Nyhavn Copenhagen

Spending A Weekend In Copenhagen – From Nyhavn To Hip Bars

11 mins read

I love all things Scandinavian, and Copenhagen is one of my favourite cities worldwide. I’ve visited four times now. I love its elegance, unique outlook on life, the concept of “hygge”, and how you can walk into an upscale restaurant or a backstreet coffee shop and find exceptional design wherever you go!

I also love its friendly, well-dressed people and how I always feel like a lifestyle magazine when I’m just wandering around its pristine streets and harbours! 

Copenhagen is located along the eastern coast of the island of Zealand and started life as a fishing village as far back as the 10th century. Strategically located at the crossroads of the Baltic and North Seas, it eventually grew into a bustling trading port.

Historic Buildings in Copenhagen

Today, it’s a beautiful, progressive, well-kept and (very!) bike-friendly city filled with wonderful squares and fine streets lined with restaurants, museums, cafes, trendy bars, galleries, shops, theatres, and immaculately preserved historic architecture.

It is especially known for its thriving arts and design scene and world-renowned culinary offerings (Noma was named one of the world’s best resturants!). It also tries to be as eco-friendly as possible; they’ve just so many things right here, and the result, in my opinion, is a utopia in city form! 

1. Starting at the famous shopping street Strøget 

My journey began on the bustling streets of Strøget, Copenhagen’s famous pedestrian thoroughfare, which is a very long 1.1 km (it’s one of the longest pedestrian shopping streets in Europe!). It’s lined with an eclectic mix of shops, cafes, and street performers; I love that Strøget offers a glimpse into local city life.

Bakery in Copenhagen
Bakery on Strøget

On one end, it starts with cheaper typical souvenir shops and ends with gorgeous department stores. I especially loved the boutiques showcasing Danish design and craftsmanship and the incredible bakeries filled with tasty pastries. My favourite shops included Mads Nørgaard and the sprawling ILLUM

2. Visiting Nyhavn

Nyhavn Copenhagen

Nyhavn Boats

View of Nyhavn

Nyhavn Bar

Next up was Nyhavn, which is one of the city’s most iconic and picturesque spots. It is a captivating area with colourful 17th-century townhouses and boats gently bobbing in the canal and a very relaxed, zen-like vibe.

Although it’s a pricey spot, I’d highly recommend stopping for a beer or a traditional Danish smørrebrød at one of the quaint cafes and bars. Just make sure you sit outside to people-watch! Everyone dresses elegantly in Copenhagen, and I think it’s worth seeing! 

3. Wandering around the Riverside and The Black Diamond

Riverside Copenhagen

River Views Copenhagen

Black Diamond Building
Black Diamond Building
Christian IV's Brewhouse
Christian IV’s Brewhouse

I loved just wandering around the city, especially near the riverside and taking in all the wonderful and unique architecture here, some of which was very quirky!

The historic and modern buildings were beautifully juxtaposed. I especially love the ultra-modern and aptly named Black Diamond building, the striking waterfront extension of the Royal Danish Library. With its sleek black granite facade reflecting the rippling waters of the harbour, the building is a testament to Copenhagen‘s commitment to design innovation! 

Christian IV’s Brewhouse was another stand-out building which dates back to the early 17th century. It’s a striking and interesting building that showcases Renaissance architecture, complete with ornate gables. Today, it’s mostly used as a venue for exhibitions and cultural events.

4. Discovering Kultorvet

Rundetårn Copenhagen
The Round House Tower Copenhagen

From Nyhavn, I walked to Kultorvet, a charming square tucked away from the tourist crowds, and the local feel of this square enchanted me. I also stumbled upon a local market showcasing artisanal crafts and tasty culinary delights here. Sampling Danish pastries, grabbing a coffee and chatting with friendly vendors, I soaked up the laid-back atmosphere of this hidden gem.

On the way back, just a 2-minute walk from Kultorvet, I passed the imposing 17th-century Round House Tower (Rundetaarn), built by Christian IV of Denmark as an astronomical observatory.

5. Visiting Christiansborg Castle

Christiansborg Castle danish parliament building in Copenhagen

Eager to delve into Denmark’s royal history, I ventured to Christiansborg Castle, home to the Danish Parliament, Supreme Court, and Prime Minister’s Office.

I thought the opulent and regal building was very impressive, but the impaled polar bear sculpture “Unbearable in Copenhagen” caught my eye. The sculpture reminds us that we’re slowly destroying earth and nature! 

6. Exploring Christianhavn and Christiania

Quirky Shop in Christianshavn
Quirky Shop in Christianshavn
Christiania Copenhagen
Christiania “Freetown” Copenhagen

As the sun set, I crossed the bridge to Christianhavn, a vibrant neighbourhood brimming with canal-side cafes, quirky shops, hip boutiques, fine restaurants and charming canals. I have always loved this area’s intimate local feel and spent a joyful few hours wandering and dipping in and out of the intriguing shops.

One famous stand-out area here is “Freetown Christiania”, the self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood. It’s a fascinating place, and I loved the original bohemian concept of the place, as well as its colourful murals and eclectic buildings. It’s just that today, it has a much edgier vibe, so I would suggest families with young children give this one a miss (or view its Instaworthy entrance instead)! 

7. Vesterbro and The Meatpacking District

Karierre Nightclub Copenhagen

Meatpacking District

Becky Moore from GlobalGrasshopper in Vesterbro Bar
Checking out the cocktails in Vesterbro

To round off my weekend adventure, I headed to the creative neighbourhood of Vesterbro. The former industrial area turned hipster haven is one of my favourite areas in the city, and I love the youthful vibe and buzz this place has.

It’s filled with trendy bars, live DJs, cafes, and lively nightclubs, and it is a great place to have fun and meet locals. I was also a big fan of the many hip organic resturants they have here. I would personally recommend trying Mad & Kaffe and Neighbourhood. 

The Meatpacking District is also located here and is based on the legendary New York version. Former slaughterhouses (yikes!) and meat-packing warehouses have now become an ultra-trendy spot!

8. A Stay in Andersen Boutique Hotel

Andersen Boutique Hotel

Andersen Boutique Hotel Honesty Bar

I stayed at The Andersen Boutique Hotel in the funky Vesterbro district. It’s a trendy hotel, but it’s not overpriced like some hotels in the city. It made a great affordable base for exploring Copenhagen’s attractions, including Tivoli Gardens and the Meatpacking District.

It offered a fine blend of modern comfort and quirky design inspired by Hans Christian Andersen! It was a cosy spot with fabulous retro-style decor, wooden floors, a tasty breakfast, and a friendly, laid-back staff.

My favourite highlights included cocktails in the peaceful courtyard garden, the handy loaner bikes, the cute Honesty Bar and people-watching from my bedroom window! 

It was eventually time to leave, and Copenhagen captivated me like always, from its historic landmarks to its hidden gems. I love this city, and hopefully, I’ll be back again for the fifth time! 


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