Copenhagen offers a city break without the commotion of Europe’s big cities and with a philosophy of “not too much, not too little”. Couple that with the elegance of old in the historic Bredgade or Store Kongensgade areas for a very pleasant city break.
Hotel Fox was opened in 2005 in an association with VW to celebrate its new car, The Fox. They unleashed 21 international artists on the hotel’s 61 blank rooms giving the artists complete control and forcing the hotel to wait until finished to see the creatives’ ideas come to fruition; final results included one room with a punch bag and another bearing resemblance to a Turkish bath! On top of great décor the service is equally superb with hotel staff are warm and attentive making this the furthest from a corporate hotel chain as you can get. Better yet, hotel is right in the middle of town so the only transport you need is your feet. Rates are a bargain with prices starting from DKK 480 including breakfast.
If budget is no consideration, check in to the recently opened Bella Sky – one of Copenhagen’s most aesthetically impressive hotels with a bright, iconic design that is irrepressibly Scandinavian. Located next to a Metro stop, CPH’s centre is 7 minutes by train, but the view (and the drinks) at the hotel’s Sky Bar may well tempt you to stay put.
Wake up Copenhagen is the perfect space for city explorers who aren’t looking for a five star hotel but still want a stylish place to call home. The prices may be budget, but it’s packed with beautiful if economical design and while its location means views are more industrial than pastoral, being right in the hub of the city more than makes up for it.
Fifteen stories high, Danhostel overlooks the Danish central canal and is only a five-minute stroll to central Copenhagen and the train station. Each clean, functional room has between 4-10 beds, and is a bargain, with prices starting from DKK 130 a night.
Must See Areas
Halvandet – A half-island where you can only get to by bike or walking; no public transportation goes there nor is it reachable by car. They do beach parties in the summer and have a massive patio where there’s music, food, drinks.
Vesterbro – It’s an area in Copenhagen (vest means west, bro means bridge… hence the area’s name ‘West of the bridge’). There is the Planetarium that has a lovely café and steps right by the water – a great place to hang out with friends and there are also some independent shops, cafes, and restaurants that are definitely worth a visit.
Frederiksberg – Just by Vesterbro. It’s named after one of the kings. This is also a very cool area with many independent small shops and nooks. It’s one of CPH’s posher areas.
Dragør – A small harbor south of central Copenhagen. It feels like a little village with beautiful historical yellow houses, cobblestone roads, and great cafes.
Nyhavn – Home to one of our favorite bars in the world (read about it later in the article). This historic port, once the Red Light District, now hosts some of Copenhagen’s best nightlife spots. Definitely the place to go at night.
Must Visit Museum
The Louisiana Museum of Art may be a little off the beaten track, but it’s well worth the journey. It’s always exhibiting brilliant, unique work and is a serious contender as one of Copenhagen’s best gallery.
Another art favourite is the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an intriguing gallery founded in 1888 by Carl Jacobsen. Its two huge rooms are filled with a collection of fascinating art – one ancient, one modern. But even if the art work is not your thing, the gallery hides a stunning botanical garden at its centre, which is free to enter on Sundays and definitely worth a visit.
With exhibitions from the Stone Age, Viking Age, and the Middle Ages to Renaissance and modern Danish history, a trip to Copenhagen would not be complete without a visit to the National Museum.
A visit to the Carlsberg Factory would be a good afternoon for any traveller, it should be compulsory for beer enthusiasts. For an entry fee of DKK 70 you get to go in and explore, hear the history of the beer, and of course sample the freshest Carlsberg you’ll ever taste.
North of Copenhagen visit the Kronborg Castle. Built in the 1500s, despite being well maintained it seems some of its history is still hanging around, as the guided tours around the castle (only in June/July/August and cost DKK 100, including entry to the Castle) can be pretty spooky. To shake the cobwebs from your hair, Sweden is only 40 minutes from the nearest ferry port and is great to explore for a few hours.
For a great burger try the Laundromat Café in the hip, London’s SoHo-esqe area of Nørrebro. It’s a café with a laundromat so you can get a bite to eat or do some work while you wait for your laundry. Its great corner location makes it a convenient place to stop by for a quick bite or drink and people watch.
For a Danish specialty – an exceptionally cooked hot dog – try The Steffs hot dog stands. Our tip is to get it with everything. You don’t want to miss out on any of the flavours. The traditional “xxxKrasser” hot dog comes with crispy onions, ketchup, mustard, sweet remoulade, raw onions, and thinly sliced pickles.
For another Danish specialty try the open-faced sandwiches, Smørbrød, at Aamanns Café. They are tasty, light, and beautifully arranged. It’s rather fitting of the down-to-earth Danes to embrace the modest sandwich as they do.
For fine dining two superb quality restaurants are in fact Italian. Il Gambero Rosso [link in Danish] is a quaint traditional Southern Italian restaurant on Amagerbrogade. The food is fresh and delicious and the staff are excellent so be prepared to be taken care of. The other, Altopalato [link in Danish] in Hellerup, is very different. The Northern Italian and more modern restaurant is equally delicious. The food is true to its Italian roots yet adds a modern European flare.
Lastly, Torvehallerne [link in Danish] is an indoor food paradise of a market. There is plenty to choose from. Everything is of excellent quality and value. Right next to it there is a full open-air market with much more than just food. Try Danish oysters, they are meant to be the best in the World.
Must Go Out
The Union Bar, styled as a speakeasy is brainchild of British bartender Paul Muldowney, is in the historic port of Nyhavn. There are no signs outside or advertising of any sort. When you approach it, there is a blank black door with about eight doorbells. Ring the golden bell and and the door will open. You’ll follow voices down the corridor to a little door on the left, walk down the small staircase to 1920’s New York. The cocktails are delicious and it’s a great place to mingle with locals.
Update 31/12/2017 – The Union Bar is permanently closed