Favourite city Copenhag – and for good reason. Because Copenhag is not only home to many of my favourite designer furniture, but also impresses with its beautiful architecture, pretty restaurants and a lot of quality of life. Copenhag is the greenest and happiest city in the world and has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other. In short: if you haven’t been here yet, you should definitely go; if you’ve been here before, you’ll always discover something new. And if you feel like me, you just can’t get enough of this city.
At the beginning of September I visited the Copenhag Design Tour 2018 and didn’t miss the opportunity to explore the city during a few extra days. A lot was on my wish- and to-do-list. Of course I didn’t manage everything, but I would like to list my personal Copenhag favourites here – divided into “tried and tested” and “maybe next time”.
Tried & tested
Hotel SP 34: During my trip last September I stayed overnight in the currently very trendy and thoroughly styled Hotel SP34. What I particularly liked here were the cool grey tones in combination with leather and wood in my room. With a lot of love for detail I played with different materials and combined them skilfully. Despite the cool colours, the hotel looks very cosy and inviting. Rather something for the larger wallet, but definitely worth a visit.
Urban House Copenhag: young, urban and very central. The hostel not only saves money but also offers a lot of Copenhag style with a varied entertainment offer, fantastic hot dogs (a must-try in Copenhag!) and good drinks to live music.
Maybe next time
Nobis Copenhag: The Nobis Hotel, located near the railway station and Tivoli, in the former Royal Danish Academy of Music, is certainly not the cheapest choice. But in a design guide this stylish hotel with its 75 rooms and suites in deep blue and green tones should not be missing. Light brown leather furniture, black canopy beds and iconic chairs and mid-century lamps scattered all over the place – that’s Nobis Copenhag.
Airbnb: I was aware for a long time that the Scandinavians attach great importance to a beautiful home, but on Airbnb I am shown with how much love they actually furnish their homes. In Copenhag you can find some real Airbnb pearls: here, here or here. In addition to apartments on Airbnb, there are also spa experiences, cooking courses and boats to book. I can imagine that the next time I visit Airbnb I will stay in a nice Airbnb instead of a hotel – very comfortable and informal and with a lot of personality.
Copenhag is a dream come true for all foodies and gourmets and in recent years has become one of the most important gourmet cities in Europe. It is not difficult to silence the growling stomach and to stimulate the taste buds. Copenhag offers an unrestricted range of food stands, cafés and gourmet restaurants that not only satisfy hunger but also offer a cosy and stylish ambience.
Definitely try it: Smørrebrød and Pølse – while Smørrebrød is the unbeaten lunch classic, the typical Danish hot dog, called Pølse, is the soul of traditional Danish fast food.
Reservation recommended: Especially for the trendier restaurants in Copenhag, which also have an award, it is advisable to reserve a table. So you don’t have to feed yourself the whole week from the hot dog stand unintentionally. As good as the Pølse are, Copenhag’s gastronomic offer offers sooo much more!
Tried and tested
Vækst: Dining in the greenhouse, you can do that in the Michelin restaurant Vækst. The location already convinced me at the hotel morning, because as a guest of the SP34 you can fill your stomach at the buffet in the location of Vækst in the morning.
In the evening, the restaurant with the pretty greenhouse, which extends over the two floors of the restaurant, turns into a food paradise for friends of light, Nordic cuisine. Gastronomically, Vækst is based on fresh vegetables and herbs. However, you can also enjoy a juicy steak, seafood or fish. I also like to call myself a “Crazy Plant Lover” and here the restaurant Vækst offers just the right ambience: the rooms are filled with hanging plants and many beautiful lights provide a cosy hygge ambience. At Vækst you can enjoy pure nature up to the edge of your plate and beyond!
Torvehallerne: But you don’t necessarily have to bring your big purse to have a good bite to eat in this city. Torvehallerne are two halls full of good food and urban Copenhag flair. Here you can test Danish specialities, but you will also find a wide range of pastries, international specialities and good beer. In the Torvehallerne you will find (almost) everything – flowers, vegetables, fruit and souvenirs.
