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A Slow Travel Guide To A Weekend in Copenhagen

07.31.17

Slow travel Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Slow travel is still my favourite way to travel. I love not having to rush around trying to see all the sights. It was exhausting. A long weekend in Copenhagen has been on my travel bucket list for a while now. Denmark constantly ranks as the happiest country in the world and I kept this notion on my shoulder the entire time I was there. Ever the people watcher, I wanted to draw my own conclusions based on what I saw first hand. Unlike my recent slow travel trip to Paris, I had an itinerary this time. I’d planned a loose 3 night itinerary that allowed us to take things slow and really explore the parts of the city that interested me, instead of rushing around trying to cram everything in – I even managed a few naps in the afternoon. It doesn’t get much more slow travel than that!

What nobody seems to tell you about Copenhagen is that it has a grungy hipster side to it. I went with expectations of streets lined with unique scandi boutiques, design studios and exquisite coffee shops. They do exist, but you have to look for them. It’s not a city I would want to set off wandering in without any sort of plan, because you could easily miss the best bits it has to offer. I’m glad I did my research.

Here’s my roundup in case you decide to pay a visit….

Where we stayed

Ibsens Hotel I loved this hotel. It’s an immaculate 3 star hotel, perfectly placed in a quiet area of the city. It’s my idea of a cosy refuge when the city has tired you out. The breakfast was delicious, I could make my own tea from their herbal selection and they have a cosy reading corner, which we made full use of in the afternoons – what’s not to like.

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

HighlightS

Jaegersborg – Away from the main tourist areas, which is where you always find the best spots, this is a quiet street lined with coffee shops restaurants and boutiques. A lot of the stores are vintage or second hand so if that’s your thing, you’ll be in heaven here. The Coffee Collective at the end of the street is a great place to people watch (with one of the smoothest coffees I’ve ever tasted).

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art – 30 minutes out of the city by train, you’ll find the most incredible setting for a museum I’ve ever seen. A deceiving old house as you walk in, turns out to be a seaside spectacle of art exhibitions. Some of the art is quite controversial so be prepared to be pushed out of your comfort zone. Their cafe has the most beautiful ocean views and you can wander right down to the shore if you wanted. I loved this place.

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Hay House – This place is a must for Scandi interior lovers. It’s the flagship store of the Danish design company Hay. A truly inspirational space, even if you’re not looking to purchase anything. I felt like I’d stepped into Pinterest after hitting search for minimal scandi interor. It’s situated in one of the main shopping areas and although it wasn’t busy inside, be prepared for crowds outside.

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Botanical Gardens – Visiting quiet havens in the middle of any city is a must for me. I love to find the quiet spots where I can block out the city noise for a while. These gardens allow you to do just that. The old glasshouse is home to the most beautiful tropical plant collection, which you can walk around at both ground and ceiling level if you brave the steep spiral staircase. Be prepared for the humidity – I came out feeling like Monica when she went to the Bahamas. There’s a cafe serving great coffee outside, with a view over the gardens and water feature (perfect for those of us that play The Sound of Music any chance we get).

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Bicycles – Whenever anyone mentions Copenhagen, I’ll instantly think of bikes. They’re everywhere. It’s the easiest way to get around the city. We hired bikes direct from the hotel when we arrived to get our bearings and start exploring. Everywhere is flat so it’s very easy to get around and the cycle lanes make you feel safe.

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Round Tower – An old building junkie’s dream that spirals all the way up to the top. It was built this way so that the king could ride up to the observatory on his horse. I loved that. Walking round and round what feels like a never ending spiral was so much fun. I could’ve walked up and down a few more times.

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Lowlights

Meatpacking district – Perhaps it’s something to do with being a vegetarian, but eating my dinner outside an old slaughterhouse isn’t my scene.

Citernes – This is the old reservoir under the city that has been turned into an exhibition venue. I was so looking forward to an underground art gallery, but the exhibition that was on at the time just wasn’t for me. I’d go again because the underground setting was stunning, but only if the exhibit was one I wanted to see.

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Food and Drink

I’ve come to realise that I’m not into fancy restaurants when I’m away. I like good food, but rather well priced comfort food that the locals eat as opposed to Michelin star. As a vegetarian I have very low expectations when I travel, but Copenhagen did well on the vegetarian friendly scale.

