Regularly voted as one of the happiest cities in the world for the last 40 years, Copenhagen, with its 1.2 million people offers miles of harbor promenades, green spaces, and a mix of modern and historic architecture. The Danish capital has always attracted people with its New Nordic cuisine – full of local, natural and seasonal food, and an increasing fashion and design scene. However, the thing that put Copenhagen and the top of everyone’s bucket list for certain is hygge, the Danish concept of living a happy life.
Also, according to a new report published this year, Copenhagen was named the best city for women to live in. The government promotes gender and income equality, safety, progress and human rights so there is no surprise that they can focus on things that really matter.
By visiting Copenhagen you will notice that the people there just enjoy the simple things in life, every day, every minute, without overthinking it. Starting from coffee shops and restaurants which have candles lit up all day to meeting their friends after work for a coffee on the rooftop restaurants, eating dinners early and heading home on their bikes to relax before an early bedtime. The fact that there are more than 500 000 bikes in the city shows that Danes love biking and a healthy lifestyle, and many families with children don’t even own a car. So what is their secret? To understand and experience this for myself, I visited Copenhagen for a long weekend and found the things that are usually missed by tourists but capture the real spirit of the city.
Møller Kaffe & Køkken
To experience the real, traditional Danish breakfast I visited Møller Kaffe & Køkken. It’s a cosy cafe situated in Nørrebro, with recognisable Danish interior. The best time to go and avoid the queues is 9 am, as soon as they open because here going out for breakfast is a big thing and Danes usually get up early. Møller is awarded best brunch spot in Copenhagen and they are serving breakfast all day without dinner or lunch menu available. As seated they will give you a menu and a pencil, asking you to tick everything you want and take it to the counter. Maybe easy to order but hard to choose because menu consists of nearly 20 dishes, from traditional bacon, eggs and øllebrød(Danish porridge) to homemade chicken nuggets and apple with lime and sea salt. The one thing I would recommend a selection of fresh made breads and fried eggs with kale.
Møller Kaffe & Køkken, Nørrebrogade 160, 2200 Copenhagen N
Mad & Kaffe
Located in one of Vesterbro’s hotspot locations, you can combine your own tasty breakfast plate by ticking the list of various breakfast possibilities. The café is known for being an Instagram-darling with an aesthetic and colourful morning plate perfectly shareable – with a friend or on social media. Avocado with chili oil and baked almonds, cinnamon bun with organic chocolate on the top, yogurt with muesli, matcha tea and basil are just some of the small dishes you find on the menu. Mad & Kaffe also offer lunch and bigger meals. You can order burger, salad or famous open sandwiches.
This pizzeria is as close to Italy as you will come in Denmark, and yet very few of the ingredients they use are actually imported. Only the highest quality meat is chosen from the organic free-range Hindsholm pork. The restaurant even makes its own fresh cheeses like mozzarella, burrata, and ricotta. Bæst is the third restaurant of chef Christian Puglisi – the famous Noma alumni and owner of acclaimed restaurants Relæ and Manfreds.
It’s pretty likely you’ve already heard of Hay before. It could be their beautiful sofas, Instagrammable trays or even stationary – but if you haven’t let me introduce you to this gorgeous Danish design company. With their city centre store laid out like an apartment; this place is home to beautiful furniture, small accessories and more colour co-ordinated stationary than you could wish for.
Østergade 61, 1100 København K, Denmark
As mentioned by locals, this is the most important street you need to see if you are staying in Copenhagen for a short time. Jægersborggade is home of more than 40 different shops including the art gallery CMYK which exhibits and sells Danish graphics and illustrations, gågrøn! sustainable interior boutique, Resecond the world’s first dress-swapping shop, Panache which sells vintage clothes from the 60s and 70s, Lady Fingers handmade jewellery designer, handmade Ro chocolate, wine bars and the highlight of the street, Michelin starred restaurant Relæ – creative and free of cultural heritage, this restaurant serves food from all over the world. Further down this street, you will also find Copenhagen’s most famous coffee shop, The Coffee Collective, which is a coffee consulting company and specialist micro roastery, owned by Klaus Thomsen, who is the World Barista Champion and a two-time national champion.
Originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock, Nyhavn is a must while visiting Copenhagen. Aside from colorful buildings and beautiful boats, this area is filled with people enjoying the relaxed atmosphere by the canal, jazz music and great food.
The word København means “merchants’ harbor,” so many of the city’s most impressive buildings, are visible from the water. You can take sever. We opted to explore on bikes like the locals instead- although we did park them to walk along the harbor and have a drink.
One of my favourite neighborhoods I discovered in Copenhagen. It’s an area of small islands known for its hip coffee culture and canals with colourful boats. One of the main attractions set in Christianshavn that’s worth visiting is Our Savior’s Church —which is famous for its helix spire with an external winding staircase and you can climb to the top for impressive views of Copenhagen if it’s not too windy that day.
Tivoli Park and Gardens
This amusement park and pleasure garden opened in August of 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. You won’t find many other city centers where more than 80,000 square meters have been set aside for a magical amusement park like this! Whether you visit during Christmas or in the warm summer months, this attraction has seasonal activities and celebrations year-round that are worth visiting.A
Arken Museum of Modern Art
If you are an art lover make sure you visit Arken Museum of Moder Arts in Ishøj, 25 minutes from Copenhagen. This museum is truly spectacular and worth the visit. If you go on a nice day, you will surely appreciate the surrounding as the museum is close to the beach.