Copenhagen, Denmark is where we chose to start our journey for our month long trip to Europe this spring. We eventually want to do more countries within Scandinavia but we chose Denmark because Kenny is part Danish so we went to see his roots. If we’re being honest, it was just an alright destination. Everyone knows that Denmark is known for being one of the happiest places in the world – and that sure doesn’t come cheap. Residents pay 40% and much higher in taxes and tourists will find that it is not a cheap country to visit. At the time of us being there, the Danish Krone was 1 to .15 USD. This seems like it would be not that bad of an exchange rate, but when two beers cost 100 Krone we start to have a problem!
That tax money does get put back into the population in great ways, in things like education or healthcare. A more fair assessment of Copenhagen would probably be found by spending more time here to see how all of this effects their culture. We didn’t even come close to seeing all that Copenhagen had to offer and given the short term stay, it was just a city. Even knowing all of that in advance, it was a bit boring and way too pricey for our liking. Don’t let that deter you from visiting though, it is a very clean and progressive society and has some cool places to see!
VisitCopenhagen is a great resource for planning your trip to Copenhagen. They have made it very easy for visitors to get info in every area of planning, like how to visit the city’s top tourist destinations and how to use the public transportation.
We took a direct flight from Oakland, California on Norwegian Airlines and found a major steal on flights – $200 each, one way! We did an overnighter that took about 10 hours and landed mid afternoon into CHP. The airport is located about 30 minutes outside of the city and it is very easy to get into the city center on the train. The public transportation is split into zones so you only need to buy a ticket for which zones you’re using. Make sure you buy the right amount though, otherwise you can catch a hefty ticket – take our advice on this one, PLEASE! 🙁
when to visit
We visited at the end April, while it was still pretty gloomy and cold. The best months to visit are July and August, when the weather is the warmest and the sun shines the most.
where to stay
We researched a lot where to stay in Copenhagen and we decided to stay in the neighborhood of Nørrebro at Sleep in Heaven hostel. We’re really glad that we chose this area and this hostel because we did enjoy the time we spent around the neighborhood and with our hostel mates. The best part about the hostel was the happy hour where you can get $5 2 for 1 draft beers from a local brewery which was definitely a steal considering the prices elsewhere! There’s a great hangout room equipped with a pool table and events going on different nights of the week. This is an awesome place to meet other travelers and see the more local side of Copenhagen. There was also a continental breakfast for about $10 bucks (good price for Copenhagen standards) which we never ate, but the option is there.
where to eat
Most of the places we ate were located within the Nørrebro neighborhood so if you happen to stay around here, these are some of our recommendations.
Most places in Copenhagen are much cheaper when you order “take-away”. Some places charge a significant amount more to sit in their restaurant and be waited on. It might not matter a ton, but for us it was a bit of a deterrent because we didn’t want to have to lug the food to our hostel or find a place to eat it when the weather was inclement.
♦ Lagkagehuset – A glorious pastry chain that we found in our neighborhood and also in the airport. They make some scrumptious jelly filled danishes and good cappuccinos that come in handy when the jet lag kicks in and you are up a 6 am walking the river.
♦ Cafe Auto – Really cute breakfast place in Nørrebro, average price for traditional Danish breakfast. This is the first place I (Sadie) learned how to eat a soft boiled egg!
♦ Beyti – We happened upon this and it ended up being our cheapest meal choice, especially for a quick and yummy dinner. It is mainly a Turkish shwarma stop although there are a couple items on the menu, however everything is in Danish so who knows what the other items are.
♦ Cafe Munk – We love Indian food and sadly don’t have a ton of great options in our city yet. We’ve had the best Indian food in Europe, and Cafe Munk was no exception. The owner’s were really cool and the food was top notch. It’s average priced for lunch, but add on drinks like we did and it’s starting to get up there in price. It’s still a really good option if you find yourself in the Inner City district.
♦ Copenhagen food markets – There are a lot of different places around Copenhagen to eat at food markets but we personally found Torvehallerne in Norreport. The food markets are the perfect places to buy fresh food, drinks, meats, desserts, anything your heart desires!
where to drink
♦ Ølsnedkeren – Meaning the “Beer Carpenter”, Ølsnedkeren is a hip craft beer bar where the owners brew on site a few times a week. There’s a rotating menu depending on what they’re brewing, but if you happen to be there and see the Riga or the Keep on Roggen, give them a sip!
♦ Nørrebro Bryghus – This is the local brewery that our hostel had on tap. We walked into their brewery/restaurant and it is beautiful and dang expensive. We checked the prices and decided on just getting some brews from our hostel instead because they were double the prices at the actual brewery. We still put it on here because it is a really cool place to check out if you are willing to spend the money.
things to do & see
Most of what we saw in Copenhagen was thanks to our walking tour, which we recommend to do in all the cities that you can. It’s the best way to see the main attractions and get the city’s history straight from a local, plus they are able to give you recommendations on off the beaten path places to see and usually have great food recommendations. We did the Copenhagen Free Walking Tour and learned so much info on the town that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. These are some of the places we saw.
Pronounced new-hown and meaning new harbor, this is arguably the most photographed area of Copenhagen. It used to be a place of tattoos and prostitution for the sailors, now it is full of pricey restaurants and lots of tourists. It is of course something you have to see while you’re in Copenhagen, but you will pay a pretty penny for any more experiences than just looking.
This used to be the Royal Residence but is now where the Parliament resides. Technically, Copenhagen is a constitutional monarchy so there are still Kings and Queens (shoutout to the current Queen Margaret!) but the government is run as a democracy. This is the only place in the world where all three branches of government are under one roof and you can literally walk right under that bell tower and around the grounds of the government building.
Where the royal family still presides and where all of their guests come to stay. The Royal Square is a 4 building complex and the prince was even in town while we were there!
Oldest Street in Copenhagen
The only place in the city where the buildings still exist past the first and second great fires of Copenhagen.
Danish National Gallery
We actually didn’t get to go inside of SMK because it was closing by the time we made it to this part of town, but it houses some really cool Nordic artifacts that we have heard are worth a visit.
attractions that we missed
♦ Tivoli Gardens – The world’s second oldest operating amusement park and beautiful to walk at night (so we’re told). It just didn’t fit into our agenda so we sadly missed seeing it.
♦ Christiania – One of the most famous areas of Copenhagen, the Freetown Christiania is an alternative area that is run on its own set of rules apart from the Danish government. The selling of weed for example is allowed here, while illegal in all of Denmark. You can take a guided tour of the “city” from a Christiania local, although photography is not allowed.
♦ Strøget – One of Europe’s longest shopping streets, sprinkled with any store you can imagine. We did walk through this area but didn’t really shop at all but it deserves an honorable mention since it is a really pretty area to walk around in. The area also has a lot of cute places to eat and drink and is pretty central to a lot of Copenhagen’s top tourist sties.
Copenhagen is a nice city with a very easy public transportation system and everyone is very friendly and happy. For us, it just wasn’t anything too different than anything in the States. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy our time spent there, especially with the people we met at our hostel and got to know over a beer or two. We just won’t be itching to get back anytime in the near future.
Is there any places we missed that you love in Copenhagen? Let us know in the comments below!