Canals, Coffee, Carlsberg and Christmas.
December; I checked the weather app again on my phone; chance of rainclouds and blowing a gale, of course! We’d chosen this weekend to jet to the Danish capital, Copenhagen, so here’s to hoping we’d stumble on some of this infamous ‘Hygge’ everyone gushes about!
Arriving on the Friday evening we headed to Island Brygge to meet with our Airbnb host. It was dark and blustery but a smiley Sara arrived on her bike to proudly show us into her adorable apartment that we’d booked in to for the next two nights. It was perfect homely place we’d hoped for! Just look at it!
Once you’ve got over the fact that, yes, this place is just as expensive as people tell you it is (It’s not surprising that The Well Travelled Postcard notes this on her blog post as something that put her off the city slightly), and that you definitely shouldn’t have overlooked packing your thermals and a pair of gloves (whoops!), it’s possible to start enjoying the Danish architecture and the cute, colourful canals around the Christenhavn area (exactly like in the travel photos!) whilst trying to not to get swept into one upon getting caught up a particularly strong gust of wind.
Sadly, the weather got the better of my mood and I kept hearing myself say, ‘wouldn’t this be great in the summer?’; the city seemed so walkable, I could imagine the streets would be buzzing during the sunnier months, the water fronts packed with beer-drinking locals and I really felt like I was really missing out on getting to know Copenhagen by opting to take the Metro at every given opportunity in a vain attempt to keep dry.
Heading away from Nyhavn and in to the main shopping district I felt it wasn’t far off to draw comparisons to London’s Oxford Street; it was crowded, it was pretty predicable and sadly, it was a little dull. Perhaps it was the rain, but I was a little underwhelmed. Disappointed but determined to find something fun to do, we took a walk North alongside the harbour to visit one of Copenhagen’s main attractions; The Little Mermaid statue.
Yes, admittedly she’s a little small, but I actually found her quite charming. We spent a good quarter of an hour or so snapping selfies with her and enjoying being a total tourist for a bit!
Tivoli Gardens was something I’d been researching for a few months prior, and I was super keen to go, but there was so much hype about this place that I was genuinely terrified it wouldn’t live up to my high expectations (it actually looks a little naff looking at it from the outside). But honestly, Tivoli Gardens at Christmas time – Copenhagen could be as soggy and as cold as a place could be, but it wouldn’t put a dampener on the festive bubble on the other side of that ticket barrier. It’s literally just sparkle, lights and Christmas cheer – EVERYWHERE. I mean, the three glasses of gløgg definitely helped a smidge (and helped me forget how much I’d paid for those three glasses!), but it was certainly the winter wonderland I’d been promised, and I’m pretty sure I found that elusive Hygge whilst cosying into a corner in the tiniest pub in Tivoli with a pint of Carlsberg!
Despite not having the most memorable of times in Copenhagen, for which I can partly blame the less than perfect weather, I feel like I’m not quite done with the city.
This is probably one of my shortest trips to date, so I hadn’t quite given myself enough time to settle into the place. I’d also made the grave mistake of letting myself envision these idyllic cobbled streets with that sprinkling of glittery snow and this gorgeous winter sun and there I’d be, drinking from a bowl of steaming hot chocolate on the street outside a quirky Danish cafe with a blanket draped over my lap… but in reality I should have realised it is December, it’s Scandinavia and it’s not only England that finds itself under a dark cloud for the most part of winter!
Copenhagen, I’d love to come and visit you again; I need to explore further on foot, perhaps making it out of the city center towards Norrebro and Frederiksberg? I also have plans to fill my face with much much more of your Cinnamon snails (Kanel snegle) and Danish fritters (Aebleskiver), and I want to make it my mission to take a summer swim in one of the city Harbour baths!
What was FP?
Huge Cinnamon Snails (Kanel snegle) from the bakeries at the Supermarkets, these were around 15 DKK (about £1.50, so I couldn’t complain about the price here!) and really scrummy with a gooey center!
Visit Carlsberg Museum on a rainy Sunday morning. It’s a bit of walk from the nearest S-Bahn station (Enghave Street) but for 85 DKK you get to discover the History behind one of Denmark’s most famous exports and you have two drinks included in the price! We loved hanging out in the bar area on the top floor and sampling the danish fritters. Find out more here.
Tivoli Gardens at Christmas for the reasons listed above! We purchased an entrance only ticket at the gate for only 110 DKK. It was the best way to spend a December evening in Copenhagen! It was certainly the best Christmas Market i’d been to. Go to their website to find out more.
The Metro runs all night long; it’s the clean, efficient tube system the London underground longs to be! It’s very easy to get around Copenhagen in general; it’s a relatively small capital city so it should be walkable in nice weather (download the Ulmon City2Go offline map), and the train and metro system is quite straight forward. We purchased a 72 hour City Pass (DKK 200 – around about £20) which covered us for the entire weekend, plus our travel to and from the airport so we didn’t need to book taxi’s or expensive transfers.
Airbnb. When we were looking to book our trip, even the slightly questionable looking 3* hotels were out of our budget. Airbnb was our saving grace and we bagged ourselves a beautiful one bed apartment in the residential area of Island Brygge for about half the price. Sign up to Airbnb.
A slightly odd one, but the Airport; it’s uber modern and so well designed, I definitely didn’t mind spending a couple of hours here before my late night flight on Sunday. Even though we didn’t have any money left over, it was great to window shop all the Danish trinkets.
And not so much…
The price of everything. I thought we might find some nice, affordable places to eat, but because the weather was so bad we didn’t feel like traipsing around on the off-chance we might find somewhere. In the end we ate twice at Wagamamas which is inside Tivoli, so I’m disappointed I couldn’t find anywhere decent to try some Danish foods. Perhaps it was bad planning on my part!
Papirøen – This street food come vintage market stall setup in an old warehouse on the side of the harbour sounded pretty interesting, but in reality it took a long while to get to from Christianshavn and when we arrived it was a musty, smokey and let’s face it, an overpriced hipster hang out. It reminded me of somewhere in Shoreditch and the food, sadly wasn’t that amazing.
Botanical Gardens – in spring or summer I bet they are gorgeous, but in winter everything was a little… brown. They are very centrally located near to Nørreport station on the S-bahn, so if you do want to go, it’s not far out your way if you decide to ditch that idea and warm up with some coffee instead.
What are your experiences of Copenhagen?