So I decided that this was an intro I needed to write while I was still here, before dinner on a seriously glorious day. My first trip to Copenhagen was in 2012 – I came solo. I’m not sure what ignited my initial interest but I fell in love with the city. Since then, I’ve come 3 other times, exploring the city and culture little by little. First I came with my friend Megan. We had a lovely few days including my first time in Tivoli. Then there was the time I came with my friend Liz. At the end of the Euro-trip I had enjoyed so much in 2014, Copenhagen held up, at least for me. The last time I came I was dropping off my former student, Lauren, for her study abroad. It was sort of a bitter-sweet trip for me because I knew she would come back knowing more about my favorite city than me.
When I decided to come to Copenhagen about 6 months ago for my Easter Break, there was a tiny part of me that was a little bit nervous. I wasn’t sure what I was going to think when I arrived. Would my love affair be the same after all these years?
This is the area that I consider the center of the city. Copenhagen in general is relatively compact but especially this area. To get the most information out of all of these places, I recommend this walking tour – the people with the green umbrellas. You meet at the Town Hall and walk for about 2 hours covering much of the center of the city. The same company hosts a bar crawl which I enjoyed in my youth on Thursday through Saturday. Once you’ve covered these “must sees” I would say to explore some of the places that make Copenhagen so unique. Here are a few of my favorites:The price for adults is 115 DKK but under 26 and students are free! For adults you can visit for 120 DKK but under 26 is only 95DKK
Go Boats – this is something I haven’t done but I definitely will do in the future when I’m visiting with friends. Go Boats are solar powered boats with a small motor and table in the middle. You can take whatever food and drink you like (actually – don’t quote me on alcohol) and go on a nice self-guided tour of the harbor. They also have ones with hot tubs which I think is pretty ridiculous in a good way. While I don’t know if these would have been as magical on a solo adventure, I will definitely consider them in the future.
Mad og Kaffe -This well known spot is popular for a reason. The food is as beautifully presented as it is delicious. You can choose between 3, 5 and seven small plates which you customize to what you fancy. I was a fan of a lot of the savory options – in particular making little sourdough sandwiches with the amazing bacon and perfectly cooked eggs. Personally, I’m not a sweets person but they looked incredible if that’s the sort of thing that you enjoy. The one thing I want to mention is that this place is popular and you can expect a wait on most days of the week unless you get there a bit early.
Union Kitchen – Union Kitchen is a gorgeous little spot only a few steps from Nyhavn. I really loved the breakfast I had there. They have lots of toasts, plates and treats as well as fancy sweets. They magically write little messages in your coffee and overall I would have happily gone back a second time.
Joe and the Juice – if you are looking for a fast, casual cup of coffee and quick breakfast, the ubiquitous Joe and the Juice chain is everywhere. I had a pretty reasonably priced avocado toast and latte there and was not disappointed.
Coffee Industry – my favorite coffee in Copenhagen comes from the Swedish chain Coffee Industry. The lattes there were so satisfying and whatever milk they used was sweet enough that I didn’t need to add sugar. Definitely recommended both in Copenhagen and if you jump over to Malmo.
The American Pie Company– so there are at least two little shops of this restaurant. Owned by some American ex-pats, the pot pies were delightful. I had a traditional chicken and thyme and was happy to see that the pie was packed with fillings. They also had a great selection of sweet pies (of which of course I did not indulge). Definitely a unique offering not only in Copenhagen but in much of the continent.
Warpigs – this place has seriously amazing barbecue. There’s no doubt. Personally, I’ve tried the brisket, pork shoulder, the beans, the coleslaw and the dill pickles and they are all absolutely fantastic. I love that they offer a selection of soft drinks from NAME OF COMPANY in Austin – the ginger ale was my favorite. As far as I’m concerned, this is a must visit.
Hallifax – This is another local Danish chain to enjoy. Hallifax is a really delicious burger place with excellent, salty French fries. They also have Schwepp’s ginger ale which absolutely made my day (it’s hard to get in Spain).
Papa Ramen – Out of all of these restaurants, I ended up going to Papa Ramen more than once. As Ramen isn’t particularly easy to get in my small town, I wanted to try it out in many different iterations. My favorite was NAME which had a great beef broth, with pork. I don’t know if I would say this was life changing but definitely delicious and satisfying on a rainy day.
Mother – A pretty decent pizza place with a couple of locations. Definitely enjoyed the pizza and beer (even if they did give me the wrong one).
Copenhagen is a shoppers paradise. That doesn’t mean that anything that’s sold is reasonably priced. It isn’t. However, there are so many unique, independent little stores. Of course, you can march down the large pedestrian street (Strøget) and find just about every European fast fashion and designer store, there’s a little bit more fun off the beaten path. Especially considering the fact that Copenhagen is full of vintage and second hand stores. This is probably one section that I will keep coming back to and editing as I revisit but I think I have a pretty decent list.
Clothing and beauty:
Magazine – probably the most famous department store in Copenhagen is Magazine. While I wouldn’t call it cheap, it is a lot less expensive than Illium which caters to a higher end crowd. I really liked Magazine – especially the beauty, accessory and intimates areas on the first floor. They carry lots of good brands and it’s organized in a pretty user friendly way. Personally, I was glad to see the selection of beauty brands – many of which I needed to top up on. I was really tempted by a couple of bags by local designers but ultimately held off. Overall, I would definitely recommend a shopper to visit Magazine and mention they are a tourist. You get a 10% discount.
