At 67 years old, my dad is having the time of his life. Since he retired less than a year ago, he’s been delivering flowers part-time, spending more time with his family, and vacationing like a madman. When I said I wanted to go to Copenhagen (CPH, for short) at the end of December, I knew he would be on board. We had an awesome, but short week (#typical) in the capital of Denmark. In our 7 days, we ate great food, drank AMAZING beer, and searched for the elusive “hygge”. I absolutely cannot wait to get back (preferably in the summer)! Here’s a short list of things that really made this city special for us:
Copenhagen Street Food Market
Few things make me more happy than food trucks and IPAs, so I was like a pig in sh*t as soon as I stepped into this warehouse. Tip: walk around the ENTIRE warehouse before committing to one truck. It’s not too big, so it won’t take you that long. After about 30 minutes, I finally chose a delicious salad with a giant blob of goat cheese from one truck, and duck fat-fried fries from another. Imagine my delight when my dad had a delicious IPA waiting for me when I got back to our table. Prices were also pretty reasonable by CPH standards. Bonus Tip: There’s a balcony with tables located near the entrance where you can look over the entire market – great for taking pictures/scoping out all the food.
Copenhagen Canal Tour
Touristy, I know, but the views are unparalleled. I read somewhere that the canals of Copenhagen are where it’s meant to be seen from, and I 100% agree. It was freezing the day we went, so we didn’t have to fight for a good spot at the back of the boat. Our hands almost froze off taking pictures, but we got amazing photographs! And who needs fingers anyway? Tip: The tour guides all know how to yell, “Hey, you – in the back of the boat. SIT DOWN!” in about 6 different languages. Some of the bridges are scarily close to the water line, so do everyone a favor – don’t be a jerk. Just sit down when you’re approaching a bridge. Bonus Tip: You might want to make this one of the first things you do in Copenhagen. The tour gives you great views of most of the city, a better feeling for how everything is laid out, and discounted tickets for Tivoli Gardens with your canal tour ticket purchase!
Speaking of Tivoli, OMG. We visited CPH in early December, and I was struggling to get in the Christmas spirit (very unusual for me). As soon as I stepped through the gates of Tivoli, my “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” issue disappeared. Tivoli is literally a winter wonderland, and probably the closest you’ll get to actually being at the North Pole. There’s shopping, eating, and drinking for the adults and rides and games for the adults too the kids. I can only imagine how drop dead gorgeous and fun this place is in the summer. Tip: Don’t eat beforehand! The restaurants were awesome (but a bit pricey – lunch would be the cheaper option). Bonus Tip: If you go at night, wait for the light and water shows over the lake!
Hot Dogs and Smorrebrod
I wasn’t necessarily expecting the food in CPH to knock my socks off… but it did. I swear I could live off their version of hotdogs! My favorite toppings included pickles, crunchy onions, and mustard. Also, the smorrebrod are delightful. Smorrebrod is a general term for open-faced brown bread sandwiches, and the combinations are endless. Tip: Order something outside of the box. My dad got a smorrebrod with liver pate, bacon, and pickles, and I dream about it still. At the airport before our flight home, we had a smorrebrod with grilled sirloin, crispy onions, remoulade and shredded horseradish. I usually don’t like horseradish, but… I ordered a second sandwich just for myself because the first was so delicious. Bonus Tip: Order 2 of everything if you’re an American and/or really hungry. Portions are small, and every bite is mouth watering.
I’ve never been to a country where people were so genuinely helpful. If we ever looked a little bit lost, someone was immediately there to help us. From 30 minutes after our flight landed (when a man showed us how to find the metro, where we could buy tickets, and made sure we knew our stop) to our last evening (when a bartender reminded us to be careful on the metro because it was the busiest day of the year for Christmas shopping – and pick pockets), we consistently met really, genuinely nice people that made our experience that much better. Tip: Danish seems impossible to wrangle but hello (pronounced [Hi]) and thank you ([tak]) go a long way. Bonus Tip: Don’t be a doof. When a local speaks to you in Danish, don’t just stare awkwardly (like I did) until they realize you only speak English. Chances are, the person you’re staring at is fluent in English.
I could sit in a Danish coffee shop all day long. I’m not crazy about their “cup of coffee” (a shot of espresso poured into a mug of hot water), I am crazy about their lattes and cappuccinos. Tip: These drinks will go down even more deliciously with one of the many mini pastries most cafes have available (particularly the mini cheesecakes). Bonus Tip: There are few things more relaxing in the world than sitting in a Danish cafe while people watching and slowly sipping your delicious latte. The slowly burning candle and adorable tiny cactus that will, undoubtedly, be on your table are just added bonuses.
Have you been to Copenhagen? What were your favorite experience? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to check out my Copenhagen travel video here!