How to See Europe's Fairytale City in Just 3 Days
No matter how many people I told that I was visiting Copenhagen, Denmark for a few days in June, I was met by the same response: wide eyes and a huge grin, followed by the excited exchange of a long list of things to eat, see, and do. Design-obsessed friends told me to pack light in anticipation of the incredible shopping, foodies told me to make the most of every meal, and my backpacking friends told me the bars and live performances are second-to-none.
It seems that no matter your interest or travel style, the Danish capital casts a spell over everyone. Now, having returned from a few days in Copenhagen, I can see why. It takes just five minutes traipsing along the cobbled streets to fall for Europe's fairytale city and a few days to declare that you're going to move there and become an honorary Dane. Contemplating a trip to Copenhagen? Follow this list of things to eat, explore, and more to fall for the city like I did.
Almanak at The Standard: If you don't go for the excellent modern Danish cuisine go for the décor. This restaurant is a total feast for the eyes: Picture Nordic-blue chairs, bulbous pendant lights, and stellar views of Nyhavn.
Papirøen: This waterfront gastronomy hall is a must. Row upon row of food stalls line the inside of a warehouse on the harborfront. Grab a Danish hot dog, and head outside to savor eat bite sprawled in one of the many deck chairs.
Noma: Okay, this isn't exactly a restaurant you can dine at on a whim—guests book a coveted table at this world-famous venue months in advance. The former location on Strandgade 93 is currently closed, but keep an eye on the website to see if it will be reopened in time for your arrival. If the reviews are to be believed, it's well worth it.
Gorilla: Commit to the 10- or 15-serving degustation menu. From cured duck breast to Norwegian lobster, each dish is delicious in its own right.
Meyers Bageri: We stumbled upon this hole-in-the-wall bakery while cycling through the picturesque Nørrebro district. The pizza slices are served like a curved waffle cone, and they're stuffed with fresh arugula. It's the perfect pit stop while exploring the area. It's not a cool or exclusive spot, but the food is tasty, and the price is great.
The Coffee Collective: Locals are obsessed with this slick, modernist coffee shop down the street from Meyers Bageri. Grab a coffee and pizza to go for sightseeing food at its best.
Assistens Kirkegård: Even cemeteries are beautiful in Copenhagen (yes, really). This lush green space is the resting place of fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. You'll often find locals having a picnic on the grass or even tanning—it's a social spot, not just a place of mourning.
Nyhavn: Even if you haven't been to Denmark, chances are you'll recognize Nyhavn. It's the stunning canal of multicolored houses that usually fronts postcards of Copenhagen. Jump on our boat tour to see the colored waterfront strip, or head to Christianshavn canal, a smaller, less touristy spot that Connie Cao of K Is for Kani recommends.
Design Museum Denmark: Décor lovers, this one's for you. Dedicate at least a few hours to explore this stunning tribute to Danish design.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art: If you're staying in Denmark for more than a weekend, hop on the train and head to this modern art museum located 22 miles north of the city.
Kastellet: Cycle to this star-shaped 17th-century fortress and see The Little Mermaid sculpture; then have an Aperol spritz on the waterfront at Toldboden.
MAKE LIKE A LOCAL:
Hay House: If you can only make it to one decor store during your visit, this should be it. Hay's flagship store sprawls across two stories in the heart of Copenhagen's shopping district. Press play on the video above to see the stunning view from the top floor of the boutique.
Illums Bolighus: I felt like a kid in a candy store in this incredible department store. The home section has every Danish brand you love as well as a ton of lesser-known but equally exquisite new ones. This store alone is a reason to pack light.
Illum: This premium department store is steps from Hay House and stocks great fashion and beauty products, as well as home décor on the top floor.
The Apartment: This artfully curated furniture store will make you wish you could literally buy an entire room and have it shipped back to the U.S. Housed in a restored 18th-century apartment in Christianshavn, it features one-off commission pieces by international designers and a ton of gorgeous home accessories and art.
Normann: It wouldn't be a trip to Denmark without stopping by the flagship of one of its most famous décor brands, Normann Copenhagen. This is Danish design at its best.
Sp34: This is the boutique hotel to stay at in Copenhagen. The design is achingly beautiful and understated, and the location is spot-on.
Manon Les Suites: Another good option, this inner-city hotel has a sublime internal courtyard, complete with lush greenery and a mosaic-tiled pool.
Airbnb: Copenhagen is one of the best places to rent an Airbnb. Here, you'll find cool apartments that rival design hotels. Search for listings in the Meatpacking District or Nørrebro.
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