Josh’s birthday falls on Memorial Day weekend and with his big 30th coming up, we wanted to take advantage of the long weekend and head abroad!
We were able to find great nonstop overnight flights to Copenhagen, where we could visit one of Josh’s best friends, Aaron and his wife, Frida, who have lived there for two years now.
I was equally eager to visit Denmark, because after my 2019 trip to Norway, Sweden and Finland- this was the final Scandinavian country on my list (securing a much coveted title as the first Kulka to visit all of them.)
Copenhagen is the perfect city to visit for a long weekend. In fact, we felt like we had a good grasp of the city within the first 36 hours. I put together a quick list of what to do, what to wear and how to move around if you choose to visit Copenhagen. Happy travels!
What to Do
- Nyhavn: This is the colorful canal street that you’ve probably seen on every photo from Copenhagen or postcard. Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, you need to go see it. Golden hour from the Nyhavnbroen Bridge makes for a pretty great photo.
- Canal Tour– Cruising through the historic canals of Copenhagen is a relaxing way to take in the city views. We went with Hey Captain and really enjoyed it, but if you’re feeling adventurous you can rent your own boat with Go Boat.
- Tivoli Gardens– I’ll admit I was expecting Tivoli to be a botanical garden, but it’s an amusement park located in the heart of the city. But, hear me out- this is not Six Flags. Tivoli is a magical park filled with cascading flowers and shrubs, colorful rides, funky nooks to hang out with friends in, little cafes and even a theater for performances. I loved spending an afternoon exploring Tivoli. While you’re there, have lunch at Gemyse, the botanical restaurant of my dreams.
- Michelin Dining– Copenhagen is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. We opted to go to Kong Hans Kaelder, two star, and Geranium, a three star Michelin restaurant. These were some of the best meals I have ever had!
- Kastellat: Kastellat is a star shaped fortress in the northern part of the city. It’s fully accessible, free, and generally makes for a nice stroll.
- Christianborg Palace: I especially loved the funky modern tapestries at Christianborg Palace. Rosenberg Castle is worth purchasing tickets online in advance for, and be sure to catch the changing of the Royal Guards at Amalienborg Palace every day at noon.
- Jægersborggade Street: There’s no shortage of main shopping streets in Copenhagen, but I enjoyed the vintage, jewelry, and handicraft shops on this street. Make sure to get your energy up for shopping with brunch at Sixteen Twelve.
- Assistens Cemetery: Yes, a you read that right. You should check out the cemetery. Assistens Cemetery is a lovely green space in the city where famous Danes like Hans Christian Andersen are buried. It’s perfectly normal for Danes to bike through, stroll with their families and even picnic there. I thought it was gorgeous and peaceful, you could easily get lost here for a few hours.
For an easy way to have all the best spots on hand, you can access my city map via this link: Copenhagen Google Maps Pins by Pauline
What to Wear
I really struggled with what to pack for Copenhagen. I like to blend in with locals, and while I did blend in just enough for way too many people to speak Danish to me, I missed the memo on what’s cool and what’s less cool (apparently skinny jeans are out?). Here’s the guide I wish I had:
- Blazers. Just throw a blazer on anything. Preferably an oversized one (my form fitting blazer was very chic but missed the mark). You should look like you might be going to a meeting.
- Sneakers. With anything. Always. I packed cute booties with chunky heels and those were not the vibe. My white tennis shoes were barely cutting it. You need gym shoes. Cute ones, but honestly anything will do. ASICS, New Balance… you should we able to do light sports in these shoes.
- Loose pants. Tight pants are not cool. No skinny jeans. I repeat. Do not bring your skinny jeans. Though I have been told that black skinny pants are acceptable. Wear loose pants, bonus points if they are beige. Pair this with your oversized blazer. You should look like you have borrowed the outfit from a larger friend. This is cool, this is THE LOOK.
That’s it. None of it even has to look that great on you, that’s probably the most amusing part. Throw some gold jewelry on that and you’re good to go. You’re welcome.
How to Get Around
- Walking: Copenhagen is easy to navigate and everything is either a ten minutes walk away or a ten minutes bike ride away. We spent our first two days walking everywhere and while we were exhausted by the end, it was a great way to see all the little side streets, sculptures and historic nooks in the city. PK Tip: Sneakers are acceptable with any outfit! The Danes pair them with everything, so go for it- be comfy.
- Biking: Copenhagen is THE most bike friendly city in the world, and after getting to know the city on foot we quickly felt comfortable navigating it by bike. We also had a friend who acted as our bike guide and explained general biking rules like the fact that you can’t turn left on a bike (you have to cross the street and cross again) PK Tip: ask if your hotel includes bike rentals or download the app for Bolt or Donkey Republic
- Taxis/DanTaxi: The taxis are expensive. Like…more than an Uber during a surcharge expensive. We reserved taxi usage to airport travel and to take us to our dinner reservations. Any hotel, bar or restaurant can easily call a taxi for you, but we found them really hard to hail on the street. This is where DanTaxi came in, an app that allows you to call a Taxi on your phone and either pay on the app or pay in the car. PK Tip: Download this before you get to Copenhagen as you’ll need to get a verification text