Insider’s guide to eating, drinking and sightseeing
Jørgen Schytte/visit denmark
Houseboats in Copenhagen harbour.
Visit the Danish capital and you’ll find urban life pulsating alongside the towers of the old medieval town. Copenhagen is a forward-thinking city, with a flair for design, as well as a dynamic centre for architecture (notable works include the VM Husene housing complex and Jean Nouvel’s much-anticipated con- cert hall, due to open next year. But the city wouldn’t be complete without Christiana, the iconic, ramshackle community established by hippies in the 1970s.
Where to eat
Cofoco: For Danish delicacies at reasonable prices, try cofoco — Copenhagen Food Consulting. Simple, healthy dishes in a stylish setting (i.e. minimalist furniture and fancy chandeliers).www.cofoco.dk.
Den lille fede: For a more epicurean experience, visit Den Lille Fede, which means the little fat one. Dishes include Guinea fowl with parsnip; endive, tarragon and apple purée; and goat-cheese mousse with malt bread and fig-and-walnut marmalade. www.denlillefede.dk.
Noma: Copenhagen’s top restaurant offers imaginative Nordic specialities using locally-sourced ingredients. Dishes include poached king crab and mussel stock with ashes and leek; and musk ox and glazed beetroots with apple and smoked marrow. Frequently rated among the 100 best restaurants in the world. www.noma.dk.
Where to Drink
Oakroom: Slightly hidden away, but always filled to capacity; the cool daiquiris are popular. 10, Birkegade, Norrebro. www.oakroom.dk.
Boutique lizes: A long bar fills the room and on weekends the queue goes way down the street. If you’re lucky, the bartenders will offer you a bespoke cocktail. Enghave Plads, Vesterbro.
Louises: If cocktails aren’t your style, look for little pubs where beer is drunk from the bottle, smoke hangs heavy and music comes out of a jukebox. The pubs may look dubious, but most are completely harmless, with locals drinking beer and playing dice. One legendary venue is Louises at Norrebrogade, Norrebro, where you have to knock before you’re let in.
Where to shop
Stroget: The central pedestrian area is also Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street, attracting brands from Hermès to H&M. If you tire of the crowds and chain stores, visit smaller streets including Mikkel Bryggersgade, Kompagnistraede, Studiestraede and Lars Bjornstraede, where you’ll find boutiques, vintage shops and cafés. If you don’t mind the traffic noise, a walk down either Osterbrogade, Norrebrogade or Vesterbrogade offers a variety of new, exciting shops. If you want to stay indoors, you’ll find everything your heart desires in the Nordic warehouse chain Magasin at Kongens Nytorv, www.magasin.dk. Or jump on a metro train and get off 10 minutes later at Orestad Station, where you’ll find Northern Europe’s largest shopping centre, Field’s, www.fields.dk.
What to see
The little mermaid: Even though the slight size of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid surprises visitors, she’s still the city’s biggest attraction. A walk from Queen Margrethe’s residence Amalienborg via Kastellet to Langelinie is the classic way to go.
Christiana: To see a different side of Copenhagen, visit Christiania, at Christianshavn. The freetown was founded by hippies in the 1970s and was until recently best known for its cannabis trade, now outlawed. But a walk in the area, where people live in colourful caravans and DIY houses and still have their own postal system, is still a unique experience. www.christiania.org.
Harbour: A walk along the city’s harbour and canals shows how Copenhageners have started using the waterfront. By Christianshavns Kanal people live in houseboats, and at Islands Brygge a bathing area pulls in the crowds, both for a swim in the harbour and for barbecue and music played on a floating stage.
Architecture: Check out Orestad, the new “city in the city,” which has attracted internationally known architects including Jean Nouvel and Stephen Holl. It’s already home to 3,000 people, a modern high school, national radio, the University Of Copenhagen and many other key cultural institutions.
The radisson sas royal hotel: This landmark of modern functionalism, built in 1960, was the world’s first design hotel and was also the first high-rise building in Copenhagen. Danish designer Arne Jacobsen designed everything from the façade to the doorknobs, taps and even cutlery. Hammerichsgade 1, 1611 Copenhagen V. www.radissonsas.com.
Where to stay
Hotel fox: This hotel opened in the spring of 2005 and was a part of Volkswagen’s campaign for the world premiere of the VW Fox, where 21 young European designers had free reign to show their talent.
As a result the 61 rooms are inspired by psychedelia, art deco and Manga, amongst other themes. Hotel Fox is close to the city square and the Latin quarter where loads of cult bars and hip boutiques can be found. Jarmers Plads 3, 1551, Copenhagen V.
Danhostel copenhagen city: Danhostel Copenhagen City opened in May 2005 as Europe’s biggest design hostel only a short walk from the city square and Tivoli Gardens. The Danish design firm GUBI, which made furniture for the Museum of Modern Art, designed the hotel’s furniture.
At 15 storeys high, it has a fantastic view over the city roofs and Brygge Islands, the very area that Wallpaper magazine selected as Copenhagen’s “hottest area of the future.” H.C. Andersens Boulevard 50, 1553 København V.