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Hygge in Copenhagen

by Alexandra Digby from United Kingdom

So before I was lucky enough to spend a weekend in Copenhagen I had no idea what the hell Hygge was. Pronounced Hooga (well kinda anyway) its the Danish word for coziness… welcoming atmospheres, friendly people and the all round feeling you get when you settle into a fun and welcoming environment and think ‘yup this is me’. It’s a beautiful place full of beautiful buildings and people. We managed to cram a weekend full of exploring and let me tell you about our highlights so that you can get your Hygge on…

copenhagen-yellow-house
Copenhagen, Yellow House by Alexandra Digby

Where and When

Copenhagen is small – you can walk everywhere. Don’t get me wrong you’ll need a sensible pair of shoes if you’re going to do that (or hire a bike – it’s easy enough to do there are bike hires everywhere) and the whole city is your oyster. We stayed in a perfect little B&B called King William IV which was ideal as you came straight of the hotel door and it’s a stone’s throw from Nyhavn. That being said – I don’t see any issue with saving a few pennies and staying slightly out of the way – it won’t take long to get into the heart of the city anyway and you might as well spend the money elsewhere. Alternatively there are great hostels everywhere, the Generator Hostel being one. Length-wise i’d say you don’t need much longer than a long weekend. Maybe 4 days max depending on what you’re planning.

copenhagen
Copenhagen by Alexandra Digby

Nyhavn 

Nyhavn is the 17th century waterfront that is pretty symbolic of Copenhagen and it is an absolute must see. The buildings are brightly coloured with bars lining the front so you can sit and have a warming drink tucked up in a blanket in the winter or bask in the sunshine by the water in the summer and listen to the street musicians/people watch/enjoy some good Smorgasbord and while away a few hours. A lot of the bars are very touristy but i’d reccomend Cap Horn for some good traditional food. Make sure you try Smorgasbord – the traditional rye bread open sandwiches that are typically served at lunch – you can have any variety of toppings and i reckon it’s a good idea to get a selection. If you’re looking to get some good photos i have two tips for you – get a good picture of the waterfront by crossing over the bridge to the shaded south side – it is much quieter on this side with way less tourists and will allow you to get a good shot of the buildings and the water.

copenhagen-nyhavn-shot-from-the-south-side
Copenhagen, Nyhavn shot from the south side by Alexandra Digby

Papyroen, the food market

If the bustling tourist vibe of Nyhavn is not for you – or you’ve already done that and want to try something different – then go here. In fact, even if the above doesn’t apply, go here anyway. It feels like the shoreditch of Copenhagen – cool boutiquey pop-up food stalls which serve everything under the sun. Burgers, curry, thai, local beers, gourmet pancakes, gin specialists (oh yes) , artisan coffees – you name it – the markets got it. Tie that in with quirky little art installations and deck chairs set out in front of the water and you’ll be feeling the hygge pretty soon. It gets busy quick so try get there before 12 to grab yourself a good spot by the water and then you can send in your designated foodies to go scour the pop-ups for your meal (or drink – lets be honest) of choice. Couple that with the rumour that this isn’t going to be around for much longer due to redevelopments and this is a must-see..

copenhagen-wishing-tree
Copenhagen, wishing tree by Alexandra Digby

The Little Mermaid

This girl gets a bad rep. Before we left to come here we had countless people tell us not to bother. I disagree. It’s a beautiful statue in a beautiful setting – it’s not difficult to get to and you can get some beautiful photos. Plus it’s pretty close to the royal palaces so if you’re doing one, it’s well worth doing the other, trust me.

copenhagen-mermaid
Copenhagen, mermaid by Alexandra Digby
copenhagen-royal-palaces
Copenhagen, Royal Palaces by Alexandra Digby

Frederik’s church aka. The marble church

Characterised by it’s green copper dome this is  a little gem set back from the street so you almost stumble upon it without realising. Inside is stunning and well worth a quick stop to enjoy some peace and quiet after the bustling city. Its currently slightly shadowed by construction outside as the new metro system is being extended but don’t be fooled – it’s lovely. I’ve given you a shot of the outside but i think i’ll leave the inside as a surprise for when you go see it

copenhagen-the-marble-church
Copenhagen, the Marble Church by Alexandra Digby

The skyline

There are lots of free ways to get a good view of the skyline. The tower at Christiansborg castle has a free elevator to the top (there’s normally a pretty big queue but it is free) however if you don’t mind the extra legwork i would actually recommend paying to go to the top of the round tower. Rather than stairs (there are a few at the very very top) the whole thing just slopes up in a spiral like a giant helter skelter and you can get some cool shots if you’re willing to wait for the gaps in between tourists.

Copenhagen by Alexandra Digby

The view from the top is unrivalled – truly beautiful. You get to appreciate just how vibrant and colourful copenhagen really is. We went late afternoon just before getting ready for dinner and it seemed like a good time, not too busy and the lighting was ideal with the sun glinting off the rooftops..

copenhagen-view-from-the-top-of-the-round-tower
Copenhagen, view from the top of the round tower by Alexandra Digby

Restaurants

I love food. Andt the possibilities for great dining are endless here- there doesn’t seem to be as  much of a drinking culture here as in some other cities – it’s more about dining with amazing food and amazing drinks and enjoying the Hygge. We ate at a lovely little restaurant called Leaven. The tasting menu was interesting and delicious with a great vibe.If you want something more lively go to the Meatpacking district. It’s packed full of quirky and buzzing restaurants and a great nightlife.

So that’s my whistle stop tour of Copenhagen – there is so so much more to do in this city but those are my highlights – all i can say is i hope this helps you come to love this city as much as i have!

Happy traveling!

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