Since Matt and I both get a couple days off during Thanksgiving week, we decided to take advantage of the extra time off and take a much awaited trip to Europe. We chose Denmark and Ireland.
There wasn’t much reasoning behind these picks, because I had never been out of the country and Matt had only been to Italy. We knew we wanted to go somewhere cold, since we don’t get much of a winter in San Diego, and we wanted to go somewhere English speaking for our first major trip to Europe. Hence, Copenhagen and Dublin.
First, we spent four days in Copenhagen. Since there’s so much to talk about and we took so many pictures, this post will only be about Copenhagen. The best, the worst (in my opinion) and all of our stops. *All photos were taken on Matt’s Galaxy S5 since he wouldn’t let me check a bag, which actually ending up leaving me quite impressed with how much I can fit in my suitcase when I have to.
- It’s impossible to order a bad beer.
- Tuborg Christmas Brew is delicious and the happens to be the most advertised thing I’ve ever seen. At first, I had no idea what Tuborg Julebryg meant, but I quickly learned that it appeared on tap at practically every single bar we went to.
- It’s okay to go to the bathroom in restaurants or any other business without buying something…and not feel guilty about it.
- Glögg and Glüwein are fabulously popular warm alcoholic drinks, so I could stay warm at Tivoli Gardens/the Christmas markets AND get a little buzz on.
- Every meal is amazing. Seriously…anything we ate deserved our “oh my god…wow…oh man”.
- Speaking of food, smørrebrød, or open faced sandwiches, are my new favorite thing to eat. Especially the dark rye bread.
- Ordering tea at a bar is totally normal.
- From our experience, we decided that although Copenhagen is widely known as “the happiest place in the world”, that might not be totally true. The people we met and tried to talk to were generally unfriendly, unless they were working at a counter. I think I may have only seen one or two smiles the whole trip. I don’t want to generalize and maybe we came at a bad time, but in our experience, it just wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
- Cobblestone feet are a real thing. We may have coined this term, but everyone should know about it. Cobblestone roads may be cute, adorable, quaint and you may want to walk on them, but I’d highly advise against it. Why? Because after walking for half a day on uneven cobblestones, my feet were completely cramped up and felt like they were going to fall off.
- Copenhagen doesn’t want you to cuddle. Totally a joke, but in reality, hotels only have “double” beds made up of two single beds pushed up next to eachother. Not a huge deal, but something to note.
- There’s construction on almost every corner. This is probably good for the city, but not great for photographers wanting an unobstructed view.
Now for our itinerary…
The moment after we checked in to our Vesterbro hotel, the Absalon, we added on a couple layers and set out on our mission for the first day. Beer, lunch, and Tivoli Gardens for some Christmas spirit.
Carlsberg Brewery. It’s a bit of a hike from Vesterbro, so it may have been a better idea to take a cab, but it was definitely worth a trip. We got a flight of beer and had smørrebrøds for lunch while getting adjusted to being in a different country. Perhaps the most interesting part of this little journey was running into what I would guess is some sort of grown up playground. And a dangerous one at that.
Strøget. This huge shopping street is touristy but it’s also the perfect place to get some Copenhagen souvenirs. Heading further west, we found the high end stores. Plus, the entire street was lit up with Christmas decor! Matt wasn’t the biggest fan because it was extremely crowded, he hates shopping, an as he said, it’s the “spitting image of Alvarado street in LA”.
Tivoli Gardens. Another touristy “must”. Tivoli was a lot different than I was expecting…in a great way. Even though it was a Sunday, it wasn’t crowded at all. There were a ton of cute pop up shops inside, plus Glögg and Glüwein. Our favorite part was probably the lit up weeping willow tree, which was way prettier in person than Matt’s phone shows.
Neighborhood. Just down the street from our hotel, Neighborhood was a cute place that reminded me a lot of the rustic, dimly lit restaurants in San Diego. We shared a pizza here, which was in typical Copenhagen fashion, delicious.
