Papirøen)
On Paper Island (Papirøen) just across the bridge from Nyhavn is Copenhagen’s street food market. It offers beautiful views of the waterfront and 39 food and drink stalls from all around the world! The stalls themselves are inside, with seating options available both inside and out. Even on a cold day it is a wonderful place to visit and spend some time.
Try a traditional Danish pastry
While in Denmark, you must try a kanelsnurrer (English translation: cinnamon whirls)! Best place to try them? Meyers Bageri, a local chain started by a famous Danish chef. There are numerous locations around the city so check Google Maps to find the closest option for you.
Visit Nyhavn, Copenhagen's most iconic spot
Anyone who has seen photos of Copenhagen has likely seen Nyhavn, the famous colorful waterfront and arguably most iconic spot in the city. While I usually try to stick to non-cliche things, this is one of touristy spots that I think you absolutely cannot miss. Originally a busy port, today Nyhavn is filled with restaurants housed in renovated homes lining the canal. It is a beautiful place to go for a quick stroll or hop on a canal cruise to relax and take in the scenery.