The Weekly Getaway: walkways, waterways and bikeyways in Copenhagen
The morning I arrived in Copenhagen and emerged from the train station I was greeted with a quiet calm. Of course, there was the typical mix of people and many bikes. So many bikes that I nearly got run over by one while crossing the street!
However being in a city that has more bikes than people just adds to the charm. In fact I soon found out that the Danes have a certain way of life that’s full of the simple pleasures of hygge.
Hygge literally means cosy, and is typically referenced as to why Denmark is ranked as the happiest country in the world. This sense of cosiness is easily visible: candles, large comfy throw pillows, and oversized woolen scarfs. They all give you an immediate feeling of comfort no matter what the weather is like outside.
As a visitor it’s easy to be drawn to Copenhagen’s many museums and historic sites, but don’t dwell there too long. Venturing into the quiet side streets is the best way to discover its hidden gems.
Street after street, each view is like an idyllic image. Historic buildings in front of a cloudy blue sky that looks like it has been painted on. Bicycles and potted plants lining each doorway and folks perusing store windows while pushing along baby prams. There are many parks and gardens along the way that are not only pleasing to the eye, but are often a place where people meet up.
So go ahead and be a tourist. But don’t be afraid to get lost once in awhile. Just make sure to look out for bikes before crossing the street.
- Tivoli Gardens - the quintessential city park, Tivoli Gardens has something for everyone - theatrical performances, amusement park rides, and good restaurants.
- Nyhavn - the picturesque view that everyone thinks of when they imagine Copenhagen is best appreciated with a touristy, but satisfying, boat ride.
- Marble church - also known as Frederik’s church its dome is part of the city skyline. From the top you get a view of the Amalienborg palace, Amalie gardens and the Copenhagen Opera House.
- Museums - Copenhagen has its fair share of museums, but if I were to pick just two it would be the Danish Museum of Art and Design and The David Collection. The Design museum gives you an overview of the evolution of Danish design, and the David Collection has an interesting collection of Danish, European and Islamic art.
- Strøget - visit the longest pedestrian street in Europe, if not to shop then to take in the street performers
- Nimb - if you want to feel like royalty, this is the hotel for you. With a Moorish style building and garden on the grounds of Tivoli, you’ll be staying in style.
- Nyhavn 71 - this warehouse turned hotel along the popular waterways of Nyhavn, is centrally located.
- Copenhagen Marriott Hotel - this waterside hotel is a bit removed from the central area of the city, but is a short walk to the city central.
- First Hotel Mayfair - near the train station, this boutique hotel makes you feel like a local.
- Andersen Boutique Hotel - also near the city central, this boutique hotel makes you feel as if you’re experience the cutting edge of the design scene in Copenhagen.
- Project 4 - not far from the Strøget shopping district this boutique has a curated collection of Danish and international fashion items.
- Stof 2000 - to completely understand hygge you need to appreciate how important knitting and handicrafts are. This fabric and yarn store gives you a glimpse of how the Danes get ready for the winter.
- Illums Bolighus - for all things Scandinavian, check out this popular housewares and accessories store. They have a three story flagship on Strøget street, and a smaller location on the grounds of Tivoli gardens.
- Notre Dame - though we would all love to take a Danish chair home, this store has a little bit of everything to get our fix of the Scandinavian aesthetic.
- Stilleben No 22 - another Danish housewares and lifestyle store, this recently opened flagship location is a great place to find a functional souvenir.
- Dagny - located it the trendy Vesterbro area, this shop has comfortable and fashionable clothing in geometric patterns.
- Geranium - a true food experience, this restaurant brings culinary innovation to new heights. A visit here includes a tour of the kitchen and one of the best wine cellars in the world.
- The Olive - excellent food in a relaxed atmosphere. Hint: try the cheese plate as an appetizer!
- Cafe Apropos - located in the Vesterbro neighborhood, their menu offers hearty favorites, a perfect way to refuel after a day of walking through the city.
- WestMarket - a collection of food stands, try the chicken burger at Zahida, or a pizza at Pizzeria Mamemi. Finish with dessert at Guilty.
- The Living Room - embodying the essence of Hygge, enjoy some scones and sandwiches as you sink into one of their oversized leather couches.
- Torvehallerne - another collection of food stalls which also has a flower and farmers market in the center. Try the fish and chips at Fiskerikajen and take some flowers to go.
- Small Bites
- Det Rene Brød - this Danish bakery has sweet and savory options. Have the friendly staff assist you, or try their cinnamon rolls which don’t disappoint.
- Lagkagehuset - it’s hard to walk through Copenhagen without running into this chain. It is a popular stop for sandwiches and pastries.
- La Glace - consistently ranked as the best patisserie in Copenhagen, be sure to stop by here after a busy day of shopping at Støget.
- Cakenhagen - this new outpost in Tivoli Gardens has just want you need to satisfy that sweet tooth with a pretty setting to match.