I’m sure you’ve seen the Little Mermaid with its cartoon screenshots showing off the colourful houses in the quaint little harbour of Nyhavn, but Copenhagen has plenty more on offer. With its innovative and creative feel it has an array of quirky little gems for adventurous shoppers and travellers to discover and an exciting and relaxing atmosphere to enjoy. Here is my expert guide to exploring the essential parts of Copenhagen.
Enjoy some “hygge”
1. Every Dane is an expert on this, so immerse yourself in the culture and find a good cafe or bar to sit down with your fellow travel companions. Head to Mad og Kaffe for a robust breakfast and savour organic cinnamon rolls, homemade carrot muffins with vanilla cream, smoked salmon and waldorf salad, or take a seat at Café Wilder in Christianshavn with a bottle of wine and oysters. To hygge is to be cosy and enjoy yourself with people you’re close to, so shouldn’t be too hard to achieve in these atmospheric places.
Get a freebie of exotic animals
2. Take the Metro to Fredriksberg and go for a stroll in the park. For those with inside knowledge, you don’t have to pay the entrance fee to Copenhagen Zoo to get a glimpse of the animals. Instead walk around Fredriksberg and get a free view of the elephants’ enclosure, which shares its borders with one of Copenhagen’s most popular green spaces. In the midst of the ponds and patches of grass you’ll all of a sudden feel like you’re in the African Savannah and spotting one of the big five.
Soak up the sun at Island Brygge
3. When the weather allows join every other sun loving copenhagener and get your bike to Island Brygge – the harbour bath in the centre of the city. Bring a towel and squeeze into the crowd getting their tan on and cooling off in the water. During winter you might refrain from dipping your toes, but you might catch a glimpse of some true Vikings winter bathing.
Snaps and smorrebrod
4. Proper local Danish food at its best. Be warned – it can be a tourist trap, but when done properly it’s the best form of Danish tapas you can get. If you really want to get into some old school local food habits order a homemade snaps to go with it. At Moller Snaps and Smorrebrod you get the real thing – rye bread honoured with pan fried herring and dill or roast beef and roasted onion. Order the homemade raspberry snaps to go with your sandwich and you are pretty much set.
Get a haircut in an arcade hair saloon
5. Yep, you read right. This must be the best kept and quirkiest secret in Copenhagen. Take a stroll or cycle (like most Copenhageners) to Norrebro and enter the 80s. At Ruben og Bobby – a joint barbershop and arcade shop – you feel like you’re re-living your childhood as you’re getting a trim.
6. Forget about international brands like Zara and H&M, if you want to get the best of Danish shopping you need to discover all the domestic brands that stands for effortless minimalistic chic and will make you stand out from the crowd. The fashion in the Danish capital is buzzing and to get those rare goods from abroad you want to head to the local brand shops and get your grubby little hands on pieces like the Anton shirt made out of hand woven fabric from Armoire d’Homme, the green Kling shoe from Soulland or the Schiffer Glitter Tunic from Ganni. Please also make sure to stop by Libertine Libertine and Henrik Vibskov.
Don’t forget that you can shop Copenhagen using Grabr! We’ll connect you with Travelers from around the word who can bring unique items home to you.
This article was written by Madelaine Triebe.