Copenhagen is easy to love. Take a stroll through the beautiful Danish capital on a summer's day, and you understand why. Water is surrounding the city, inventive architecture and sustainable buildings are on display everywhere and good-looking people on bikes outnumber the cars.
Ever since Noma came on the scene Nordic cuisine is synonymous with seasonal, local produce, and even as that famous restaurant is getting ready to close down, countless others have opened their doors to curious diners. Copenhagen’s food scene today is vivid and varied and full of surprises. Shopping is exciting, too, with the famous sense of Danish design permeating everything from interior to fashion.
In the colder months, when it is arguably a bit tougher to fall in love with the city at first sight, Hygge abounds. This untranslatable Danish word which describes a state of ‘complete lack and absence of anything annoying’ turns dark winter afternoons into cozy bars, candlelight, and good people and food all around.
Time to get to know the Danish capital in any season. Here are our favorite spots to visit in 12hrs in Copenhagen.
10 am – Ever since its opening a couple of years ago, this boutique hotel in the historic center of Copenhagen seems to be the place to stay for anybody that is mindful of relaxed luxury and design. The location is a winner, the royal residences of Amalienborg Palace, the old stage of the Royal Theatre, Christiansborg Palace, and the Royal Danish Opera are just a short stroll on the cobblestoned streets away.
Hotel Sanders has 54 rooms, ranging in size from ‘Single Coupé’ rooms that are inspired by luxury train cabins to the ‘Sanders Apartment’ which features separate lounge seating and open fireplaces.
The Sanders Kitchen is an all-day dining spot where breakfast is served for hotel guests. For lunch and dinner, it becomes an unpretentious hangout for guests and locals alike.
11 am – Sonny is the perfect cafe to start your day in Copenhagen, with a friendly team around owners Sara and David, serving you all the breakfast staples and great coffee. On the menu, there are classic crowd-pleasers like avocado on rye bread, soft-boiled eggs, and granola, as well as some more elaborate dishes like salads and artisanal sandwiches, and weekend specials.
David worked in Paris as a barista before he opened Sonny, so expect some cozy Parisian vibes in the cafe. And in summer, you can even enjoy your meal in the small backyard. If you missed breakfast, they are also open for lunch.
12 am – Storm is arguably the coolest and most renowned concept store in Copenhagen. Their focus is on high-end designer brands and the biggest names in streetwear, selling clothes for women and men from brands like Sacai, Wales Bonner, and Maison Kitsuné.
The owner Rasmus Storm envisions this place as a ‘conceptual platform where commercial and artistic expressions meet, cultural meanings are exchanged and new concepts evolve’. That means lots of inspiration is to be had here, even if you don’t buy anything, with changing exhibitions and exciting features.
Storm is a true concept store that doesn’t only focus on fashion but offers a seriously great selection of perfumes from small manufacturers, beauty products, accessories, music, and art and design books. Of course, you can also find shoes here, because we are in Denmark, after all, and nothing comes between the Danes and their sneakers.
1 pm – Goods is a gem of a store and well worth the trek to the charming neighborhood of Østerbro. Opened in 2018, it has developed into one of Copenhagen’s best shopping destinations for menswear, selling a highly curated assortment of brands.
Goods recently expanded and acquired the shop next door. The store is reopening after extensive renovations at the end of March 2023.
2 pm – This hybrid space combines a 10-room boutique hotel, restaurant, concept store, a material library for architects and designers, and creative work and event space. The Audo – run by Danish interior firm Menu – acts as a ‘living gallery’. Everything you see can be purchased – from the linen and robes in the hotel rooms to the crockery and stationery found around the space.
But the real shopping experience is the concept store just off the main lounge. Here, you can find an impressive round-up of Danish design brands from all manner of disciplines. On sale are homewares, textiles, but also perfumes by the wonderful Danish brand Porcelain and skincare from Bodyologist, as well as limited artworks that have been produced specifically for The Audo.
3 pm – Run by the globe-trotting couple Monika and Jan, Seks is a place where flavors and aromas from around the world come together to create a truly unique dining experience.
