Copenhagen has been on my bucket list for years, but for a really stupid reason. The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite movies (I watched that and Cinderella endlessly as a kid on a bootlegged VHS) and there's a Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen because it's a city greatly associated with Hans Christian Andersen (who wasn't born there but started his career there). Yeah, that's it; that's the sole reason. It wasn't until recently that I realized how ignorant I was. It's a food capital and home to more than a dozen Michelin stars, there are more bikes than people, it's the happiest city in the world, they value hygge, and it's bursting with charm. Learning this made me intensely excited to go.
Because Icelandair was offering discounted flights and they do that special up-to-seven-day layover thing, I immediately took it as an opportunity to explore Copenhagen. This short 24-hour trip was both enough time and not enough time; I got a really good taste of the city but of course, there's definitely much more to see and I want to go back.
The public transportation system in Copenhagen is great and efficient. There is a train that takes you from the airport to the city center in about 15 minutes and it comes every 10 minutes. There is a 24-hour pass, which costs about $11.50 and lets you onto trains, metro, and buses within zones 1-4. It's a great deal. The weird thing is that it's just a card and if you take the train, it's possible no one will check that you have it. And if you take the bus, you just flash it at the driver. It seemed like the city was heavily reliant on people's good hearts and honesty.
In an effort to extend my elite status with Marriott, I booked in at the Copenhagen Marriott for this leg of our trip. It was located close to Central Station (about a 10 minute walk) and it was reasonably priced. The staff at the hotel are incredibly sweet and accommodating. I wonder if it's because Denmark is notably one of the happiest countries in the world.
For lunch, I had booked in at a restaurant but then decided that it was just too risky to try to meet a reservation coming fresh off of an airplane. So, instead, we went to Torvehallerne Market and sampled food from a few different stalls. Interestingly enough, we didn't indulge in any Danish food; we went for banh mi (from Lêlê), some tacos (from Hija de Sanchez, a taco stand started by a former Noma chef), and then a fresh juice (from Fresh Market).
After we'd had our fill of the market, we walked to Rundetaarn, or the Round Tower, to make the climb and see the city from a new height. Because it was raining, we thought this would be a nice, indoorsy activity.
After our tower adventure, we took a short walk through the rain to the bus stop and headed back towards Central Station so that we could visit Tivoli. It was a Saturday so admission for us was 120 kr ($17.25). We didn't go on any rides (you actually pay per ride so we weren't that keen on spending extra cash); we just wanted to walk around and see the place that inspired Walt Disney.
I naively thought that I might sneak in a meal at Noma on a Saturday night a couple weeks before it's closing for good. HA! I'm so dumb. Once I awoke from that silly dream, I did a little research and found Bror, which was opened by two of Noma's sous-chefs. It was a great decision because we enjoyed one of the best meals of our lives there.
Our first snack was bull's balls. Battered lightly and served with a spicy tartar sauce, I was actually really happy with how these tasted. Admittedly, when I thought about the ingredients, I did get a little green but I can't deny that these were really good.
DEN LILLE HAVFRUE
DEN SORTE DIAMANT
Rosenborg but we were told that we weren't allowed to take photos because it's a military compound or something. Hey, I wasn't going to question the people holding guns.
ROYAL SMUSHI CAFE
Here's my map:
And here's my video diary: