A large chunk of our great continent which has eluded me until now is Scandanavia, so when I took the plunge and decided to visit Copenhagen, in a country thought to be one of the happiest in the world, I couldn’t wait to get there.
I didn’t know much about the Danish capital apart from it being the home of Carlsberg, but after spending a fun-packed few days in the city, I can now appreciate why it attracts so many tourists from across the globe.
There’s certainly a feel-good factor about the place and I’m not the only one who thinks so as Copenhagen always rates highly on the‘Best in the World’ lists for livability, environmental friendliness and other desirable traits.
Packed with numerous palaces, castles and winding waterways, there’s plenty for culture vultures and the shopping is good, too, not to mention the food as the city is also renowned for its fantastic cuisine.
Like in other Scandanavian countries, Copenhagen can be expensive, but with sensible planning there’s plenty of fun to be had even if you are on a tight budget.
Home for our four-night stay was the stylish Absalon Hotel on Helgolandsgade, based in the heart of the popular meatpacking district of Vesterbro.
One of the city’s oldest family-owned hotels founded more than 75 years ago, it was re-launched in 2015 after a major refurbishment and now plays a huge role in attracting visitors to the city.
We were booked into a superior double room on the fifth floor – there’s 161 in total – which was easily reached via the quirky lifts cleverly disguised as bookcases.
The hotel decor is colourful and easy on the eye, and there’s other nice touches like the sweet and cookie jars along the corridors, which you can dip into at any time of day.
Guests can enjoy the perk of a complimentary ‘wine hour’, when at 5pm every day you can nip over the road to the Absalon’s sister hotel – The Andersen – for some on-the-house tipples.
When it comes to city breaks, eating, drinking and sightseeing are the norm for me but, although I like to keep fit, I’m not one for working out on holiday.
On this occasion, I decided to break the mould and pack my running shoes so I could enjoy one of the unique sightseeing excursions offered by Running Copenhagen.
I was booked on the private Urban Tour, a 10k route through Norrebro, one of the city’s hip, more edgy areas popular with students and creative types.
Led through the streets by knowledgeable and friendly tour guide Lena, who talked about the area and its history, it was a great way of delving into ‘real life’ Copenhagen, while also burning a few calories.
There was lots of street art to admire and with short bursts through some of the most challenged neighbourhoods, it was an educational 90-minute insight into the non-touristy side of the capital.
Be sure to clock any restaurants you might fancy while out and about. Whether it’s sushi, fish, Danish cuisine or a curry or kebab, there’s so many dining venues to choose from, you really are spoilt for choice.
One place I’d definitely recommend is Mielcke & Hurtigkarl, a wonderful fine dining restaurant in the stunning grounds of the Royal Danish Horticultural Garden Society.
It’s one of Copenhagen’s leading dining venues, and after having the pleasure of eating there, it’s difficult to understand why it doesn’t have a Michelin Star.
Fifteen (yes fifteen!) delicious courses of exquisite New Nordic cuisine was a real treat for the taste-buds, all plated up by the most exceptional service team you’ll ever meet.
Dishes included Tomato, pecorino and hyldeblomst; Lemon sole, chicken skin and seaweed; Cheese, croissant, granbark and hazelnuts and Birch, selleriac and tonka.
Owner and executive chef Jakob Mielcke is famous across the world and has developed a strong foodie following with his spectacular dishes, providing a truly wonderful dining experience.
A meal here will stay in the memory for some time.
There’s so much to see and do in Copenhagen, but before departing, there was time for one more ‘wine hour’. Raise a glass!
Absalon Hotel: Helgolandsgade 15, 1563 Copenhagen V, https://www.absalon-hotel.dk. B&B from £135 per night.
Restaurant Mielcke & Hurtigkarl: The Royal Danish Horticultural Society, Frederiksberg Runddel 1, 2000 Frederiksberg, https://www.mhcph.com. Eight-course tasting dinner from £113pp.
Running Copenhagen: Tours from Absalon Hotel - https://runningcopenhagen.com/.
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