All the food is prepared on-site, using ingredients sourced locally and from around the world. The menu features a variety of dishes inspired by the family's travels, as well as their famous pastry and creamy cheesecakes.
Seks is a vegetarian restaurant that prides itself on being 80-90% organic and 100% vegetarian, with vegan and gluten-free options available. They use specialty coffee roasted by Prolog in Copenhagen and cook with ingredients that were locally sourced and made by small producers from around Denmark.
Their menu features sourdough bread, some simple but delicious egg dishes, and an Alaskan hotcake made with blueberries, maple syrup, and crème fraiche. Seks also offers a rotating selection of three to four different plates per day.
The atmosphere in the space is warm and inviting, full of the family's memories, souvenirs, and stories from their travels. The team at Seks is made up of a diverse group of people from around the world, including friends from Poland, Paraguay and Denmark.
4 pm – Denmark’s most important museum for modern and contemporary art attracts the world’s best artists who regularly create fantastic exhibitions here and showcase their works. The surrounding nature is just as much a part of the museum as the paintings and sculptures inside are. With the main buildings embedded in the wild Danish countryside, you can look out on the sea from many of the exhibition spaces and from the sculpture park. We suggest buying your tickets online before your visit to save yourself time from standing in line.
5 pm – Copenhagen has a lot of great cafes, but CUB Coffee Bar is our current favorite. Although it is located right in the city center, the cafe is hidden away in a quiet side street, making it wonderfully tourist-free and calm.
The basement space with its low ceilings is small but welcoming and regularly frequented by locals and people who work for the Danish parliament, which is right across the street. The coffee is great, the snacks are, as well, and the vibe is just pleasant and cozy. Also nice: we love their playlists and regularly pull our phones out to Shazam songs that are playing here.
6 pm – Frama Studio is a company that dabbles in many, design-related fields: furniture making, lighting, interior design, kitchen building. Their design approach beautifully straddles the line between past and present, aiming to build things that are timeless and still modern. Frama’s portfolio is vast and gorgeous, and it is on full display in their beautiful store in the Copenhagen neighborhood of Nyboder.
The building used to house St. Pauls Apotek, which was established in 1878, and many of the original pharmacy fittings remain inside. But instead of potions and lotions, today you can buy books, cosmetics, and design accessories as well as furniture. Frama also runs a small bistro here, Apotek 57.
7 pm – Copenhagen’s yellow ‘harbor busses’, the ‘Havnebusen’, are our favorite way to experience the city from the water. First-time visitors get an excellent overview of the city’s significant landmarks, but the ride on the ferry is just as nice if you already know the city well.
This commuter ferry was designed to transport citizens between downtown and the urban islands of Christianshavn, Amager, and Nordhavn. The boats run on electricity and are NOx- and particle-neutral. For the same cost as a regular bus ticket, you can get from Sluseholmen in the south all the way to Refshaleøen in the northernmost end of the Copenhagen harbor, passing many sights on your way. Along the nine stops on each side of the water: The Royal Library, Islands Brygge, and Nyhavn.
8 pm – A relaxed, quintessentially Danish vibe sifts through this restaurant. Nr.30 is located in a former butcher shop in the city center of Copenhagen and serves a small, seasonal menu with a focus on organic farming and sustainable fishing.
The team behind the restaurant owns land in Hørsholm outside of the city, where they grow their own vegetables, herbs, and flowers that end up on the menu here. The small dishes are made for sharing and the drinks menu features lots of great, natural wines that are served by the glass or the bottle.
Those can also be bought at the small wine shop down the street, where the Nr.30 team curate a selection of wines from their cellar and from importers around Denmark.
9 pm – This small wine bar and shop in the city center of Copenhagen is focused on wines from Austria. The back wall in the main room shines in bright Yves Klein-blue and gives the place its name, the open bottles of the day are displayed on the counter. Service is very friendly and unpretentious, which helps to set the vibe: this is a relaxed place for a great glass of wine with friends before or after dinner. If the weather is nice, you can also sit outside.
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