Copenhagen: a story of mermaids, hipsters and hippies


Canal and bikes in summer

Copenhagen has become my second (actually, third) home in the last two years. My boyfriend lives here so I have to travel basically every month. Therefore, I could say that I got to know the city very well and I can admit that I am in love with the city, the food and the people here. If you’d like to experience a mix of culture and history, traditional food and casual drinks, outstanding design, hipster atmosphere and a hippie independent bastion, just to name some, Copenhagen is the place to be.

What first

When you arrive to Københavns Lufthavne (Danish for Copenhagen Airport), you will start feeling the city with the very unique smell of sausages that will welcome you to the “world’s happiest nation” (actually not anymore!), as the Carlsberg guys like to let everybody know with this big sign in the baggage claiming area:

Carlsberg happy country Denmark

“Welcome to the world’s happiest nation” sign in Copenhagen Airport

And after spending a couple of days in this city, you may understand why they are in the top 3 happiest countries in the world. So, once you get your baggage, you should go and take the metro, the train or the bus, depending on where you are staying. Public transportation in Denmark is very efficient but it is not the cheapest in the world, so if you think you are going to use it a lot (because you are not much into walking or the weather forecast says it is going be all rainy and windy), you may want to buy a 24 or 72-hour pass, which will cost you between 12 and 30 USD. If you prefer to walk or ride a bike, just get a single ticket to go to your hotel.

Cool places to visit in Copenhagen

Okay, so now you arrived to your hotel, dropped the baggage and maybe took a shower. What to do next? Well, if it is still daylight and the weather is acceptable, you should go to Nyhavn which is one of the most iconic places in Copenhagen (you’ll see many postcards with Nyhavn pictures!) and take one of the boat tours through the canals. It is a great way to know the city center from the very first day and then visit all the places you liked the most. Also, once you are back from your tour and if the weather is nice, you can grab a beer in one of the bars surrounding the Nyhavn and enjoy the views of the canal and the liveliness of the people around. Nyhavn is a very touristic place so you may expect high prices for food and drinks. If you prefer to save some money, you can also grab a sandwich and a beer from a cheaper place or supermarket and just sit by the canal and enjoy the sun (if you are lucky!). You will see many Danes doing the same, so don’t feel ashamed! If you are into architecture and want to be amazed by Nordic design, you may want to visit the Opera House and the Black Diamond Library, where you will also find art exhibitions and plays.

So now that you have visited some cultural places, you may want to have a break and relax a bit. Then, I recommend that you go to Freetown Christiania, in Christianianshavn (one of the most expensive and posh boroughs in Copenhagen, btw!). Some may think that Christiania’s main claim for tourists is hash and marihuana, but Christiania is more than that. There, you will find an oasis of peace where you can sit by the lake, drink a beer and relax. You will also find handcrafted hippie houses in hidden corners with vivid colors that will cheer your spirit. Depending on the day, you may also find live music or art exhibitions. This is a very special place to get lost and find all its secrets by your own, so I won’t spoil any surprises you may find in your way through Christiania.

Very close to this Freetown you will find another historical place you must visit: the Church of our Savior. It will just cost you 5 USD to climb to the top of the amazing spire. And even if it is freaking scary, the views from the top are just breathtaking! After visiting the church, if you have enjoyed the heights and you are a thrill seeker, you should definitely visit Tivoli. This theme park is full of beauty and magic and it will make you go back to your childhood. You can play the horse racing game, eat tons of candies or if you want to have even better views of the city and you are brave enough, you can try the Golden Tower! Finally, don’t forget the little mermaid! It is so small that you would even feel betrayed and disappointed after all the hype around her. But we have to admit that you have not been in Copenhagen if you have not seen the little mermaid, so you must go and take the picture with her!

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Eat, Drink, Shop

Now we are done with touristic places, let’s talk about important things: food, drinks and shopping! Strøget is the shopping street where you will find most of Copenhagen inhabitants walking around, especially if the weather is nice. If you have time, take a look at the shop Illums Bolighus to get to know the Nordic design in all levels. Regarding food, there are many many places you can go, but here’s my top 3:

    • Torvehallerne Market: you MUST go there. It is a very nice place in Nørreport and you can try the traditional Danish dish: smørrebrød (an unpronounceable word for most of mortals). Basically, it is an open sandwich, but these are so good! Most traditional smørrebrød are the ones with frikadelle (Danish meatballs) or rejer (shrimps). Close to the market you will find the lakes where you can have a nice walk.
    • Cafe Norden: you should definitely go there for the brunch. Don’t miss it or you will regret!
    • Flottenheimer: one of my favorite places in the city. I love the quesadillas and nachos there! You can also find typical Danish stuff like the open tuna or salmon sandwich which are also pretty good. They also have vegetarian choices in the menu.

And now for drinks, I suggest you to go:

    • Bar7: awesome cocktails and very nice atmosphere!
    • The Jane: if you want to feel like Don Draper, The Jane is your place. You can have a very nice Old Fashioned while listening to the old good songs.
    • Mikkeller: all kind of handcrafted beers. Totally recommended!

And to finish the foods and drinks section, I really recommend you going to The Meat Packing District. It is the hipster area per excellence. If you can, go to the Italian restaurant Mother but it is usually very crowded. The food at BioMio is also pretty amazing! All organic top-quality ingredients there. Also take a look to the cocktails bars. WarPigs is a pretty cool place to grab a beer.


And now tell me, after spending some days in Copenhagen doing all these things, do you feel like the happiest person in the world?




PS: If you are into indie movies, I suggest you to watch the film “Copenhagen” to get a real feel of what the city is like. It may also give you some good ideas to do in the city.

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