Kødbyens Fiskebar: Fischers Fritz fishes fresh fish. And then I eat them. Especially when visiting a harbour town. There fish belongs somehow to it. On my first visit to Copenhag it was my friend who suggested that I eat in this restaurant. He of all people, who is not really the fish eater. This great culinary travel tip he had received from an employee and I would now like to pass it on.
Admittedly, the restaurant in the “Meat Packing District”, one of Copenhag’s hippest nightlife miles, makes a somewhat sober impression from the outside. From a parking lot you can see a white industrial building with blue window frames. Inside, however, the mix of industrial design with vintage elements is convincing. Where meat used to be processed and packaged, today you can eat fish in excellent quality and with a stylish Copenhagen groove.
Aamanns 1921: The new kid on the block. The gastro temple, just around the corner from the Fredericia showroom, is ruled by one of Copenhag’s most famous Smørrebrød kings. So it’s not surprising that during the Copenhag Design Tour 2018 we were able to try exactly this at Aamanns: the best Smørrebrød of Copenhag. But also from a design point of view, the restaurant meets the aesthetic demands of design lovers: Here you are welcomed by bright, modern design, high ceilings and impressive brass lights. The natural materials and the soft light really set the scene for the room with its church-like arches and stone columns. To sum it up: the Aamanns is the perfect trio of modern style, traditional ingredients and aesthetics – both on and off the plate. And by the way: the restaurant also has a Michelin award.
Almanak – The Standard: Smørrebrød, Smørrebrød, Smørrebrød – Nothing better than Smørrebrød. Just right as a small snack when the big morning is still in your stomach, but hunger is already crawling back up. I could probably write a Smørrebrød guide for Copenhag. But with the typical Danish open sandwich alone, I would not consider the Michelin star restaurant Almanak. Although I was there only for lunch, the description of the evening offer of Visit Copenhag makes me curious:
Food your grandmother would have made if she had known what we know today.
So the next time I visit Copenhag, I’m sure I’ll try her evening menu and the kitchen of my modern Viking grandmother. Besides the stomach, The Standard also offers a lot for the eye: This beautiful piece of functionalist architecture, not far from the tourist hotspot Nyhavn, once housed the customs authorities and today represents the typical New Nordic style.
The italian: After a lot of fish we really wanted pizza and pasta again. In the food metropolis of Copenhag, you don’t have to search long for an authentic Italian who offers really good Italian Comfort Food. In the trattoria “the italian” you’ll find antipasti, pasta or pizza, secondi and dolce. So if you are looking for Vitello Tonnato, Ravioli with sage butter or Tiramisu, this is the right place for you. Alla prossima volta!
Maybe next time
108: The new Noma? Noma’s little sister? That’s exactly what I need to find out! The relationship to the legendary Sterne-Restaurant is unmistakable – although no stone is left unturned on the outside, the Noma branch represents New Nordic Cuisine with its simple furnishings and natural ingredients. The big differences: a manageable à la carte menu and much lower prices.
Øl & Brød: Nomen est omen – because what the name already betrays, there’s beer and bread here, if you look at it soberly (no pun intended!). Øl & Brød is the new addition to the Mikkeller microbrewery founded in 2006 and is just a few steps away from the Mikkeller Bar. The restaurant certainly lives up to its name by recommending special beer combinations for its dishes. Oh yes, and what it looks like here: simple, Nordic, modern, simple. The way I like it.
Reffen – Copenhag Street Food: A new urban playground for co-creation, innovation, food and creativity – this is the vision of Copenhag Street Food. In addition to tourists, it is primarily entrepreneurs and creative people who are to be addressed. The spirit of innovation must also be nurtured and kept in good spirits.
Nærvær Vinbar & Restaurant: Frankly and honestly, I choose my restaurants – if I’m not hungry – mostly on the basis of the furnishings and/or location. I also became aware of Nærvær. But this place has a great design (there’s nobody else behind it than the Danish Norm Architects), a fantastic view, an extraordinary wine list and fine delicacies. I have to go there!
