A TRAVEL DIARY: HOW TO SPEND 4 ENCHANTING DAYS IN COPENHAGEN (WHAT TO SEE, EAT & DO)

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We were 5 seconds from officially landing in Copenhagen and looked at each other in disbelief. What the hell were we doing there?!

You see, this was the very first time my sister (aka travel buddy) and I were actually visiting a whole new country where we didn’t know a single person. This was a HUGE risk-taking feat for us millennial Caribbean girls who were 5076.41 miles from home (and that’s air travel boo!). We’d never done anything like this before.

So bes’ believe, as the plane was landing, we were FREAKING OUT!

But two weeks prior to this moment, your girl was sitting at her laptop, masterminding 5 incredible days in Copenhagen, as if I were a travel pro.

My simple one page Word Doc morphed into a literal ancient scroll of potential places to visit and restaurants to stuff our faces. Talk about orgasmic research!

 Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I receive a small amount of compensation for my book addiction, at no cost to you. I only write about what I am passionate about and have personally used or experienced in my own life so that I can add maximum value to yours!

It didn’t help that my sudden adventurous lust for this beautiful city of Copenhagen, which is located within the Danish island of “Zealand” (yass hunni, I’ve got your back with the historical facts and figures!), was originally fed by the Danish book, “The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well” by Meik Wiking which I completely devoured like a hungry tiger earlier this year.

Unfortunately for us English-speaking folk, there is no literal translation for Hygge (pronounced “hyoo-guh”), but the English translation has been described as “coziness”. Hygee goes way beyond cosiness, though girlfriend.

It is a way of life. It is about living in and enjoying the present moment. It is about enjoying life’s simple pleasures. It is about comfort. It is about making the ordinary things in life meaningful. It is a lifestyle that naturally brings peace, calm, joy and happiness to its participants.

Wow! That was a mouthful, I know. But we can all do with some hygge in our lives, especially with the panic, fear and grief engulfing the world right now! Amiright?!

Equipped with a desire to experience that phenomenon called hygge, and all those other lust-worthy adventures written on my scroll, I was ready to bounce!

With zero foresight of the freak-out that was to come. My plan was loose, however. No strict rules or itinerary because I wanted to leave the most room for going wherever the wind blew me.

This means that we didn’t get to see or do everything on our list. BUT alas, I still mention some noteworthy adventures I’d have totally 100% jumped on if I had more time.

Maybe you can tick some of those off your bucket list one day and tell me all about it instead.

But for real, landing and actually spending 4 days in Copenhagen proved that the Danes really are amongst the happiest people in the world. Yes, it obviously helps that they are among the most sophisticated, wealthiest and best educated citizens of the EU according to research (that would make ANYONE happy), but the Danes are also the most humble, authentic, chill people you can ever meet.

And you don’t even have to take my word for it; go see for yourself.

They gave me a hunger to explore more of Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia. For sure I will explore deeper on my next return so that I can share even more of this beautiful country with you wonderful goddesses.

Below you’ll find a very honest account of my incredible 4 day summer travel experience spent in Copenhagen 2019.

But before we dive in, don't forget to grab your FREE “Post-Pandemic” Travel-Packing Checklist – a handy dandy tool to get you perfectly prepped for your next adventure!

The Ultimate Post-Pandemic Travel Packing Checklist

Also, beware! Make sure you get comfy, grab a bag of popcorn or some chips, and your fave beverage to sip on, because this is a hella LONG one! Hope you enjoy this account of my experiences in beautiful Copenhagen, and that it inspires you to visit on your post-pandemic travels once COVID-19 is behind us. Be safe beauties! Sending you much love!

THE PERFECT TIME

Soo…I’ll start off by saying that of course anytime is a great time to visit Copenhagen! But ultimately, it depends on the individual (that’s you) and the type of travel experience a person wishes to have.

If outdoor activities are your jam, then Spring or Summer may be best for you.

If you prefer less crowds of tourists, then Spring, Autumn or Winter are ideal.

If you want the full festive hygge holiday experience then going between November – December during the Winter season is a must.

