I’m going to be honest here and tell you straight up: my first day in Copenhagen wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be. I was tired after hardly sleeping the night before, I wasn’t used to the snow and thought I was going to slip with every step I took, and I didn’t feel that overwhelming OMIGOD I LOVE IT HERE feeling I sometimes get when I travel. You know, like I did in Porto.
I still went out to explore though. I went for lunch at a cafe, walked up The Round Tower for 360 degree views over the entire city, and then walked to Nyhavn, the picture-perfect postcard area of Copenhagen – super touristy, but super pretty. I loved the colourful buildings which looked even lovelier with snow on their roofs.
I really wanted to also go inside Rosenborg Castle, but when I got to Rosenborg Gardens and looked at the Copenhagen Card app I realised that it had closed an hour beforehand.
No bother; the gardens were full of fresh snow, lined with pretty houses on each side, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go for a winter walk, so I made my way across the snow and decided to visit Amalienborg.
Amalienborg is the winter home of the Danish royal family. It’s set in a huge, cobbled square in the centre of Copenhagen and, while you can only visit a small portion of the palaces, I loved looking at all the rooms decked out how they would have been back in the day.
(And, not gonna lie, it was a lot warmer inside than it was outside.)
What a difference a day makes! On my second day in Copenhagen I had a nice lie in and went out exploring feeling much better than I had the day before. I had such a lie in, in fact, that by the time I left my hotel it wasn’t time for breakfast. It was time for lunch.
I headed to Cock’s and Cows, a cocktail and burger restaurant which my friend Simon had recommended to me that morning on Twitter. I’d defnitely recommend this place too, now I’ve been. The staff were really welcoming, the food was awesome (huge portions!), and the atmosphere was super cosy. Perfect for lunch or dinner.
Once I was outside again it had started to snow and the little winding streets looked so pretty. I strolled around taking photos, then headed to the National Museum of Denmark.
I wanted to visit Tivoli, I heard so much about it, but it was closed until April, so instead I went to visit The Little Mermaid which, honestly, was MUCH smaller than I’d anticipated. Like, she really puts the ‘little’ in Little Mermaid.
What I loved, though, was where The Little Mermaid was located. Not the wide river, but the park and the lake. In the snow, the whole area just shimmered and the water was frozen over. Just a big sheet of ice around the hilly landscape.
I’d spent most of the day outside so, as I wandered aimlessly in what I hoped was the direction of the centre of Copenhagen, I popped into a cafe for a flat white, then into the centre for dinner. The night before, I’d felt intimidated by the restaurant set beneath the paths; their steep stairs leading down into basement bars and eateries, windows in line with the pavements outside. But on my second night I seemed to have gotten some of my confidence back.
I found a Thai restaurant called WokShop, got a table at the window, and ordered a green curry and a beer. I took my time over it, sometimes reading a book, sometimes watching people through the window.
I came back to the hotel, then, and wrote the first edition of The Letter B (now on its third issue!) and did some work before crawling in bed, exhausted. No wonder; I looked at my fitness tracker the next day and found out I’d walked 10km.
I woke up on Day 3 in Copenhagen to the sun streaming into my room, but the temperature outside was still sitting at around -7 degrees. Good thing I brought my thermals.
After a Skype meeting I ventured out into the cold and sunny morning to go for brunch at The Union Kitchen. I’d read about this restaurant the night before and, thinking it *might* be busy on a Sunday morning, had booked myself a table for 11:15.
I was right; it was busy. So busy, in fact, that the idea of walking in was kind of overwhelming. I lingered at the door, then thought ‘fuck it’. The warmth and noise of the room hit me, but then a waiter was by my side and I was climbing up onto a stool at the bar and I realised that I needn’t have felt overwhelmed. I was fine.
I ordered a flat white and eggs benedict. Soon, there was a queue out of the door and I realised, with a hint of pride, that I’d happened upon a little gem in the heart of Copenhagen. I was surrounded by locals; regulars who chatted to the wait-staff and read newspapers at the bar and sat laughing over coffee with their friends.
I wanted to sit at that bar forever, ordering coffee and reading and people watching.
But London was calling and, even though I loved Copenhagen, even though it’s perfect for a winter city break, and I’d definitely visit again, I was also kind of looking forward to being able to feel my toes.
Where I stayed in Copenhagen
I stayed at WakeUp Hotel, Borgergade – there are two Wake Up Hotels in Copenhagen, this one’s a tiny bit closer to the centre.
Who I flew with
Norwegian Air – they have free wifi on loads of their flights now, a huge bonus for people who need to be online even when they’re in the air.
Tips for visiting Copehagen
If you’re visiting in Winter (January especially) bring thermal layers, flat boots (I wore Topshop biker boots – you want something with a thick tread) and a proper coat (ie. not your little leather jacket. You’ll freeze).
Buy a Copenhagen Card and download the app – I found the app super useful because it has a map too. The card, which costs around 48 Euro (around £36) for 48 hours, gives you free access to 74 museums and attractions, travel on public transport (including to and from the airport), and discounts at restaurants.
How to get to Copenhagen from the airport
As you come into arrivals, keep walking straight ahead; you’ll see machines and kiosks for buying metro tickets. If you’ve already activated your Copenhagen card, go straight up the escalator on the right and tap in like you would with your Oyster card. If not, buy a ticket to Kongens Nytorv, then head up the escalator on the right.
You want the train for Vanlose – Kongens Nytorv which is 8 stops from the airport.
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