Hands down Copenhagen was one of the most expensive places I have been, but it lives up to its reputation (and surpassed my expectations) as a trendy, approachable and free-thinking city.
A long weekend in Copenhagen with friends included cafe breaks, cocktails and costly meals. Visiting in late October, the turning leaves were a beautiful backdrop and sightseeing was easy as there weren’t hoards of tourists. Strolling around the gardens outside of the Rosenborg Palace or snapping photos of the Little Mermaid were relaxed as few crowds were to be found anywhere.
- Rundetårn, an old observation tower offers a great view of the city.
- Design Museum, a great poster exhibit was the highlight, as were the selection of chairs, but an hour is plenty of time here.
- Amalienborg Palace, the royal residence, it’s composed of four Rococo-style mansions.
- The Little Mermaid statue, quite small, but worth the walk as you simply can’t say you’ve been to Copenhagen without seeing her.
- Rosenborg Palace (Ostervoldgade 4A, 45-33-15-32-86, http://www.rosenborgslot.dk/), the former royal residence from the 15th century, holds the Danish royal jewels.
- Arbejdermuseet (Rømersgade 22, Copenhagen 1362)
"The Workers' Museum" depicts the daily lives of the Danish working class through history.
- National Historical Museum or Frederiksborg Slot (Hillerød 3400), in a unique location in the middle of a lake, is a former Renaissance palace.
- Carlsberg Brewery (Ny Carlsbergvej 140) - Dating to 1847, the family-owned brewery named after a son, Carl, offers tours, a tasting room and a historical museum.
We came up with many excuses to stop for coffee/beer breaks, have late lunches or linger over brunch. One reason, the coffee is great! Perfect double lattes in every cafe we visited….and we tested many.
Here were a few of our favorites places…
Ida Davidsen (Store Kongensgade 70; 45-33-91-36-55) for famous Danish open-faced sandwiches. A Copenhagen institution, reservations are necessary, even for lunch. Our charming hostess explained the process – you pick one fish and one meat sandwich to start – and then convinced us to try them with Aquavit, a potent liquor that certainly warms you up on a cold day. According to her, the Danes eat up to five sandwiches at a sitting. Not sure how they afford that or fit them in, but two was plenty for us. My favorite, the Hans Christian Andersen - bacon, tomato, liver paté and horseradish - with a cold Carlsburg beer, of course. Lunch set us back about $50 per person, for two sandwiches each plus drinks.
Café Oscar (bredgade, 58, 33 12 50 10, http://www.oscarcafe.dk/) On our walk back from the Design Museum, we stopped at this café to warm up. Lucky for us, they serve a great club sandwich, espresso and beer. Desserts looked good too.
K Cocktail Bar (ved stranden 20, DK 1061, http://www.k-bar.dk/) A tiny space that is jam-packed on the weekends with a stylish crowd, offers a unique take on cocktails. If it had been morning, I would have tried the Iki Chi, a Japanese-inspired Bloody Mary with wasabi, but instead I tried a drink with lemongrass and peppers that would have been great with Tom Yam soup. The lemon merign cocktail comes with a toasted topping, just like the pie, and my husband thought his espresso martini was delicious, and was awake all night telling me about it!
Taste (Store Kongensgade, 80-82, DK 1264, http://www.tastedeli.dk/) Rushing to the aiport, I was stopped in my tracks by the pastries in the window of Taste. So, we stopped and enjoyed a dense chocolate cake with think frosting topped with pistachios and light coconut cake as we made our way home.
Cafe Europa (Amagertorv 1, 1160 Kobenhaven K, 45 33 14 288, http://www.europa1989.dk/) - Centrally located, Cafe Europa is a great stop for a good coffee, generous breakfast or late dinner when everything else is closed (they serve until 11PM, on Sundays, even later other nights of the week.)
Dalle Valle (Fiolstrade 5, 33 93 29 29) - We ate a simple meal here one night, but stayed for cocktails and people-watching. The crowd changed from late diners to young partiers to relaxed cocktail crowd all under the effects of a popular DJ.
Bar Rouge (First Hotel Skt Petri, Krystalgade 22, +45 33 45 91 00) – Granted, we stayed in the hotel, so it’s no surprise we ended up here more than once, but on a Friday night, it still lives up to its reputation as a hot spot.
Where to Stay
New! CPH Living (1C Langebrogade, Copenhagen, 1411, +45 61 60 85 46, www.cphliving.com) - The "first floating hotel in Scandinavia" is centrally-located and offers a unique experience for a stay in Copenhagen. The boutique hotel boat offers Scandinavian-styled rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and stunning views. Amenities are scarce and/or shared, so come prepared.
First Hotel Skt Petri (Krystalgade 22, Copenhagen 1172, +45 33 45 91 00) – We loved our hotel for its great style, central but quiet location, cool atmosphere and helpful staff.
Hotel Kong Arthur (Norre Sogade 11, http://www.kongarthur.dk/, +45 33 11 12 12) – A 10-minute walk from the central area of Copenhagen, this hotel, rated #1 on Trip Advisor by the way, offers a great spa and traditional rooms.
Check out Copenhagen’s weekly guide online (http://www.ctw.dk0/) before going to hit the current events.