In true tropical spirit, my sister and I went in early June thinking that it was going to be sunny and warm. Babe – it wasn’t! But it turned out to be the most ideal time! Why? Well the crowds were not overwhelming yet as high season hadn’t yet approached, it wasn’t as cold as winter or as warm as the hot summer months, and the rainy weather held up perfectly, falling mainly at night.

But to be honest with you, after reading “The Little Book of Hygge” (review coming soon), I’d luurve to visit towards the end of November to fully immerse myself in the Danish Christmas markets, the warm cozy feeling of hygge and the fairytale magic of Christmas at the beautiful Tivoli Gardens.

What a completely different trip that would be – but so wonderful in its own unique way!

So go with your gut. The perfect time to visit Copenhagen is whenever it feels right for you.

Now…moving on to accommodation.

THE PERFECT ACCOMMODATION

If you’re a budget-friendly traveller who doesn’t want to blow her bank account but still wants to be in the heart of everything, then the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel is THE ONE baby!

Image Courtesy TripAdvisor

This location saves you time and money because you are literally walking or biking distance to many of Copenhagen’s hotspots like the ones you’ll be reading about below. I’d tell you more here but if you really want to know what the hostel is like then you can read all about it right here.

This way we were able to avoid having to purchase the Copenhagen Card that many visitors buy; and still easily experience many of the top attractions in the city. With only 4 days to spend in Copenhagen, a small list of the main sites we wished to see, and the option to explore on foot (plus the fact that my sister is so not the biggest fan of museums or historical artifacts – smh I have no idea how we're related), it wasn’t cost-effective or desirous for us.

You can book your stay at the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel here.

But I know, I know – not everyone is a fan of basic backpacker budget hostels, so try other accommodation options like:

1. The Urban House Copenhagen

2. Nimb Hotel Copenhagen

3. Steel House Copenhagen

4. The Andersen Boutique Hotel

5. Ibsens Hotel

6. Hotel D’Angleterre

7. Hotel SP34

8. Comfort Hotel Vesterbro

They are all stylish, boutique, and GORG! But girl, hotel stays in Copenhagen are not the most affordable. This is one of the richest cities in the world. So, depending on your budget, find a great list of accommodation options for you here on this really good blog post I found.

THE PERFECT TRANSPORTATION

But just in case you’re wondering, let me backtrack a little and tell you about the Copenhagen Card. The Copenhagen Card is only worth it if you plan to curate an activity-packed itinerary. It includes 87 museums and attractions, free public transportation, and eateries – but arguably, for a slow-travel lover like me, I just feel like it takes away the joy of slow exploration and immersion in one place. But if you want to pack as much into your time there as possible, cards can be purchased for 24, 48, 72 or 120 hour stints for both adults and children.

At the time of publishing this, the 24h Copenhagen Card costs 54 euros for adults whilst the 120h costs 133 euros. To know more, you can find all the nitty gritty details right here.

You know I've got you!

If one day you decide that the Copenhagen Card is exactly what you need for your visit, you can either get a digital card you can download and use right on your smartphone, or you can get a physical copy. For the physical copy, this is exactly what you should do:

1. Buy the Copenhagen Card in advance

2. Take your receipt to a kiosk at the airport

3. Wait, as they’ll hand you your CC right there – easy peasy!

If, however, you plan to visit Copenhagen’s surrounding areas as well, you’ve gotta get your hands on a 24h all-zone ticket or a Citypass here. You can read more about these great budget-friendly options here.

And, for my adventuresome, roadtripping ladies, if you’re confident about driving in a different country, you can rent a car here and drive as far and wide as you choose. In this way of travel, you really witness the undiscovered visitor-free parts of a country.

Give me a shout sometime and let me know if these transportation nuggets help.

Now…onto Day 1…

RELATED READ: How To Spend 2 Action-Packed Days In Prague (The Perfect Bucket-list Weekend Itinerary + Travel Tips)

WHAT TO SEE + DO

Arrival / Day 1: Magstræde ǀ DIY Walking Tour ǀ Friday Night Party

This simple itinerary works perfectly for early arrivals on a weekend into Copenhagen okay.

