Capturing Copenhagen

Copenhagen has always been one of those cities that I wanted to visit, but didn’t know much about. Apart from the line of colored houses I had seen on numerous Pinterest travel posts, I had no clue what else Copenhagen had to offer. But after three days of exploring this modernized yet historic city, I was fascinated by its culture and understood how it was one of the happiest in the world.

The unstoppable yawns that overcame me throughout the early morning 1-hour flight from Prague to Copenhagen ceased as I stepped into the airport and felt a rush of adrenaline- after many years of waiting, I was finally in Copenhagen! After dropping off our bags in our Airbnb, we decided to get breakfast at one of Copenhagen’s many cafes. The food in Copenhagen is one of a kind- café culture is vibrant and unique, and the health nut in me was buzzing at the hundreds of vegan and vegetarian options. We ordered cappuccinos and brunch plates that did not disappoint.

To start our day of sightseeing, we headed to the Copenhagen City Hall. Walking in, you can immediately feel a sense of national pride emanating from the bright Danish flags set against subdued architecture. The City Hall is a free attraction to wander and explore, and it even houses an advanced astronomical world clock. Next, we visited the most picturesque spot in Copenhagen- Nyhavn. If you get a chance to visit Copenhagen, I would highly recommend taking a canal tour in this area. For just eight euros, we got to see various landmarks by boat, such as the famous Little Mermaid Statue, Amalienborg Castle, and Holmen’s Church. The canal tour also offers the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse of each of the colored houses along the famous Nyhavn area as well as the equally bright apartments in Copenhagen’s residential areas.

For lunch, we fulfilled our inner foodies and stopped at Torvehallerne, a famous food market in Copenhagen. The options were endless, between pastries (Danishes, of course), vegan sandwiches, acai and oatmeal bowls, and chia puddings. Afterwards, we trekked to the top of Christiansborg Tower. This tower is part of the outstanding Christiansborg Palace and offers a spectacular 360 view of both Copenhagen, allowing you to see the contrast between the city’s newer, urban buildings as well as historical monuments. If you squint hard enough, you can even see all the way to Sweden!

To end our day, we strolled down Stroget, one of the longest pedestrian shopping streets in Europe, and popped into the stores of some famous Danish brands, such as Flying Tiger and Lego. Scandinavian design dominates this area as well, and we found inspiration for our future homes in endless stores selling home décor and furniture.

Cloudy skies and light rain on our second day couldn’t stop us from exploring more of Copenhagen. We began with brunch at the Union Kitchen, and I can’t recommend this place enough. The food is delicious but the real show-stopper is the cappuccinos. They come with cute messages and art printed on top that discourage you from taking a sip (but seriously, take a sip. The coffee is amazing!). To escape the momentary rain, we visited the Danish Design Museum and learned about Scandinavian design, its history, and its influences on design around the world. Exhibits were centered around furniture, product design, architecture, graphic design, and more, and the aesthetics and information were nothing short of fascinating.

After a couple more stops at Kastellat, a former Danish military fortress, and the Royal Danish Library, we ended our night at Tivoli Gardens. Tivoli is one of the world’s oldest amusement parks- Walt Disney visited Tivoli and gained inspiration for developing his own parks. The park is magical at night, to say the least. Lights illuminate the walkways and rides, and chatter from local Danish teenagers and tourists buzzes amongst screams from tops of rollercoasters. The historical charms transport you to another world, allowing all your other worries to slip away. We forgot our ages for a night and rode the carousel and ferris wheel with huge smiles plastered on our faces the entire time (overall conclusion: no regrets).

On our last day in Copenhagen, we took a day trip to Malmo, Sweden. The journey is only 40 minutes by train, so it’s a super convenient way to see another country. Malmo was simultaneously quaint and modern, between its historical town squares and newly developed urban apartments. And of course, we had to stop at IKEA in Sweden because, come on, it’s IKEA in Sweden.

Overall, Copenhagen was a unique city that I fell in love with. Scandinavian architecture, Danish history, and the hygge vibe all contributed to its individuality, and I hope I can come back and visit again someday.

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