You know you love a place when you’re already planning another visit before you’ve sat down to unpack from your last trip.
With its canals, bikes, and Freetown Christiania, you’d be forgiven if you thought snapshots of Copenhagen were Amsterdam. Furthermore, with its relaxed vibe, famous bridge, colourful buildings and spacious green parks, Copenhagen definitely has a vibe of San Francisco too.
My first impressions of Copenhagen left me feeling impressed by what I saw and experienced. So much so that it’s not just a place I want to visit again, but a place I could see myself living for a while. Like San Fran, Copenhagen is a very liveable city because, to me, liveable means being in a place with open-minded people and having access to recreational facilities that are stimulating as well as fun, including museums (yes, museums can be fun god damn it!) and pretty parks. If a city has these qualities then I immediately warm to it, but Copenhagen goes one step further by providing Danes and those who live there with free education. YES, COMPLETELY F-ING FREE!! For someone like me who lives in England where the university fees deter intelligent, hard-working people from going then hearing Universities are free in Denmark seems too good to be true. But it is. Obviously, their taxes are higher than most countries, but if a higher quality of life which includes free access to health care, arts, well maintained parks and education is the reward then I wouldn’t complain.
Going back to the bikes, they’re not just a big deal in Copenhagen, they’re a HUGE deal. More a way of life than a mode of transport. As well as giving the Danes buns of steel, all this cycling has benefited the city enormously – now regarded as one of the greenest cities in the world, Copenhagen is doing its part to reduce carbon omissions in a big way. And I’m pretty sure there’s a direct correlation between being the world’s happiest nation and living in one of the world’s greenest cities. This can’t just be a coincidence, surely…
But beware, bikes rule the roads so try and avoid walking into the bike lanes (easier said than done) or you’ll be on the receiving end of some severe eye rolling.
Then there’s all the effort put into the arts; literature lovers can get lost in the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen or look for something a little more serious in Soren Kirkegaard. Both figures have been immortalised through their own statues, street names and various exhibitions. Whilst art lovers can head over to the National Gallery (free on Sundays!) and catch up with what some of the Greats left behind for us to take in and admire.
I love how most areas are within walking distance yet the city still feels big and certainly interesting enough to know there’ll always be new things to discover. However, because I always prefer to walk where possible the only public transport I used in Copenhagen was the train to and from Kastrup/Copenhagen Airport. The train costs approx. £4 and takes about 15 minutes to get into the centre. Once I arrived in Copenhagen train station I went straight to my hotel to drop my bags off and was pleased to discover it was literally a 2-minute walk away. I stayed in the Andersen Hotel and would definitely recommend staying here if you’re not on too much of a budget. Like most places in Scandinavia, hotels don’t come cheap but they’re usually of a good to high standard, and this applies to hostels too.
If you’re looking for delicious as well as affordable food then head to the Meat Packing district. The hotelier told me that the Meat Packing district was only a two-minute walk away, and mentioned a place called Kødbyen’s Deli that served great food – and he wasn’t wrong! I ate Brazilian steak with mashed potatoes and mustard seed, thyme, red onions and carrot puree, and I enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t resist going back the next day to order Fish ‘n’ Chips Danish style! These were cooked from fresh in front of me, and were served in a container and eaten outside on tables or anywhere else I could find to perch my bottom. The majority were sitting on the curb side with a beer in hand and a sky full of sun. Relaxation personified!
The meat packing district seemed to be the epicentre of ‘cool’ in Copenhagen (think East London). Full of bars, cafes, gallery spaces, as well as ridiculously good-looking people (one thing you should know about Denmark is that EVERYONE is stylish and good-looking!)
Well I’ve been back a few days now and all I seem to think about is what a lovely place Copenhagen would be a live, but I guess I’ll have to put that thought on hold for a while…