Danes are the happiest people on earth. That’s a fact! At least according to countless studies conducted on the subject. Take a stroll through the beautiful Danish capital on a summer’s day, and you understand why. Beautiful architecture, lots of water and friendly, good looking people on bikes everywhere. To be fair, in winter it is a bit tougher to fall in love with Denmark and Copenhagen at first sight. But of course, the inventive Danes found a way to tackle that problem, too. They actually even invented a word for that: “Hygge”! Ranked third place in a survey conducted about the world’s most loveable words that cannot be translated, it roughly translated to something like “the complete lack and absence of anything annoying” and means cozy apartments, candlelight, and good people and food around. You see, Denmark ranks up there in about every study there is. Time to find out why. Let’s spend 12hrs in Copenhagen!
We are starting our day in Nørrebro, an area that remains high up on the cities’ hipster index for years. It’s here you’ll find vegan snack bars, tiny vintage shops, and on the weekends, most of the cool kids.
Copenhageners like it healthy, lots of restaurants and grocery shops offer a large variety of organic options. Obviously, these healthy treats often come with a rather hefty price tag attached to them. Our breakfast destination is a wonderful exception from that rule. ‘Grød’ means ‘porridge’, and that is exactly what Martin Daniali and Lasse Skjønning Andersen serve in their shop and café. Breakfast bowls start at only 35 DKK, and with options like spelt porridge with chestnut purée, apple and toasted almonds, you’ll have plenty of energy for the long 12 hours ahead of you.
Grød // Jægersborgggade 50 // Mon-Fri 7.30am-9pm, Sat-Sun 10am-9pm // website
A short, ten-minute detour that is so worth it! Built by Superflex and the famous BIG architects, Superkilen is an urban park divided in three areas, red, green, and black. We’ll have a look at the most impressive one of them all, the Red Square. This is a playground for adults, with giant souvenirs from all over the world. Everything here is covered in red paint. Take a look around at some of the weird artifacts. People from more than 50 different countries are living in Nørrebro, and some of them got the chance to pick out items for the park. You’ll see a Donut sign from Tennessee, the famous Osborne bull from the south of Spain, and benches from Brasil. Superkilen also gives you a good idea why architecture from Denmark is so famous.
Superkilen // Nørrebrogade 210 // website
On your way back, take a stroll through the famous Assistens cemetery. No matter how busy the city around you might get, between the tall trees it’s always peaceful and quiet. Several famous people are buried here, among them Danish national hero Hans Christian Andersen, Søren Kirkegaard and several American jazz musicians who lived in Copenhagen during the Fifties and Sixties, such as Ben Webster and Kenny Drew. It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon here, but don’t get lost! Our day has just begun.
Assistens Kirkegården // Kapelvej 4 // website
Picture: Young, Halfgirl
Walk all the way back towards Guldbergsgade, back to the wordly pleasures of fashionable small shops of the area. Among them is Adelié. Tikkie Oestrich alias Adelié is one of Denmark’s most beloved fashion bloggers. For a while now, she brings her impeccable style to her online shop, where she sells items from her most beloved (and mostly Danish) designers, such as Stine Goya, Peter Jensen, and Libertine-Libertine. If you prefer real-life shopping to a virtual shopping bag, you are lucky. In 2012, Tikkie opened a tiny store on Guldbergsgade in Nørrebro. Here, she sells all the great finds that are featured in her online store.
After paying her a visit, continue down the street. You’ll pass more small shops, nice cafés, and probably run into some good looking Danes dressed all in black. At the end of the street, you’ll reach Sankt Hans Torv, a popular hangout and meeting point.
Adelié // Guldbergsgade 20 // Tue-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm // website
Pass the square, and turn right into Elmegade. Right at the beginning of the street is the Acne Archive. The Swedish brand has a stylish flagship store in the city center that we’ll visit later, but the new Archive is definitely worth a visit, as well.
Here, you’ll find show pieces and clothes from previous collections for a fraction of their original price. The stylish outlet carries items for both women and men, although the selection for the girls is much bigger. Good luck hunting for that dreamy leather jacket at 80% off!
Acne Archive // Elmegade 21 // Mon-Fri 11am-6.30pm, Sat 10am-5pm // website
A one-minute walk down the street from the shop you’ll see the very popular Kaffebar Vinbar. If you feel for a little caffeinated pick-me-up, do it here. The coffee is great, and the baristas know what they’re doing. They’re also handsome. All of them.
Once you’re done, turn left on Nørrebrogade and walk straight. The street leads you over Dronning Louises Bro, a bridge over the Sortedams lake. Once the sun comes out, this is where everybody sits in the sun. It’s a beautiful walk, so take your time. Take in the scenery, and continue down until you spot two big halls on your right.
Kaffebar Vinbar // Elmegade 4 // Mon-Sun 8am-6pm
Before you enter these, cross the street to your left for a last bit of bargain hunting.
