Copenhagen is a fashionable, eclectic and refined city, boasting a vibrant atmosphere that many destinations don’t have. Much of the food is organic and with a strong sustainable approach. There is a sense of pride in the people and their lifestyles, and a perfectionist approach to work and living.
Honestly, I had run out of time before I got on the plane to properly research Copenhagen, but luckily it’s one of those destinations that is easy to navigate. I made one restaurant booking as recommended by a couple of friends, (at Bæst – I’ll get to this later), but I was ready to completely throw myself into the city and see what I came across.
A couple of my favourite things about Copenhagen were the colourful buildings that line the streets (I’ll forever be inspired by colours), and the vast amount of green spaces and gardens around the city centre. Apartments and shop fronts have copious amounts of hanging plants and greenery, the botanical gardens are absolutely stunning (especially the greenhouse – known as Botanisk Have), and the number of little gardens, parks and cemeteries (yes I know – but they’re very cool) that are open for a walk through are abundant.
I stayed in an apartment loft in Nørrebro for the majority of the trip thanks to Air BNB, (I have this thing about booking the highest possible viewpoint when I go somewhere new, despite the difficulty with luggage and stairs!). Nørrebro is a wonderfully multicultural and creative neighbourhood full of natural wine bars, cafes, dive bars, high end eateries, ice cream stores, and bespoke clothing stops.
A short walk from Nørrebrogade through Assistens Cemetary, the burial place of Hans Christian Anderson, you’ll come to Jægersborggade, most probably the best street in all of Copenhagen, known for its eateries, natural wine bars and boutique shops. First, you’ll smell the aroma of fresh baked bread and come across the line of people patiently waiting at Meyers Bakery. As you stroll down past ceramic stores and the cactus shop, you’ll walk past the likes of Relae (Nordic fine dining by Noma alumnus Christian Puglisi), opposite to Manfreds – same owners but more relaxed and approachable, known for their organic, vegetable focused menu, sustainability and biodynamic wines. It’s cosy, f***ing delicious, and also famous for their raw meat.
The Coffee Collective is a Danish institution to say the least. You’ll find this one on the corner of Jægersborggade and Stefansgade. They take their coffee seriously, having perfected every process that makes the perfect cup. It’s not cheap, like anything in Copenhagen, so expect to pay for the quality – in this case a filter will set you back $8 AUD. Further down Stefansgade, past beer bar Mikkeller & Friends, is Stefanos Coffee & Food, a restaurant serving Turkish/Danish breakfast (which I didn’t know was even a thing). A highlight breakfast of the trip, combining small plates and flavours which was a match made in heaven, (thank you to the lovely lady who helped me read the menu!!)
Bæst, an organic wood-fire oven pizza and charcuterie bar (same owners as Relae & Manfreds) had been recommended by a couple of friends. I had high hopes and safe to say, it was right up there with the best dining experiences. Wine list, service, menu and burrata were on point. Book well ahead. Mirabelle next door, was one of my favourite breaky spots too.
Hiring a bike is an absolute must. The city is pretty much made for cyclists, just make sure you follow the rules! Danes are fashionable riders; girls cycle effortlessly in incredible heels, compared to my usual converse (sigh!). Given the compact nature of the city, you can easily walk places, but it’s worth getting that bit further on the bikes and experiencing it like a local.
Dronning Louises Bro is the main bridge across The Lakes in central Copenhagen, separating Nørrebrogade and Frederiksborggade. On average, 37,000 cyclists cross this bridge a day, making it not only one of the busiest bike path in the world, but awesome people watching material. Grab yourself a couple of takeaway beers from the supermarket and hang out at the bridge after work, and do it like the locals do.
Venturing over to the city side and old town, you’ll notice a change of pace. Start at the Torvehallerne food market in the city centre which has groceries, bakeries, coffee, wine, beer, delis, chocolate, gelati and food trucks – most of which is is organic. I actually think I was here every day because there was so much going on. As you walk through the old town you start to feel way more touristy than in Nørrebro, and not so much my way of travelling, but worth it for a day.
