Wednesday 30 August 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Copenhagen, Denmark, May 2017

Oh Copenhagen, how I love you dearly!

There's a lot of cities I've visited that I've fallen in love with, heck most place I travel to I fall in love with. But there's very few cities where I get that "I want to live here for the rest of my life" feeling. And Copenhagen is one of them. I knew in advance of our trip that I'd fall hard for the capital of Denmark. And fall hard, head over heels, crying at the thought of leaving, I did. There's just something special about Scandinavia, something that pulls me back to this part of the world year after year, that makes it feel like home. And Copenhagen is that Scandinavian mecca that expresses everything I love about this part of the world. The design, the laid back attitude, the beautiful food, the beautiful people, and that feeling that everything fits together 'just right'.

We spent a whirlwind five days in the city, seeing and eating everything we could. We even hopped over to Sweden, and drove around the Øresund coast north of Copenhagen. This post is a lengthy one but I enjoy recording what I get up to each day on holiday. So grab yourself a cuppa and settle down for an insight into my 120 hours in Copenhagen.


After a rocky start to the trip thanks to problems at Gatwick, resulting in our luggage not turning up, we picked up the car and headed to Øl & Brød in Vesterbro for a delicious smørrebrød based lunch. After checking into our gorgeous Airbnb we spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around Nørrebro, our local neighbourhood. With so many fantastic shops to visit like GoodLife (coffee and records), Crate (beer and vinyl), Vanishing Point (lifestyle), Kaktus København (plants), Palermo Hollywood (homewear), Keramiker (porcelian), ISTID (liquid nitrogen ice cream), and Den Sidste Dråbe (boutique off-license), you can spend a really long time on Jægersborggade alone.

A walk through the gorgeous tree lined boulevard of Assistens Kirkegård led us to Hans Christian Andersen's grave. I've never been to a cemetery like Assistens, it feels more like a woodland park, yet it's right in the heart of the city. We visited on a gloriously hot day and every spare patch of grass was taken up by sunbathing Danes.

On emerging from the cemetery we visited more shops including Adélie (clothing), Urban Room No. 11 (lifestyle), Acne Archive (Acne's outlet), Kaf (coffee and cake), Route 66 (records), Wood Wood Museum (Wood Wood Outlet), and Stilleben No. 22 (homeware). By this stage we had reached food market Torvehallerne KBH so decided to pop in for an afternoon pick me up. You can grab so many tasty things here but I particularity like the risotto from Grød. Grab a local beer from the Mikkeller Bottle Shop as well.

We headed back to Nørrebro for a late dinner, via Musiksmag and Mikkeller & Friends before tucking into a wonderful seven course sharing plates feast at Manfreds. This was probably my favourite restaurant in Copenhagen as it boasts great value New Nordic cuisine in a laid back, wine bar setting. The menu is predominately veggie based with one meat and fish dish usually thrown in.


An early start saw us pick up our five day Copenhagen Cards and make our way into the city centre for breakfast at Atelier September. The cards gave us free travel on public transport and free entry into all the castles, museums, and palaces we wanted to visit in Copenhagen and surrounding area. You can also get into Tivoli for free and take a free Netto boat tour around the canals. Breakfast included the prettiest avocado on toast for me, and a simple poached egg and rye for Steve, delicious. We headed over to Nyhavn where you can't help but take a photo of every single multicoloured canal house, it really is the most photogenic part of the city. It was here we embarked on a hour long Netto boat tour of the city. The boat tours take you around the canals of Copenhagen where you can see many iconic sights including the Royal Danish Playhouse, Copenhagen Opera House, the Little Mermaid, the Church of Our Saviour, The Royal Library, the Danish Parliament, and former stock exchange. It's a great way to conveniently see modern and historic architecture.

Next up was a quick visit to Kunsthal Charlottenborg to check out a graduate art show, before watching changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace come midday. It's quite the spectacle but can get very busy, so best to arrive early if you want a good view. After a quick look around the palace we headed over to Frederik's Church aka the marble church which is absolutely stunning, thanks to an amazing gilded dome. Next on the list was the Designmuseum, a must do for anyone interested in 20th Century design, I particularly loved the Danish chair exhibition. Lunch was calling so we grabbed burgers from nearby petrol pump-cum-burger bar, Gasoline Grill. This wasn't the best burger I've ever had but it was still tasty, plus the crinkle cut fries were great.