Somehow, Scandinavians know how to run an outlet store so much better than the rest of us. No messy piles of clothes, no ugly leftovers and not only items in XXS or XXL. WoodWood Museum is a great example for that.
The outlet of the popular Danish brand (we’ll take a look in their regular store a bit later) carries their own designs plus a big selection of brands that they sell in their shop for women and men. If you look around a bit, you can find tons of Kenzo, Gitman and Opening Ceremony pieces at up to 70% off.
Inside, the shop is nice and the staff friendly – yet another thing that makes the Museum stand out from regular outlet stores.
Now, head over again to enter Torvehallerne.
WoodWood Museum // Frederiksborggade 54 // Mo-Fri 12pm-6pm, sat 10.30am-3pm // website
Food heaven! Torvehallerne is a covered market, similar to those you might find in Spain, Italy, or even London. But since this is Scandinavia, everything here seems a bit more organized – and well designed. More than 80 vendors sell their goods inside, so the selection is breathtaking. There is fresh fish from the Baltic Sea, tiny cupcakes from famous bakery Agnes, and tons of specialty items from different Danish regions, such as ox-meat sausages or rhubarb juice from Bornholm. A lot of the booths sell snacks and warm meals, too. But hold your appetite, we’re having lunch in the city!
Torvehallerne // Frederiksborggade 21 // Mon-Thu 10am-7pm, Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm // website
Head into the city, it’s time for some serious shopping. Danish fashion is world renowned for its simplicity, impeccable taste, and general style. One of the biggest names in that business is no doubt Henrik Vibskov. The Danish artist and designer is known for keeping his Avant Garde-vibe alive, while still pleasing the masses. His colorful knits and outlandish cuts are on display in his flagship store, as are affordable accessories such as his famous laptop sleeves or colorful socks. Also sold here: dreamy shoes from Minimarket and some items from Vibskov’s ex-partner, Danish fashion super star Stine Goya.
Henrik Vibskov Boutique Copenhagen // Krystalgade 6, Mon-Thu 11am-6pm, Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 11am-5pm // website
In the past years, Copenhagen has developed quite a reputation as a foodie destination. Restaurants like Relæ, Kadeau and Noma are on the forefront of a new Nordic eating trend, promoting locally sourced, traditionally Danish produce. For many critics, Noma is actually the best restaurant in the world right now. Although we would love to either confirm or deny this today, changes are you a) haven’t made a reservation there month ago, or b) Michelin star food and the hefty price tag that entails arent’t exactly in your travel budget.
No worries, there is another way! At Fortunen, you get all the famous Danish homestyle cooking without that painful cheque at the end. The owners have another, wildly successful bar/restaurant in Vesterbro called Dyrehaven. Now they opened their second place right in the city center, and this is where we are going for lunch. Expect inventive salads, oysters or delicious pulled pork sandwiches on the lunch menu, and make sure you try some of their locally brewed beers.
Fortunen – Bar & Spiseri // Ved Stranden 18 // Tue-Thu from 11am, Fri-Sat 11am-3am // website
Content, relaxed, and ready to go after lunch, we hit the streets of the city center for some serious shopping. Instead of giving you a route, we’ll just tell you the must-sees, and you conquer them in whatever order you feel best with. These stores are all in walking distance to each other, and each of them is worth a visit.
WoodWood has become somewhat of symbol for fashion made in Denmark. The label started out as strictly street wear, and has gotten more sophisticated over the years. You’ll still find plenty of hoodies, caps and backpacks in their shiny new flagship store, but you’ll also be able to buy items from more exclusive brands like Band of Outsiders or Barbour. Recently, they added their own line of women’s footwear to their portfolio.
Storm is going down that concept store road, too, with a stronger focus on high-end designer brands and big labels. Their book collection is great!
The label Han Copenhagen became famous for their spectacle frames, and have since extended their range to beautiful menswear pieces. They offer classic cuts and shapes, and just the interior of the store is worth the visit.
Swedish mega-brand Acne has not one but three stores in Copenhagen. And judging by the amount of Pistol Boots and Rita leather jackets that you encounter on any regular day in the streets of Copenhagen, that is warranted. In their biggest store, they sell both their women’s and men’s collections.
Stine Goya is the darling of the Danish fashion scene. In her tiny, brand new flagship store in Gothersgade she sells her current collection and a few accessories from her line. The former model designs clothes for women that she herself would love to wear. Stine Goya trademarks are pastel colors, vibrant prints and relaxed cuts.
Lastly, and right next door, there’s Norse Projects. This one is strictly for the boys as well. The little brand has seen some crazy hype around their baseball caps and shirts lately, and is sold in hip boutiques from Paris to New York. Their Copenhagen flagship store features all of their collection, plus some hard to find designer collaborations.