The immigration process in Denmark was very easy, quick and straightforward. We were asked two questions:

1. Where are you staying?

2. How long are you staying for?

That was it! Before we knew it we were ready to head out of the airport. But of course we had to pose for pictures to announce our arrival into a new country and a new adventure.

Getting transportation to our hostel was quite tricky for us, however. As two Caribbean girls in Scandinavia for the first time ever, we felt like lost puppies trying to figure out how to get travel cards to take public transport. Best believe!

We were literally confusedcluelessperplexed…especially as first timers travelling to a strange country on our own without a clue of how the systems worked there.

Dealing with navigating a brand new environment…translating a new language…and being forced to ask for help because we couldn’t naturally figure it out ourselves, was an unexpected challenge!

In the end, we figured out our way out of the airport (although we embarrassingly made an entire circle by walking the long way out of the airport through the train station and up what felt like 100 steps – WITH SUITCASES, just to get to the taxi area, all because we couldn’t properly understand the layout of the airport, the language and how to organize transport tickets – ugh!). We got ourselves a cab (expensive cab…never do this!) and made our way into downtown Copenhagen (there’s no Uber in Copenhagen girlies! *tears*).

Due to the intense traffic on the day we arrived (I kept watching that cab meter CLIMB!!), the journey itself cost us approx. 200 DKK (approx. USD$30). I almost cried girl.

But once we stood outside of the hostel with our bags, that price immediately fluttered its wings out of my head.

Only problem was, we arrived at around 11am and our check-in wasn’t until 3pm, so we had no choice but to kill time.

How did we do this?

In true Caribbean style, we went to find something to eat! One thing about the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel is that it is perfectly central to errything! Just next door there was a restaurant called Bronx Burger (more on this restaurant later), so we slid into it with all of our luggage and big appetites as we hadn’t eaten since we left Heathrow in the early morning hours.  

Once 3pm came around, we checked into our private hostel room and proceeded to plan the rest of our day.

We were so exhausted by our early rise, flight and having to kill time that our energy was limited so we didn’t want to do too too much until the following day when we were fresh.

In that spirit of wanting to go slow and just chill, I pulled out my scroll of potential activities; and as luck would have it, Magstræde (pronounced: mayg-strad) was literally adjacent to the hostel. It was the view we had at Bronx Burger and we hadn’t even realized. So we started there.

1. Magstræde

Regardless of your location, a great place to begin your explorations around Copenhagen would be Magstræde.

Situated just off the Gammel Strand canal that encircles Christiansborg Castle, this beautiful, quaint, narrow street is one of the oldest, if not THE oldest street in the Old Town of Copenhagen. With its original cobbled streets, and colourful buildings (some dating back to the 18th century) you will literally travel back into the distant past.

But if you’re looking for stylish cafés and bars here, don’t bother! From what I saw, the best you can truly enjoy is a yummy slice of pizza at Gorm’s.

Instead, we easily spent over 1 hour here just taking pictures of ourselves with the beautiful colours. But we weren’t the only ones having our very own photo shoot – there were countless others! Magstræde is actually one of the most photographed streets in Copenhagen, if not Denmark.

For any lovely ladies wishing to engulf themselves in colourful Scandinavian buildings, traipse through old cobbled streets, and perfect the perfect photo ops, I highly recommend Magstræde for cultural immersion.

Funny enough, when researching and writing about it, I discovered that many travel bloggers chose to leave Magstræde out of their top places to see, but I beg to differ. If you want to give your IG a facelift and become the envy of your friends, you need to walk through this street.

2. DIY Canal Walking Tour

After Maegstrade we were soooo ready to see more!

So we embarked upon our very own walking tour around the downtown area.

From the hostel, we walked the length of Magstræde and ended up along the Gammel Strand canal and marvelled at all of the boat tours and private boats sailing down the water.

In one word, we were mesmerized.

This “canal culture” was something we had always heard about but never experienced before so we were living for it!