We strolled through Kongens Have, another gorgeous city centre park. Everyone was sunbathing and using little Danish flags to mark this individual plots. We visited the National Gallery of Denmark as I was keen to check out the Nordic Highlights and 20th Century European art.

By this stage it was time to head to Vesterport Station for our 4pm Nordic Noir tour. The 90 minute tour took us around the western part of the city where we visited filming locations from The Bridge and The Killing before finishing at Copenhagen's famous police station. The tour was fantastic and full of interesting facts about the shows, and general life in Denmark. If you're a fan of Nordic Noir TV then it's an absolute must do.

Our final tourist stop of the day was to visit the tower at Christianborg Palace, This is the highest tower in the city and on a sunny day you can see all the way out to the coast. The tower is free to visit and is open until 9pm making a great thing to do once everything else is closed.

We spent the rest of the evening watching Arsenal win the FA Cup, at Southern Cross Bar and enjoying a meaty dinner at restaurant-cum-butchers Fleisch. The meatpacking district, where Fleisch is situated, is a fantastic part of the city with a collection of excellent restaurants and bars. It's a great place to people watch, and when you think that ten years ago this area was a no go destination it really has changed. Check out Warpigs, Jolene Bar, NOHOMikkeller Bar, Duck and Cover, Curfew, and Lidokeb for after dinner drinks.


This was the day we drove around the Øresund coast, North of Copenhagen. But first, we grabbed coffee to go from The Coffee Collective, and a bagful pastries from Meyers Bagerit on Jægersborggad. Hyped as the best coffee and pastries in the city, these two establishments really are must visits. I don't drink coffee, but I do eat cinnamon swirls and these pastries were melt in the mouth wonderful.

Less than an hour away from Copenhagen, we arrived at Frederiksborg Palace, one of the most beautiful palaces in all of Denmark. Built as a royal residence for King Christian IV in the early 17th century, the castle in a magnificent example of Dutch Renaissance style. You can visit many of the magnificent state rooms and the beautify baroque gardens. You'll find Fredensborg Slot, spring and autumn residence to the Danish Royal family, a 15 minute drive away. The castle is only open during July and August so we couldn't go inside, but we were still able to enjoy the expansive gardens.

We made it to Helsingør where we visited Kronborg Castle and the Maritime Museum of Denmark. Kronborg, home to Hamlet, is an foreboding fortress situated next to the sea. It's not a beautiful castle but that doesn't make it any less impressive. You can walk around many of the rooms which contain original furniture and tapestries. You can also visit the casemates and access the roof for some lovely views out to sea. The maritime museum, which is situated next to the castle, has an impressive exhibition about trading and shipping in Denmark. We stopped at street food market, Værftets Madmarked, next to the castle and museum, for a quick, and tasty lunch.

We drove back towards Copenhagen, along the Øresund coast, stopping at lots of different places en route. First up was the Karen Blixen Museet, former home to the Danish author. You can visit Blixen's home where the original furniture remains, as well as many of her oil paintings. The house, whilst small, is an absolutely charming spot well worth a quick visit. A short drive away saw us arrive in the seaside town of Klampenborg. The town is home to the gorgeous white sand beach of Bellevue Strand, as well as a bunch of Arne Jacobsen architecture including the Bellevue Theatre, the Bella Vista Estate, and the Sea Baths and lifeguard towers on the beach. Another short drive away and you'll come to Skovshoved where you'll find one-of-a-kind Arne Jacobsen designed petrol station.

We stopped at Ordrupgaard, an art museum with one of Northern Europe's finest collections of 19th and 20th century French art. The museum is lovely but the real star of the show is Finn Juhl's house, situated in the gardens. The Danish architect and designer built this house, and everything inside, including all the furnishings, cutlery and everything in between. It's a mid century lovers dream and one of my favourite attractions from the trip.

On our way back into the city we had a quick look around the grounds of Bernstorff Palace before heading over to the adorable area Brumleby to grab homemade ice lollies from OLUFs IS and take a look at Telia Parken, home ground to FC Copenhagen and Denmark's national football team. A very kind member of staff let Steve have a quick look in even though there was a game on!

