My Copenhagen trip was planned in a month, between hectic work travel and planning a pop-up dinner. And so, there was barely any time for me to research about the place and things to do there. However, there were quite a few things I was looking forward to…food, of course (yes, I tried to make a booking at Noma but I don’t think I am ready to part with 20k for a meal, not yet); cycling and late sunsets. Oh yes! It’s quite fascinating to have your dinner while the sun is still out. I traveled to Denmark in July, peak summer; something the whole country looks forward to after long, cold and dark winters.
Being the oldest monarchy of the world and home to modern design, Copenhagen is replete with history, palaces, and museums. And while a visit to the Tivoli Gardens, canal cruise and hanging out at Nyahvn should be on your list, here’s how you can explore the city in alternate ways.
Take a cycling tour
The best way to explore the city which is known as the cycling capital of the world, is by cycling. Copenhagen has 375 kms of dedicated cycling route and some of the best cycling bridges. The streets have more cycles than cars and people live not more than 8 mins away from a green area.
I took a tour with Cycling Copenhagen starting from Vesterbro and going all the way to Refshaleøen, the former industrial area in the harbour of Copenhagen. I cycled along the harbour, over the Snake Bridge, all the way to the new Noma. The high point was cycling inside an old shipping yard in Refshaleøen and stopping at La Banchina, a cute cafe built in a space which was earlier a ferry waiting room for the workers. Sitting here, sipping on hot cocoa and watching people sunbathe or jump into the water makes for a perfect Copenhagen summer. If you’re traveling to Copenhagen during winter, enjoy the wood-fired sauna.
Explore the street food haven Reffen
My cycling tour ended at Reffen, the street food district of Copenhagen which opened in May 2018. Spread over 400-square foot outdoor space, Reffen houses 54 stalls serving a wide range of cuisines right from Indian kebabs to South American ceviche. What’s impressive is that the area functions on zero waste philosophy hence food is packed in bio-degradable boxes. I spent my afternoon here trying food from different stalls and pairing them up with local beer.
Walk around the free town Christania
Located in the Christianshavn borough of Copenhagen, this small commune is a source of controversies thanks to the open trade of cannabis in the area. Apart from the obvious, Christania is a must visit for its spectacular graffiti, cosy cafes and street shops. Just make sure you don’t take too many pictures while walking around here.
Dine at the meat packing district
Located in Vesterbro, the Meat Packing District is home to some of the hippest restaurants and bars in Copenhagen. This is where I spent my first evening, eating a marvelous meal at Gorilla restaurant and watching the Copenhagen sun set.
Walk around the food market TROVEHALLERNE
For me the best way to explore a city is through its market, no matter how big or small. Trovehallerne is certainly one of the grandest super markets with 100s of shops selling organic produce, chocolates, sausages, cheese and alcohol.
Experience the Danish hygge
Danes love their hygge (pronounced hoo-guh). Simply put, it means the warm and cosy feeling of comfort and the best way to experience it is by inviting yourself for a Danish dinner. For those who don’t have local friends, Meet The Danes, an agency that offers home experiences to travelers, is a great way to understand local culture and lifestyle.
DINE AT an urban farm
ØsterGro, the roof top urban farm set in Østerbro is one of the many examples of Copenhagen’s love for sustainability. Located five floors above an old car auction, the farm grows vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and has its own chicken coop and bee farm too. Co-founded by three farming enthusiasts, the farm now has 40 members and the produce is distributed among them. The farm houses a restaurant, Gro Spiseri, which hosts social dinners where 2-3 chefs decide the menu based on seasonality and availability of the produce. Everything that goes into making the dinner is grown organically or sourced from local organic producers.
Tips to travel to Denmark
When to visit: I traveled to Copenhagen in July, peak summer and loved it. I got both hot as well as windy days with nights being a little chilly. It usually rains in July so be prepared for that. Also, from what I have heard the winter and spring are equally beautiful.
How to fly: Air India flies directly from Delhi and you can be in Copenhagen in seven hours straight.
Schengen Visa for Indian citizens: I applied for the Schengen visa through the Danish Embassy and it took around 15 days for the Visa to arrive which is longer than usual.
This post is written in association with Wonderful Copenhagen, the official tourism organisation for Denmark’s capital region.