If you’ve never seen anything like this, we suggest you take some time to really soak up the beauty before you – from day 1.

In the end, not feeling to do anything besides process the reality of us being in Copenhagen, we found ourselves on a bench facing the canal and just soaked up the atmosphere.

This was also the point where we began to process that among the Danish, we were the only 2 coloured women / people we could see around us. We were shook! The droves of international tourists hadn’t yet arrived for high season so we stuck out like sore thumbs! It was such an interesting discovery, but we could not care less.

3. Friday Night Party!

After approx. 2h spectating the boats sailing past on the water (yes, 2h. Fun Fact: I’m a sucker for BOAT LIFE! Who would have thought that boat watching was addictive?!), we headed back to the Downtown Hostel (CDH).

At CDH, every Friday night there’s a party girl. So not wanting to miss out on that of course, we freshened up and made our way back into the lounge area that transformed into the hottest dance floor in town.

The lights were dimmed, the multi-coloured splendour of disco balls were dancing on the walls, the doors were closed, music was blaring through the stereos, trying to compete with the loud voices of Friday night patrons, and young people were filing in by the droves.

That night we danced, we socialized and we made new friends. It was better than I could have expected.

Image Courtesy Booking.com

If you’re not into hanging out at a hostel but still want to go out to a fun place on a Friday or Saturday night in Copenhagen, here are 6 more top options for you to check out.

Jolene

KB3

Culture Box

Jazzhus Montmartre

Nemoland

Kasen

NOHO

PS Bar & Grill

Key Notes (Or What I Wish I Knew Before Going)

Be prepared to answer any potential questions at immigration, especially accommodation & purpose of visit

Please ask for help or directions if you feel lost and unsure of next steps

Choose public transportation over taxi because taxis in Copenhagen are quite expensive & public transportation is actually easier than our amateur minds thought.

If taking a cab, ensure you have exact cash or use card (you can, and possibly will be ripped off if you pay in cash and they give you change but you’re not able to understand the money immediately if you haven’t researched it beforehand – happened to us!)

If you plan to stay at a hostel and you value your privacy, book a private room – you’d feel most comfortable.

RELATED READ: A Travel Diary: How To Spend 3 Magical Days In Paris (Beginner's Guide To A Bucket-list Summer Itinerary + Travel Tips)

Day 2: Christianshavn Canal & Church of Our Saviour

It’s day 2, and time for a lovely, picturesque 15 min walk to Christianshavn (pronounced: Christians-hown) Canal for beautiful pictures overlooking the canal.

1. Christianshavn Canal

We stumbled upon this canal on our way to the Church of Our Saviour and met two lovely ladies who took our pictures for us.

And boy, let me tell you, this canal oozes history! It was the genius idea of King Christian IV aka the great builder of Copenhagen (1577-1648) who ruled Denmark and Norway from 1588-1648 to found Christianshavn on the isle of Amager, and its adjoining maze of canals from 1617-1622. Yes, Christianshavn is a man-made, artificial island. What’s more, it was designed in the image of Amsterdam!

Why? Well basically the King had a strong ambition to develop Denmark into a major Naval power in the 17th century, so this canal was erected to protect the fleet of the Royal Danish Navy which docked at the harbour entrance called ‘Holmen’ (which is now a gentrified, old naval area), and to increase trading with foreign merchants.

Today, the Christianshavn neighbourhood, with its cross-section of canals dominating the city, is home to the most nautical atmosphere in Copenhagen. It’s a bustling, diverse, trendy part of the city with its own unique flair.

FUN FACT: Residents refer to themselves as Christianshavners first, and as Copenhageners second.

It is also home to a multitude of tourist attractions such as the Copenhagen Opera House, The Royal Danish School of Architecture, Freetown Christiana, and of course the Church of our Saviour (which we’re going to next!)

2. Church of our Saviour

Sankt Annæ Gade 29, Christianshavn, Copenhagen 1416, Denmark

After basking in the beauty of Christianshavn Canal, we proceeded to walk another 5 mins to the Church of our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke).

