A weekend in Copenhagen

Saturday, 28 September 2019 Copenhagen, Denmark

A Weekend in Copenhagen

After what felt like an incredibly busy summer, both at work and in my personal life, I was really looking forward to getting out of London for an escape to a different city for a few days. I flew with a friend to Copenhagen and we stayed for just over three days. It felt like just the right amount of time to see everything comfortably without rushing around.

It was our first time visiting a Scandinavian country so I wasn't totally sure what to expect, really I was going off what I'd seen on Instagram. From what I'd gathered, I came expecting to see seas of people riding their bikes everywhere, sipping their coffee and eating pastries as they cycled in impossibly cool clothes (sustainable, of course). Back at home, the first thing anyone would tell me the second I said was off to Copenhagen was "ooooh that'll be expensive!!" so I arrived mentally prepared to spend more than expected for things like coffee and meals out. 

A Weekend in Copenhagen
Being honest, I wasn't far off the mark! Although no one would really drink coffee and ride their bike, Danish people are way too sensible and not stressed enough for that. Most of the city is laid out in long, straight avenues with wide bike lanes sitting alongside the cars. We stayed in the Frederiksberg area of Copenhagen, just a 15 minute walk from the famous Tivoli Gardens. There were a number of lovely restaurants, pubs and coffee shops nearby, we were spoilt for choice. 

And coming back to my point on the cost of visiting Copenhagen, the prices weren't as shocking as I thought they would be - thanks to my updates from my Monzo app on everything I bought I had an instant conversion so it was easy to get an idea of how much I was spending as I went. For example, a cinnamon bun and coffee from a popular Danish chain such as Espresso House cost an equivalent of roughly £7.50. Now, for those of you who don't live in London you may be thinking err what the hell?! but I'm used to paying extortionate prices for my flat white so the blow felt less painful.

What I would say in defence of those higher prices is that everything we did, ate and drank, bar standard spirits and alcohol, was seriously good quality. Where you might pay ridiculous prices for a shit coffee from Starbucks or Costa, generally, we did get what we paid for, especially with burgers, sandwiches and pastries! What I'm trying to argue is that if you visit with the aim to not spend too much, you probably won't enjoy the experience as much.

A Weekend in Copenhagen
Anyway, I'll talk a little bit about what we got up to over the few days. We arrived on Saturday early evening and headed straight out for dinner which was a burger and a beer. We weren't too picky about where we went because our flight had been delayed, so that was probably the worst food we had by a good mile, I mean no one likes a sloppy burger do they? I won't give the place a mention out of kindness but we'll leave it there...

We woke up earlyish on Sunday morning and after a quick breakfast at our hotel, headed towards Tivoli Gardens (above). By luck we got to the park slightly early before it opened, so after a coffee in a nearby café, we walked round the amusement park, and to our luck it wasn't too busy! I was excited to use my new camera properly (I bought a Nikon D3500 for my birthday this year!) so we wandered around slowly. It's a strange place to walk around during the day, seeing lots of fairytale rides, restaurants and beautiful buildings. Despite the fact we saw lots of pretty lights hung everywhere, we didn't twig at all that it would probably be prettier at night, whoops! Nevertheless, a must-see if you pay a visit.

We spent the rest of the day seeing lots of the touristy attractions such as the Round Tower and walked towards the beautiful Nyhavn harbour, to get THAT shot for the gram - you know the one! We also walked through the impressive Christiansborg Palace grounds, which is Copenhagen's government building. Because it was a Sunday and not too sunny, it was so nice walking around the city without it ever feeling overflowing with tourists.

A Weekend in Copenhagen
After a lot of walking, we had a delicious Chicken burger at a great bar called the Bronx Burger Bar, close to the Christiansborg building. It had a beautiful spread of pesto on the top of the bun, juicy grilled chicken, and was finished with proscuitto, pecorino cheese and mayonnaise. It was incredible to eat and it didn't feel greasy to eat either.

In the evening we headed to a nearby bar and had a drink outside as it grew dark, tired from all the walking and sights we'd seen.

On our second day we decided to grab a train early in the morning from Copenhagen Central station and go over the border to Malmo in Sweden. The train ride was pretty spectacular, zipping over a bridge over the sea connecting the two cities in little more than 15 minutes. Malmo is a smaller port city with a distinctly European feel. There was a pretty harbour with a very picturesque lighthouse and we had a wander round the city's main square, stopping for coffee and a cinnamon bun too.

We didn't need longer than an hour and a half there really, it's great that you can literally hop over the border and see some of Sweden but we managed to see the main sights pretty quickly. At about midday we headed back on the train towards Copenhagen to see Christiana.

Christiana has been talked about a lot in the media in the past mainly because it's known as the only place in Copenhagen that is relaxed about the use of marijuana. The community is obviously controversial to some and there have been issues with violence in previous years. I felt a little nervous about the idea of visiting and seeing a way of life so different to my own, but we were still interested to see it, with our cameras firmly in our bags.

The atmosphere in Christiana was quite strange; there was a heavy feeling of nervousness hanging thickly in the air. We went on a weekday so it was pretty quiet and every person we walked past looked up and away urriedly. It's understandable as the area is often raided by police so it's unlikely they'd trust tourists passing through.

On the other hand we saw some beautiful, eco-friendly houses, animals as well as small, independent shops dotted around the community too. I'd had little idea in terms of what to expect from seeing Christiana and I came away feeling mixed about it. I was happy that I'd seen the town but it felt like more of a shock to see than I'd originally thought.

Afterwards we grabbed a sandwich and a coffee in a nearby bakery, reflecting on the experience. We then had a walk through Christianshavn towards the city centre. We had one last touristy sight to see and it was pretty spectacular in terms of heights and views. We headed to the Black Diamond Library, a huge and imposing building sitting on the river. The library has an incredible, fluid interior deisgn that's made it rather Instagram famous. We spent time wandering around, walking quietly past plenty of people tapping away on their MacBooks and up to the viewing platform to get the shot above.

At times I get a bit freaked out by heights and this was one of of those moments. It's such a beautiful view looking out onto the river but you really feel how high up you are! 

To round off our last day we went for dinner and drinks in the evening near the centre, sitting under blankets and sipping Aperol Spritz. 

Copenhagen was a lovely city escape for a few days and parts of it surprised me more than I thought it would. In terms of food and eating out, I wish I'd planned the trip a little more as I didn't get to try any smorgasbords or open sandwiches or fish - I'd go again to try some more of the famous, minimalist restaurants if it was for a special occasion for example.

Cost-wise I really didn't spend much more than I would on a normal city break, so I encourage you not to let this not to put you off seeing such a fascinating city!

Thanks for reading! Have you visited Copenhagen yet?

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1 comment

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