At the start of this year I set myself a NY resolution to travel outside of Europe. So far in 2016 I’ve traveled to Paris, Rome, Dublin and now Copenhagen. Whilst I’ve learnt never to set myself resolutions again, its very hard to be annoyed at the fact that I have (accidentally) substituted America or Asia for some beautiful European cities.
Mostly honoured for its colourful buildings nestled along a winding canal, Copenhagen is a dreamboat in itself and this post details just some of the things I learnt about this quiet but very trendy city – without detailing my failure to navigate us anywhere without Google Maps.
The Danish know a thing or two about Cinnamon Buns
I think the main reason why I loved Copenhagen so much is because it represents my ginormous sweet tooth. Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar as they are called in Denmark, make note) are rife in Copenhagen and there are SO many varieties. There is a CinnaBun which is a Danish twist on the American CinnaBon meaning you can expect lots of cream cheese frosting, then you have a Cremesnegl a classic circular snail shaped pastry half dipped in dark chocolate with a creamy filling but the favourite of mine has to be the classic Kannelbullar as it completely shows off all the spices. Flavoured with cardamom and twisted with a cinnamon filling, these buns are then dusted in a little cinnamon sugar and the pastry is so soft it’ll feel like its all melting in your mouth, its to die for!
Coming in lots of different shapes and sizes, it can be tricky to pick one but take comfort in the fact that you really can’t go wrong…
I haven’t been to the US but my god, Danish Hot Dogs(!)
Just as I scoffed a sausage (steady!) wrapped in smoky bacon I received an urgent text from a friend which read ‘MAKE SURE YOU GET THE HOT DOGS’. I can confirm it was worthy of the capitals because if you’re really stuck on where to go for lunch/don’t want to ruin your big dinner plans/or just simply need a good afternoon snack, the Hot Dogs are the one.
Found on most street corners, they’re definitely worth the 20 Kroner (a small price for a snack in Copenhagen). If it’s a sweet thing you’re after, there’s something for that too…
Street Feasts don’t just exist in London
We really are spoiled for choice when it comes to foodie pop ups in London and the Danish are close behind – or perhaps they saw us coming?
During the day, the market at Torvehallerne is where to head. Boasting 60 stalls there is everything from health and beauty, patisserie, cheese, gourmet chocolate and spices. For food, well you’re guaranteed to leave with a full belly as there are cakes galore at Laura’s Bakery (try the Red Velvet cake – you won’t be sorry), traditional cinnamon and cardomom buns at Cafe Rosa and some mouth watering Danish chocolate at Xocolatl which has everything from caramelised white chocolate, salted caramel, licorice and more. For savoury, there’s Italian Pizza from Gorm’s and fresh deli sandwiches at Ma Poule.
If you’re flagging after too many food samples, stop by The Coffee Collective, a favourite among the locals and said to be the best coffee vendor in the city. Not hard to see why, the coffee is so creamy and smooth it rivals many of the small hipster coffee roasters in London.
For the evening, make sure you head to Copenhagen Street Food in PapirØen. Based in a giant warehouse, this market is super trendy and has everything from all corners of the world. With Pulled Duck, freshly made Italian Pizza and Pasta, Thai and Indian Curries and BBQ’d meat, I had to do about 4 laps before finally opting for Cooper and Wheat’s homemade fried chicken with duck fat fries – there were no regrets. The chicken was juicy and soft and not at all greasy when cutting through the batter and the fries were some of the best I’ve had. For dessert, it was a toss up between Pancake Cottage (all the pancake combos you can think of), cheesecake or the Creme Brulee doughnuts from the sweet food stall. My boyfriend opted for the latter but only so I could also choose a slice of cheesecake from the stall too – I would definitely recommend Oreo or Salted Caramel. The doughnuts however win star prize here. Each soft doughnut encasing a creamy filling is rolled in sugar before being crystalised with a blow torch,then topped with ice cream and caramel sauce. It’s a gift from the gods.
