Copenhagen is a designer’s sandbox! If you love Danish Design, minimalist food, and the best shopping of your life, then Copenhagen must drop into your travel bucket list. I took this particular trip with a group of girlfriends. It was ideal for a group of women, in the sense that we felt safe and our focus was shopping, eating, and sightseeing. We traveled in September. The flights were reasonable, the crowds were slim, and the weather was brisk but not unbearable. I fell in love with Copenhagen’s cobblestone streets, bike friendly urban planning, and their minimalist design sense.
Shoulder season flights are the way to travel, if you haven’t researched the savings it is worth looking at, either the Spring or Fall. Our airline tickets were very reasonable, took a taxi from the airport to our Airbnb, and biked the rest of the trip, in exception of one train ride. Copenhagen’s urban planning is specifically designed for bicyclists. Copenhagen has more bikes than people, in the small country of Denmark. My girlfriends and I committed to five days of cycling for our mode of transportation.
Copenhagen has amazing neighborhoods and I don’t believe you can choose a bad location. It is a quaint sized city, so we knew we could bike to anything from our Airbnb. It was very helpful that the four of us did our travel research before our visit to Copenhagen. Proper planning ahead of time, allowed for us to make the most of our time on the trip. Each morning we would plan our day over coffee, mapping out our wishes and wants for the day. It was time saving to Google map our bike route prior, and just assume we would find some unexpected gems throughout the day. This format allowed us to have the most success checking things off our “collective list.” Our day began on our bikes around 10 a.m. and we would get home around 10 p.m. Do make sure you ask for night bike lights and a lock, if not included in the bike package. We used Godthabs Cykler Nr 3. He gave us the best service and price. Copenhagen’s landscape is flat, so even though we often road between 8-10 miles a day, it did not feel like it. We also felt very safe riding our bikes at night, crime in Copenhagen is very low.
The food in Copenhagen is stunning. If you are looking for a once in a lifetime eating experience, NOMA is a must ($$$$). If you opt to not break the bank, we adored Aamann 1921 for a lunch experience (Michelin award winner).
They offer a Smorebread tasting tour, it is the traditional Scandinavian open-faced sandwich. Aamann 1921 was delicious and had jaw dropping décor.
A perfect breakfast spot is Café Norden, their open-faced breakfast sandwiches are a delight. For lunch we chose the three best food markets: Reffen, Bridge Street Kitchen, and Torvehalleren. Reffen and the Bridge Street Kitchen both overlook the harbor. All three of the markets use local produce, have urban style settings, lots of options, as well as amazing and unique drinks. A local lunch favorite is The Union Kitchen, literally the best burger I’ve had in my life!
Every trip must also include open markets. It is a great place to try local product, small tastings, and snacks for the day.
We were given the advice we must have a waffle cone or two while visiting Copenhagen. Vaffelbageren did not disappoint, and the complimentary whipping cream topping is delicious!
The shops of Copenhagen are unforgettable! It is truly the epicenter of clean design, both spatially and in product design. Riding our bikes offered us to “stop and shop” at every turn.
We had a few shopping districts in mind but biking really allowed us to explore small side streets and tiny boutiques. One of our favorite shopping districts started with a stop at Sostrene Grene, a stunning home décor shop that is worth a visit. We took the time to meander down the small side streets, which led us into small galleries and coffee shops. If you are one for unique antiques, one shop particularly worth mentioning is Fil de Fer. A few others worth mentioning: Paustian Concept Store and Hay for home décor and Republic of Fritz Hansen for furniture design.
And of course two ceramic studios that were a must for me to visit: Tortus Copenhagen’s studio and Studio Arhoj. All shops and working studios were such an inspiration!
WHAT TO SEE
The sites and museums to see in Copenhagen can be overwhelming. Choosing museums based upon your personal interests helpS to narrow the offering. The most delightful and favorite museum was the Designmuseum Denmark. If you love Scandinavian Design, this is a gem, specifically the Danish Chair exhibit. The museum’s center gardens, café, and museum shop are well worth some time to meander. Our second favorite, however a short train ride out of town, was the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. I specifically loved the John Muro and Alexander Calder sculptures perfectly placed on the shores of the Humblebaek. This museum is itself is stunning, the architecture, and the way it is perched on the shoreline.
One of my favorite excursions was a guided boat ride by, Hey Captain. I would suggest booking on the front end of your trip because it was a great way to take in a lot of history and see the land from a different perspective. Hey Captain is a smaller, more intimate canal tour that is worth every penny. Our group was guided on a 6-10 person boat, served cocktails, and given the deep history as we motored along on the water. Truly a beautiful experience and a good time to ask a lot of questions in regards to “best eats, bars, and sights to see.”
When touring around Copenhagen, don’t miss the iconic pastel lined buildings in Nyhavn, it is definitely worth the photo opportunity. Next up, The Round Tower is worth the small fee to enter and walk up the 17th-century tower. It is a stairless corridor leading up to the most expansive views over Copenhagen.
Another favorite, the stunning Botanical Gardens. It covers eight acres and is particularly noted for its historical glasshouse dating from 1874.
Last but not least, Tivoli Gardens. The second oldest amusement park in the world with delightful rides, shops, and food. We took the suggestion to go at dusk and enjoy the magic of the lights. We were all glad we did and carved out time to have the whole evening at the gardens.
This trip was a visual and gastronomical dream! Traveling with girlfriends is a delight and I would highly suggest spearheading a trip with your favorite friends.
Copenhagen is a very family friendly city, so returning with my family will definitely be on my list. I left a piece of my heart in Copenhagen and loved every moment touring and shopping with my girlfriends. This guide was worth sharing and inspiring other women to get on the next plane with their girlfriends to Copenhagen!