I've officially been traveling for one week on my 1Month2Wander trip, and am astounded at my own ability to semi-live blog my travels yet again. On Saturday, I woke up at the crack of dawn to fly from London to Copenhagen with my old coworker, Patrick, or as I lovingly like to call him, my "work husband." Pat was one of the first people I met as an intern in banking - I can't even imagine telling myself 3+ years ago that I would end up doing a weekend trip with the kid I sat next to in intern training! Yet, here we were -- Pat had moved to London for his next job & jumped at the chance to explore more of Europe.
I've started judging cities by whether or not I would return for a longer stay. There are some cities with incredible tourist spots, but after you've seen them all once, I wouldn't necessarily want to spend a week there hanging & exploring the city itself. Without a doubt, Copenhagen passes that bar with flying colors. We kept referring to CPH as "the cool older sister" of the neighboring regions because it just had the best vibes. I shouldn't be surprised because the Danes are well known for this, but everything was just so brilliantly designed visually: from the casual store fronts to the coffee cups to the offices. The architecture was a gorgeous mix of old & new, and everybody was just downright trendy and hip!
The Danish word "hygge" roughly translates into the phrase or concept of "coziness" or "togetherness." We honestly saw it exhibited across the entire city - every coffee shop or bar was filled with a million candles, warm blankets & heaters for outdoor seating, and of course glogg their main mulled/spiced wine drinks. Technically the proper pronunciation of the word is "hooga" but Pat & I misunderstood it as "hoogly" the first day and it just stuck from there: "I'm having such a hoogly time! This is such a hoogly spot!"
One thing I was so impressed by was the extent the Danes celebrate Christmas. Pat kept joking that we were in Whoville because we seemed to run into a Christmas market every other turn, found adorable Santas in every shop, and then we went to...Tivoli. There are no words that can properly describe Tivoli. The place is seriously Christmas on steroids, and that's in addition to the fact that it's the 2nd oldest theme park in the world! We had zero expectations when we walked in & thought it would just be a quick market, but were astonished at the amount of old-school roller coasters, enormous Japanese pagodas, Taj Mahal inspired hotels, full sized Viking boats that were actually restaurants, and not one, but two artificial mountains.
In terms of typical sights, I highly recommend the Copenhagen Free Walking Tours! We did both the Christianshavn Tour and the Grand Tour of Copenhagen, both of which were well organized, historically interesting, pretty darn hilarious, and probably the most efficient way to see a large amount of the city in a short amount of time. Fun fact: the bluetooth symbol is based off of a Danish medieval king which is why the symbol is a Viking one & the way Princess Mary met Prince Frederick is practically the real-life story line of The Prince & Me (in other words, ladies, it can in fact happen to you!).
For those of you planning your own trip...
Great Things to See That I Didn’t Mention Above:
- Nyhavn – gorgeous waterfront area with multi-colored buildings
- Marble Church & Amalienborg Royal Palace – incredible architecture and such a beautiful stroll
- Christianshaven – the “Free Town” of Copenhagen that has essentially been an experiment of a free society. Interesting that marijuana is sold so openly in little stalls, but since it’s technically not legal (like Amsterdam), everybody wears masks to hide their faces. Super fascinating to just walk around!
- Coffee Shops: The Living Room & Café Paludan were both great hoogly options!
- Food Markets: I went to both Copenhagen Street Food (located on Paper Island in the harbor, super trendy & great for dinner) and Torvehallerne (a food hall / supermarket that was great for lunch). A typical Danish item is the open-faced sandwich “smorrebrod,” and while it was really tasty, I think I have a weird aversion to cold sandwiches in general. At Torvehallerne I went to Grod which serves a variety of porridges that are really incredible – great example of taking something old & turning it into a new concept!
- Flew from London --> Copenhagen with Norwegian. My bag didn't get weighed, but Patrick and I switched backpacks just in case (it looks like a monstrosity on me just because I'm short)
- We took a train from the airport to Copenhagen Central Station for ~35 DKK each which was surprisingly cheap!
- Copenhagen is an extremely walkable city - we didn't have to take any busses or subways! It was never more than 20-30 minutes to where we needed to go. The city is extremely bike friendly, though!
- We took a 45-50 minute train out to Helsingor to visit the Kronberg castle which was about ~100 DKK each. The ride was very smooth and they have a scrolling marquee that tells you the station stops so you don't need to worry about missing announcements.
- Patrick was only here for 1 night so we splurged a bit more to get a room at the Imperial Hotel - it was quite nice, extremely close to Copenhagen Central Station, Tivoli Gardens, and the Stroget shopping street! I made fun of Pat for being a diva and getting us a hotel instead of a hostel, but I admit it was nice at the end of a long and crazy day hahah
- I snagged a room at the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel for the two nights on my own. I was mainly attracted to the fact that they have a free dinner at 6:30pm every night where people can easily meet one another (you have to snag a seat by ~6pm though). The hostel was very centrally located & I ended up hanging out later at night with 3 awesome Italian guys & 1 Swiss girl from dinner! The hostel itself is huge, but it has a really fun vibe & was decently clean. I would recommend it!