Time-constrained travellers know that feeling of visiting a destination and leaving too soon, knowing that there is more that they would have liked to see and experience. Those were our feelings after visiting Copenhagen one winter. Dear Copenhagen is a photo journal in which we share highlights from our weekend getaway to Denmark’s capital city and why a return to visit is on our minds.

 

Dear Copenhagen,

We must come back to see you again!

You see, it was January and mid-winter when we last visited. You were quiet, so quiet that even Tivoli Gardens, that notoriously riotous playground in your city centre, was closed for refurbishment.

Couple walking along Olufsvej Østerbro in winter | Dear Copenhagen

Couple walking along Olufsvej Østerbro in winter | Dear Copenhagen

The snow had gathered up on the sides of your pedestrian walkways. Your winter chill turned our breath into mist as we talked about how pretty you looked all dressed in white.

Colourful houses along Olufsvej Østerbro

We wondered aloud how much more beautiful you would look in the summer, with the sun kissing your iconic buildings and reflecting your colours.

 

We loved your architecture and neighbourhoods…

Colours! Although your skies were grey and uninspiring and there were no rainbows, your colours were displayed everywhere.

Man walking outside Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen | Dear Copenhagen

We found them on the buildings at Nyhavn Harbour, along the winding waterways of Christianshavn (a.k.a “Little Amsterdam”) and on quaint houses in pretty neighbourhoods like Olufsvej in Østerbro.

Colourful buildings in Nyhavn Harbour, Copenhagen in winter

View of backyard in Østerbro, Copenhagen

Your Copenhagen Opera House (Operaen) is a masterpiece of acoustic design and a testimony to your world-famous architectural ethos of functionalism.

The Copenhagen Opera House (Operaen) is a masterpiece of acoustic design and functionalism | Dear Copenhagen

On the other hand, a visit to Charlottenborg Palace was a historical journey into an era of opulence that seems counter to your present-day love for simplicity.

Man standing in grand room at Charlottenborg Palace | Visit Copenhagen

Library at Charlottenborg Palace | Visit Copenhagen

Tapestry at Charlottenborg Palace | Visit Copenhagen

We had precious little time to explore all your cool neighbourhoods. However, while wandering around Østerbro, we caught glimpses of hygge, your famous philosophy of conviviality, contentment and cosiness.

 

We sampled your globally inspired gastronomy…

It was impossible for us to truly appreciate the breadth of your globally inspired food culture. There simply was not enough time. And if we are being honest, dear Copenhagen, you are pricey!

From French crepes at La Galette to enchiladas and burritos at Mæxico, we met creative chefs from around the world who have found a home in your city.

Salad at Apollo Bar, Nyhavn 2, 1051 København, Denmark

Your Michelin starred restaurants (like Geranium and Noma) were appealing. Unfortunately, their eye-watering prices and advance booking lead times were more than we were prepared for.

Wanting to feel your local heartbeat, we enjoyed wandering around suburban Østerbro where the word on their streets was that we had to visit your local bakeries. Sampling your fresh pastries and bread at Juno was totally worth queuing in sub-zero winter temperatures and is reason enough to return in warmer times.

We enjoyed the simple flavours at Souls (voted Copenhagen’s 2018 best vegan bistro/restaurant) run by two Australians who fell in love with you. Do you see? Yet again, the foodies of the world seem to find their home in your city.

Vegetarian Vegan food at Souls Copenhagen | Dear Copenhagen

Those friendly folks at Souls helped us tick off one ‘must-try’ item from our wishlist…Smørrebrød! We enjoyed your traditional open-faced sandwich and even tried a version with gluten-free bread!

 

Thank you for sharing your music with us…

Dear Copenhagen, we heard that you are a culturally vibrant city and so experiencing your classical music culture was a treat we decided upon at the last minute because…why not? Besides, the tickets were relatively cheap, thanks to government subsidies.

Your city lights cast a soft glow on your waters as we headed to your opera house at night. The light displays inside the building were themselves works of art.

Inside the Copenhagen Opera House (Operaen)

Although we couldn’t understand a word that was being said or recognise the pieces being performed, your talented sopranos, tenors and altos proved that music is a universal language that cuts across boundaries.

 

And showing how big cities can create communities

On the way back to our hotel, we stumbled across Bastards Café.

We have to admit that we’ve never seen such a place before, where enthusiasts can choose from a selection of wall-to-wall board games and play with complete strangers over a coffee or beer. In big cities where loneliness is a problem, we think you’ve found one interesting solution.

 

There’s so much more to you Copenhagen…

Dear Copenhagen, thank you for embracing us with your warmth and friendliness on a cold winter weekend in January. A few days might have been all we could spare this time but we know there is much more to you that we would like to see.

For example, we want to explore art and counter-culture in Christiania, that self-declared independent hippie ‘state’. We want to climb the twisted church tower at Vor Frelsers Kirke and see how green you look in the summer. We want to tap our feet along to jazz music during Vinterjazz and go searching for Thomas Dambo’s forgotten giants in the woodlands that surround you.

There…is…so…much…more!

We’ll be back to see you again Copenhagen. For now, we raise a glass of Gløgg in your honour and say Skål!

Strøget, Copenhagen Europe's longest pedestrianised street | Dear Copenhagen

 

Travel information

We stayed at the CitizenM hotel (not sponsored) because we love their budget-meets-boutique-meets-tech-meets-design philosophy. Like other countries in the region, Denmark is expensive to visit. Our top tip is to try to save money on accommodation and splurge on food.

Thinking of visiting Copenhagen? Search for hotels below.


Booking.com

 

Special thanks…

A note of appreciation to our friends Camilla (the queen of gluten-free waffles) and Gasper Jensen from Copenhagen By Me for giving us their time, showing us around Østerbro and helping us see Copenhagen through the eyes of a local.

Camilla Stemann Jensen | Copenhagen By Me

All opinions and travel recommendations expressed in Copenhagen itineraries from other bloggers (linked to in this post) are theirs.

 

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Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).