After a year of endless nights of assignments and emotional eating, we’ve made it through the first year of our master’s degree! To celebrate, we decided to venture off to the Danish capital for 3 days and 4 nights during the summer and here's a list of things we've done with tips around Copenhagen!
The Unexpected- From Leeds To Copenhagen
My trip though, pleasant, I encountered a series of unfortunate events which I would like to write about. While I booked my flight for only £ 14 just a week before departure, there’s a catch – I’d be flying from Southend Airport (1 hour away from London).
Knowing my luck with my trips (I’ve missed countless flights due to strikes, delays, cancellations, weather problems, losing my passport, etc.), I decided to catch an earlier train to Southend Airport.
My train of course was delayed but I managed to catch my connecting train in London. Feeling relieved, I sat on the train and dreamt of the Danish cuisine I would divulge in.
Halfway through, the train stopped for 40 minutes at Shenfield Station. An announcement was then made, “Please make your way to platform 4. We apologise for the delays, but we will depart as soon as we can.” Being reassured, I hopped on the train and waited for another 30 minutes.
At this point, I realised there was no way I could make it to the airport unless I take an Uber. Do I risk the peak hour traffic or should I take another flight from another airport?
Tick-tock, tick-tock, I ordered an Uber heading to Stansted Airport and I stared out at the peaceful wet fields praying that we would get there sooner. Boom £ 70 quid gone. Once at the counter, I had to purchase another ticket for £ 100 but I had no choice. Okay, at least I was able to continue my journey.
Before arriving, I didn't have any Krones on me as I had to order it and wait for a week. Fortunately, I had my contactless Revolut Card a virtual bank card that worked like a gem for my entire trip.
Travelling without physically exchanging money?
Revolut (can be registered anywhere in Europe) and Monzo (customers from the UK) both are virtual banks allowing you to exchange money by transferring money from your other bank account through their apps. Both companies provide bank-beating rates and perfect for travelers! Do your research before joining though.
I bought a train ticket at the airport for 3 zones for 38 DKK (£ 4.60) arriving at the Nørreport Station.
After arriving, I bumped into this gentleman who was standing near the station. He came up to me and I guess I must've looked lost. He brought me all the way to the Søtorvet St bus station and welcomed me to the marvellous city, offering help whenever I needed. Wow, Danish people are unbelievably helpful!
I took the 5C bus, the busiest bus in Copenhagen and stopped at Hulgårds Plads in Frederikssundsvej (I'm not even going to attempt to pronounce that) which was a very straightforward 15-minute journey on the bus.
My Airbnb host was incredibly friendly as she waited till midnight for my arrival. After a quick chit chat, I went for a shower and dropped dead on the bed. It was a very cosy apartment and the place was sparkling clean (I was required to wipe down the shower walls after my shower and water droplets near the sink).
The host stayed at the other end of the hall while I had my own bedroom with simple furniture (a bed, a table and a wardrobe) costing £48 per night (including cleaning and service fees), a great deal in Copenhagen.
Useful Transport Apps
DOT Mobibilletter: Find out which zone you're travelling to (Zone 1 to 4) and pay with your card on the app before you board the train or bus. Zone tickets last for an hour.
Rejseplanen: To find the best route and looks up prices.
City Rail Map: Map of stations in Copenhagen.
SJ: Book your trip across the border to Sweden on this App.
Of course, you can stick to the more traditional way by getting your tickets at the machine/counter or 7-Eleven kiosks but apps are more convenient and make it easier to check the next departure times. You can pay on the bus if you have small change.
Great guide for tourists: Visit Copenhagen
Perfect for those who want to visit all attractions (unlimited transport included): Copenhagen Card (99 EUR for 3 days)
Copenhagen offers a lot of green parks in the city centre which used to be fortifications. We drove from Hulgårds Plads to Ørstedsparken and enjoyed the summer sun. There were dozens of people out on the grass sunbathing and one disturbing intoxicated man who kept following us throwing us either compliments or racial slurs (?!). He finally walked off and we continued to enjoy the scenery before grabbing lunch nearby.
Torvehallerne is a marketplace with stalls offering flowers, cheese, meats, chocolates, souvenirs and quick bites such as porridge with apples, dulce de leche and toasted almonds (Grød) and smoothie bowls perfect to start the day. You can also find fish and chips, salads, tacos, pasta and restaurants surround this complex. This was the cleanest food market I've been to and nothing makes me happier than seeing an array of fresh fruit and vegetables along with the different scents - freshly baked bread and coffee!
