My trip to California started in Denmark to take advantage of a great sale fare combined with the benefits of ex-EU flying. Initially I had thought about doing a back to back, or spending the night at the airport, but a change in work commitments meant that we were able to have a bit longer in the city. Here are my recommendations should you find yourself in that part of the world.
The train from the airport to the city’s main train station is quick and easy – the station is attached to the airport. You can buy tickets from the machines before boarding, and they are signed in English and German as well as Danish. A single fare is 36DKK per person.
Once in the city you will notice that there are bikes everywhere – literally all of the place. I didn’t hire one on this occasion, but it is certainly a city set up for cycling. Just be aware of the cycle lanes which are easy to stray into from the pavements; you don’t want to get knocked over.
There are relatively few chain hotels in the city; a Crowne Plaza and a Hilton near the airport and a couple of Radisson in the centre. As these are my ‘go-to’ places I had to think outside the box. Fortunately there are loads of hotels and we settled on the Hotel Absalon. It is a quirky hotel with design by the Designers’ Guild. It is modern and funky, with a lot of good public spaces, both inside and out. The room was small, but very comfortable.
Breakfast was included in our rate, but no one checked, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you could just go in. It is very very busy, and they have a whole extra room only used at breakfast. I wasn’t able to get a picture at the time, but this is one of the breakfast areas which is covered in an array of breads, pastries, cheeses, meats and cereal in the morning.
The best thing about the hotel is it is about 200m from the train station which makes it great for connecting to the airport. The white building on the right below is the hotel, an the one at the end of the street is the station.
We arrived late on the first evening and ate in a Thai restaurant called Poonchai which we passed on the way from the station. It was very tasty, and reasonably quick. The bill came to 400DKK for two main courses and two beers including tip – expensive compared to the UK but well priced, it seems, for Denmark.
For lunch, we had typical Danish open sandwiches called Smørrebrød from the covered food market at Torvehallerne on Rømersgade. They were delicious and the queue that had formed behind us seemed to agree. They are expensive, and we were 216DKK for one each and a beer to share.
There are loads of cafes all over the place. One lovely independent one is Cafe Paludan which is set in an old bookshop. Expect hearty food and good coffee – although decaffeinated coffee doesn’t seem to be a thing. At the other end of the spectrum is Lagkagehuset, a chain of coffee shops serving delicious baked goods. It has a really futuristic set up; you take a ticket on entry and the staff call out numbers when they are ready to serve you. If paying with cash, you hand over note, or deposit coins in the grey machines by the tils; change is spat out at the bottom. We had a typical Danish Flødebolle which was a bit like a glorified Tunnock’s Teacake in it’s marshmallowy goodness.
Copenhagen is well known for as a foodie’s paradise, with many top chefs working in the city. The menu at Noma runs into the hundreds of pounds, which is a little out of my budget. Thankfully, they have opened a more casual restaurant round the corner called 108. It only opened three weeks ago, so really is the hot table in town. Bookings open 30 days in advance and I was lucky enough to snag a table on the waiting list. Their menu is delicious, and the food we saw looked amazing. We went for the sharing dish of monkfish was unlike anything I’ve had before – but very tasty. It was expensive; 950DKK for the sharing main course, two deserts, 2 glasses of wine, coffee and the tip, but it was a very memorable evening.
There is lots to see and do in the city, but there is nothing better when in a new place than just to wander and see where you end up. We pottered round the botanic gardens and the gardens near the Royal Palace, both of which are free to enter.
There is also an old fort surrounded by a moat in a 5-pointed start shape – very easy to see from the map! It has good views, and a windmill.
Of course, we also went past the Little Mermaid – a little underwhelming but, much like the Manneken Pis in Brussels, something that you ‘must see’.
Copenhagen was brilliant, and I was really pleased that we extended our trip to give us time to explore. I am going to be going back for a day trip to complete my ex-EU so will probably buy the Copenhagen Card, 379DKK for a day to give me access to the museums as well as transport. Finally, it is expensive – like £2 for a bottle of water in a shop and £4 for small coffee – accept it / don’t worry about it / make your trip 2 nights instead of 3 – so that you can enjoy what a wonderful place it is. I know that it is a winner, as I got the ultimate seal of approval, by being asked: “So, are there any international schools here…?!”
Apparently, there are..!