Imagine our surprise when we arrived and discovered that before us there was a long line of people waiting to enter the church with its 800 step steeple. The line was so long it was almost spilling over onto the side walk.

This magnificent church is one of Denmark’s most distinguished. It is a baroque church most famous for its helix spire with an external, anti-clockwise, winding staircase that can be climbed to its zenith, and offers the most beautiful panoramic 360 views of Copenhagen.

Since Christianshavn was originally intended to be an independent merchant’s town on the isle of Amager, King Christian IV decided that it needed its own church. Thus began the construction of the present Church of Our Saviour in 1682. Inaugurated in 1695, it took approximately 70 years before the Church was complete with its altar (1732) and spire (1752).

We waited for what felt like – or what was – an hour till we got inside and began our journey up those 400 (yes, you read that right) narrow, winding stairs.

Imagine, over 60,000 people climb these flights of stairs annually! (When will you be one of them?)

Before us and behind us were lines of other people, eager to get to the lookout at the top, from a variety of different countries – Spaniards, French, Italians to name a few. Their languages and accents were melting fluidly into one another. A perfect linguistic orgy that made me wish I was fluent in every one.

Truthfully, I’m not sure how long it took us to get to the top but after a slow but intense climb up the steps, and a few pauses to catch my breath and slow down my heartbeat, it was COMPLETELY worth it!

The stairs lead from the church’s entrance to the globe and Christ figure at the top of the spire. He stands on top of the golden globe and keeps watch over the Royal City of Copenhagen.

But be warned, the last 150 steps are on the outside – which, to be honest, was both frightening and exhilarating at the same time. So if you know you’re afraid of heights, those last 150 windy steps are not for you. You’ll just be missing out on one of the most breath-taking views 😉

After these views, you’d think that the hard part was over but nope! Girl, on the way back down my knees were shaking like crazy! Not sure if it was from the cold or the altitude or the excessive climbing of stairs but my poor legs were trembling.

We made our way back down, though, and as our reward, headed for crepes and waffles at the cutest dessert shop next to the church.

When researching for this post I realized a stunning factor, however – every other travel blogger talks mainly or only about climbing the Round Tower (Rundetaarn) and its panoramic views. But we climbed this one instead, with absolutely no regrets, so I’m making sure you know of your options.

Make sure to add the Church of our Saviour to your Copenhagen travel bucketlist. The Rundetaarn (pronounced: roon-de-tarn) has been preached about enough. It’s always good to pave your own path and try something different or new.

Key Notes (Or What I Wish I Knew Before Going)

Make sure to wear a jacket before heading to the top of Christ Church because that chilly wind is unreal

Go early to avoid the lines

Massage & stretch your legs before you climb every one of those stairs & beware that they may still tremble on the way down.

Day 3: Nyhavn & Stromma Boat Cruise

1. Nyhavn

1-71, Indre By, Copenhagen 1051, Denmark

Now this day was a special day. I can attest to the fact that seeing Nyhavn (pronounced: knee-hown) in person beats any image of it on Instagram or a postcard. The journey to get there from CDH was approximately a 25min walk via Citymapper by the way. If you don’t mind walking or cycling, you’d love the views on your way there.

When I caught my first glimpse of those multi-coloured houses I was filled with so much excitement – and you will too.

However, on the day that we went in June the streets were filled with marathon runners and participants who took to the streets to participate in a Royal Run to celebrate the Prince’s birthday.

So, as you could probably imagine, there was barely any room to walk freely amid the runners and cyclists.

However, that didn’t deter us one bit.

Originally, Nyvavn (or New Harbour) was a busy port for sailors and ships from all over the world over 400 years ago. Again, as part of King Christian IV’s naval ambitions for Copenhagen, he constructed this harbour from 1670-1675 with the expert help of Swedish prisoners of war (Dano-Swedish War 1658-1660).

Extending itself from the old inner city at Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square) to the harbour front, this district was intended to be a gateway to the sea where ships, cargo, sailors and fishermen all congregated.

However, it was well-known for being like the Red Light District of Copenhagen – a hub for alcohol, prostitutes and entertainment for sailors at home.