We slept in after our day of travel which worked out perfectly, leaving us rested for a full day of walking around Copenhagen. Luckily, many places are within walking distance of Vesterbro and we were able to tackle most in a big loop.
Christmas Markets. We stopped at one of the Christmas markets a couple times during our trip, but I’ll only talk about it once. This is the best place ever! It was just so…CUTE! Beer, Glogg, sausages (notably the best sausages I’ve ever had in my life), fudge, hats, mittens galore.
Christiansborg Palace. While it’s right in the middle of the city, there’s not much to see besides square trees. Not too sure what else to say…
Nyhavn. When you look up Copenhagen online, you see pictures of this place and it’s everything you think it is and more. Bright, vibrant, and full of color, Nyhavn is a block full of pure joy. It’s totally picturesque but on top of that, there are a bunch of places to eat at. Plus, every restaurant/bar has tables and chairs coupled with matching blankets outside.
Amalienborg Palace. Right in the middle of the city, the Queen’s Winter residence is incredible with a perfect panoramic view.
Rosenborg Castle. Just a few blocks north of Amelienborg Palace is this amazing castle. The queen must not be too into exploring since this castle is only a few blocks north of her winter home.
Botanical Garden (Botanisk Have). Just across the street from Rosenborg Castle, the botanical garden was a sight to see. We weren’t planning on going there, but were drawn in by the bright lights coming from it.
Mikeller. This cool little spot was perfect for our happy hour which consisted of IPAs, beer sausage and Danish cheese. Yum!
For Matt’s birthday, we planned to head over to Sweden on the train. Unfortunately, due to the high travel advisory alert, we decided against it. Instead, we checked out a couple different areas in Copenhagen.
Tante T. I read that we absolutely needed to go to a tea house and this one happened to be just down the road from our hotel. The whole experience was…lovely…to say the least. I already love tea, but this made me realize why Europeans love tea time. It’s the time to sit down, unwind, and chat with loved ones. We ordered the deluxe breakfast and it was superb. Charcuterie, cheese and croissants for breakfast? I’ll take it!
Jægersborggade. Despite the internet saying Nørrebro is hip and trendy now, it still seems pretty dodgy and I wouldn’t recommend going. Jægersborggade may be quaint and cute, but this one street isn’t worth going all the way to Nørrebro.
Assistens Cemetary. While we weren’t too fond of Nørrebro, we did happen upon a beautiful cemetery on the way to find a cab. This pit stop made up for the disappointment of Jægersborggade, besides being a cemetery.
Christiania. Right in the heart of Christianshavn, this area is known as a very interesting free town filled with art and homemade houses. While the entire place was a photographer’s dream, there are tons of signs that say “no foto”…so I had to hold back.
Christianshavn. Aside from the picturesque colorful buildings lined up next to the canal, there wasn’t much to write home about here. We ended up here three separate times nonetheless. Once while lost on our walk to Nyhavn, once while on the way to check out Christiania and once when scouring for dinner before the Opera, which I’ll go into next.
Opera House. We came, we went, we saw…for about 30 minutes. The building itself is amazing, but there are essentially no restaurants around, making it difficult to make a night out of it. We made the mistake of getting a taxi over to Papirøen, which looked like a really cool open-market-style food stop, only to find it closed and basically out in the middle of no where. On a map, it looks like an easy trek over to the more populated area of Christianshavn, but Papirøen (and the Opera House) is essentially on its own peninsula, so it’s a little more difficult than it seems. The opera performance was amazing to see, but with them singing in Italian and the subtitles being in Dutch, we were quite lost on what was going on.
Frederiksberg Gardens. The castle gardens were spectacular. We could’ve spent all day there, but had to catch our flight to Dublin so we cruised through at a leisurely pace before grabbing a pastry and heading back to the train.
Overall, fantastic trip with my favorite adventure buddy. Next up – our trip to Dublin!