The weekend before Christmas, we bundled up and headed to Copenhagen, a city we had heard a lot about throughout our design studies at university and through friends who had visited. We didn’t realise quite how much we would fall in love with that city and feel so instantly comfortable. Upon arrival to our cute Airbnb in a family neighbourhood, we felt welcomed by our hosts and their new baby who were about to head off on a Christmas trip themselves.
With a love for design, architecture and crafting we had planned on exploring the city, slowly, taking in the lifestyle and seeking out the ever popular principal of ‘hygge’, commonly defined as ‘cosiness’.
With our visit being so close to Christmas, homes, streets, cafes and shops were filled with twinkling white lights, Christmas trees and the most adorable Christmas gnomes.
On our first day, we decided to take the metro into the city centre to get our first taste of Copenhagen, we walked through Christianshavn, through the art quarter and headed for the Street Food Market to warm up. We must have spent at least 40 minutes deciding what to have because the food all looked so delicious and tasty. We settled for a shredded duck burger and shared a chocolate cheese cake for desert, it was perfect. The Market hall was filled with art, lights, various smells and flavours filled the air, it was bustling with atmosphere. We wish to have a venue like this close to home. It was great. We checked out the new Opera Theatre and a few boutiques along our way, and headed over the river to the Nyhavn Christmas Market. Since we had such an early flight, we decided to get some pasta and vegetables from the local supermarket and spent the evening cosied up in our apartment watching a movie.
On Saturday, we took the metro to the other side of the city, Kobenhavn, and meandered through the side streets towards the park surrounding the Castle in search of The Little Mermaid sculpture. Along our walk we drooled at all the homeware and antique shops, wishing we could buy loads of furnishings and dreaming of ways to get them back to the UK! It was a cold morning so we made a brief visit to the mermaid sculpture and read a little bit about its history in our favourite lonely planet pocket book. We had decided to visit just one museum on our visit and decided upon the Danish Design Museum which was next on our agenda. We arrived just in time as the doors opened and were so happy to get indoors to defrost and strip all our layers off.
We loved the design museum, we meandered slowly around, we particularly loved the Danish chair displays they have and the tunnel setting out the history of the chair and all the different styles that have been designed over time. The museum leads you around in a loop ending in the gift shop (Michael’s favourite) and the café (my favourite). We had a delicious lunch, I had a leek and potato soup which was served in a stylish glass tumbler with roasted pancetta and mushrooms on top and Michael had a beef sandwich with a tasty relish. We didn’t want to leave so we browsed the magazines that were on display. In the afternoon we wandered the shopping district, admiring all the trendy and designer boutiques and stopped off for a mid-afternoon snack and warm drink at a popular café.
In the evening we headed for the Tivoli Gardens which was like a magical fantasy world, we happened upon another food hall so grabbed a quick oven baked pizza for dinner. The Christmas displays at Tivoli Gardens were so fun and our cheeks were aching from grinning so much. I am not a fan of theme parks but I loved watching the vintage rides and loved the Christmas spirit that filled the air.
On our last full day, we rose early and walked through the neighbourhood of our apartment to the beach, we were surprised by how close the coast was to where we were living and loved the boardwalks over the natural marshes towards the sea. We felt like we were stepping into a Cereal or Kinfolk magazine, the tones were muted, with wooden jetties leading out to the water, reeds and grasses lining the shore – it all seemed so typically Scandinavian to us. As ever, Michael was eager to scout out a local Kastrup Sea Baths that he had noticed on the map. We passed some sort of triathlon on our walk along the coast which was fun to watch, despite the cold, men and woman of all ages were sprinting across the sand with their fancy bikes on their shoulders – brave, brave people! We loved the baths and were surprised to see a couple of ladies braving the icy cold waters! After our walk we were cold and craving breakfast so went to the recommended Holm bakery for a tasty brunch.
In the afternoon we wandered over to the Food Hall and Market again to browse the different stalls, the Architecture museum to browse their book shop and stopped off at a lovely little boutique we had spotted on our first day to buy a Christmas decoration to remind us of our trip and checked out the Church of Our Lady from the outside as it was sadly in use for an event.
For our final evening, we went ice skating at Frederiksberg Park, which, to our surprise, was a low key rink at the edge of the park filled with local families. For our final meal we headed to Sankt Annae (I think) for a lovely meal. Before heading back to our apartment for our final time, we wandered the eerily quiet city, over the bridge, and did a quick peak of the impressive Frederik’s Church.
We were so sad to leave early on Monday morning, we felt so instantly comfortable in Copenhagen and loved the way of live that we had experienced.
A few things I want to remember for the future:
- The way the parents cycled with their children in a bucket trailer attached to their front wheel, the children often wrapped in blankets snuggled in together, reading books – so, so sweet.
- The Gnome that we fell in love with and brought home as a memory of our trip and named Christianshavn – a running joke throughout our stay
- The wooden pig that we picked up from the Food Hall and Market near Tivoli Gardens and fondly named Hans – another running joke throughout our stay
- Being told off by the guards outside the Frederik’s Church for standing where we were and being so scared but laughing at the same time
- Finding the recycled market and the free workshop like a little cave of all things crafty
- Trying to remake the leek and potato soup on our return home for our Christmas Eve meal before heading out to Midnight Mass.
- The feeling of comfort and cosiness as we walked the neighbourhood of Amager, looking at all the homes lit up under the night sky with Christmas lights and candles.
- Admiring the houses and their wonderful roofs with green spaced surrounding all sides of their homes.
- Locking up of bikes anywhere and everywhere using a special wheel clamp clip
- The fashion, ooooh the fashion!
- The Metro which was always on time to the second and so clean
- Our attempts at pronouncing Danish words but making up our own instead and laughing about it
We would LOVE to visit Copenhagen again and venture out of the city, onto the mainland countryside. It is not often that I feel so comfortable in a new city that I imagine myself living and becoming well accustomed to the lifestyle.
A great trip with lots of special, festive memories.