48 Hours in Copenhagen
Follow Felicia Arhontissas' relaxed guide to spending 2 perfect days in Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital city.
First things first, find a cosy cafe for a coffee and a pastry. The Danes are all about coffee; it goes hand-in-hand with the Danish philosophy of ‘hygge’, which is about creating a sense of cosiness. The city is filled with independently owned cafes selling their own roasted beans. Find a quiet corner to sit, taking sips in between mouthfuls of a sweet pastry. And which pastry to choose? It has to be a Danish, of course. Buttery and flaky with a sugary glazing on top, it’s no wonder this national sweet is so highly regarded across the globe. Fuelled by sugar and caffeine, you’re now ready for an adventure.
Copenhagen’s iconic district of Nyhavn, with its colourful townhouses lined up along the canals, is a must-see. With the sun high in the sky, now’s the chance to take some holiday snaps of this picturesque area. Many of the houses have had their ground floors converted into cafes and restaurants. It’s coming up to lunchtime, so why not take a seat and order the locally loved smorrebrod (open-faced sandwich)? Copenhagen is a great city to explore on foot. Afterwards, take a walk until you find yourself in Strædet, a popular shopping street. Here you can find eclectic boutiques, art galleries and antique shops.
Check out the district of Vesterbro, known as the ‘coolest neighbourhood in Copenhagen’. Once upon a time this neighbourhood was known as the red-light district of Copenhagen, with all sorts of illicit activity going on. Gradually, this area attracted the attention of creatives: writers, artists and students moved into this formerly industrial district in droves, transforming it into a hipsters’ haven. Dive bars sit alongside Michelin-starred restaurants, and nightclubs live adjacent to art galleries. There’s a multitude of unique, elegant bars to visit for a glass of wine or an old-school cocktail, the perfect remedy after a day exploring.
Copenhagen is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. Everyone rides – locals, tourists, children, grandparents – and it’s an eco-friendly way to get around. Plus, it’s a great way to enjoy life as the locals do. There are dozens of bike rental shops across Copenhagen. Hire a bike and follow the canals, stopping along the way to take photos, pick up a coffee, or duck into a shop. Make your end destination the Langelinie promenade, where the famous Little Mermaid statue is.
All that cycling is sure to have built up an appetite. For all the foodies, make your next stop Torvehallerne, a market hall set in an old warehouse. Filled with food stalls, seasonal produce, a wine bar, artisan groceries, fresh fish, a local butcher, as well as tea and coffee shops, there’s something for everyone. Grab a slice of pizza. Take a seat and gorge on plates of tapas. For something sweet, Summerbird is the city’s best chocolatier, selling chocolate and truffles. Afterwards, order a coffee or buy a fresh juice and take it outside, where there’s great opportunities for people watching.
Tonight, excitement is in the air. What better way is there to spend your final night in Copenhagen than with a visit to one of the world’s oldest amusement parks? Tivoli Gardens has been around since 1843, and is said to have been the inspiration for Disneyland after Walt visited Tivoli in 1955. There’s a rickety, century-old rollercoaster, music shows, a Chinese harlequin theatre, and a classic carousel. At night, the park comes alive with thousands of coloured lights and live music. It’s a magical effect. Grab a stick of fairy floss that’s as big as your head and take a wander around the park.