The market is conveniently located just a street across from Nørreport Station.
Opening hours: 10 AM - 7 PM (8 PM on Fri and 5 PM on Sun)
I was surprised to find the options such as the "Low FODMAP" juice (appelsin, hvidkål, citron, chili = orange, cabbage, lemon and chilli), typically recommended for those who have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Apparently, approximately 18% of the Danish population suffers from IBS.
We grabbed lunch at a store called Vita Boost. I had a Go Green smoothie (spinach, apple, avocado, lemon and organic elderberry) and a gluten-free panini with salmon, artichoke cream, avocado, arugula and spinach. The gluten-free bread was surprisingly delicious (unlike the ones we made our gluten-free practical) especially with the black sesame, even better than normal bread!
Eating out in Copenhagen is pricey compared to the UK. My lunch at a tiny food stall cost 110 DKK (£ 13.50) and I paid around 40 DKK (£ 5) for a cup of coffee at one of the local cafes. A meal at a mid-range restaurant would cost around 150 DKK (£ 18) for a main course and even double that at a fancier place.
For those who are trying to save money, I would recommend buying ready meals or ingredients (if you had access to a kitchen) at the supermarket before closing which would be discounted for only 20 DKK (£ 2.50) for a salad.
Supermarkets: Netto and Lidl are the budget grocers while Irma is equivalent to UK's M&S.
After lunch, we walked from Torvehallerne towards the pier. Along the way, we passed by Københavns Universitetsbibliotek (Copenhagen University library) and Strøget, the shopping street equivalent to Oxford Street in London.
This pedestrian-shopping street is filled with fast fashion shops, classy boutiques style shops and high street designer stores along with restaurants and cafes. I would suggest strolling around the side streets as that's where the independent stores with more interesting design could be found.
Nyhavn (New Market)
Nyhavn as typically found on postcards from Copenhagen with its picturesque harbour and colourful facades of old houses has a dark history.
Once upon a time, Nyhavn was a renowned hangout for sailors, drinking and prostitution. Good news is these renovated houses have transformed into overpriced restaurants, pubs, music venues with wooden sailing ships lining on both sides of the canal.
"IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED TO EAT HERE." - local.
This is also the hub for all the canal boat tours and cruises in Copenhagen that brings you across the canal to the Copenhagen Opera House, Amalienborg Palace, Christiansborg Palace, the Black Diamond Library, and, of course, the Little Mermaid. Ticket booths can be found near Mindeankeret (Memorial Anchor) or bought in advance online.
Ofelia Plads is a public space situated on the Kvæsthus Pier next to the Royal Danish Playhouse. During summer, sun loungers are laid out across the harbourfront for people to sunbathe in and the water is clean for people to swim in. Loads of people went skinny dipping as well even though the water was freezing cold.
We bought a cup of beer costing 50 DKK (£ 6) and sat on the sun loungers enjoying the rest of the afternoon watching people swim and canoeing in the waters.
This restaurant, Zeleste, recommended by my local friend, is located near the Mindeankeret (Memorial Anchor) on Store Strandstræde frequented by the locals. It’s a little bit off the beaten path of the Nyhavn crowds.
Passing through its navy wooden doors, you had a choice of either eating inside or outside in its secluded courtyard. Of course, we sat outside to enjoy the sunset and the ambiance was cozy and intimate which reminded me of Paris.
The food was reasonably priced by Copenhagen standards, something you would find in a decent restaurant in London. I had a glass of Sauvignon (75 DKK, £ 8), side potatoes (55 DKK, £ 6.70), salted almond and olives (45 DKK, £ 5.50) shared between us and pan-fried brill with watercress pesto (155 DKK, £ 19) as Zeleste is famous for its seafood. The fish was cooked perfectly but I found the dish to be a bit bland after a while. What I really enjoyed was the olives that were plump and packed with flavour!
After dinner, we went for a quick drink around Nørreport Station before heading back to pick up the car. Along the way, we passed by the central station and the famous Tivoli amusement park. Unfortunately, we didn’t go there this trip. This sums up day 1 in Copenhagen!