Up until the night of our wedding, I had no idea where we were going for the first leg of our mini-honeymoon. Even after Thom broke the news, it wasn’t until we arrived at the Copenhagen train station (two days later) that it hit me: I was finally getting that Scandinavian vacation I had always wanted, regardless of the fact that I was so exhausted from wedding festivities that I would have been totally ok with going back home and hibernating until our South American honeymoon (which we’re on right now).
But I digress.
We had only been in Copenhagen for 12 hours and I quickly went from GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE to Can we stay here forever? Please? The city has so many kickass things going for it (Tivoli Gardens! Christiania! Bike culture! The food and the beer and THE COFFEE!), and we indulged in as many as we could squeeze in to our five day trip. Which, I’ll admit, involved a lot more eating and drinking than anything else because 1) we had just gotten married (!!!) and 2) I lost more than a few pounds in the weeks leading up to the wedding (you guys were right about that wedding stress-induced weight loss) and I was on a mission to gain it all back. And then some.
I think it’s worth mentioning that, contrary to what you hear, Copenhagen isn’t that expensive. We’d been told to expect everything to cost an arm and a leg but, aside from the hotel we stayed in on the first night (our Airbnb turned out to look a lot nicer on the internet than it did in real life) (which is because it wasn’t even the same apartment)*, everything was was pretty much on par with what things cost in Denver. Money aside, Copenhagen was fantastic and we really enjoyed spending our days wandering aimlessly through its funky neighborhoods. There aren’t many cities I’ve visited that I’d be eager to go back to again, but Copenhagen made it to the top of that list (along with Prague, Barcelona, Dublin, and Reykjavik). The people are friendly, the food is delicious, and the city is jam packed with just enough to keep you busy during a quick, five day trip.
*FYI: the fine folks at Airbnb remedied the situation and even bought us a few dinners.
Morgenstedet – Wholesome vegan fare in Freetown Christiana. Second best meal I had in the city.
Simple Raw – 100% raw cafe. I went for the veggie burger (which costs a lot more than it should) but I ate it over the course of two meals so the $20 price tag wasn’t nearly as difficult to swallow.
Cofoco Le Marche – Take away vegetable heavy eats. I still dream of their cocoa bites. Or whatever they were called.
The Laundromat Cafe – Just like their sister restaurant in Reykjavik, my vote’s still going strong for the vegan toast. Sounds underwhelming but I promise it’s delicious.
Atlas Bar – The best vegan meal I had in the city, hands down. Be sure to make a reservation, even on a weeknight (unless you arrive before 6PM).
Madglad’s Cafeteria – The interior feels a bit outdated but that doesn’t matter because their food is outta this world good. Buffet style with two entrees (one of which is vegan) and all you can eat salad + bread. We went for both brunch and dinner, but recommend their dinner service over brunch (which was pretty underwhelming).
Kimia – Delicious (and affordable) cafe-style grub in a cozy setting. Outdoor seating available.
Neighbourhood – Organic pizza (can be made vegan, without cheese) and cocktails made with fresh ingredients.
Snacks + sweets
Lagkagehuset – If you want fresh baked bread or pastries, this is the only place you should go. Lucky you, they have locations scattered all over the city.
La Glace – An assortment of beautiful cakes; one dairy free/gluten free option (contains eggs).
Botaniq – They serve up hearty raw food options, too, but I went for the dessert. A sweet potato blondie and raw cacao ice cream. Both were divine.
Cafe Woodah – Primarily a hostel but they have a funky little cafe, too. The soy latte is delicious, as are the smoothies. Just make sure you specify dairy-free if you go the smoothie route.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab – No dairy-free milk alternatives but the coffee’s so good you don’t need it. Go for the Americano.
Heritage Coffee & Bikes – We stumbled upon this place by accident and I am so happy we did. They have raw snack bars and make a mean soy latte.
Kaffe – Funky interior space and maaaaan do they make a killer a cappuccino.
Kompa’9 – Cozy atmosphere (I could sit near the window and people watch all day) and rice, soy, and almond milk options for us non-dairy consumin’ folks.
Ricco’s Coffee Bar – Another coffee shop in Vesterbro, which was right up the street from our Airbnb. It’s long and narrow and I imagine things get a little packed in the morning, but the coffee is more than worth taking a few elbows to the ribcage.
Maven – I don’t particularly care for wine (I know, I know), but Maven is the perfect place to enjoy a glass. Or three.
Mikkeller Bar – One word: microbrews.
Norrebro Brewhouse – If they have the lemon ale, go for it.
Tivoli – Denmark’s second-oldest amusement park. Worthy of at least a few of your hours.
Orstedsparken – Take dessert and enjoy it on one of the docks.
Rosenborg Castle Gardens – Great place to lay in the grass and take a load off your feet.
Freetown Christiania – A socialist society known for its free-spirited inhabitants. Don’t take any photos. Unless it’s of your food.
Round Tower – Admission is cheap and you could easily spend an hour at the museum/cafe.
We had originally booked an Airbnb in Nørrebro, but after we arrived and realized it wasn’t the same place that was pictured, we canceled our reservation and booked a new place in Vesterbro. I ended up liking Vesterbro better, so it wound up working out in the end. The apartment was cozy, beautifully furnished, and within walking (or biking) distance to pretty much every attraction in the city.
Take a day trip out to Hillerød to see Frederiksborg. When you’re finished at the castle, spend an hour or two moseying about town, as they have a handful of vegetarian eateries and loads of cute cafes. If you’re into viking history (like Thom), a day trip to the Viking Ship Museum would be more than worth your time.
Notes: The last thing I want to do on vacation is clean dishes. Or spend money eating breakfast when I can make it from the comfort of ‘home’ for a fraction of the price. This is my go-to method for making porridge on the fly, with an electric tea kettle and not much else. I prefer to take mine unsweetened as I tend to gravitate toward more savory breakfasts, but feel free to stir in as much liquid sweetener (maple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc.) as desired. If you have nut butter on hand, that makes a delicious addition, as well.
LAZY LADY PORRIDGE
1 cup rolled oats
Heavy pinch of coarse sea salt
Bring the water to a boil. While you’re waiting, add the oats and salt to a bowl, then prepare any toppings you may like. Once the water is boiling, pour it over the oats just until they’re submerged, then cover with a plate and let sit for 10 minutes to allow the oats to absorb the water and soften. Bring the water to a boil, again, then pour over oats (while stirring) until the desired porridge consistency is reached. Top with fresh fruit, nuts, etc.
Yield: One big bowl