One of the best parts about living in London for me is the opportunities it provides to travel. With most continental European destinations only a short flight away, London is ideally located to allow for short weekend city breaks. Both of us being fond of a cheeky weekend away, my husband and I try and squeeze these in every chance we get, always looking out for good deals to venture to a city we have not visited before. Copenhagen was the destination for our most recent weekend escapade. We had booked it in a couple months ago, planning for our time there to coincide with the annual Christmas markets around the city. And so, on a Friday evening after work, we dashed off to Gatwick airport to catch our flight and a short one and half later, we were chilling in Copenhagen.
Our arrival in the city was somewhat chilly despite our best efforts to pack layers and go armed for the winter weather. We had luckily opted to stay in a hotel a short walk away from Copenhagen Central Station and some of the city’s main attractions. Unfortunately, while the very first snowfall of the season that begun on Saturday was magical to witness, the walkways were quickly covered in icy sludge which meant that we didn’t get to explore quite as much of the city as I had hoped.
We spent a fair amount of time eating good food and warming ourselves up with lots of coffee breaks. We stumbled across a few small kebab shops on Stroget, the pedestrianised street most renown for shopping. Some of these displayed halal signs in the window; however we discovered that alcohol was served on the premises and opted for a trusty old falafel pita instead. As we soon realised, Copenhagen has no shortage of good food from eateries serving local specialities to international cuisine. A friend recommended the Royal Smushi cafe, an eclectic design cafe serving up smushi – an inspired fusion of the traditional Danish smorrebrod (open faced sandwich) and sushi. Sushi sandwich, you say? Truly the best of both worlds! Followed by the french toast smothered in berries and walnuts, an absolute treat for my tastebuds.
Given the rather frosty weather, we chose to see the main sights from a heated boat tour on the canal at Nyvahn. The picturesque Nyvahn waterfront area is lined with charming buildings in colourful facades and was probably my favourite part of the city. Kind of like Amsterdam in technicolour.
If you happen to visit Copenhagen in the winter while the Christmas markets are on, I can’t recommend Tivoli Gardens enough. The world’s second oldest amusement park and thought to have inspired Disneyworld, the peak season is typically the summer. However, over Christmas, Tivoli Gardens is transformed into an authentic winter wonderland unlike any other I’ve seen before. Yes, it might be so cold that you lose feeling in your toes and the rollercoasters are probably out of the question but it really is magical all lit up.
Given that I have a mildly unhealthy obsession with Ikea, a trip to a Scandinavian destination would not be complete for me without a browse at some of the design stores dotted across Copenhagen. We spent a couple of hours window shopping and marvelling at the contemporary, uncomplicated and aesthetically pleasing interiors and design accessories on Stroget.
It was my first visit to a Scandinavian destination and so I wasn’t sure what to expect but Copenhagen did not disappoint. With its impressive architecture, modern design, delicious food and some of the happiest people I have ever encountered, it has something for everyone.
Without doubt, my biggest takeway was a Danish concept called Hygge, for which there is no direct English translation. Hygge is essentially the idea of creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying good times with good people. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Explains why the Danish are so happy! We could all do with a little more Hygge in our lives. I think my idea of Hygge is probably being under the duvet on a frosty morning having a lie in. What’s yours?