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We have just returned home from spending 2 days in Copenhagen and, wow, it did not disappoint. It is a destination that offers a combination of rich history, beautiful architecture, world-class cuisine, fantastic shopping and a charming atmosphere. I was initially a bit concerned about what the weather would be like in Copenhagen in mid February but there was no need to worry. It was cold, between 4-7 degrees, but all the more reason to wrap up warm and cosy and drink plenty of hot chocolate in the hyggelig cafes.
The first thing that struck me, once we landed, was the efficient public transport system. In the airport you can easily locate the ticket machines and, having purchased 2 tickets to Copenhagen Central (which cost 60kr - around £5 in total), we were told that this ticket included travel on the metro, train or bus but the easiest route was to get the train. The train arrived in just a couple of minutes and took just over 10 minutes to get to the central station.
The first place we saw was Tivoli Gardens, which is straight opposite the station. This amusement park is one of the oldest in the world, and it's easy to see why it has stood the test of time. It has a wide range of attractions, from thrilling roller coasters to beautiful gardens, musical events, historical buildings, delicious restaurants and it's a must-visit for anyone visiting Copenhagen. It was unfortunately closed during our stay but due to re-open at the end of March.
Our hotel (WIDE Hotel, part of the Ascot hotel) was just a short walk from the station. It was mid price, beautifully designed, welcoming and extremely comfortable. The bed was by far the comfiest I have ever slept in and there was attention to detail in every aspect from the power shower and the coffee machine to the range of books and the design of the chairs in the lobby!
After strolling along the famous shopping streets of Strøget, and swooning over Prada, Louis Vuitton, Mulberry and Hermès (don't worry, there is a real mixture of stores from the more exclusive to the usuals such as Vero Moda and H&M to local Danish shops and (many many) hygge-inspired shops), we arrived at the Nyhavn harbor.
This is one of the most iconic and picturesque areas in Copenhagen, with brightly coloured buildings lining the harbour. It's a great place to sit and relax while enjoying some of the delicious local cuisine. Here, we enjoyed smørrebrød (a selection of delicious open sandwiches) whilst sitting at the side of the harbour at a lovely little cafe; keeping warm with a complimentary blanket before we took a 90 minute boat trip from the harbour to see the rest of Copenhagen and some of the main points of interest.
Copenhagen is also home to several world-class museums. We visited the National Museum of Denmark, which has a vast collection of artifacts from the country's history, including Viking treasures and medieval artifacts. The museum is well-curated, and the exhibits are informative and engaging.
Copenhagen has a reputation for being a foodie paradise, and I can attest that it lived up to the hype. We visited two amazing restaurants. Uformel is a couple of doors down from the hotel and it serves beautiful Nordic cuisine using locally supplied produce. We had a four course tasting menu including fish, pork and the best dessert we have ever eaten (and as much freshly baked bread as we could fit in!). We didn't want the food to end.
We also ate at Copenhagen's oldest restaurant, Det Lille Apotek, which dates back to 1720. We were spoilt for choice, again, with the selection of Danish cuisine but I chose rye bread with potatoes, crispy bacon, onion, asparagus and watercress and Paul sampled the much-anticipated herring on rye.
Our second day was spent exploring and getting lost in the beautiful home of hygge. Cosy cafes are a plenty and as soon as you walk in to them you can smell the fresh pastries and delicious scents of coffee and hot chocolate.
We explored on foot in the morning and visited The Round Tower (Rundetaarn) which is a 17th century observatory with a helical corridor leading to a platform at the top with magnificent views of the city.
In the afternoon we hired bikes using an app called Donkey Republic. You just download the app, connect Paypal and look for a nearby bike on the built-in map, scan the bike with the app, which unlocks it, and off you go! There are cycle lanes around the city so it feels easy and safe getting around on them. We hired the bikes for a couple of hours, which cost around £15 in total, and left the bikes at another position on the virtual map close to where we wanted to end our journey.
We cruised around Copenhagen's canals, including beautiful Christianhavn, and passed the opera house, bustling which lunch-time customers, along the route to The Little Mermaid which has been a major tourist attraction in Copenhagen since 1913.
Copenhagen is home to one of the world's oldest monarchies so in and around the city you will find castles, palaces, royal statues and monuments. The royal hermitage, Rosenborg Castle, is set in the heart of Copenhagen so after a couple of hours cycling, we strolled back through the city to pay a visit. With more time we would have loved to visit the other castles and palaces but we've vowed we will be returning soon!
There's so much more to see and do in Copenhagen than I've described but we covered a great amount of the inner-city within just two days. We immediately felt at home, safe and just excited to be there and make the most of each second. Was it all I expected? Yes, and more! Did it give me all the hygge feels? I think this was a given. I would, however, love to visit other parts of Denmark to see how they differ from Copenhagen. Would I recommend going? Hell yes! With a flight that is less than 2 hours from the UK and such an easy transport system there's no excuse.