Travel Guide :: The Undeniable Charm of Copenhagen
When we embarked on our Scandinavian Cruise with Princess Cruises last month, I was beyond excited. Not only to see some of my favorite blog friends that we had made on last year’s Mediterranean Cruise, but for someone like me who is design-obsessed, obviously cities like Stockholm, Helsinki, and Oslo were high up on my dream list! But the place that I fell in love with the most was – if you haven’t already guessed – Copenhagen.
Before this trip, I knew fairly little about this city. But once you start digging, you’ll find out very quickly that Copenhagen is a goldmine for not just design, but restaurants, coffee shops, art, and more. So much so, that I’m not quite sure where to start with it all, but here we go!
Copenhagen is fairly small so walking – or biking – are both easy ways to get around the city. I recommend walking so you don’t miss a thing! There are so many lovely little hidden shops to discover. Case in point:
Atelier September is an incredibly gorgeous, light-filled cafe and design shop near Nyhavn that we literally stumbled onto. It was only later that I realized it was the same cafe suggested to me by a few people on instagram! This spot, and Beau Marche were fulfilling all my dreams of owning my own café and design shop at some point in my life. The latter is a more eclectic shop and bar while – as you can see – this one is much more minimalistic in its approach.
But how gorgeous are these pieces? Some of my absolute favorites were in here, despite the small inventory. Also, can we talk about the ceilings? As I mentioned, this cafe is just steps from Nyhavn – the place where you’ve seen literally every instagram from Copenhagen. It was cute – but packed. Best to go early if you want to avoid crowds!
The hotel we stayed at had just opened. Hotel Danmark is located close to Tivoli Gardens – an old amusement park which looked quite fun and charming, but wasn’t on the top of our priority list. But we did love the location of the hotel for its proximity to this and other areas! The design was lovely as well – I’ll post more about it soon.
To get from the hotel to the main shopping square, we wandered down these side streets that held so many treasures. Plants and pottery and cafes… and that’s where we stumbled onto Kompa 9.
One thing you’ll learn very quickly in any part of Scandinavia is that design is a part of life here. It’s rare to find a shop that isn’t well done, or a restaurant that isn’t beautiful, cozy and welcoming, and the food plays into that as well. This spot had the best vegan banana bread I have ever tasted EVER. Notice the candles? That’s some real-life Hygge right there, people.
Walk a little further and you start to get into a main shopping area… my favorite of which was the massive Hay House! It’s a design lovers dream with views of the square to boot. They had a little area for all their smaller accessories where I picked up a bunch of tiny goodies to bring back with me which I’m sure I’ll be sharing with you soon.
Right below Hay is Cafe Norden, where we had brunch our first morning there with my good friend, the lovely Katie Armour Taylor who now lives in Copenhagen and was nice enough to show us all the best spots!
This is the upstairs area which is cozy and lovely! Just down the street is the most wonderful ‘department store’ I’ve ever been in. I’m not even sure I want to call it that because it’s nothing like our department stores in the states. It’s called Illums Bolighus and you absolutely must go. I also heard great things about Cafe Smushi which is right in the same area as well!
In another part of town you’ll find a few wide open gardens and grounds to explore. Rosenborg Castle is there, surrounded by a large park, and just west of that you’ll find the Botanical Gardens! Which were, of course, my favorite part. I’m such a sucker for greenhouses and conservatories, it would have been tragic if I had missed this one! There are spiral staircases that take up you to a walkabout that goes around the top of the greenhouse. It’s a sauna, but it’s worth it.
Not too far from the gardens is also another favorite find – Torvehallerne. A large food market that is mostly indoors, so it’s worth a visit any time of year! But, especially in spring when the flowers are all out and people are filling the hall. I was so busy eating, I forgot to take any photos. This was one of my favorite stops because it felt like half the city had wandered over there to enjoy a rare sunny day. There was even a small antique market across the way!
We ended our quick two-day visit with dinner at Restaurant Cofoco – just one of many restaurants in the Cofoco group, which are all amazing. I was blown away by the inventive menu and flavors! If you happen to be a beer fan, Mikkeller Bar is right around the corner and also a great spot to taste some local brews.
Again, with the food and design. I felt like I couldn’t go wrong in this city! We were so lucky that our cruise not only departed from Copenhagen, but returned here too so that we could have a few extra days here! I would return there in a heartbeat. In fact, I would move there in a heartbeat, it was so wonderful!
This is just the start of our recap of our two-week cruise through Scandinavia and the Baltic, so stay tuned for so many more cities coming your way! I’m excited to share all our design destinations with you!!
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