Open until 9/10pm most nights, you can get your cocktail or Carlsberg fix from many of the bars and with such a good atmosphere it’s definitely worth the unintentional early night thanks to the food coma.
Breakfast is crazy good
When I researched places to go in Copenhagen, it became evident that the city is very well suited to the food obsessed. With guides to the ‘perfect Copenhagen brunch’ apparent on every Google page, the Danish certainly take pride in their breakfast. Though the traditional sounds more like a mini buffet (they appear to favour mini plates as opposed to one big breakfast – perfect however if you fancy a danish after scoffing down some meat) you can also opt for a more safe bet by getting bacon and eggs and pancakes but with a Danish twist. I urge you to try the chilli sausages and the small oven baked potatoes you get with most larger breakfasts – don’t be put off by their love of Rye Bread either, it works!
My recommendation would be Kalaset for their beautiful walnut and raspberry or banana and chocolate pancakes or the equally trendy Granola for its bigger breakfast. For something a bit different, head to GRØD, the home of great tasting, colourful porridge (it ONLY serves porridge FYI), Copenhagen’s answer to the Cereal Cafe.
There’s a frickin Polar Bear in Copenhagen Zoo
After failing to research the opening times of Tivoli during Halloween (this is unlike me, but if you’re a better person and research attractions before going on a trip as opposed to food, PLEASE go here) we went to the next best thing by taking a bus ride to Copenhagen Zoo and it’s quite possibly the best Zoo I’ve been to in terms of wildlife.
Everything from Polar Bears, Brown Bears, Elephants, Hippos, Lions, Tigers, Wolves can be found at the Zoo, but what makes it so unique is the homes they are placed in. A lot of them are surrounded by motes or deep ditches, resulting in smaller walls and the illusion that the animals are out in the open and super close. Within The Arctic Ring, home to the Polar Bear and other arctic animals (duh), you can go below the water service and come face to face with the big white fella as he glides past you – it was so amazing I think we sat there for an hour. If smaller creatures are your thing, there is a big Kangaroo farm which you can walk through and watch the Kangraoos hop alongside you and there’s also a Rainforest Hall where amazonian birds, small animals, fish and butterflies are all left to fly/swim/walk at their leisure.
I know it may seem too touristy but there’s a Polar Bear and Churros so you’d be silly not to pay this place a visit.
Walt Disney told ‘The Little Mermaid’ a little different
Rested upon a rock on the shore of the Langelinie Promenade is a small statue inspired by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen’s tale ‘The Little Mermaid’. Unveiled in 1913, the statue is one of Copenhagen’s most visited tourist spots and all because a man fell in love with the ballet version of Andersen’s slightly depressing story.
I absolutely loved the 1950s ‘Hans Christian Andersen’ film when I was younger (I still have a slight crush on Danny Kaye) so I was devastated when I revisited the tale of The Little Mermaid because it is SUPER sad. To cut a relatively long story short, the Prince (to which The Little Mermaid trades in her tail for) decides to marry someone else leaving our fav mermaid to die and never see her family again. There’s slightly more to the story (detailing more sad times) but it’s made me seriously reconsider watching Walt Disney’s version again.
Be warned (as I was) the statue itself is only about 4 feet high so some visitors appear underwhelmed but I think its worth seeing if you’re a fan of the stories. You can make the trip more worthwhile too by paying for a seat on one of the many covered tourist boats in Nyhavn.
The Danish are SO nice
Despite what you may have heard, I didn’t encounter a single rude person in Denmark – in fact, it was quite the opposite. Everyone was always really polite and helpful, even when we were stealing all their change to pay for the Metro (TIP: you can only pay with coins at the Metro machines so if you’ve been handed a load of 100/200 Kroner notes, get them changed up at local shops). I don’t know if its because the city is so clean or that they’re all living off a Cinnamon Pastry only diet but, I love the Danish and I’ll be coming back soon!