We enjoyed dinner at Höst, a city centre restaurant that serves affordable, New Nordic cuisine. We went for the 3 course meal and whilst the plates were simple, the quality of ingredients and combination of flavours made this a stand out meal. The dining room is extremely Danish with a soft industrial vibes and of all the restaurants we visited this felt like the most up-market yet it was still casual, something the Danes excel at. If you fancy a drink in the city centre check out 1105, Ruby, FUGU, and BrewPub.


Monday began in Vesterbro with breakfast at Granola. This was probably the least exciting place we ate at in Copenhagen as the menu options were pretty standard. There's lots of great shops in this area including Playtype (stationary), Designdelicatessen (homewear), Accord (music), Thiemers Magasin (magazine), CAN (records), Goldmine Records, Sound Station (records), Juul's Vin og Spiritus (boutique off-license).

We made are way through the city centre via the city hall, cathedral, university, Sex Beat Records, and The Living Room cafe, before arriving at the Rundetårn and Trinity Church. The round tower offers some lovely views over the city, and whilst it's a bit of a hike to the top, the ramp makes it slightly easier than stairs (or does it). Outside the tower and church, you'll find DØP (Den Økologiske Pølsemand) and the best hot dogs in town. They have a large range of options but it's the classic hot dogs that really make them a stand out dining option. Everything is organic and they even do veggie options, making this gourmet hot dog place a really worthwhile stop for a midday bite.

We visited the gorgeous botanical gardens and palm house and made our way back into the city centre via the gorgeous Rosenberg Castle where the crown jewels are on display.

We spent the new few hours check out the shopping action back in the city centre. From fashion to interiors, there are so many wonderful shops to visit. Some of my favourites include Storm (fashion), Ganni (fashion), Norse Projects (fashion), Wood Wood (fashion), Streetmachine (fashion), Illum (department store), HAY House (homewear), Illums Bolighus (homewear), Stilleben Butik (homewear), Royal Copenhagen (china), and Louis Poulsen (lighting). When you're in Illum, make sure you visit the rooftop were there's a selection of cafes including the lovely coffee shop Original Coffee. Royal Copenhagen has a the gorgeous Royal Smushi Café situated next door as well.

We made it to Christiansborg Palace just in time to visit the Royal Reception Rooms and casemates. The palace is the seat of the Danish government now, however several parts are still used by the Royal Family. Next door to the palace is the impressive Royal Library aka Black Diamond, where you can not only check out the beautiful reading rooms, but you can also visit the National Museum of Photography.

Across Knippels Bridge and it's amazing green towers, we visited Ganni Postmodern (Ganni outlet), Church of Our Saviour with it's magnificent gold spiral roof, and the Freetown Christiania. I'm not a huge fan of Christiania as it feels more like Camden High Street than an actual functioning commune, but alas, when you're in this part of town it makes sense to walk through.

I've been desperate to visit Noma, one of the world's best restaurant and pioneer of the New Nordic movement, but during our visit the restaurant was shut as it's in the process of relocating. Fortunately, Noma's sister restaurant 108 is occupying the site so we popped in for a drink before grabbing dinner at Copenhagen Street Food on Papirøen. I don't think the street food scene in Copenhagen is a patch on what we get in London but the market is still a fun place to spend an evening with a ton of different options and a friendly atmosphere.

After dinner we headed over to Tivoli to spend a couple of hours in the theme park. Steve isn't much for rides so I braved a couple solo. Nevertheless, the park is still lovely to walk through come the evening when the fairly lights twinkle and the smell of popcorn wafts through the air.

En route to our apartment we made a visit to Superkilen, an urban park in the heart of Nørrebro. The space is fun and colourful and I'm a bit gutted we did't get a chance to visit during better light as it's a really fun place to take photos. We made home just in time for our luggage to be returned, only took them four days! I've never been so happy to see a suitcase in my entire life!


