For a long time we wished to visit Copenhagen. And we wished to do it especially in summer because to us Nordic wind doesn’t sound like the loveliest thing. Finally, we managed to plan our travel in July. We decided going by bus as it would feel more like a road trip, and it is of course less pricy than flying. It was a 12 hour trip from Dusseldorf to Copenhagen, including two breaks plus a 50 minute ferry journey from Fehmarn Island to Denmark. When in Denmark, the bus continues to Copenhagen and it takes 2 hrs to reach København H – the central station.
The bus ride was relatively long but not boring at all – we had our books, wifi, crackers, drinks, and all those beautiful scenes of the sunset and sunrise during the trip. When we arrived in Copenhagen with the first lights of the day, we head off to our Airbnb flat located in Nørrebro – where we felt home just after we stepped in.
After a couple of hours sleep we were ready to scout. Here comes our first recommendation: when in CPH, rent bikes. Bikes simply rule the streets and cycling is the easiest and cheapest way to get around (10-12 € per day). The city is perfectly arranged for cyclers – it has huge bike roads, even a famous bike highway. Hungry enough to have a Danish breakfast, we followed one of the recommendations of our Airbnb host’s and went to Cafe Gavlen. With its thick wooden tables and chairs, quiet atmosphere, and friendly staff this cafe is a place to be. We had two different small breakfasts from the menu – both were delicious and not small and actually kept us until the early evening.
Stomachs happy, we cycled through the old port of Copenhagen – Nyhavn. Luckily it was sunny from time to time so we could enjoy the colors even better. This part of the city is for sure the most touristic one, with many people around, restaurants, street musicians, etc. Depending on your understanding of traveling, you could love it, or could prefer to feel more local getting lost in backstreets. For us, the latter has always sounded more charming.
Leaving the old port – we passed the bridges on bike and went across the other part of the city to visit Christianshavn – the infamous Freetown Christiania. Founded in 1971 by young artists and squatters, this area is an autonomous neighborhood – a.k.a. a free zone with about 850 residents in it. Formerly a mislay base, the area is now considered as a large commune that is regulated by its own special law. It is a definitely worth-to-see place which is inhabited by hippies, artists, anarchists, feminists – namely the Christianites. Most barracks and buildings are covered by multicolored murals. There is a Pusher Street inside, which is also named as Green Light District by the inhabitants. We were a bit surprised to see how openly the dealers were trying to promote perhaps 30 different kinds of hashish. Although Cannabis is officially illegal in Denmark, it is apparently tolerated by authorities to sell it just in Christiania. Well, in all fairness – Christiania is a perfect solid example of diversity, mutual respect, and individual freedom.
The second day, after seeing an exhibition of typography in Den Frie we visited The Little Mermaid. It was nice to see the sculpture itself however we could not stay much around due to the crowd of tourists competing to take pictures with the mermaid. Shortly after we visited Kastellet, the 17th century pentagram-shaped fortress that mainly serves as a public park today. It is pretty big, green, and clean – perfect for jogging.
In the afternoon we chose to be more local and hung around our neighborhood – Nørrebro. It is a very hip area of Copenhagen with many nice cafes and bars, design stores, and bike shops. Average age range – we’d say – is between 25-35. It is not surprising to hear English everywhere as the neighborhood is quite international. People around are easy-going enough to come closer and have small, spotaneous talks with you. In just three days, Jægersborggade managed to be our favorite street in Nørrebro. Our hotspot recommendations: The Coffee Collective for a great coffee, Meyers Bageri for the most heavenly taste Tebirkes (Danish pastry), Mikkeller & Friends for 40 different types of beer, Assistens Kirkegård park for greenspace activities. Perhaps you’d also like to try the best cheesecake ever? In that case your destination should be Røde Roses Kaffebar!
On our last day in Denmark, we decided to pay a short visit Malmö. By train it takes half an hour to go there, return ticket around 10 €. It was Sunday and really cold, so we could stay just a couple of hours to see around and came back to CPH already in the early afternoon. We did’t eat anything in Malmö to be able to try more than one Smørrebrød (the traditional Danish open sandwich) at our belated lunch. Our destination was Øl & Brød by Mikkeller located in the Vesterbro neighborhood close to the central station. The name of the restaurant literally means Beer & Bread in English. It is a small restaurant (around 8-9 tables inside) with a back-to-basic design; there’s a lot of wood used in the interior, tiny candles and fresh flowers on tables, some illustrative artworks on the wall. And when it comes to food – these guys are amazing. We tried 2 different smørrebrød’s each, which should be completed with one of the draft beers they offer. Every bite was unbelievably tasty. Fair warning though – their modern touch to the traditional ends up with such an artistic presentation that we seriously stopped and watched the plates for a while before eating them up!
All in all – Copenhagen has a great young soul where you can feel yourself comfortable, simple, easy – and happy. We cannot wait to plan our next trip there and to discover much more about this beautiful city!
G & M