It was a spur of the moment thing. We decided for a family girl’s weekend of shopping, brunching and strolling around Copenhagen, and I can definitely recommend heading to this Nordic destination if you love eating good food and spending some hard earned money on cutting edge Scandinavian design.
- Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
- Month: October
- For: 3 days
- Suited to: Couples, Friends
- Expect: Shopping, Nightlife, Culture
- Accommodations: 2
- Activities: 3
- Restaurant recommendations: 3
- Cost (accommodation): ~€300 pp
- Spending: €100/day pp (meals, & entrance fees) + shopping!
Copenhagen is well connected by plane to most European cities. I chose to fly with Easyjet from Basel but flights are also available from London Luton, Gatwick, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh, as well as many other European cities.
Copenhagen is a very pedestrian friendly city. You can pretty much walk anywhere with ease, and its main shopping areas are very concentrated and fool-proof. Personally, especially in the warmer months, I think the best way to explore the city is by bike. You can pick up a city bike through Bycyklen (white bikes available pretty much everywhere). You simply create an account here, and then you can rent these bikes at one location and leave them at the closest official parking to your destination. They even have a built-in GPS!
Three days is a good amount of time to visit Copenhagen. The city is worth a visit for its creative food scene melting Nordic food with modern vibes, it’s architecture and its great shopping scene. For the ladies out there, walking around Copenhagen feels like you accidentally have been given a free backstage pass at a male modelling convention. So girls, be prepared to gawk a bit and suddenly get your credit card pin wrong as you look up at the till of H&M or forget what juice you wanted as you try to order at Joe and the Juice (please, for the love of God, GO TO JOE AND THE JUICE).
Hotels are extremely expensive in Copenhagen, so my advice is to rent a room or an entire flat through airbnb. There are tons in the city, both in the quieter residential neighbourhoods as well as in the more lively areas. They flats tend to be very small so make sure you double check with the owners if it will be able to cater to the amount of people you are traveling with. Both flats I stayed in during my trips to the city had a very cool design and a classic Scandinavian feel to it, so if you are a design lover that’s another reason to dodge the hotel.
In terms of location, if you do decide to stay in the city centre to be closer to the shops and the bars, be warned that the city can get pretty loud, so if you are looking for a quiet night in you’re most likely not gonna get it.
What to do
Shopping: Unsurprisingly so, Copenhagen is famous for its fashion and shopping scene, so, if you just got your paycheck and fancy a weekend away with your girls, you should definitely make Copenhagen your destination for a “shop-till-you-drop girls weekend abroad”..
There are three main shopping areas in Copenhagen: 1) Strøget, one of Europe’s longest fully pedestrian streets, with more shops you could possibly visit in a weekend (we did give it a good try though…). This street has everything from luxury fashion to high street and interior design. Here you’ll find every interior design freak’s paradise Illum Bolighus, as well as original Scandinavian fashion stores like COS, Moss of Copenhagen and my personal favorite “& Other Stories”.
If you are a little bit of a hippy and you’d rather die than wear mainstream clothes, you can check out Straedet Kompagniestraede or you can head out to CHP second biggest shopping area 2) Jægersborggade in Nørrebro. Here you will find vintage stores, handmade jewelry and organic eateries.
Take a selfie and stroll through the Iconic Nyhavn: Ok, it is super touristy, but because it is compact, it won’t take you long to walk over to this iconic spot as a break from your shopping spree. Nyhavn is the perfect place to take some postcard-like photos, buy souvenirs and eat an ice cream.
Avoid eating your lunch or dinner there though. It’s full of tourist traps and you’re better off trying one of the tons of fantastic eateries the city has to offer.
Visit the Royal Palace: Copenhagen has perhaps one of the nicest and most loved royal families in Europe, and visiting their Palace would give you a real sense of why that is.
The Danish have managed to give a homey and cosy feeling to the Royal apartments, with very personal exhibits that give a glimpse into their glamorous yet somehow very normal life. The tour takes little over an hour and it is really worth it.
When we went, we also had the possibility to visit the Royal attics, where a number of everyday objects ranging from clothes, to kids toys and home appliances from across the centuries are showcased.
Cycle to the hippie community of Christiania: Copenhagen has a small independent community called Christiania, where people rule themselves and live in a state of semi regulated, bohemian freedom. Better known for its rather liberal attitude to drugs, on a sunny day I would recommend taking a bike over and explore the area.
It’s definitely something else, and if you like street art you will be rewarded with rather creative graffitis (please keep in mind that taking photos, especially of people, is really frowned upon, so please ignore the photo below and be sensible 😃)
Copenhagen’s food scene is almost as hot as its men, with restaurants pretty much everywhere, including famous Michelin’s starred Noma, one of the best restaurants in the world.
Brunch at Cafe Norden: I am a big breakfast and brunch lover, so I must recommend you kick off your shopping day with a brunch here, a Copenhagen institution just by the entrance of Illum Bolighus.
Their brunch has quickly gone up to second place in my mental ranking of best breakfasts (second only to Lou Mitchell’s pancakes stack in Chicago), and they even have a healthy brunch option if you’re keeping an eye on your weight.
Lunch at Illum food terrace: You can choose between several different restaurants and more casual dining options, as well as getting a view from above..
Dinner at Det Lille Apotek: If you don’t really want to blow up the budget so much, but you’d rather try something traditional, we had dinner at Det lille Apotek, Copenhagen’s oldest restaurant, set in a quirky old building which used to be, you might have guessed, an old pharmacy from 1720.
The food is earthy and good, but you definitely go there for the experience.
Questions? Feel free to ask me anything in the comments below!