Flying into Copenhagen, we had no idea what to expect. We were excited to visit one of David’s university friends, Sam, who moved to the Danish capital earlier this year, but other than loving our Royal Copenhagen wedding china we had little exposure to Copenhagen as a city. On our flight in, we were first struck by how integrated Denmark’s coastal cities are into the sea. An extensive system of canals laced the land with the sea, and bridges regularly were raised and lowered to accommodate ships and sailboats.
We stepped off the plane and met Sam on the other side of customs. It was an easy, 30 minute ride on the subway into the city, and after dropping our bags at Sam’s apartment, we decided to go for a walk to orient ourselves to the city even though it was after 10pm. The streets of Copenhagen are lit by lamps suspended on cables between buildings, and we had our first taste of the city by their glow. We stopped by Wafelbergen first – one of the cities best ice cream shops for an ice cream and cone still warm from the waffle iron.
The next morning, Sam took us on a bicycle tour of the city. Like many modern cities, Copenhagen has a bike share program, and seeing the city by bike is what the locals do and a must when you visit! (The bike share rentals have the added bonus of electric motors on the bikes, though the assist takes some getting used to!) We spent a few hours cycling around, passing the chestnut-shaped Opera House, making a quick diversion into Christiana (a strange, semi-autonomous zone where drugs were sold from street carts alongside drinks and snacks) before heading out to one of Copenhagen’s beautiful ocean bath houses. The crescent-shaped enclosure had built in picnic tables, well-designed locker rooms, diving platforms, and high wooden walls, has serving to block the often chilly Nordic winds while bathers enjoyed the calm a the center of the bath house.
Back in town, we docked our bikes and stopped by Christianshavn’s Faergecafe for an authentic Danish lunch of pickled herring and open-faced smorgasbord sandwiches. After a hearty meal, we walked toward the city center, and enjoyed window shopping before climbing to Original Coffee’s rooftop cafe for an espresso and and city view from their balcony. That evening, we grilled on Sam’s balcony, a delicious steak and some veggies, capping off the meal with what became our daily ritual of a cone from Wafelbergen for dessert.
The next day, we explored a few shops featuring Danish design. I’ve loved Royal Copenhagen’s classic blue fluted porcelain since I was a teenager (and received a set of dishes as a wedding present!), and it was fun visiting their flagship store and discovering an array of designs that they don’t offer in the states. Next we wandered the many floors of Illums Bolighus, Copenhagen’s most famous department store which is like taking a crash course on Scandinavian aesthetics. I especially loved the black and brass fixtures in their lighting section. Other fantastic stores in the area include: Ganni (women’s clothing), Jane Kong (delicate jewelry), Rue Verte A/S (furniture) and Tage Anderson (art).
Two other highlights of the trip were DOP hot dogs and celebrating Sam’s birthday with a tasting menu at Höst. Two separate blogger friends, Cait and Carlene, had both raved about their meals at Höst, and the 5 course tasting menu blew us away! (Though they sneak in so many amuse bouches that it was way too much food and I would recommend going with the 3 course menu – you’ll still leave very full and happy!)
Copenhagen was even more magical than I expected, and the Danes sure know beautiful design. A visit to Copenhagen makes you wonder why every city isn’t as well designed and tidy!
All photos by David and Stacie Flinner for stacieflinner.com