Copenhagen is a gorgeous Scandinavian city that feels all at once quaint and world-class. It is known for being bicycle-friendly, as 50% of residents bike daily (there are even separate bike lanes with traffic signals!). Of course, Danish girls look effortlessly chic, hair blowing in the wind, and somehow wearing a flowing skirt on their bike commute, whereas I’m sure I would be an entirely different story. Copenhagen was our first stop on our summer Scandinavian adventure. From the airport, we hopped on the metro and were quickly shuttled to the central location of the Nørrebro neighborhood where we stayed. Here’s a little of what we saw and enjoyed during our barely 36 hours in this wonderful place.
Public Gardens — Copenhagen has no shortage of natural beauty, and much if it owes to the numerous public gardens and parks that dot the city. Most notably are the gardens outside Rosenberg Palace, which boast espaliered fruit trees, allées of trees, mazes and a rose garden. We walked all around and observed people enjoying the parks, whether they were picnicing, reading or simply being.
Torvehallerne Food Hall — After dropping our luggage, we made a bee-line here. I love the “food hall” concept where you can sample specialties from many different vendors, many Danish, but some internationally-inspired, like tacos and burgers. Torvehallerne looks like a giant greenhouse with a courtyard that offers plant vendors and outdoor seating.
Smørrebrød — Essentially an open-face sandwich on rye bread featuring endless combinations of pickled fish, meats, hard boiled eggs, creamy salads, herbs and more. In other words, exactly what I love and why my heritage makes sense to me. I ordered this beauty of salmon salad on rye topped with more pickled salmon, roe and a pea shoot. As a bonus, when you order smørrebrød, it is customary to also order a teeny little glass of snaps. In Denmark, snaps is always akvavit, and there are many varieties. I enjoyed a bitter orange snaps, which is said to aid in digestion.
Ibsens Hotel — Located in the Nørrebro neighborhood, Ibsens had everything we could have wanted in a hotel. It is an updated space in an old building, so it has retained a great deal of charm. There was a coffee shop at the reception desk which then would become an epic breakfast counter each morning. In the evenings, the hotel hosts a social hour and offers a complementary glass of wine or beer and encourages mingling among the guests. We stayed in a junior suite which was an incredible corner room with a balcony with a great view of the street activity below. Also, the Nordic Amber bath products smelled heavenly. Though they weren’t sample-sized that we could take with us, they were available for purchase at the front desk, and I appreciated the eco-conscious nature of the refillable bottles.
Nordic Breakfast — I would stay at Ibsens Hotel again just to experience this breakfast again, though you don’t need to be a guest to join! It is a limitless spread of typical nordic breakfast foods, and right up my alley including a variety of Danish breads, cheeses, chocolates, local berry fruit spreads, grød with nuts, apples, jams, hard-boiled eggs, pastries, coffee and freshly-squeezed juice. We reserved our breakfast when we checked in the day before, which of course helps the hotel know how much to prepare, but I did see people coming in off the street and purchasing a breakfast ticket that morning. We were well-fueled for a day of wandering. I have never been much of a breakfast person, but now I have a whole new appreciation for it!