Get Happy in Copenhagen
Before you check out the foodie scene, check out some of the culture. The Ny Calsberg Glyptotek is home to the private art collection of Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of Carlsberg Breweries, or discover more Danish history at the National Museum of Denmark in the city’s centre. Take a peek behind the scenes of the Danish Royal Family at the Amalienborg Palace in Frederiksstaden, the city’s 18th century rococo district, and don’t miss the 17th century Round Tower. Built by Christian IV at a time when Denmark was famous for its astronomical achievements, the observatory at the top of the tower is still in use today and the outdoor platform offers magnificent views over old Copenhagen. Rosenberg Castle, also built by Christian IV as his summerhouse, features 400 years of royal treasures, the Crown Jewels and plenty of royal regalia, all surrounded by the stunning King’s Gardens. For quirky art spaces head to Cisternerne, buried deep beneath Søndermarken, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (a leading international art museum), whilst Nikolaj Kunsthal is not a church, it’s a modern art gallery in disguise.
Originally a commercial port, Nyhaven is one of Copenhagen’s most iconic sights and the place where many locals, instead of sailors, head for a post-work beer. The colourful old houses have been renovated and restaurants dominate the waterside. The famous fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen used to live at number 20 Nyhaven and it’s where he wrote the fairytales ‘The Tinderbox’, ‘Little Claus and Big Claus’, and ‘The Princess and the Pea’.
Strøget is one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets at 1.1km, where you’ll find a heady mix of big brand names mixed with small independent and high street favourites. Make sure you explore the many side streets leading off the main drag here where you’ll find some of Copenhagen’s main attractions, including the Church of Our Lady, the Court House at Nytorv and the Stork Fountain in Amagertory Square, all tucked between the shops.
After all that you’ll have earnt a rest in one of the city’s many bistros or one of the 15 Michelin-starred restaurants which are scattered across Copenhagen. Scan the stalls of nearby Broens Gadekokken for a casual pit stop, or head to the market at Torvehallerne near the station for freshly made Danish delicacies.
Spend the afternoon exploring the revamped waterfront or hire a boat for an hour or two and take to the waterways which thread through the Christianshavn district of the city, and don’t miss the famous Little Mermaid statue on her rock on the waterside at Langelinie Promenade. Most of the city’s hotels have bikes to hire and that is definitely one of the best ways to get around this fascinating city. Cycle to the west of the city where the once run down district of Vesterbro is now crammed with cool cafés, bars and restaurants.
Whatever you do, as night falls, head for the Tivoli Gardens, the city’s famous park which comes into its best life as fairy lights and lanterns light up the dark. The Tivoli Food Hall has 15 must-visit food stalls, or pull up a seat in one of the park’s restaurants. If you are here for Halloween, so much the better.
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Noma is the restaurant that turned Denmark into a foodie destination. Flying the flag for what is known as the New Nordic Kitchen, legendary three Michelin-starred Noma promises a true culinary experience, but as one of the world’s most popular restaurants you’ll need to book months in advance to get a table here, (but it will be worth the wait). Refshalevej 96
Kadeau is a two Michelin-starred restaurant with a multi-course menu. The chefs are on display in the show kitchen here and the team are totally passionate about ingredients which hail from Bornholm, where they have a sister restaurant (the original), and are dried, cured, preserved, smoked and pickled to maximum effect. Wildersgade 10B
Exposed brick walls and mid century Danish furniture set the scene at award-wining Host, serving affordable but delicious dishes in the neighbourhood of Nansensgade, close to the Lakes in Copenhagen. Boldly flavoured, contemporary interpretations of classic Nordic cuisine are the order of the day, such as beef tenderloin with asparagus and morels, and fried Norwegian lobster. Nørre Farimagsgade 41
This modern gastro temple is ruled by one of Copenhagen’s most renowned kings of smørrebrød (the traditional open sandwich made with rye bread), Adam Aamann. Expect some of the best smørrebrød in town but also gourmet dishes that leave the ryebread out, prepared with ingredients you probably know, but in flavour combinations you probably don’t. Niels Hemmingsens Gade 19–21
The fairytale Nimb Hotel is in the Tivoli Gardens and its Moorish arches and towers hide what are stunning contemporary interiors, complete with crystal chandeliers and towering floral arrangements. All 38 rooms are a clever blend of Danish design, art, antiques and high-tech touches, and there’s a rooftop pool if the autumn sun shows its face. In fact there’s no need to leave this haven of luxury as there’s a cocktail bar, café, brasserie and restaurant all on-site. Bernstorffgade 5
Next door to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum, Copenhagen’s newest hotel’s restored period features include a grand marble staircase and ornamental mouldings, contrasting with modern light fittings, stark concrete and black leather. Rooms are stylish and there’s a basement gym and spa with a marble-lined cold water plunge pool, and a well-thought-of restaurant and buzzy bar on-site too. Niels Brocks Gade 1