It likely won’t come as a surprise that food was a big part of our trip. We’ll be sharing some notes on a few of the highlights shortly:
- Noma (no surprise here)
- The bakeries
- Carlsberg Brewery (yes, really!)
If you read the backstory on our trip, then you’re probably aware that this wasn’t exactly a typical vacation. It wasn’t until after we’d booked our flight that we began some attempt at planning how we would be spending our time in Copenhagen (when we weren’t eating). If I’m being honest, most of this didn’t happen until a week or so before the trip itself.
We were lucky enough to get some recommendations from a friend who had been to Copenhagen a few years back. In addition to that, we picked up a Citix60 guide to help us with planning. For anyone who hasn’t come across this series of guidebooks before, they’re described as “the locals guide to some of the worlds most renowned design hubs cities that lead the world in creative output. Curated by a select group of artists, designers, chefs, architects, musicians, photographers and filmmakers that call each city home,…” Really, we picked up the guide on a whim because it was cute and compact and we were excited about just having booked our trip. It comes off as something of a hipster guidebook, and while it did give us a couple of useful pointers that we might not have discovered otherwise, it also omitted a few of the sights that we really enjoyed. Overall, we found it to be a little short on information (the included maps weren’t too useful either), but I think it would make a nice counterpart to a more traditional guidebook.
A few of the highlights for us:
- We’re not history buffs by a long shot, but we did really enjoy seeing many of the castles that Copehagen has to offer. There are quite a few of these, so depending on your length of stay you may not have time to see them all. We found that two was sort of the maximum we could reasonably (and enjoyably) do in a day. My favourite was probably Kronborg, which is about a 20-30 minute train ride from the center of the city. It’s the setting Shakespeare used for Hamlet, and fortunately for us we were there just in time for the annual Hamlet Live event, where key parts of the play are re-enacted throughout the day in the castle (very cool!). Close seconds were Amalienborg (mostly because there was a really great tour guide when we were there), and Frederiksborg (gorgeous, and full of portraits and artifacts — it’s a lot to take in in one visit)
- Museums: there were a lot of museums that we would have liked to check out had we had more time. We did manage to get to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art on our way back from Kronborg and it was definitely worth it. We loved the ourdoor exhibits, and they had a really nice collection indoors (underground!) too. Another plus it that it’s open pretty late so it was easy to work into our schedule.
- Carlsberg Brewery: part museum and historical site, part deliciousness — they had a self guided tour which was pretty cool, but best of all was definitely the sausage and malt bun that we got to go with our beer samples! Fun fact: did you know the iconic mermaid statue was actually a gift from J.C. Jacobsen, the brewery’s founder?
- The zoo: This didn’t make it on my radar at all during planning, and I would never have thought to go here, but I’m really glad we did! (Thanks Gigi!) It was much smaller (easier to walk) than the zoo we have here in Toronto, and we really enjoyed our time there.
Here’s a video that Royce put together from footage he took throughout our trip:
A few things were just not worth the hype (in our opinion). Not to say that any of these was absolutely awful, more like were we to do it again, we wouldn’t sacrifice anything to fit them into our schedule:
- Tivoli : for us, it felt a little like the CNE, albeit in a much nicer atmosphere; on the other hand it’s free with the copenhagen card so a quick stop in won’t hurt, so long as you aren’t sacrificing anything in your schedule.
- Christiania: yes, there is a lot of weed there — but not much to see beyond that. I was hoping for some quintessential hippies, I guess.
- PapirØen (Paper Island): is a collection of creative buildings, but most of the traffic appeared to be for the street food vendors. There’s a pretty big hall (and a nice outdoor space) full of food vendors working out of shipping containers. Definitely a cool concept, but most of the food had a sort of fried/carnival-style feel to it. I should note there was one or two exceptions, a few things really did look delicious.
The Copenhagen Card: very worth it! It’s a time-based card that gives you free access to the transport system, as well as a ton of sightseeing attractions — including everything I mentioned in the above list, plus things like a canal tour and Tivoli Gardens.
Cheap eats: (i.e. when we weren’t blowing our money on dinner) my top picks for would probably be the hot dogs, shawarma (Dürüm Symfoni in particular — a place in Nørrebro where they made the flatbread to order. So good!), and bread & butter (yes, really).
Rental boats: we missed out on these, but they looked like a lot of fun! You can rent a boat and picnic on the water. There are many places along the canal where you can pick up drinks (and maybe food) should you run out.