I have mentioned it before but one of the reasons I love living in London is its location and this past weekend we headed to Copenhagen to visit Signe, a good friend who now lives with us in London but grew up in the city. I love visiting friends in their home cities as you get to experience where they grew up and what they enjoy about the city, including their favourite places to eat and drink. It’s also nice for friends to show visitors around as they will likely explore some of the more touristy places they may not have been too for years.
We had a lovely weekend hanging out with Signe and Darren and the city gave off a really good vibe. It’s compact size also makes it a great walking city and we spent most of our weekend exploring on foot.
We began by taking in the beautiful dome-shaped Frederiks Kirke – finished in the 18th century after lying in ruins for 150 years due to initial building work being abandoned – and found the inside to be particularly beautiful. Entrance is free while at 1 and 3pm, it is also possible (for £5) to head to the top of the 31m high dome for lovely 360 views of the city.
We continued walking past the Queen’s residence to the multi-coloured New Harbour, one of the most photographed sights in the city. The harbour was teeming with people enjoying a beautiful Spring afternoon and we sat along the water enjoying our delicious ice-cream.
After finishing off our ice-creams, we headed to the the famous area of Christiana. Essentially a self-autonomous neighbourhood, Christina was established in 1971 on the site of abandoned military barracks with its own set of society rules, completely independent of the Danish government. Today it remains a self-governing ‘free-town’ with beautiful artwork on many of its building, houses of all shapes and sizes around the lake and a lovely courtyard area to enjoy a few cold beers.
After walking all afternoon, it was definitely time for a late lunch and we made our way to the fantastic Copenhagen Street Food on Paper Island. Led by the world’s number one restaurant Noma, Copenhagen certainly has a reputation as a ‘foodie’ city and with every stall at the market smelling delicious, we attempted to pace ourselves so we could try as much as possible!
We started with four bite-sized traditional Danish open sandwiches called Smorgasbords, which were divine, and thick-cut chips fried in duck fat while for mains I enjoyed a plate of delicious South Korean food. I walked round no fewer than three times trying to make up my mind before I settled on Korean, having not tried too much of it in the past, and was very happy with my eventual decision! For more information on the market, including opening times, here is the link to their website.
In addition to food, the Danes enjoy their drinks and Signe showed us round a number of great bars; including Freddy’s and Ol Bier, which can be found by taking the back exit frim the main central station onto Istegade (that’s the street!). For a city whose inabitants are super healthy and where organic is to be found everywhere, I was incredibly surprised to learn smoking bars still exist and while it’s not fun having all your clothes reek of smoke, these bars were great fun and always the cheapest; around 25 krone (US$ 4) for a bottle of beer.
We continued walking on Sunday and headed past perhaps the city’s most well-known citizen, the Little Mermaid, before making our way over to the Carlsberg Brewery. Whilst production may have ceased, I found the tour was well-presented and very informative and I had no idea how old the brewery was, nor how large. I also particularly enjoyed seeing the world’s largest collection of unopened beer bottles, all 16,884 of them, and took the little video below. Entrance costs USD $10 and includes two free beers.