Smorrebrod, Danish pastries, more hotdogs, and gourmet chocolates were my favorite things about Copenhagen. Oh and the little mermaid!
My sister Patty and I went on a little Scandinavian vacation, first going to Sweden and then to Denmark. We spent a few days in Copenhagen, exploring the sights, eating delicious treats, and finally seeing our favorite childhood story character.
We walked for miles each day, learned about the hygge lifestyle, and enjoyed the colorful sights of Copenhagen. Below are a few favorites:
Nyhavn (or “New Harbor”) is a waterfront lined with brightly-painted buildings, beautifully renovated old houses, bars, restaurants, and boutiques. It was originally a commercial port, and now the canal is the center of the entertainment district.
This was our first stop on our first day, but we went back to the area several times. It was very relaxing to stroll around, take in the sights, and talk about nothing and everything.
Smorrebrod are Danish open faced sandwiches, well-known and well-loved across the country. The base is usually rye bread, mildly sweet with a subtle tang. They are typically eaten with a fork and knife, maybe 2-3 per person, but Patty and I shared most meals. I loved our selection below: smoked salmon salad with roe, fried fish with a mustard aioli and capers, and roast pork with pickles.
I have to admit, the Danes know their sweets. The Danish pastries we tried are not the glazed sugar bombs we have in the States. They were delicately sweetened and buttery and incredible. My favorite during the trip was one with almonds, orange zest, and raisins.
During our walking tour (I highly recommend this Danish Hygge Culture and Historical Copenhagen Walking Tour), we also sampled a pastry with seasme seeds and cinnamon, with texture like a cross between a croissant and brioche. It was delicious.
As for chocolates, well I’ve always had a soft spot for Danish candy. When we were younger, our dad would always bring home bags of Danish chocolates from his travels. I particularly loved Daim, which are little toffee rectangles covered in milk chocolate, and I think I ate most of it instead of sharing with my sisters… whoops. But what captured my heart during this trip were Peter Beier chocolates. It was there where I had my first taste of ruby chocolate, made with the ruby cacao which results in a lovely pink color, and tastes tart-sweet, almost like a subtle berry flavor. We went back to Peter Beier multiple times and I am not ashamed to admit that I spent most of my money there.
Torvehallerne Food Market
I make it a point to visit at least one food hall when I travel to a new country so we went to the Torvehallerne Food Market. This market has dozens of stalls of fresh produce, seafood and meat, gourmet chocolates, pastries, spices, sandwiches, and more. We spent a couple of hours exploring, eating little snacks, and basking in the energy. It was also at the food market where we stumbled upon a stall for Hija de Sanchez, which I remember seeing in Ugly Delicious. Unfortunately we were too full to eat tacos :(
The first thing we ate in Copenhagen were hotdogs. I love hotdogs and never get tired of them, even after having our fill of street dogs in Stockholm. I appreciated how the hotdogs don’t always come with bread, but always comes with onions, pickles, and different sauces for dipping: mustard, ketchup, and mayo.
Castles, Spires, and More
Copenhagen is home to one of the world’s oldest monarchies, and there are castles, palaces, and royal monuments all over the city. We visited two of the most popular: the Rosenborg Castle, a renaissance castle intended to be the summer house of the royal family, and the Amalienborg Palace, where the royal family still lives. We even saw the changing of the guards! Every day at noon, the Danish Royal Guards marches from the Rosenborg Castle to the Amalienborg Palace.
As we kept exploring the city, we kept catching ourselves staring up and marvelling at the medieval buildings, usually topped with spires. We found out that Copenhagen is also called the city of spires, and indeed the old city is dotted with green spires (the spires are covered in copper plates which have been etched green by salt and air).
A few more memorable moments: walking down Stroget, Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street; shopping at the flagship store of Magasin Du Nord, a local department store carrying plenty of Nordic brands; going back to King’s Landing (no relation to Game of Thrones) for the palace plus a quick glimpse of the statue of Hans Christian Andersen; seeing lots of bikes and admiring the biking culture. We actually borrowed bikes from our hotel and Patty was a pro, maneuvering smoothly across roads and ramps, but I wiped out steps outside the hotel (it’s okay, I ate chocolates in our room after).
And while we ate out for most meals, we also had a couple of “hotel room dinners” where we got take out and picnic-like items to eat in our room while watching TV. I cherished having these moments with my sister.
The Little Mermaid
For some people, a little statue could be underwhelming. It’s a small bronze statue that sits on a rock in the harbor. But not for us. My two sisters, Patty and Monic, and I loved the story of the Little Mermaid, and we’ve been dreaming of going to Denmark since we were little girls, to see the birthplace of the mermaid who became human. We are fascinated by mermaids, and I remember very fondly how our mom would tell us different mermaid stories. We loved it so.
Tak (thank you) for reading!