Today, it is such a beautiful place.

I marvelled at the beautiful reflections of those brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and buildings on the water and fully enjoyed seeing some historical wooden ships docked at the harbour. 

Along every length of this canal there is a different backdrop for you to enjoy in your photos.

On its northern, sunnier side, the habour and its side streets are lined with a multitude of the brightly-coloured townhouses (the oldest – #9 – dates back to 1681), and bars and restaurants which keep the area vibrant and buzzing with the ceaseless energy of locals and tourists alike.

At the southern side, you’ll find lavish mansions lining the border, including the Charlottenborg Palace at the corner of Kongens Nytorv.

Here at Nyhavn is where we saw the most tourists from all over the world, of all creeds, races and ethnicities. It felt good to finally blend in.

We mixed in with the melee of tourists and locals, all trying to locate the best photo spots along the port.

We even spotted love locks hidden in the most unexpected locations.

Dotted along the water, there were even musicians serenading restaurant patrons with saxophones, violins and their beautiful vocals.

With so much to see, do, eat, explore, enjoy and discover, you’ll literally be spoiled for choice.

Spending a day at Nyhavn is one you will never regret or forget.

FUN FACT: Did you know that Nyhavn used to be home to the children’s author, Hans Christian Andersen? Yup! He lived in 3 homes along the water (#67, #18 and #20), but it was at #20 when he published his first volume of fairytales in 1835 like The Tinderbox, and the Princess and the Pea.

My childhood fave has got to be the Princess and the Pea. What about you? Have you read any of his Children’s Books?

2. Stromma Boat Cruise

After satisfying ourselves with instagrammable Nyhavn photos, we decided to see the other highlights of Copenhagen via sea. We hopped on a 1h non-stop tour of the city by sea with Stromma Danmark.

On this boat tour we saw sights such as the literally “little” mermaid, the Circle Bridge, the Chinese restaurant on the sea, the Royal Danish Playhouse, Amalienborg Palace and Christiansborg Palace, to name a few.

Girl, this was the perfect way for us to see the city without having to move our feet!

However, in early June it was still chilly. Imagine being on the sea and having a chilly sea breeze continually slap you in the face?!

Safe to say, we went from chilly to downright COLD.

So much so that my sister was shivering.

She went into the covering at the back of the boat in the end. However, I braved out the cold at the very front, determined to get as close and intimate as possible to every sight, despite the sprinkles of sea water splashing me in the face, determined to have me surrender.

After this freezing cold boat cruise, it’s safe to say that we found the nearest restaurant to warm up (and of course to sample the delicious seafood) before heading back to the CDH for an evening of relaxation.

Key Notes (Or What I Wish I Knew Before Going)

Regardless of time or season, always wear a jacket when on a boat tour

Always carry a coat / jacket / umbrella with you to Denmark – period

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Day 4 – The Strøget & Tivoli

1. Strøget

Address: Frederiksberggade, Copenhagen 1459, Denmark

Fuelled up on breakfast, we finally headed to the infamous Strøget (pronounced: strogh) on day 4, to see what beheld us there.

To our joy and surprise, this was just an 8 minute walk through some beautiful cobbled streets.

Stretching 1.1 km, Europe’s longest pedestrian-only, car-free shopping street is a sight for sore eyes.

Imagine pathways upon pathways of cobbled side streets, all lined with stores – from budget friendly to luxury.

That is what the Strøget is, and more.

I’ll be real with you – if you want to explore all of the Strøget, an area located in the centre of Copenhagen’s Old Town (a chain of five pedestrian streets (Frederiksberggade, Nygade, Vimmelskaftet, Amagertorv, and Østergade in that order), there is absolutely no way that you can explore the entirety of it in one day.

So be prepared to walk and wander (and maybe spend unnecessary money) a lot!

For those tired and hungry, there are also a multitude of restaurants in the Stroget to enjoy, along with souvenir shops and a beautiful water fountain in the middle of the square. This famous Storkespringvandet (Stork Fountain) symbolises the heart of the Strøget.

This is where we hung around the most.

