Jacob Lewis-Leeson, our world traveller and commissioning editor tells us about yet another one of his adventures. This time, he takes us to Copenhagen, Denmark, and lets us in on where to eat and what to look out for.
Scandinavian sublimity had been calling me for a long time. My connection with a land I had never visited was just too strong, and I felt that Copenhagen was my first port of call in establishing myself as a Scandinavian tourist.
I was, however, very aware of the costly prices associated with visiting Copenhagen. So, as I do when travelling, the first element of research was to peruse airbnb’s website in search of a cheap accommodation. Copenhagen had much to offer, all with various charming features ranging from boat houses and refurbished warehouses to the odd traditional Danish house.
The property I found was located on the top floor of a contemporary but intricately designed block of flats and bragged excessive space with wonderful views and large wooden beams with an indoor swing. The space conveniently adopted the essential elements of the Danish concept, Hygge (creating an intimacy within your house, with friends and family or alone), by providing a spatially aware, yet cosy environment in which to stay.
Copenhagen felt so wonderfully fresh and clean, and had a true sense of eco-consciousness. The bicycle culture of the city was unlike anywhere I had ever seen. I thought Amsterdam had a lot of bikes, until I visited Copenhagen! The most faith-restoring anecdote I took away from the bike scene of Copenhagen is that while they lock their bikes, they don’t actually chain them to anything because the crime rate in Denmark is so low that bicycle theft is virtually non-existent.
Whilst in the city, we hired bikes and explored the cobbled streets and sea canals of Christianshavn, pausing to dine in Papirøen’s incredible street food warehouse. The accessibility for cyclists in the city is next to no other; it is a place accommodated for bicycle travel, contributing to Denmark’s eco-friendly green economy.
Nyhavn is the iconic stretch of multi-coloured houses heaving with bars and restaurants and a canal full of historic ships. A buzzing environment and the perfect place to people watch and enjoy a drink whether in the day time or as the sun sets. I must point out that we went in late September when there was somewhat of a mini-heatwave occurring, however, as with most Scandinavian countries, visiting out of the summer months can be bitterly cold.
The food in the district was fantastic. If you had a dietary requirement, Copenhagen accommodated. The Danish almost seemed ten years ahead of the United Kingdom in their approach to food, culture and presentation.
From a historic perspective, I was keen to learn more about the Danish Royal Family who still hold a strong presence in the country. From what I gathered, the Danish are very proud of their monarchy and there were certainly many beautiful, historic landmarks that symbolised this.
Be sure to visit Rosenborg Castle, The Little Mermaid statue and the Church of Our Saviour’s impressive spiral tower that offers incredible views of the city at the top of a precarious mid-air ending staircase 90 metres in the sky (not for those who suffer from acrophobia). Another place worth exploring is the Botanical Gardens with a phenomenal Victorian glasshouse where the humidity truly transports you to the
A place full of character and history, Copenhagen certainly didn’t fail to impress, with incredible food and very hospitable residents. While it may be a little on the pricey side, it is worth noting it can be done on a budget (even a student one!), and is most definitely worth the visit.
Copenhagen gives a real insight into Danish and Scandinavian culture and will most certainly leave you wanting to return for more.
Words by Jacob Lewis-Leeson