Hit up Sonny for breakfast and coffee if you’re in the city centre, I came back here a couple of times, their soft-boiled egg breakfast is everything you need to start your day. Check out the Rundetaarn, the ‘round tower’ built in the 17th century with a spiral walk and minimal white interior for great views of the city rooftops. Get there early to beat the crowds. Another good people watching spot is Original Coffee rooftop, at the top of Illum shopping centre. I wouldn’t recommend the coffee, just duck up for the view.
For art and design lovers, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is an exciting day trip out of Copenhagen, about 40 minutes by train up the coast. Their exhibitions are compelling and boundary pushing. You can also see Sweden across the water on a clear day. If you don’t quite have time to leave to city, head to the Danish Museum of Art & Design for everything from fashion, fabrics and crafts, to Danish design, furniture and iconic posters.
For my last couple of nights, I stayed at SP34 design hotel in the Latin Quarter. Quite a contrast from my cosy little Air BNB, but made a nice change as well. They’re known for their organic breakfast which you should definitely add on if you book here for a couple of nights, but if this is the only place you stay, then try breakfast once, and then eat out.
From the Latin Quarter, it’s a short walk over to Øl & Brød. Book ahead and be sure to get one of their smørrebrod (Danish open sandwiches) which are to die for. Let the waiter select your schnapps (locally made & imported), as a Danish lunch isn’t complete without it! For a smørrebrod variation, be sure to hit up the stalls in Torvehallerne.
Copenhagen is a city where it’s hard to go wrong with a meal, if you go to the right places. I had heard about a place called La Banchina, a little restaurant and bar on the pier at Refshalvoen, an easy cycle from the centre of town. Go on a warm evening for the rose and natural wines. They serve one dish a day and, rest assured, it’s delicious. Served with bread and olive oil, go and hang out, watch people jump off the pier and see others arrive by boat. It really sums up the Copenhagen vibe.
- Peak dining time is early, as in 6.30-7.30pm.
- Don’t get caught out being charged for water when dining out. Check with your waiter.
- Cafes and most bakeries sell shots of ginger juice, (and variations of) to keep your immune system up especially in the colder months, their strong and delicious!
Sonny – Highlight breakfast in the old streets of the city centre.
Rådhusstræde 5, 1466 København K
The Coffee Collective – various locations including at Torvehallerne & Jægersborggade.
Jægersborggade 57, 2200 København N
Democratic Coffee – coffee and pastries in the city centre.
Krystalgade 15, 1172 København K
To eat & drink:
Torvehallerne – food market in the city centre has groceries, bakeries, coffee, wine, beer, delis, chocolate, gelati and food trucks. Most of what is served is organic.
Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 København K
Baest – organic wood-fire oven pizza and charcuterie bar. Book well ahead. One of my top dining experiences.
Guldbergsgade 29, 2200 København N
Manfreds – relaxed and approachable, known for their organic, vegetable focused menu, sustainability and biodynamic wines.
Jægersborggade 40, 2200 København N
Kodbyens Fiskebar – industrial style restaurant, in the old meat packing district. Order the full menu.
Flæsketorvet 100, 1711 København V
La Banchina – one dish served a day, with rose & natural wine on the pier.
Refshalevej 141A, 1432 København K
Mirabelle – bakery, café, wonderful breakfast spot or croissants to go.
Denmark, Guldbergsgade 29, 2200 København N
Stefanos Coffee & Food – Turkish/Danish breakfast, good vibes.
Husumgade 50, 2200 København N
Gaarden & Gaden – café and bar, quite possibly the best burrata I’ve ever had. Great wine selection.
Nørrebrogade 88, 2200 København N
Ved Stranden 10 – wine bar and wine store in the city. Cheese plates and great staff.
Ved Stranden 10, 1061 København K
P2 City Malbeck – natural wine bar in Norrebro with good greenery.
Birkegade 2, 2200 København N
Terroiristen – one of the OG natural wines bars in Copenhagen.
Jægersborggade 52, 2200 København N
Smalle Vine – local bottle shop with exciting varieties.
Smallegade 24, 2000 Frederiksberg
Mikkeller & Friends – institutional beer bar.
Stefansgade 35, 2200 København N
Kihoskh – modern grocery store, good for light lunch and picnic goodies.
Sønder Blvd. 53, 1720 København V
The metro from the airport departs above Terminal 3. It’s only 13 minutes to Norreport Station, in the middle of the city.
Bike hire is easy to come across everywhere.
As always, get in touch to chat more!