Copenhagen, Denmark

Another pin on the map! We checked off Copenhagen from the bucket list the last weekend of April 2017 when we took a quick trip to the Danish capital city.

Transportation: The flight from Geneva to Copenhagen is two hours (or three when your flight is delayed like ours – thanks Easyjet!). The airport is super close to the city by train, so in no time we were in the city at our hostel, drinking a beer at the hostel bar.

Now, taking weekend trips by plane has not been a common thing for us. During our time in Switzerland, we have only taken a trip by plane for the weekend once (London) and even then we took a half day off of work on the Friday afternoon. This is primarily because we can only catch flights that leave after work, meaning you arrive in your destination city pretty late, and only have Saturday and part of Sunday before you have to head back to the airport again to go home. Not much time for all the effort and cost. After having done it this past weekend, I had a great time but we did lose a lot of time due to flight delays, flight time and time necessary to arrive on time to check in at the airport. I’ve been very happy with all the weekend trips we have taken that were 100% train/car trips. We are fortunate to have had so much available in Switzerland and nearby which were easily accessible for a quick weekend trip. Think of our trips to: Lyon, France; Milan, Italy; Zurich, Luzern, Basel and all the Swiss villages we have visited for hiking and skiing trips. All without flying! Regardless of whether its my favorite travel style, we broke the mold and went for it this weekend and had a great time.

Accommodation: We settled on a private room in a higher end hostel: Urban House. This place turned out to be awesome. We had the perks of a private room (our own bathroom, no strangers) but then the benefits of a hostel that we have come to appreciate during our time in Europe. It was right by the train station with a 15 min ride to the airport, 10 minutes walking distance to the old town, was in fairly good condition, very quiet inside our bedroom, and the hostel had several hangout spots, luggage lockers, bike rentals, and a big bar/café in their first floor which was bustling with people and had a fun vibe. Needless to say, we were happy with our choice.

Eats: 

Saturday lunch we stopped by Torvehallerne, a big food market with tons of different food vendors with a variety of offerings. Here we tried the Danish Smørrebrød, which are a type of Scandanavian open faced sandwich consisting of a piece of buttered whole-grain rye bread served with a variety of toppings. We got three: the one on the top left which is a beef tartare, center with eggs and shrimp and the one on the far bottom right with cold steak. They were delicious!

If you know me, you know I have a sweet tooth and love baked goods. So, when introduced to the Danish pastry world in Copenhagen I was beyond happy. I immediately found a favorite, which are the bottom two treats: Kanelstang (left) and Kanelsnegle (right). These are like cinnamon rolls but the best ones I have ever tasted in my life as they were just the right amount of doughy and the cinnamon-sugar/vanilla custard ratio was on point. The shops had plenty of other pastries, but not enough time in the day or room in my belly to eat them all! Just have to return soon 🙂

Our first Danish pastries on Saturday morning at the Lagkagehuset bakery, which is a local chain.

Saturday evening we treated ourselves to a five course menu and wine pairing at Cofoco. Andrew and I were excited to see that Copenhagen has a thriving restaurant scene with tons of trendy spots with innovative cuisine. The ambiance in the restaurant was super cool with framed windows dividing up the dining room tables to create a more intimate experience and candles lining a brick-walled hallway to the restrooms. Here are the courses:

Dinner Saturday
Top left: first course of cured salmon, cheese and radishes; Top right: Second course of a mussel  and brown crab soup; Middle left: Third course of spring onions and goat cheese; Bottom right: fourth course of neck of lamb; Bottom left: Dessert of lemon sorbet with a white chocolate ganache and rhubarb. Each course was served with a different wine pairing of mostly Old World wines. It was fun to see some wines we were familiar with and learn some new as well.

Sunday: We grazed a bit. A couple kanelstangs here and there (mouth watering as I write this), followed by trying a pølse, a Danish hot dog, from a food cart in the Nyhavn neighborhood.

hot dog
mmm …. red hot dog topped with fried onions, pickles, fresh onion, mustard and ketchup on white bread bun. Healthy!

Activities: Considering the region of Europe we were in, we were not so unlucky with the weather. Saturday it rained the majority of the day and was cold but we were rewarded with a sunny, cool day Sunday.

On Saturday we soldiered through the rain and still went touring about the city. We did part of a Rick Steve’s walking tour of the old city (you know us and our Rick Steve’s!). We also wandered into some shops out of curiosity.

A break in the rain clouds for a short time on Saturday. Here we are in front of the Storkespringvandet, a fountain in the shape of storks in the center of a square in the old town.
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Here I am standing in the square in front of a royal palace with the old stock exchange, the Borsen, behind me.

An unique experience of Copenhagen is the freetown of Christiania. It’s interesting to read about this place, but in short it is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood set up by squatters inside an old military base in 1971. There’s no running allowed (makes everyone think the police are coming), no photos, marijuana is allowed and sold openly on the “pusher street” and no one owns their home but rather it’s all part of the common ownership. I recommend googling it, if you’re curious!

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The entry into Christiania. On the other side, as you re-enter the city of Copenhagen, it says “welcome back to the EU.”

On Sunday, we didn’t have to head to the airport until 6pm, so we had nearly the entire day free. We were rewarded with gorgeous weather, despite being a bit chilly out. We rented bikes from our hostel and rode all over the city. Copenhagen is a cyclist friendly city and has bike lanes, bike traffic lights and overall very bike friendly components to their transportation infrastructure. It was really easy to navigate the city by bike and fun to get around so quickly in the local fashion.

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Andrew and I in the Nyhavn port waterfront. Fun fact, the famous fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen’s home where he wrote stories such as “The Princess and the Pea” is located here!
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In the center of the square at the Amalienborg palace, where the royal family lives, with a view of the Frederiks Kirke (domed roof).
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We were lucky to catch the changing of the guard at the palace. These guys hats’ look so warm! I made the mistake of assuming that they would stick to staying within those black brick lanes, and unfortunately got in their way at one point as they veered off the path and got yelled at by their captain. So embarassing to be “that person”!!

To top off our weekend in Copenhagen, we finished the day at Tivoli Gardens, the amusement park within the city. This place was such a treat! It is gorgeously manicured and so well-put together for being a little park inside a capital city. They have plenty of rides and we were able to have the time to ride a few, including a roller coaster with virtual reality goggles! It was so fun!

tivoli gardens
The gardens in the center of Tivoli Gardens were so gorgeous!

Copenhagen is a wonderful city that is easily toured in a weekend, though one more day would have been nice. Overall, we had a great time and I’m so glad we went!

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