How to Spend a Perfect Weekend in Copenhagen

as though bad taste doesn’t exist in Copenhagen.
Minimalist, elegant and inventive design is simply the default; it
manifests in clean, hardwood floors, light-filled spaces and form
that never minimises function.

The Danish concept of “hygge” is
omnipresent. In the careful attention to detail displayed in the
intimate interiors of bars, restaurants, and cafés with their
artfully slung pendant lamps, carefully selected furnishings and
abundance of candlelight, they create warm and inviting spaces to
hide away in the darker months. It flows into Danish philosophy and
way of life, which values time spent with friends and family (and
perhaps explains their reputation as some of the happiest people in
the world).

As the weather warms up, life spills out into the streets and
parks with endless outdoor activities and events. There are
officially more bikes than people in
so, if you can keep pace with the locals, it’s an
ideal way to get around. But Copenhagen is compact and can easily
be explored on foot. With many of its highlights located in its
centre, it’s the perfect location for a weekend escape.

Restaurant Cofoco


Begin with dinner in the meatpacking district, Kødbyen. Once the
centre of the city’s meat industry (Kødbyen literally translates to
“meat city”) the area has seen a surge of new nightlife and
high-quality restaurants – partly due to a conscious decision by
the council who owns the district’s warehouses. Try the 10-course
tasting menu at Gorilla, based
around inventive Mediterranean cuisine. Alternatively, Restaurant Cofoco offers an
exquisitely presented four-course tasting menu (with paired wines)
inspired by contemporary Nordic cuisine.

It’s rare that an amusement park should have such a dominant
presence within a capital city, but Tivoli is a world of its own and
worth a visit even if you eschew the rides for a walk around its
gardens. Dating back to 1843, it’s among the oldest of its kind
(the oldest is Bakken, further north in Klampenborg). It’s an easy
way to blow a ton of cash on a myriad of unnecessary items and
activities – including fine-dining options within the park walls.
But from the beginning of April,
Fredagsrock returns to Tivoli gardens, providing an open-air stage
for local and international artists from 10PM on Friday



First things first, grab a coffee and cinnamon bun from Meyers Bagerie
Kongensgade and wander towards Nyhavn and the
colourful rows of houses that line Copenhagen’s former commercial
port. It’s the classic and possibly clichéd image of Copenhagen.
The oldest, no. 9, dates back to 1681. A number of eminent figures
and artists have lived here, including Hans Christian Anderson who
lived at numbers 18, 20 and 67 at various points in his life. These
days the canal is lined with lively restaurants and bars filled
with tourists and locals alike.

Soon you’ll come to the architecturally striking Royal Danish Playhouse, easily
recognised by its glass-encased front reflecting the surrounding
harbour. A boardwalk links the playhouse to the Langelinie
waterfront promenade, which connects many of the city’s obligatory
stops along Copenhagen’s harbour. It leads past Amalienborg Palace (home to
members of the Danish royal family) and onwards to Langelinje Pier
and the Little Mermaid. Based on the original,
darker version of the fairy-tale by Hans Christian Anderson, she’s
arguably underwhelming – a tiny sculpture diminished even further
by the swathes of tourists obscuring her tiny form, but she’s more
than a century old and has withstood multiple vandals and two

A wander through the Botanisk Have
(botanical gardens) will lead you to Torvehallerne, a labyrinthine
marketplace offering an abundance of fresh and local produce,
gourmet food and home-brewed coffee. It’s a relatively inexpensive
place to stop for lunch, and while you’ll find plenty of
restaurants to choose from, you could just as easily return to the
botanical gardens to explore its classic old greenhouses and living

Bo-bi bar is the oldest bar in
Copenhagen and, thankfully, one of the cheapest (a bottle of Tuborg
lager will set you back 25 DKK – about £3). It’s the kind of
smoke-filled candlelit den favoured by journalists in 1950s film
noir. Dating back to the First World War, it doesn’t appear to have
changed much since then. An incredibly diverse crowd happily
coexist here. Smokers are definitely welcome.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art


Not far from Nyhavn, The Union
serves the ultimate brunch, including a taster
plate combining a vast array of breakfast favourites. Other
highlights include a hangover beef burger with truffle fries, a
vegetarian green bowl and classics like eggs florentine or croque
monsieur. Wash them down with a bloody mary, complete with bacon

If you only visit one museum or gallery in Copenhagen, the
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a
worthy choice. A 35km train ride north of Copenhagen, it’s located
on the coast overlooking Øresund (or The Sound – the strait that
forms the Danish-Swedish border) with views of Sweden. Originally
intended as a haven for Danish modern art, it has expanded to
incorporate renowned international works by artists such as Andy
Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Picasso. With a focus
on the interplay between various art forms, its definition of
modern art incorporates architecture, design, photography and film.
The museum’s dramatic coastal setting provides the perfect backdrop
for its Sculpture Park, containing 60 sculptures overtly juxtaposed
or blending seamlessly with their surroundings.

Back in central Copenhagen, Freetown
is the perfect spot to spend your Sunday
afternoon. Self-described as an autonomous, anarchist community, it
was founded by squatters in an abandoned military base in the early
Seventies. Christiania holds its own laws and regulations
independently from the Danish government. For example, you can’t
buy a house in Christiania – you have to be given one. Photos are
highly discouraged on the aptly named Pusher Street, but
Christiania’s maze of street art, organic cafés, bars, workshops
and venues make for fascinating territory to explore. In the summer
months, Cafe Nemoland hosts free concerts on
Sunday evenings, providing a platform for both up-and-coming and
established Danish bands.

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City Guide: Copenhagen