Updated: Aug 8, 2022
WELCOME TO COPENHAGEN!
"Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale." -Hans Christian Anderson
Back when Pinterest first launched, I pinned the image above to my "PLACES" board. It's a poster for the Distortion music festival held in Copenhagen every summer. Over the years, I've learned more about the countries that make up Scandinavia (mainly Denmark, Norway, and Sweden), the happy lifestyle, low crime, growing fashion industry, and minimalist modern design. One of my favorite tennis players, Caroline Wozniacki is also from Denmark!
“What made you pick Scandinavia?“
This was the question I was asked most before my trip to Scandinavia. When international travel became important to me, my husband was not too crazy about the idea. It's understandable, and not everyone loves to travel, especially internationally. I was beginning to think traveling abroad would be something I have to do on my own. I researched destinations for female solo travelers and found a couple of really great blogs written by girls who've travelled alone and loved it! The Scandinavian countries are some of the safest for female solo travelers, almost everyone speaks English, and there's so much to do and see. Fortunately, my husband came around to international travel and we always travel together. He would've loved to come along to Scandinavia, but work required him to stay home. Instead, I took my daughter. It was the first time I was the main adult in charge! She is leaving for New York City, to study at The Fashion Institute of Technology in the fall, and this was a great opportunity to visit these fashionable cities, and spend some quality time with her!
I planned a great trip to visit Copenhagen and Stockholm this spring and I hightly recommend adding these great cities to your European bucket list!
WHEN TO GO?
Like most countries in northern Europe, winter months are cold and days are very short. I've visited the UK and northern Europe in winter before, and it is less crowded, less expensive, and still very fun, but it's cold, and dark. I think the sweet spot is late spring. Early May was a great time to visit! Days are long, trees are in full bloom, people are out in the parks enjoying the lovely weather, attractions aren't crowded, and the anticipation of summer is in the air. *We saved over $2K on our flights by visiting in May instead of June.
EAT & DRINK
This food market is a great place to start exploring Danish food. It’s loaded with great food stalls as well as a flower and fresh fruit and vegetable market outside. We went on the Copenhagen Culinary Experience Food Tour by Viator which started at this food market. I highly recommend at least one tour when you're visiting a new city. It's a great opportunity to meet other tourists and to ask your tour guide lots of questions. We met a girl from Boston College studying abroad, and another woman traveling on her own. It was great to chat with them and for them to share advice with Hudson. Our tour guide Simon was awesome! I asked him a million questions about food, the war in Ukraine, industry, and of course tennis. He was so knowledgeable! Here are some photos from our stops at the Torvehallerne market.
This super popular smørrebrod restaurant was a great glimpse into the famous open face sandwiches that are so popular in Denmark. Topped with everything from chicken and beef to pickled herring, this was a great stop on our culinary tour. It's crazy busy and full of locals, so you know its good!
This restaurant in the Indre Nørrebro neighborhood was one of our favorite meals of the trip. It's an authentic italian restaurant specializing in wood fired pizza with local fresh organic ingredients. The staff was so warm and welcoming, we loved it! Although we found the Danish people to be very nice, they're not over the top friendly and welcoming. We felt a little more at home with the warm smiles and genuine hospitality of the Italian staff. Our server Ugo was incredible and suggested everything from cocktails to pizza for the two of us. We sat inside and watched all the action in the kitchen, which included two pretty awesome female chefs!
This organic hot dog stand was so delicious! It's not your average Home Depot dog (although those are good too), the sausages are made from organic meat and the buns are whole grain. It's located next to The Church of the Holy Ghost on Strøget street and is a great place to sit on a bench, enjoy a hot dog, and people watch.
This burger bar was our first stop after landing in Copenhagen. There's a location inside our hotel and we sat at the bar and enjoyed a delicious burger, fries, and an icy cold drinks. We were so hungry, I didn't get a photo of our burgers! We watched the bartender Kristofer make some super thick milkshakes that looked so delicious. We popped in on our last night for some chocolate ice cream and it was ah-may-zing!
This bakery in Østerbro makes some of the most beautiful pastries. We didn't make it there and everytime I see their instagram posts, I instantly regret it! It'll be my first stop next time.