On this world famous shopping street you’ll find a healthy mix of budget, boutique and luxury shops for you to shop to your heart’s content – but be careful, Copenhagen is expensive (at the time of writing, approximately 7 Danish Krone (DKK) will get you USD$1.00).

Budget travellers and bargain hunters should begin their shopping at the Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square) end of the Strøget where the budget-friendly stores reside. As you continue to stroll toward the other end (Kongens Nytorv), the prices begin to increase exponentially. You’ve been warned!

If you’re more of an explorer than a shopper, keep your eyes peeled for the Church of our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke) where the Danish Royal wedding took place, City Hall Tower, the Royal Danish Theatre, street musicians, and many art galleries and museums to enjoy.

When you’re tired of shopping or exploring, you can rest your tired arms and legs at one of its many eateries, from bakeries to 5-star restaurants.

2. Tivoli

Address: Tivoli A/S, Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 Copenhagen V, Denmark

If you’re thinking of leaving Copenhagen without visiting Tivoli Gardens, you’re crazy! And I say that in the nicest possible way. A trip to Copenhagen is incomplete without seeing the majesty of Tivoli.

Opened in 1843, this is the 2nd oldest amusement park in the world and the inspiration for Walt Disney World – if that’s not enough incentive to visit, even out of sheer curiosity, I don’t know what is.

From CDH to Tivoli literally took us approx. 8 minutes to get there on foot. But on arrival we realized that we had no Tivoli card to gain entrance. Again…unprepared. But the angels above took pity on us, and just as we were about to leave defeated, a kind American woman allowed us to get in on her Tivoli card.

So we manifested free entrance, which was amazing. However, if no kind American ladies allow you into Tivoli for free, I don’t want you to be unprepared like us. Find out what you need to do before you head to Tivoli here and here and here.

When we were there in early June, there was no line to get into the beautiful gardens and it wasn’t even that crowded inside so we had plenty of room to move freely.

Once inside, we understood why Tivoli is one of Copenhagen’s most magical, most visited, must-see spots.

Once you’re in the Gardens, you already have so much to see, eat and do that you may not even want to go on any rides.

Tivoli gives you a little bit of everything, from food stalls to souvenir shops to restaurants to park rides to concerts and shows, to amazing buildings and structures inspired by other nations such as India’s Taj Mahal and Asian pagodas. It really is an amazing atmosphere!

When we arrived, the sun was preparing to set, so we got the opportunity to see the incredible lights that illuminate the entire park. Just…beautiful.

We didn’t do any rides because my sister gets headaches every time, and rides aren’t fun alone. So I’m not an expert in what’s good.

Just know that after you pay to enter Tivoli, you also have to pay for every individual ride.

But if you’re in need of an adrenaline rush that consists of more than 3-4 rides, then you can purchase an Unlimited Ride Pass or a Companion pass for anyone riding with younger children who may not be able to ride on their own.

FUN FACT: the oldest amusement park is Bakken, located in Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen) – who would have thought the Danish were amusement park pioneers – certainly not me!

Key Notes (Or What I Wish I Knew Before Going)

Get yourself a Tivoli card before you go

Get yourself ride passes

Make sure to stay till dusk to see Tivoli light up

WHERE TO EAT

1. Bronx Burger Bar

Address: Vandkunsten 1, Copenhagen 1467, Denmark

Brunch

The chill, relaxed atmosphere of Bronx Burger Bar is definitely a great introduction to the food culture in Denmark. I highly recommend this as a breakfast / brunch / burger option whilst here.

For brunch on our first day, we had two scrumptious burgers and chatted non-stop about our disbelief at actually being in Copenhagen of all places.

Breakfast                                                                 

We had liked the Bronx Burger so much on day 1 that for ease and convenience we went there for breakfast / brunch every day of our trip.

Check out our breakfast pancakes!

2. The Union Kitchen

Address: Store Strandstræde 21, Copenhagen 1255, Denmark

The Union Kitchen is an easygoing bar, restaurant, and coffee shop along a Nyhavn sidestreet. My sister and I went there to have one of their signature personalised coffees you can see blasted all over their Instagram. This is a MUST!