Norr – Norr seems to be where to go for trendy Danish mid-priced designs for clothes and home. There were plenty of trendy brands to explore. I got a pair of sunglasses and was tempted by many of the other accessories. It seemed like where you would go if you wanted to pick up every single one of the “cool”
Black (Anne Black) – the first of my Vesterbro picks, I was definitely a fan of the selection at this store. While they do have ceramics (like seemingly everywhere else) I decidedly enjoyed their clothing and accessories. They have an interesting cultivation of brands and this is one of the few places on this list that I actually bought something (namely a new wallet).
Normal – one of my favorite new shops in Copenhagen is frankly one that is super utilitarian. Normal is a discount store which sort of feels like a low brow American drug store – without the drugs. You can buy whatever you need for your hair, nails, face and you can grab some snacks on the way out. While this one seems random – they have a lot of good drug store brands that are hard to get in continental Europe for reasonable prices.
Shop – Shop is a little store in Vesterbro with lots of nice clothing and accessories options. It’s an independent shop which houses mainly Danish and Nordic designs. I sort of regret not buying anything from there – I found a few pieces of clothing that I ultimately was a fan of but they weren’t open later in my trip. Definitely will be returning soon.
Home and Stationery
Notre Dame – I stumbled on this store as I was wandering around and really loved the selection of homewares and also stationery things. They had a wonderful garden section, beautiful ceramics, home office supplies and charming botanical prints. Definitely worth a stop in for some home inspirations.
Atrium – located right next to Tivoli, Atrium is a little bit of everything – from clothes to homeware. However, their strength is in non-traditional souvenirs that you can get. They have prints, toys, clever kitchen tools and stationery. Despite the fact that it’s a little bit expensive due to its location, ultimately I think that their curate their selection well and it’s nice to have a store full of Danish Design conveniently in the center of the city.
Dora – Dora is down in the street called by many the mini Paris of Copenhagen. To be honest, I wouldn’t go that far but this was a pretty adorable shop. It had lot of glass, ceramics and decor as well as some pretty cute little pins. While I didn’t find anything I needed, I really liked the overall vibe of this place.Etsy here). I had asked her where she likes to shop in Copenhagen and she suggested here. I really loved the wall of markers and the rainbow displays of journals. Definitely one of my favorite higher end stationery shops I’ve been to. here.
To Sleep: Hostel Choices
So a little bit of a preface. I have stayed at four of Copenhagen’s most popular hostels. The first one was almost 10 years ago now so some things may have changed. As I’m aging out of hostels, I am becoming a little bit more critical. However, since I have stayed at a number of hostels, I clearly don’t have a favorite. I do have a least favorite though! Let’s get into it.
Woodah Hostel – Woodah hostel is probably my favorite of the hostels in Copenhagen for my specific needs. It’s pretty small and quiet most of the time. I stayed in a six bed dorm which wasn’t full every night. I like the multicultural staff – all of them were really friendly. I also really liked that there was a cafe adjoining so you could get a drink when you liked. My biggest complaint was just that the bed was not at all comfortable – I think I need a chiropractor. I think they do need to invest in new mattresses. That being said, if I were to go back to a hostel, this will probably be the one I choose.
Generator – The Generator was the first hostel I stayed at in Copenhagen. It’s the closest to Nyhavn which was important to me back in the day. I don’t remember much about the rooms but I do remember there was a pretty hilarious Karaoke bar downstairs. I would say this is a decent place to stay if you are young and have some extra money. It was a bit pricey for such a large hostel.
Danhostel – This hostel honestly felt a lot like a hotel. I stayed here with my friend Megan and I just remember the light filled rooms in the high rise building. We had a great view overlooking all of Copenhagen. The rooms were spacious and had an on suite bathroom – something that I can take or leave. This place was pretty peaceful and definitely where I would book for a group of students. It’s located really close to the train station (and ergo Tivoli) and is probably the place which was the cleanest.
Copenhagen Downtown Hostel – Ugh. Copenhagen Downtown Hostel. There’s a lot of promise here. It’s a good location. There’s a lot of good common areas. However, they really wickedly screwed up one of my bookings and blamed it on me. I had to have two different end dates on the same booking and they basically tried to move Lauren to a new room. It was seriously ridiculous. They then were really rude about it and blamed me for making more than one booking. I didn’t. I used their website and only had one confirmation number. I’ve worked in hospitality before and this sort of confusion and attitude is unacceptable to me. The rooms themselves are ok. I wouldn’t say they were great. Overall, I would say skip the headache. It wasn’t worth the trouble.
So there you go: that’s my relatively comprehensive guide to my favorite places, foods and hostels in Copenhagen. If you go to Copenhagen – I would love to know your recommendations!
2 thoughts on “My Ultimate Guide to Copenhagen: My Favorite City”
Love the pics
I knew Copenhagen was one of my most favorite cities in the world when I visited in 2017. However I only stayed for a weekend. This information is so good. It’s making me want to plan another trip there! Thank you for sharing!