Barr: Noma became Barr. What remained: the talented chef René Redzepi and the breathtaking location in the former warehouse of Nordatlantens Brygge in the harbour area of Christianshavn. The interior: Nordic, rustic. Knotty beams and cool stone walls dominate the look here. The food: top class. The price: Within the limits but still rather high.
Granola: Breakfast at the hotel? It can be done. But in Copenhag you also miss a great offer of great brunch and lunch spots. As the name suggests, Granola has crispy muesli, but also croque madame, pancakes, salmon and avocado – and how could it be any different – Smørrebrød.
Grød: Oatmeal and Porridge are right on trend. And often the warm breakfast porridge was served at my grandparents’ fortnight. In Grød – which simply means “porridge” – the name says it all: there is nothing else on the menu but porridge. However, it comes in many different variations and is certainly never boring. So if a stiff wind is blowing in the harbour city during your visit and the weather is nasty and Norse, a visit to Grød will certainly give you a warm and pleasant start to the day.
Høst: Høst – Danish for harvest – is all about traditional ingredients and seasonal vegetables. The latest of the Cofoco restaurants, including Vækst and the italian, is located in a classic Copenhag building. The design of the rooms is raw and dominated by old wood, granite and concrete, while plaids and lambskins on chairs and benches create a cosy atmosphere. Here the exposed brick walls and Danish furniture design reflect the kitchen’s ability to combine minimalism and idyll. Høst was developed by Norm Architects, the design company Menu & Cofoco, and has won two prestigious Restaurant & Bar Design Awards for its distinctive Nordic design.
Tried and tested
Green Island: The floating oasis in the heart of Copenhag. Here you can enjoy a cup of coffee (one of the best I’ve had the chance to drink in Copenhag) and get an extra portion of sunshine and fresh harbour breeze. The CO2-neutral wooden island is supposed to float two more summers on the water at Kalvebod Brygge.
Café Norden: Watch the crowd at one of Copenhag’s busiest squares, enjoy a cup of coffee and nibble at a fine Guezli. This is best done in Café Norden. Pro tip: The best place to relax is after a long shopping spree in nearby Ilums Bolighus or HAY House, which is housed in the same building complex.
Maybe next time
Original Coffee: In the coffee chain with a total of 4 restaurants in the best spots of Copenhag, you can enjoy locally roasted coffee and fine sandwiches and cakes from the organic bakery. Just the thing for those who appreciate a casual, inviting atmosphere and minimalist furnishings in which lacquered pine and untreated iron contrast with the anthracite walls.
Atelier September: I’m not missing in any travel guide and yet I’ve never been here before. The next time I visit Copenhag I will certainly not miss a visit to this pretty restaurant in one of the most beautiful places in Copenhag. By the way, the Atelier September is also known for its excellent breakfast. Whether as a start to the day or a little breather during a “city-tripping”, this is where I want to go!
Din Nye Ven: Maybe soon “din nye ven” (your new friend)? Here you can drink a beer with the locals and end the evening in a lively, urban atmosphere just a stone’s throw away from Hotel SP34. Uncramped and cosy – just Copenhag!
Coffee Collective: Besides beer, coffee is clearly the elixir of the Scandinavians, which must inevitably have led to a rich coffee house culture. In the modernist and thoroughly Scandinavian “hyggeligen” coffee shops of the micro-roasting company Coffee Collective, which also has two cafés and a coffee school, you can enjoy quality coffee in charming surroundings.
Kompa’ 9: a very Kompa-nié, makes exactly that possible: a good cup of organic coffee in good company. At least that’s how I interpret it. The cosy surroundings invite you to linger and whether for lunch or dinner, there’s always something nice here. And you definitely don’t have to leave the sister restaurant Kafbar’9 with a growling stomach: Whether avocado toast, croissants or scones – here you get what you expect from a really good café: Soal Food and Good Vibes.