This café serves personalised coffee with different types of sayings – from cute to ridiculously rude.

FYI: If you’re not a fan of curse words in your coffee, make sure to tell the bartender/barista, or else they’d just put whatever tickles their fancy.

3. Illum

Address: Østergade 52, Copenhagen 1001, Denmark

Lunch

Whilst we could have eaten at any other restaurant in the Strøget, research told me that heading to the Illum Rooftop for dinner was an experience we ought to have before we left.

To get to the rooftop, we took an elevator to the top floor of the Illum Shopping Centre – a huge building filled with luxury and designer brands.

There, you’d be spoiled for choice with a wide selection of wonderful food options from seafood to pasta to paleo-inspired dishes, there’s something for every taste there. But we were adamant about having that outside rooftop view so we waited over 15mins to be seated at Rossopomodoro to get views of Copenhagen’s historical architecture like this…

In addition to the views, the food was simply divine!!!

Hands down THE best food we had in Copenhagen. So delicious!

I had a personal pizza that was so tasty but so filing that it actually put me off pizza for over a month! My sister had a most scrumptious bowl of ravioli that was oh so good, and then we finished our meal off with the most ‘to-die-for’ panna cotta dessert we’ve ever had in our lives.

Safe to say, this oasis of tasty, well-seasoned, delicious, flavourful food was the perfect hidden heaven.

Just note, when you visit the Strøget, get to the Illum Rooftop before closing at 10pm!

Places to Visit Next Time:

Unfortunately, with just 4 days at our disposal, we found it difficult to see absolutely everything that we wanted to. So for my next Danish adventure, these are the main sights I am slotting into my itinerary:

  • Christiansborg Palace
  • Bornholm Island
  • Frederiksborg Castle
  • Museum of Natural History
  • Reffen Street Food
  • Rosenborg Castle
  • Freetown Christiania

Have you been to any of these? What are your thoughts?

Departure

Before we knew it, it was day 5 – the morning of our departure. It was time to pack our things and go. With hearts filled with joy and stomachs filled with food, we took one last look at our CDH surroundings – the backpackers lounging outdoors, the breakfast eaters, early-morning readers, and the laptop workers – before filing into a cab meant to take us back to the airport.

As we flew back to London (a mere 1.5h flight), I relished in the fact that we gave ourselves the permission to follow through on setting a travel goal and follow through with it. We took the risk and were ready for wherever it led us, although we were nervous as heck. But we did it anyway. We took action anyway.

Although we spent just 4 days there, I left knowing that Copenhagen is such a vibrant city! I WISHED I had booked for another 4 days so I could do more exploring, but as you can see, I’ve already got my itinerary ironed out for my next trip. I know next time I can easily stay for a whole week.

Overall, Copenhagen is an amazing travel destination. I am so happy I chose to be brave and visited somewhere new where I knew no one.

The city is so compact that it’s definitely the easiest European capital to navigate through. Its strong bike culture isn’t as crazy or severe as Amsterdam so I never felt like I was going to get run over. The people are so warm, friendly and welcoming. Plus, to my unexpected disbelief, Copenhagen had the best, most delicious food I’ve tasted in Europe. 

You easily immerse yourself in the laidback hygge lifestyle.

In one word, Copenhagen is magic.

Over To You…….

Have you ever been to Copenhagen? Is Copenhagen on your bucket-list?

Share all your Danish aspirations or experiences in the comments! I’d love to hear all about them!

[If you made it to the end of this, YOU ARE AMAZING! I love you and thank you so much for reading!]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shari Mitchell is a Personal Development, Wellness and Lifestyle Blogger (and certified Image Branding & Lifestyle Design Coach) who helps busy, ambitious, goal-oriented women accomplish their big hairy scary goals as quickly, enjoyably, productively and elegantly as possible…all without losing sight of or sacrificing the things and people that matter most (especially themselves). With her, women enjoy better life balance, STILL show up as world-class women living life on their own terms, get what they want out of life, and WIN. Click here to learn more…

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