1. Street Food
Street food is absolutely huge in Copenhagen, and they do it so well! From small markets to the enormous ‘Copenhagen Street Food’ hall on the paper island, there really is something for everyone.
The Kødbyen street food market is a true hidden gem. The bustling ‘Mad & Marked’ market is only open on Saturday & Sunday from April-September, so we were lucky to catch it on its opening weekend! Kødbyen is the old meat-packaging district of Copenhagen, within the wider district of Vesterbro. Once home to meat wholesalers and butchers, Kødbyen has been converted into a hub of student activity, trendy bars and restaurants. It’s quite awkwardly located as its not on the main metro line, but is easily accessible by Bus (Route No’s. 1A, 10 or 14) or on foot.
The weekly food market has an abundance of stalls from a wide variety of cuisines. We tried Mexican tacos with steak, chorizo and chilli salsa and some duck fat fries which were both delicious and reasonably priced. Theres two main bars selling a variety of beers and wines as well as cocktails stands where you can get a delicious buckets to share. We had a beautifully refreshing cocktail made with danish ‘snaps’, elderflower, ginger beer, cucumber and dill. The atmosphere is really chilled, with big communal seating areas of benches, deck chairs, tyres and haystacks as well as a live band. The Danish have a concept called ‘Hygge’ – which is feeling of being cosy, comfortable and joyous in every day life, especially when in good company. It’s really hard to explain until you’re in the situation but it essentially means ‘good vibes’, and the communal dining and laid back atmosphere means that Kødbyen is the place to go for it.
Copenhagen Street Food
Across the harbour is the Papirøen (‘the paper island’) and ‘Copenhagen Street Food’ – a huge waterside warehouse of independent street food vans. You can find pretty much everything here – from pulled duck to British panackes. We had a surf and turf burger with prawns, scallops and dill mayonnaise, and a side of rosemary and sea salt new potatoes. I went back for a fiery thai green curry too because the aroma was incredible!. Although it’s a little pricier than the Kødbyen market (main meals £10-15), the food was really delicious, theres so much choice and it was a great experience. We arrived late on a Sunday evening when it was full of students, and we got to watch the sunset by the waterside. It’s open for lunch everyday too though, and the outdoor seating makes it perfect for a sunny day. A little further down the island you can find clothes stores, a wine bar and Yoko Ono’s wish tree garden
The iconic multi-coloured townhouses of the Nyhavn canal are so beautiful and are a must see in Copenhagen. From here you can take a cheap canal tour of the city (go for the one a bit further down, it’s half the price of the first on you see!), or relax with a drink beside the converted 17th century buildings. Towards the end of the canal you can visit No.67 – the long term home of the famous fairy tail novelist Hans Christian Andersen. When people talk about Copenhagen being expensive, this is what they are talking about – probably best to stay for only one drink here!
Copenhagen is notoriously expensive for accommodation, but there’s no need to waste hundreds of pounds on a hotel. There’s so many AirBnb rooms/apartments for really reasonable prices and in great locations. We rented a room within a man’s apartment in the highly desirable Frederiksberg area. It was only a few minutes walk from the metro station so it was really easy to get around, but the best part was the price – only £42 a night! Staying in someones home feels a bit weird the first time you do it, but its a great experience. Our host gave us loads of helpful advice on where to go, how to get around and even made us fresh bread!
The Frederiksberg area is known for its tranquil gardens, green spaces and beautiful houses. Frederiksberg is also home to an abundance of bagel stores – literally one on every street! Theres a few chain ones, but we went to small independent one on Falkoner Alle. The bagels are huge and they pile on the toppings so they’re great value too – perfect for a cheap lunch. My pastrami one was really tasty!
5. Danish Pastries
Everyone loves a good Danish pastry, and if you go to a bakery they’re amazing and so fresh. A cappuccino and a spandaeur (pastry filled with custard and almonds) was our go to breakfast.
6. Independent cafes & bars
Apart from the fact that there’s a Joe & The Juice on pretty much every corner of the centre (known as ‘Indre By’), Copenhagen is full of independently run coffee bars and cafe’s where you can stop for lunch. We found a great little place called the ‘Next Door Cafe’ with really electric decor, a chilled atmosphere and beautiful blueberry pancakes with bacon and scrambled eggs. The pancakes were absolutely massive, and the 100% Canadian maple syrup was completely unlimited with a bottle for every table! Theres also loads of bars in every district of the city, however you have to be careful cause the prices vary massively and are quite unpredictable!
7. Michelin-Starred Dining & New Danish Cuisine
Copenhagen has emerged as one of the gastronomic capitals of Europe. The city has been awarded a total of 18 Michelin stars held between 15 outstanding restaurants, as well as ‘Noma’ – the 4x winner of ‘Best Restaurant in the World’. We visited Formel B, a one Michelin starred restaurant that serves simple yet innovative dishes with a focus on local danish ingredients and French techniques. The menu changes fortnightly, and comprises of 12 dishes (140-250DKK/£15-29) as well as a small selection of desserts. Considering how incredible the food was, it was actually pretty reasonably priced! The wine was paired with food and was very pricey though at £19 a glass, but I’d still say it was worth it because it went so well with the food. We both had the scallops, the turbot, the monkfish and the pigeon, followed by macarons, handmade chocolates and tea. In total we spent about £150 each and this was one of the cheaper Michelin starred restaurants in Copenhagen! I would definitely recommend going to one for a special occasion, probably not just for a nice dinner though!
The Michelin starred restaurants in Copenhagen are largely a part of the ‘New Danish’, and wider ‘New Nordic’ style of food. New Danish cuisine is based on traditional ingredients and modern gastronomy, as well as local, seasonal and often organic produce. Organic produce is really popular in Copenhagen and there’s a great organic pizza place in Nørrebro called ‘Bæst’ (sister restaurant to the Michelin-starred Relæ) which is definitely worth a visit!
8. Traditional Danish Cuisine
Denmark is one of the biggest producers of pork in the world, so naturally many of their traditional dishes are based around pork products. Other meats, fish and seafood are also an integral park of danish cuisine. We visited a lovely restaurant in Frederiksberg called Frederiks Have, which is known for traditional danish cooking. We had the set 3 course lunch menu: celeriac and apple soup, crispy chicken with polenta, broccoli and pea shoost, a selection of cheeses (served with caramel!), and chocolate mousse with blueberry ice cream. Everything was delicious, especially the celeriac soup! With wine and bread it came to about £40 each.
Copenhagen is home to the longest pedestrianised shopping street in Europe (Strøget) where you can find everything from Louis Vuitton to Zara. There loads of luxurious department stores and a huge shopping mall too. Denmark is famed for high-end design and homeware, but theres some great value brands too. The cookware shops in particular are incredible. I managed to get a cast iron skillet for about £10 as well as some beautiful hand made plates. My favourites stores were: Notre Dame (Indre By) and Inspiration (Frederiksberg). Jægersborggade in the trendy Nørrebro neighbourhood is another popular shopping street lined with independent cafes, bars, shops and restaurants.
10. Amalienborg Palace
If you like to be a proper tourist every now and then you can go and visit the Amalienborg Palace, the home of the Danish royal family. The daily changing of the guard ceremony at 12 noon is great to watch too!
11. City Pass
A city pass gives you unlimited public transport in the centre of Copenhagen so you don’t have to worry about buying any other tickets. You don’t have to scan it on the metro either – just hop on and off. All the public transport is integrated, so your ticket is valid on all buses, trains and the metro. They are valid for either 24 or 72 hours. We used public transport all the time so the 72 hour (£20) ticket is a great value choice for a long weekend