Mikkeller: I love their design and the beer must also taste fabulous. At least it gives you an idea of the almost endless list of restaurants scattered all over the world: Whether New York, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Singapore or Taipei – you drink Mikkeller. And of course the brewery is also well represented in Copenhag.
Been there, done that
Nyhavn: Definitely no insider tip and only recommendable to a limited extent, but if you have never been to Nyhavn before, you should have seen the picturesque former trading port. Unfortunately, the famous little harbour, which looks very idyllic on postcards, is overflowed with tourists. Of course, it is a postcard subject and a symbol for romantic Denmark at the same time. Unfortunately, I cannot judge whether the tourist flows are limited during the winter months. In spring and summer, however, it is usually very overpopulated here. A view from the other side of the river to the colourful, cheerful gabled houses is enough for me.
Rundetårn: Also no Lonely Planet Spot but here you are definitely not crushed by the crowd. The round tower in the centre of Copenhag is not only a landmark and spectacular vantage point from where you can see the Öresund Bridge and the numerous windmills, but much more an experience. Inside the tower there seem to be no corners. Everything round – all around. You walk in a circle and still reach your destination and are rewarded by a breathtaking view over the city. At home in our living room there is even a picture of the round trip in the Rundetårn. Spectacularly unspectacular, minimalistically beautiful. Pro tip: Enjoy the sunset on the Rundetaarn – unfortunately I can’t give any information about the rush at this hour.
Rosenborg Castle: Copenhag has always granted me good weather so far, so I spent most of my city trips outside (apart from the rambles in the numerous design shops). For this reason and for reasons of time, I only saw Rosenberg Castle from the outside and stayed in the park. But the pleasure castle of Christian IV. offers numerous cultural treasures, for example the crown jewels.
Christiansborg Palace: houses the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of State. And some parts are still used today by the Royal Family for various events. With a tour pass you get access to the various castle areas and really interesting information about the history of the castle.
Botanical garden: As I mentioned above, I love plants, appreciate their variety and often use them to make my home a little more comfortable and to bring the seasons into my own four walls. The greenhouses in the botanical garden in Copenhag are definitely worth a visit – especially when it’s less cosy outside.
Fredericia Showroom: During the Design Tour 2018 I had the opportunity to visit the breathtaking showroom of Fredericia Furniture. The rooms not only offer the grandiose Danish design furniture a suitable backdrop, which they really put in the limelight, but they also speak for themselves: white oiled belt floors, high ceilings and a view from the roof terrace, which you wouldn’t otherwise find so quickly. So if you have the opportunity, don’t miss this showroom.
Cirkelbroen: The 40 meter long bridge of the Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson in the district Christianshavn is certainly another sight of the city. It reflects the daily life around the Christianshavn Canal with its houseboats and sailing boats. The five circular platforms with their high wire masts are reminiscent of ship masts and remind us of times past when the port of Copenhag was still the centre of seafaring.
Maybe next time
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art: Although the museum is not located in Copenhag itself, it is only a 25-minute train ride from the city centre. What makes me curious: The museum is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in the world – not least because of its location in the middle of the most beautiful nature. On my next trip to Copenhag I will take the time to head north and explore the museum.
Grundtvig’s Church: The Grundtvig Church, built in memory of the Danish priest, poet and reformer Grundtivg, is a fascinating building. The cathedral with its neo-Gothic style elements was built by Peder Jensen-Klint. He died before the church was finished, and his son, Kaare Klint, completed the building in 1940. Kaare Klint also designed the chairs for Grundtvigs Kirke – a classic in modern Danish furniture design.
So that was my compilation of my Copenhag favourites. Actually, the guide should have included a shopping guide. But I’ll save it for my next trip to Copenhag – because I’m sure I’ll visit the city again soon! Would you like to have a Copenhag shopping and design guide? Just let me know, please.
A good start to the weekend to all of you!