Looking for inspiration for a romantic city break? With its edgy feel and laid back vibe, Copenhagen has won a top spot on our hit list. Christina & Jay spent 48 hours there in December and fell head over heels for the uber-stylish Scandi city…
I’ve always loved to travel, but city breaks and snowboarding trips have taken a backseat since we had a baby. For starters, these tiny people are pretty expensive – our holiday budget may as well now be called Mila’s new shoe fund.
Fearing my passport may soon be revoked for lack of use, and with major itchy feet syndrome kicking in, I decided a cheeky wee winter break was in order. With a 48 hour childfree window, thanks to the grandparents, it had to be somewhere close, cheap to get to and (to satisfy our eternal lust for interiors & great design) seriously stylish. As this was December and my Christmas shopping obsession was reaching peak limit, a market wouldn’t go amiss either.
My first thought was Stockholm, which has been high on my travel wish list since I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and got a major girl crush on badass heroine Lisbeth Salander. But as this was a last minute plan, flight prices were slightly eye-watering. Taking my usual, ‘hmm, where does Easyjet fly to from Edinburgh…’ approach, up popped Copenhagen which a quick check on Lonely Planet
assured me was “the coolest kid on the Nordic block. Edgier than Stockholm and worldlier than Oslo”. ‘Nuff said! And with that, I was handing my credit card over and day-dreaming of embracing the Danish concept of hygge (which loosely translated means cosy good times) by eating kanelsnegle (cinnamon rolls), sipping glogg (mulled wine) and spending more than a little time on Strøget – one of Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping streets.
I like to celebrate booking a trip by immediately buying a guide book and the Wallpaper City Guides are my go to. So imagine my intense distress when I discovered that their guide to Copenhagen – which just so happened to be my favourite colour, orange – was due to be rereleased three days after we returned from the trip and was, meanwhile, out of stock. Everywhere. Sad times indeed!
A cup of tea and caramel wafer later and I was ready to move on. And so the hunt for a hotel began. A Facebook call out to my globe-trotting friends came up with some gems. But the one that had me at hello – or hej, if we’re talking local – was Hotel SP34
. With its grey interior with hits of yellow, this boutique hotel in the city’s old Latin Quarter looked like my Pinterest ‘home’ inspiration board personified. The fact that it features in Conde Nast Traveller’s 2015 Hot List
of the world’s most exciting new hotels didn’t go amiss either.
And so it was that just two weeks later, we were on our way. Such is my love for Scandinavian design that Operation Pack Light had taken on new proportions for this trip. Not the easiest during winter, but by wearing my bulkiest, warm clothes for the flight (I have been known to board a plane wearing three jackets for this reason), and rolling everything else, I managed to free up at least 73% of my suitcase. Which turned out to be fruitful – I love my new shelf (more on that later)!
If, like me, you’re a huge fan of Scandi crime drama, then catching sight of The Øresund Bridge – while instantly conjuring up an image of cruising over it in your very own vintage Porsche, a la Saga Norén – as you fly into Copenhagen is sure to thrill. The perfect start to a Nordic adventure.
Copenhagen has a well-earned reputation for incredible food – it hosts no less than 15 Michelin starred restaurants and the city is home to Noma, which was ranked as the best restaurant in the world in 2014, for the fourth time. If you want to book a table there, best get in early.
While others flock to the city for the fine dining, we headed straight from the airport to the Meatpacking District in Vesterbro, where we had heard very good things about Warpigs – a utilitarian, canteen-style café bar complete with strip lighting and bench seats, where American-Danish craft beer is served alongside Texas Barbecue smoked meats. If you’re vegetarian, you may want to look away now. Warpigs boasts Europe’s biggest smoker – they offer tours on Thursday afternoons if you’d like to go behind-the-scenes. Jay’s face as he tucked into his plate of ribs, brisket and pork shoulder said it all. And he proclaimed the bag of beef jerky he took away to be the best he had ever tasted – high praise from a BBQ-loving Canadian. It was so worth the meat sweat that followed!
We walked off our meal through the city streets – enjoying the sculpture filled green spaces and constantly amazed by just how many cyclists were cruising down the bike lanes, looking effortlessly cool with their fixed gear bikes and monochrome clothes. Little kids in snow suits were also out in full force, and we followed their trail to Tivoli – a winterfest theme park filled with rides, fairy lights, cabins selling Nordic nisse (gnome-like winter decorations), flødeboller (mallow fluff cakes) and glogg (result!). With heart-shaped lanterns and candles all around, it was definitely more romantic than our lunch date.
On the way to our hotel, I managed to squeeze in a little spot of shopping (handleless mugs, the aforementioned shelf and liquorice sweet souvenirs now nestling alongside the nisse we couldn’t resist taking home). And then we managed to slide through the doors of Hotel SP34, just in time to check out our room – which with its clean design and huge window looking out over Sankt Peders Stræde did not disappoint – before heading downstairs for ‘Wine Hour’. Offering guests a complimentary glass of wine or port (they stock Denmark’s largest selection of the latter) in a style bar that doubles as the hotel reception, is a genius move that guarantees a buzz each evening.
As we sipped our drinks, checked out the photo exhibition on display (incredible botanical portraits by Danish photographer Stine Heilmann
) and indulged in a little people-watching, it felt like we’d already packed a lot of holiday into our first afternoon. Safe to say, we were getting our hygge on and excited for what the rest of our Copenhagen adventure would bring…
If you’ve been to Copenhagen, we’d love to hear your highlights (we’ll so be going back!) Christina x
Our Copenhagen hit list
For great sleep and gourmet breakfasts
– Hotel SP34
. Wine hour is a bonus at this new-kid-on-the-Old-Latin-block boutique hotel.
For an amazing meat sweat
(see post above)
For street-style eats
– Copenhagen Street Food
. Located on The Paper Island, this indoor market has a warehouse feel and a great range of international food vendors –Latienda, serving up super tasty Vegetarian Columbian Food, and Stormly, which serves up rum and beer from Danish micro-breweries, were our favourites. And don’t miss the insanely good blow-torched crème brulee donuts on offer at Cheesecaken.
For adventurous foodies
– We loved Work in Progress by cofoco
, a Scandi pop up bistro with a Spanish-influenced menu. We went for the guided four course menu, as chosen by the chef, with each course paired with wine. Nom nom nom….
For a romantic walk
– Head to Nyhavn for colourful harbour scenes, and take in the sights from the bridge where lovers leave padlocks with their initials.
For great coffee and cinnamon rolls
– Go to The Coffee Collective
on Jægersborggade, Norrebro (one of the city’s trendiest areas). Then pop over the road to Meyers Bageri Bakery
. If I spotted someone in the street with one of their paper bags right now, I may have to mug them for their baked goods.
For Instagram awesomeness
– Check out Superkilen for street art, the Royal Library for clean modern architecture and wander around during rush hour to see the city fill up with cyclists. Ah-mazing!
For chilling with a good book
– Pauldan Book & Café Shop
– Everywhere (seriously!).
Images copyright of We Fell In Love