Last week my very fancy, smart friend was over in Stockholm for work which means she was a heck of a lot closer to me than anyone else from home so we decided to meet for a little weekend get away somewhere new. When I moved to Ireland I had the idea that I would be travelling every weekend and seeing all of Europe, even though it is SO much closer and much more affordable life definitely gets in the way and being semi-unemployed travel must be on a budget. So this was my first trip off the Island since Guatemala.
A quick google flights trip (a life saver) search showed Copenhagen, London and Amsterdam to be the lowest cost flights so we picked Copenhagen. (Maybe because my fancy, smart friend had an international boyfriend there and maybe not…).
After finding an affordable flight I didn’t think we would have any problem finding a cheap hotel or hostel. First mistake! I think there are many cities in Europe you can book accommodation last minute, Copenhagen in August is not one of them. Hostel prices were over $500 a night and there was not an available (affordable) hotel within 10 miles. Maybe we should have checked this before booking the flights. Regardless. After a few hours of panic we eventually ended up finding a moderately priced AirBnB north of Copenhagen ($200 a night for a 1 BDR Apartment eeeh). Usually I would be able to fly directly from Cork but to save $100 I added 100% stress and flew from Dublin via Oslo… again, next time I might book a bit further ahead.
Even with a few things I may re do Copenhagen was actual Utopia. Everyone was intimidatingly beautiful while they waited for the light to cross the road, waited in line for drinks at the bar and cycled around the city while texting. Perfect couples with their perfect blonde child walking around for afternoon drinks enjoying the late summer sunshine. If I win the lottery I know where I am going. It reminded me so much of West Village/SoHo New York but 100% cleaner and 500% quieter. Here are a few things I loved (and learned) most about our visit to Copenhagen:
Stay: AirBnB ended up working out very well for us here. We stayed in the Nørrebro neighborhood a bit north of city center. We were probably about 2km out of town but it was a straight walk, quick bus ride or quick cycle (if you are able.) From the airport we took the Metro to the Norreport stop and then a quick bus to our AirBnb. For our quick trip we were barely in the apartment but for a longer stay the use of a kitchen and living room to spread out are just so handy. Just like the AirBnB commercial promises I felt like we had such a better feel for the city staying where a local lives and hangs out. Our apartment was a replica of a model apartment in an IKEA catalog. So nice! When you are visiting to save a bit of money stay in the areas around City Center. It was so easy to get around and the surrounding areas have terrific cafes, restaurants, bars and parks of their own. It was all much more relaxed than the feel in city center (which was already quite relaxed).
Eat: It does not matter where you go I think you will have FOMO of not going somewhere else (while still having an amazing dinner yourself). Every place seems to serve local, simple, healthy, delicious food in a variety of cuisines and there is just no way you are going to get to them all. The best places we ate were around Nørrebro as we ventured into the City Center it got just a tiny bit more touristy.
Torvehallerne Food Market: Go with a few people and get a little bit of everything. It closes early so go for a late lunch in the sunshine. Walk around first and see what is best and most popular of all the stalls.
Copenhagen Street Food Market: Trangravsvej 7
1436 København K, Denmark – Again, spend a few hours go with different people and enjoy a little taste of everything.
Meyers Bageri: A morning pastry and a coffee. Absolute perfection to tide us over until brunch. Jægersborggade 9
København N, Capital Region 2200, Denmark
Mikkeller & Friends (Bar): Out of this world beer selection. Candles everywhere.
The Jane: For later night drinks & dancing. Fun speakeasy-esque place with cozy booths.
Cafe Taxa: Hørsholmsgade 32, 2200 København N, Denmark
Bibendum Wine Bar: Great wine and simple, delicious tapas. Warm, cozy atmosphere. Nansensgade 45, 1366 København K, Denmark
When in doubt Eater has a heat map of the best places to go around the city: Eater Copenhagen
The hot dogs have no right to be called hot dogs. More like delicious, gourmet sausages in freshly-baked french rolls. Eat them all.
You also can’t get wrong with late night kebabs and there are about a million to choose from.
Since we were here for such a short time we spent most of it walking around, drinking and eating without any real plans – which is my favorite type of weekend. We visited Tivoli Park which was ok? I suppose it was pretty cool to have an amusement park in the middle of the town but without having children it just seemed a little bit not worth it.
We also walked over to the Christiana, the free state where everything is legal. To me it seemed a little bit sad and dirty so this is another area that I would skip. If you are going to visit then cycle or take the metro.
There were several churches that allowed you to visit the top but all of the lines were very long. I can imagine the view was beautiful so if this is your plan go early.
Paddle board: We did not do this but there were so many people out enjoying the water on paddle boards, kayaks and even swimming. If we had another day and a few hours to spare we would have definitely participated.
Rent a bike from the bike share: Bycklen these are easy to use, have an ipad with a map attached and have adjustable seats. The cyclists go quickly but the bike paths are so large it was not as intimidating as I felt it was in Amsterdam. We made the mistake of arranging to borrow bikes from our AirBnb these bikes were much to large for us so we were uncomfortable riding them anywhere. Next time don’t make an arrangement until you can see and test the bikes because there are plenty of places to rent them when you arrive. We also didn’t know how long we would need them for. They can be handy for the entire day but the city is so small and the public transportation was so easy that we would have been happy cycling around for a few hours and finding our own way the rest of the time.
Rosenbork Castle: We did not visit the Castle but next time I definitely would take the time to visit.
Illum: Visit the top floor of Illum for beautiful Danish design and home furnishings. Leaning on the higher end of pricing this is definitely where I would go to bring something authentic home.
Now that I am home I want to completely redecorate with as many candles, blankets and fireplaces as possible. Absolutely can’t wait to return. Possibly around Christmas because I am sure it is just magical!