How to make the most of your long weekend in Copenhagen.
Nautical charm meets an industrial edge in this ecclectic port city that’s a mashup of everything I dig about Europe. Although there’s seemingly endless things to discover in Copenhagen, my short visit still packed a punch! Read all about it:
Is it a hotel? Is it a tattoo shop? Is it a bar and music venue? Is it a laid back cafe? A laundromat? Your kitchen away from home? Yes. Urban House Hostel is hands down the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in. Clean, safe and convenient but never sterile.
Although it does feature a hangover room replete with floor pillows and gentle lighting, it’s not a hardcore party hostel. The vibe was just right for me. The staff is friendly and helpful, the clientele is a nice mix of young backpackers, families and aging pseudo- hipsters like myself. This place gets high points from a solo female traveller point of view as well.
Soak up some serious old world nautical charm along Nyhavn Canal.
Take the pedestrian/cycle bridge across the river to cool and arty Paper Island, where you can eat on the cheap at their massive Street Food warehouse!
Kongens Nytorv may currently be under construction, so just spin the wheel to be re-directed to another random urban oasis!
Stumble headlong into the Wonderful World of Oz with a visit to the delightful Tivoli Gardens.
An amusement park and a charmingly Victorian tour around the world, if you adore things that exist for no other reason than to bring joy to the human spirit, Tivoli is worth a visit.
Take a wander through Copenhagen’s famed Hippie Commune, Christiana Freetown.
Much is made of this ramshackle village that grew out of an abandoned millitary barracks. Yes, pushers openly sell weed here and the cops (mostly) look the other way. But there’s so much more to it than that. Beyond Pusher street, this is a living breathing community. Eat in a funky organic cafe. Wander the narrow wooded paths to see colorful DIY architecture and overrun gardens.
There’s art to see around every bend here. Christianians love to adorn their buildings with murals, some with social messages.
After dark, the gawking tourists dissipate, and Christiana plays hostess to locals looking to enjoy the chilled out vibe.
Christiana is also home to four totally unique music venues, ranging in size from a massive warehouse to an inmate jazz club. I was lucky enough to get to visit each one of them during the Copenhagen Psychedelic Music Festival!
A Norse/Goth/Psychadelic band with two drummers and a frontman chanelling a Swedish Jim Morrison. It all went down in ramshackle cinema that doubles as a music venue…Because Christiana.
So… is it safe? I’d say it depends on your general comfort level with a little bit of grit. I felt secure there on my own, but as always, trust your gut and exercise caution. Stick to the main thoroughfares near the bars and venues after dark, as Christiana has no street lights it’s easy to get lost in the dark!
Fact: This picture was taken because I’m a geek about bike infastructure.
Take a ramble (or a bike ride) along the river! Using Copenhagen ‘s Go Bike city bikeshare program is a piece of cake. Use the tablet attached to the bike to sign up, pay and even navigate. The built in GPS will direct you to nearby attractions and even help you find the nearest docking station when its time to hop off. These are E-bikes, which involve a slight learning curve if you’ve never used one before as they’re heavy and don’t manuver as elegantly at low speeds as a regular bike does. So maybe, don’t try it out for the first time on a tourist promenade or main thoroughfare like I did!
One general caveat about cycling in CPH, although Copenhagen’s cycle infrastructure is legendary, biking in the city’s capital is still not for the faint of heart. Having a bicycle superhighway at the tips of your pedals means you must be prepared to use it like one. Danes cycle fast and aggressively and woe be unto you if you are indecisive, you’ll be chastised by other cyclists with a disdainful tongue click! On top of other bikers there are still major intersections, and speeding cars and city busses to contend with, so don’t expect a stroll in the park!
Who wouldn’t want to play on a Ziggurat in a massive seaside sculpture garden?
If you love art, its worth the 30 minute train ride outside the city to pay a visit to the Louisiana Museum of Contemporary Art. Human made art and nature interact beautifully here. Once you’re done discovering the massive multimedia offerings indoors, pop outside and play like a child in the seaside sculpture gardens, or take a peaceful wander on the wooded paths.
Art instillation or primo makeout room? I’m not telling.
Copenhagen is a city under construction and street art is abundant!
No need to pay a museum admission when artisits are creating a constantly evolving dialogue with urban residents!
Need more inspiration for a city break in an artsy European capital? Check out my guide to street art in Berlin!
Cafe culture is alive and well in Copenhagen, and you won’t lack for places to sit back with a java and watch the world go by. Lots of these places do a weekend brunch buffet too. Some of my favorites were:
PH Cafeen: Lattes and live music, tak!
Cafe Madela: Lovely brunch and a cool location adjacent to the foodie mecca of the Meatpacking District.
Fars Dreng: Exquisite food and decor that feels like an uber chic Pinterest board come to life. A quiet place adjacent to, but tucked away from the tourist bustle.
The verdict? Copenhagen is an awesome city to live, play, chill and party.
My crush on this kickass capital city is official!
4 thoughts on “Boats, Bikes and Beatnicks: 48 Hours in Copenhagen ”
Great post. I loved the ” Silence is golden when you have a splitting head ache” .I suffer from bouts of migrains sometimes and I so can relate to it,and I travel a tad. Also about WIFI there is a similar caption in Elephant house cafe in Edinburgh. I love reading your blog, I am so reminded of the Alan Bennett s quote “The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met”. Keep the magic flowing.
Thanks so much for stopping by, and for that wonderful compliment. It means a lot!