I'm finally accepting the fact that no one likes January, I've tried not to be offended for my birthday month too much. I've decided the best way to deal with this is to escape from the country so I took a much need trip to Copenhagen with my boyfriend. Travelling in January is the best thing to do, even if its to somewhere colder and windier than the UK. I was seriously in need of a bit of inspiration for the new year.
Three things strike me about Copenhagen, the first is that the people are the most friendly and helpful I've met. Secondly, the colours! The buildings are some of the prettiest I've seen, it really helps cancel out the winter grey. And finally, it's bloody expensive but I am sure you've heard that before.
Being a top tourist
We spent the first day getting our bearings, essentially circling the inner city starting from Amager, through Christiania, Østerbro, Nørrebro and Vestebro. It involved a bit of cycling and a lot of walking, it's always the best way to figure out a new place. Explore off the beaten track, go down random streets and get a bit lost (but make sure you have plenty of snacks)!
I really enjoyed walking through quaint Nyhavn, the colourful military houses of Nyboder and inside the Kastellet. We walked past several palaces including Christiansborg, Amalienborg and Amalienborg all very impressive and charming.
Rundetaarn, The Round Tower
A few people recommended that we visit the Rundetaarn or the Round Tower, a 17th observatory that has a spiral cobbled walkway (wide enough for the king's carriage). We went as the dusk was creeping in so the light inside was beautiful. You're rewarded with a pretty stunning view at the top, if a tad windy. Don't miss looking down the centre of the tower, just before you get to the stairs at the top there's a small archway with a glass platform. You can see right through the centre of the tower at 25m high, not for the faint hearted!
I didn't actually visit the little mermaid because i thought it would be a similar experience to seeing Brussells most famous attraction: Manneken Pis. Which was a tiny bronze statue of a little boy weeing surrounded by 100+ tourists snapping away. Pretty disappointing and would cut into our precious beer drinking/chair viewing time.
The food is delicious and beautiful to look at. I'm a big fan of Smørrebrød, the special Danish open top rye bread sandwich. Usually covered in some sort of radish salad and pickle situation.
War Pigs, Meatpacking district
We visited the Meatpacking district in Vesterbro at night an odd mix of clinical and creepy meat processing businesses and cool hygge bars, restaurants and galleries. We enjoyed a couple of great Mikeller beers at War Pigs beer bar. I highly recommend you try the deep fried pickles with radish sauce!
The absolute highlight of my trip was celebrating my birthday in a greenhouse of a rooftop farm nestled above a fairly nondescript street in østebro. You have to climb a spiral staircase above a busy gym to get to it. Øster Gro is a community based scheme that grow seasonal vegetables, supported by farms in the Amager area. Photos don't do justice to how magical and special the atmosphere was, all helped by the wood burning fire, cosy candles and hanging kokedama. We had three vegetarian courses prepared for us and before each plate the host/chef explained where each of the components of the dish came from, for example the mushrooms were grown by Coffee Collective who use their coffee grounds to grow mushrooms and supply to Øster Gro.
For the best pastry you're ever going to taste, visit The Corner a wine and coffee bar just south of the river from Nyhavn. Follow it with a walk across the canals and bridges nearby, you can't beat walking alongside water on a sunny day!
Botanisk Have, Botanical Gardens
Surrounding yourself with plants is always going to be a good thing, when I visit a new city I always try and go to the nearest botanical garden. In January it's one of the best places to go, you can immerse yourself in a tropical haven. Standing under the giant palms in the warm glasshouses was a welcome shelter from the cold and wind outside and had the added bonus of being free!
A trip to Copenhagen wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Hay House! Why is it that on holiday all you want to buy to take home are very precious and delicate pieces? We managed to keep cool and only picked up a few small things, surprisingly no stationery!
I was recommended by friends to visit a great street full of gorgeous independent shops. It really reminded me of Calvert Avenue and Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, I suppose the same story; a once poor and undesirable area turned cool. My favourite shops were- Craft sisters, My favourite things and P.A.R store starting with a coffee at Coffee Collectives.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
I had several recommendations to visit the Louisana museum of modern art in humlebaek which is about 35 minutes north of central Copenhagen. I would recommend getting tickets from DSB from Copenhagen central station that combine entrance fee to the gallery and train tickets, it will you save about 100dkk.
I would have enjoyed visiting just for the building itself, set on the cliffs and overlooking the sea towards Sweden(not that we could see it that day). We saved this trip for the rainiest day of our visit, it took a us a good few hours to walk our way through the different exhibitions and regularly stopping to appreciate the incredible views of the sea and the grounds scattered with sculptures by Alexander Calder, Henry Moore and Joan Miro. This place is an absolute gem.
The Design Museum
Chairs, lights and great posters were the highlights for me. The permanent chair collection will make you reevaluate the chairs in your life and the painfully intricate katagami paper stencils in the Japanese collection will make you fall in love with Japanese prints even more.
I really feel like we explored so much of Copenhagen in the short space of time we had but I would love to go back in summer. I'd spend more time cycling around the city, sitting in the parks eating smorrebrod and drinking beer. I'd also like to visit Tivoli as it reopened the day after we got home and to see Christiania in the height of summer. Starting it all off again with another pastry from The Corner, of course.
Let me know if I missed anything that's worth seeing the next time I go, I'd love to hear more recommendations!