Denmark is known for its ‘hygge’; which can be defined as ‘creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.’ The moment I set foot in the Danish capital I experienced this warm atmosphere for myself. No wonder the Danish are some of the happiest people in the world. During my trip in Copenhagen I immersed myself in the Danish culture and enjoyed the capital’s hygge, smørrebrød and sights.
I was invited to stay in the brand new Steel House Copenhagen. This luxury hostel opened in early 2017. For me, the perfect way of traveling to Copenhagen is from Groninger Airport Eelde. The airport is just half an hour away from Groningen station. I love to travel from Groningen Airport Eelde, because not only do you not have to be there hours in advance, but also because there are no long queues at the check-in or at customs. Talk about going relaxed up in the air! Furthermore, you’re in Copenhagen for only €98 (return ticket). If there was any doubt as why to fly from Groningen Airport Eelde…
Steel House Copenhagen is situated in the old headquarters of the Danish Union of Metalworkers. From the outside it looks robust and authentic; the interior is one of warmth and hygge: wooden furniture, brown-blue chairs and chesterfield couches. The common room has a very inviting atmosphere. There is a TV room and a cinema where you can watch movies in a reclining position. If you feel like burning some calories; there is a gym and a pool. You can choose between dorms — 4 or 6 beds— and private rooms — a single or double. My double room consisted of a good bed, bathroom with a shower and a huge plasma screen. What else do you need? What I noticed during my stay was the variety of guests: from people in suits to backpackers. Steel House’s location is also ideal: both the centre and the station are found within a distance of 700 meters.
Mermaid and the city – a well-known city sight
For a first impression of the city you should do Strömma’s Grand Tour; aside from a gorgeous view from the water, you will also hear (funny) facts about Copenhagen. Always useful for a pub quiz! Even though the best way to explore a city is by walking (and getting lost), a ticket for a hop on-hop off bus also comes in handy; Strömma’s 48 hours ticket gave me the chance to see Copenhagen’s labyrinth of alleys and streets, while also offering me the opportunity to ‘shoot’ the Little Mermaid.
A Royal Affair
Due to Strömma’s ‘HOHO’ ticket, it was easy for me to ‘hop’ between Amalienborg, Rosenborg and Christiansborg Castle. Unfortunately, there was not an opportunity for me to visit Christian VII’s palace at Amalienborg — you need to take a tour to get a look inside — but Christian VIII’s palace, the beautiful square with its statue and the changing of the guard were all worth the visit. Also, drop by the Marmer Church with its amazing ceiling.
Rosenborg Castle; what a jewel! It has gorgeous adjacent gardens filled with trees and flowers. Perfect spot for if you want to sit back and enjoy a lunch or simply read a book. I just sat down on a bench and admired the autumn colours.
After a delicious smørrebørd lunch at Restaurant Palaegade, it was time for the magnificent Christiansborg Castle at Slotsholmen with its royal stables, kitchen, theater and ruins. Especially, the Great Hall and the Throne Room were very imposing. What I thought was very practical was the fact that you had to wear galoshes when visiting the palace. Unfortunately, the church with its crypt was closed. For an impressive view on Copenhagen you must go to the top of the free palace tower! .
Gucci in Strøget vs. arts and crafts in Frederiksberg
All the international brands are represented in the fancy shopping street Strøget, but for more authentic shops and products you have to be in Frederiksberg, an up and coming neighbourhood. Dynamic and colourful. On the way back to Copenhagen’s centre, take a stroll through Assistant Kirkegård, the cemetery where you can find the graves of philosopher Kierkegaard and author H.C. Andersen. During the summer people come here to picnic, so bring your basket and blanket.
Food Madness and alternative Christiana
One of Copenhagen’s hotspots are the food halls Torvehallerne, with an abundance of delicious food. All of your senses are stimulated when you’re there: smells, colours and tastes: a heaven for foodies.
Controversial and colourful; that’s the free state of Christiana. It has lots of (street) art and unique houses and shacks. I would, however, not recommend visiting it after dark. The people of Christiana do not appreciate visitors taking pictures; drugs (usage etc.) might be a reason for that.
Last, but not least: food!
Below are some gems to explore delicious food in the beautiful city of Copenhagen.
Restaurant Palaegade: amazing smørrebrød and homemade schnaps!
Gorilla: original concept where you can enjoy a 10 or 15-courses menu for a reasonable price.
GRØD: Talk about mouthwatering porridge! Try the all-in bowl, you will not regret it. Trust me!
Palaeo: the place for you if you’re in the mood for primal gastronomy. Loved the Palaeo Burger.
Royal Smushi Café: delicious sushi meets smørrebrød in this original café with a fairy tale-like interior.
Aamanns 1921: aside from delicious smørrebrød (on the most perfect bread) Aamanns also serves an amazing lamb dish and the most tasty homemade lemonades, like hibiscus.
Bistro Royal: for a lovely and colourful breakfast and a beautiful view on Kongens Nytorv while you’re eating.
Fru Nimb: situated in Tivoli, Fru Nimb’s tartar smørrebrød and chicken pie were amazing, but their traditional Christmas dessert, rice pudding with almonds and cherries, was to die for!
Of course, there is lots more to see in Copenhagen: Rundetaarn, Tivoli and Carlsberg Glyptoteket are just a few examples.
Till the next time, Copenhagen!
With thanks to Steel House Copenhagen and Groninger Airport Eelde.
Images © Annika Hoogeveen and Groninger Airport Eelde