Our last full day in Copenhagen was another busy one. We started with an early breakfast at Mad & Kaffe, where you build your own breakfast by choosing a variety of small plates. This was probably my favourite breakfast spot in the entire city. We then hopped in the car and headed over to Malmö via the magnificent Øresund Bridge. We popped on the theme song for The Bridge (Hollow Talk by Choir of Young Believers) and pretended we were in a Nordic Noir. As we were driving across the bridge we realised we'd forgotten our passports. We were stopped by customs upon arriving in Sweden, explained to them that we are idiots, and they waved us through and told us not to forget next time, phew. 

We visited Malmö Museum which is situated in Malmöhus to give us an insight on the history of the city. From here it was a quick drive into the city centre were we has a look around Moderna Museet, the city's modern art gallery. For the rest of the morning we strolled around town checking out a ton of shops including Norrgavel (homewear), Miloii (homewear), Olsson & Gerthel (homewear), Folk å Rock (records), Form/Design Center (homewear), Granit (homewear), Malmö Modern (homewear), and Designtorget (homewear). Of course we made a stop for an obligatory cinnamon bun at Lilla Kafferosteriet and Swedish meatballs at Bullen (Två Krögare). Malmö is a charming little city and I'm really glad we were able to spend a few hours there. The city centre is tiny and the vibe is a lot more old town compared to Copenhagen, plus it was nice to visit another part of Sweden.

Back in Copenhagen we visited The Apartment, an interior design studio in Christianshavn. The showroom is focused on decorative arts so don't except your standard mid century modern aesthetic. That being said, the rooms of vibrant coloured textiles and furniture made an exciting alternative to the otherwise industrial vibe you see everywhere else. We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting a few museums that we'd not had time for previously including the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC), National Museum of Denmark, and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. The DAC is a must do for those interested in modern design and with changing exhibitions, a fantastic bookshop, and a gorgeous view over the canal I'm really glad we managed to squeeze it is. The National Museum is enormous, I would have loved to have spent more time here but it was the rune stones and bog bodies that we really wanted to see. The tranquil palm garden inside Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a really beautiful space to enjoy the vast collection of sculptures on display.

I'm a huge fan of Normann Copenhagen and we made it to the show room in Østerbro just in time for closing. This is not your average design shop as it feels more like a commercial art gallery instead of a place to purchase stuff. That being said, if you're a fan of the brand then the show room is a must visit, even if you treat the place like a museum instead of a shop.

Around the corner we picked up delicious ice cream from Østerberg, before making it up the Øresund coast to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. We hadn't had time to visit on Sunday but fortunately for us this mecca of a museum is opened late during the week. I am so glad we made the journey as this is one of my favourite museums in Denmark. With an extensive permanent collection of modern and contemporary art, plus changing special exhibitions, this manor house by the sea is a gorgeous evening retreat. The huge gardens are scattered with sculptures, and despite not being a huge fan of the work on display during our visit, I loved the tranquil atmosphere of the place.

We made it back to the city for a late dinner at Bæst, an Italian focused restaurant from the team behind Manfreds. This place is what I like to call post Italian and with an eclectic menu of small Italian inspired plates, and pizza you can have a different dining experience on every visit. We went all out with the tasting menu but you could keep costs at bay and just go for a pizza, either way the food is delicious. Check out BRUS, Oak Room, and Barking Dog for after dinner drinks.


I had originally planned to leave Copenhagen around midday but my plans got the better of me. I'm not complaining as we managed to fit a few more key sights in. We started the day with another build your own breakfast concept, this time at the industrial Møller - Kaffe og Køkken, before hopping in the car and heading out of the city. We visited Grundtvigs Church, a beautiful example of expressionist design, and futuristic Bagsværd Church, designed by the famous Danish architect Jørn Utzon. Both churches, whilst completely different from each other, and completely different from anything I've seen before, are incredible examples of contemporary architecture, something that Denmark excels at so well.

Back in the city we made it to a couple more shops in Vesterbro including Sort Kaffe og Vinyl (coffee and records), Dansk Made For Rooms (homewear) and Designer Zoo (homewear) before grabbing a takeaway pizza from Mother to eat en route to our next destination. And so the Danish road trip officially began.

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  1. You make me want to go back - it's so beautiful! Seriously, I'm off to look at flights as soon as I'm finished writing this comment. Ha!

    - Elodie x

  2. Bookmarking all these breakfast spots for if I ever get a chance to visit! x

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