Wood Wood // Grønnegade 1 // Mon-Thu 10.30am-6pm, Fri 10.30am-7pm, Sat 10.30am-5pm // website
Storm CPH // Store Regnegade 1 // Mon-Thu 11am-5.30pm, Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 10am-4pm // website
Han Copenhagen // Vognmagergade 7 // Mon-Thu 11am-6pm, Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm // website
Acne // Pilestræde 40 // Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm // website
Stine Goya // Gothersgade 58 // Mon & Tue 12pm-6pm, Wed-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm // website
Norse Projects // Pilestræde 41 // Mon-Thu 10am-6pm, Fr 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-4pm // website
Leaving the shopping area, there is one last stop we have to make. B56 is the wonderful shop of mother and daughter duo Hanne and Stephanie Gundelach, housed in a beautiful building a few steps away form the main street. Stephanie is one third of Denmark’s biggest fashion blog Anywho, and functions as both creative direcor and buyer for B56. Her selection of women’s clothes ranges from Danish favorites like Stine Goya and Peter Jensen to young and ucoming Scandinavian designers and Anywho’s own label, Brics, whose fantastic selection of winter coats always sells out fast.
B56 // Bredgade 56 // Mon-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm // website
You’ll notice that we’re a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the main shopping streets now. This is the representative part of Copenhagen, the area with the Royal Palaces, churches, and the old harbour. Although our 12hrs guides tend to stay far away from the tourist-y parts of town, today we’ll make an exception.
From B56, we can already see the beautiful Marmorkirken, the church also known as Frederiks Kirke. Turning right, we are approaching the Royal palace Amalienborg. From here, we can access the waterfront and take a long stroll, soaking in some Scandinavian sun and sights, including the spectacular new opera house, the National theater and finally Nyhavn. This old part of the harbour is a magnet for tourist, but it’s also mighty pretty. Take a look at the Lego-like colored buildings, but don’t be tempted to enter any of the restaurants around here. Instead, walk back to you hotel to rest those tires legs a bit and get ready for the night.
Opened in 2004 and (at that time) sponsored by car company VW, Hotel Fox features 61 rooms, each of them in a different design from one of the 21 artists that took part in the renovation. You can have a look online and preview all the rooms to find out what suits you best. What all rooms have in common: They’re pretty, the super healthy self-service breakfast in the lobby is included, and the location is unbeatable. Some areas would benefit from some touch-ups, but management changed recently, and we’re hopeful the old Fox is getting some new fur.
Hotel Fox // Jarmers Plads 3 // website
Pictures: Brochner Hotels
After a hot shower and some rests, we’re ready to jumpstart our night in Copenhagen with a great dinner. Höst is a newly opened restaurant from the owners of super popular food destination Cofoco and eight other restaurants in the city. The interior looks as if it was taken straight out of an catalog for Scandinavian minimalist furniture, the walls are washed white, and the tableware rustic. All this is supposed to make you feel as if you were at a Scandinavian farmyard that somehow has been transported into the city environment. And it works! The food goes with this theme, focussing again on local ingredients and simple preparations. Go for the affordable three-course menu, which costs 275 DKK (36 €/47 USD) and showcases what’s fresh on the market that day. Höst is the hottest dinner ticket in town right now, so to be sure to get a table, reserve one online on their website. Watch out: They close early on Sundays!
Höst // Nørre Farimagsgade 41, Mon-Wed 10am-9.15pm, Thu-Fri 10am-9.30pm, Sat 11am-9.30pm, Sun 3.30pm-8.30pm // website
Take a bus or taxi to Vesterbro and head into the Meatpacking District. This is the former red light district of Copenhagen, that has slowly been claimed by the hipsters as their nightlife Mekka. You might still see the occasional prostitute pass by, but behind the run-down facades, there are lofts and office spaces of media companies and fashion labels. This mix makes the Meatpacking district the most coveted nightlife area of Copenhagen, with tons of cool bars right next to each other in the old market buildings.
Take advantage of the happy hour at Karriere bar, a spectacular space with tons of art installations from superstars like Olafur Eliasson (he designed the giant ceiling lamps here). The barkeepers know what they are doing, so go for a cocktail.
Afterwards, pick one of the many clubs next door. We suggest Jolene, Bakken or Kødbodderne 18, all very close to each other. Spotting which party looks like the most fun tonight should be easy, people tend to hang out outside. If you want to prepare, check the club’s websites before you leave the hotel. Skål!
Karriere Bar // Flæsketorvet 57 // Thu 8pm-midnight, Fri,Sat 8pm-4am // website
Jolene // Flæsketorvet 81 // Sun-Thu 5pm-2am, Fri-Sat 5pm-3am // website
Bakken // Flæsketorvet 19 // Thu 9pm-3am, Fri-Sat 11pm-5am // website
Kødbodderne 18 // Kødbodderne 18 // see website for opening hours // website
Pictures: Polina Vinogradova
These were 12 hrs in Copenhagen. To discover more locations and stories from here, head over to the Copenhagen category of our blog! Just click HERE.
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