We loved this store. It's similar to ZARA, but with a primarily Scandinavian style in mind. They have stores in Norway and Denmark. If I had room in my suitcase, I would've filled it with blazers, long trousers, puffy sleeved tops, and all of the ingredients to Scandinavian girl style.
I'm convinced the genius Scandinavian girls started the whole dad sneaker trend and they're so smart for doing it! In a walking city like Copenhagen, you have to be comfortable and Rezet has all the great brands and styles you need to look cool and comfy. Whether you're wearing a suit, sweats, or a dress, some kicks from this store will set you up right.
This shop was on several must visit lists, especially for the fashion crowd. Unfortunately, we planned to visit on Sunday, when they're closed. Bummer. They have a great website and ship to the states. They have their own brand of clothing as well as unique designer and vintage pieces.
This design, art, and fashion store is another one that was closed on Sunday so we didn't get to visit. The website is full of great unique pieces and they ship to the states.
This streetwear brand was founded in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, and also has stores in Berlin and London.
Copenhagens oldest department store, which opened in 1891 is loaded with high end fashion, jewelry, and their Illum Beauty Hall is something to experience. I'm embarrassed to say we didn't make it there! It's on the top of my list when I go back.
This concert complex had its official opening celebrated on January 17, 2009 (it took almost 6 years). It has four halls and the main auditorium-home of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra seats 1,800 people. We went to a concert on the night we arrived! We saw the Wombats in one of the smaller studios. It was such a fun way to start the trip!
This was our first European Castle tour and it was so fascinating. Everything is so well preserved. It gave me mad Beauty & the Beast vibes and I tried to get Hudson to twirl around like Belle. She was having none of it. The gardens are so lovely, I could see it being a nice place for a date or spring picnic.
This theme park is one of the main attractions in Copenhagen. We only had two full days there, so we opted to skip it. I imagine if you're traveling with young kids, this would be well worth the trip.
This was one of the stops on our culinary tour and we tasted honey made from bees in the garden. It's one of the most beautiful gardens and is free to walk through. There is an indoor portion that you can pay to walk through, full of butterflies and beautiful plants.
This one hour tour is a great way to see lots of sights at once. We picked up some drinks at 7-Eleven and hopped on the boat. It was a lively crowd and we couldn't hear the guide very well, but we had a great time! The tour covers the Royal Opera House, The Royal Play House, The Royal Yacht, the little mermaid sculpture, and picturesque Nyhavn.
This biannual fashion event is one of the reasons I became so interested in visiting!
Whether you're into EDM, Opera, Jazz, Architecture or gin, there's bound to be a festival in Copenhagen for you. The summer festivals seem like such a good time!
Don’t take a lot of cash. Like most countries, Denmark is shifting toward a cashless society. i had a hard time getting rid of the Danish currency I took.
Buy a Metro Card. The metro system is so easy to use and one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen.
Pack a Covid Test. I preordered a two pack of antingen tests from Reliant Health. It’s so easy and stress free! From our hotel room, we followed the instructions, registered and called in. Through FaceTime, someone will observe you swab your nose and collect the specimen. Ten minutes later, you show them the result and viola! It’s done! They email your results and you upload them to your airline.
Take a Portable Charger. This is such a crucial thing to have while you travel around. Using your maps, taking photos, and looking up yelp reviews can drain you phone battery. This is mine and I love it!
WHERE TO STAY
This chic hotel in the Latin Quarter was a great home base for us. It felt like staying in a quaint Soho apartment in New York City. The windows opened to a lovely courtyard and we would let the breeze in, listen to the music from the lounge below, and rest for our next adventure. The lobby is a popular place especially during their nightly wine hour and late night night cap hour.
If I were traveling with my husband, I’d probably stay here. A little more luxe and grown up. Less “shots at a night club”, more “sipping whiskey in a lounge”.
Putting this post together has been so bittersweet. I wish we had more time in Copenhagen. we only had two and a half days. Like I always say, the things I missed just give me reasons to go back! I loved the beautiful people of Copenhagen, the food, art, architecture, I loved it all and think you will too!
Questions? Send me a message on Instagram @tenniscityguide