Nino’s Pizzeria – Recommended by our hotel this place was really good value for money. Locals actually eat here, which is always a good sign. I was too busy eating my pizza to take a photo of it, which is also an excellent sign! Remember to take your own wine as they don’t serve any – not a problem for us as neither of us drink.

Original Coffee – Great coffee! We visited two of these but my favourite was the Norrebro shop, which is by the lake. I can’t resist a coffee with a view. The atmosphere was really relaxed and the interior was a feast for the eyes.

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Coffee Collective – This was my favourite out of all the coffee shops we visited (there were quite a few coffee stops in the name of slow travel) We visited the rooftop ILLUM department store, which is right opposite Hay House, but the Jaegersborg street shop was my favourite because of the outside space.

Kalaset – Luckily this place was opposite our hotel. When we arrived it was really busy. Paying attention to where the locals eat is a method that never fails me and this was no exception. It was great value for money and the vegetarian / vegan options here were second to none. Think colourful veggie / vegan brunches and burgers with plenty of potatoes.

Atelier September – This is one of those ‘Instagrammable’ places that is raved about. These Instagram hotspots can sometimes be a let down in real life but the coffee and interior didn’t disappoint. We didn’t eat here but the menu looked great with lots of healthy options and I saw plenty of empty plates. The window seats are the perfect spot for people watching.

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

Slow Travel A weekend in Copenhagen - Jessica Rose Williams

So what makes the Danish so happy? Well, they don’t seem to care too much. There was no rush in the city, most people ride old bicycles instead of drive fancy cars. Nobody seemed too busy, nobody seemed to be rushing around and the people weren’t as polished as you’d expect in a cosmopolitan city. The clothes are casual and the working day is short. Bars and restaurants aside, nobody works past 6pm. There’s even an office where the desks lift up to the ceiling when the clock strikes 6. I think there’s a lot to be said for this relaxed approach to life. They know what matters and their priorities are in order. Work life balance, spending time with loved ones and taking things slow seem to be at the top of their list.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or tips that I missed for anyone else potentially travelling to this part of the world. Do you love slow travel too? I love to talk travel! You can also see what I packed from the capsule wardrobe here.

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My slow travel guide to a weekend in Copenhagen. Slow travel tips on where to go and what to do in the world's happiest city | Copenhagen travel guide | Copenhagen itinerary | What to do in Copenhagen | Slow travel | Travel tips

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17 comments on “A Slow Travel Guide To A Weekend in Copenhagen”

  1. Copenhagen has been on my travel bucket list for a little while now. I hope to make a trip over there in the next few years. Thank you for sharing how you spent your long weekend there and your lovely photos. I feel like I would love all the places you went to and I’ll make sure to stay away from the Meatpacking district! I love the way the Danish live, I think there is a lot we can learn from them by taking it slow.

  2. Thank you for such a well documented trip, Jessica. I’ve been reading a lot about the Danish way of life and how they embrace ‘hyagge ‘ and I’ve been trying to incorporate a little bit of that philosophy in my daily life. Copenhagen is everything that I thought it would be and I could see myself walking or bicycling the streets, slowly sipping some wonderful coffee and people watching. Bliss! Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures!
    X

  3. I really, really enjoyed this post. Firstly, you are so right about Copenhagen, and it’s something I’ve noticed about all the Scandi capitals: they are actually quite ‘grungy.’ Or at least have more of a grungy feel than any Pinterest-fuelled search of ‘Scandinavian” would have you believe. Particularly in Oslo and Copenhagen, but definitely noticeable in all of them.

    That Louisiana art gallery, though. That sounds incredible. I have to say: when doing city breaks, I am the worst for A. Attempting to leave the city perimeters and B. Eating at anything that isn’t overly hyped on reviews (I have a life-long case of FOMO). Your suggestions — and the beautiful photography to accompany these — have me rethinking. Because you’re right: what makes us (well, me) happy while travelling is slowing down, exploring like a local, and not worrying about ‘maximising’ every moment.

    And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my Scandi Capital adventures, is that they all know how to do a mean cup of coffee. One of the best I ever had was in Helsinki. Don’t remember much of Copenhagen, but your journey and photos are making me full of wanderlust for another trip. xx

    Eire | http://www.wolf-and-stag.com

    1. So glad you enjoyed it Eire. Oslo is on our list so it’ll be interesting to compare the two. Slowing down is the best thing I ever did with travels! I am by no means expert and it’s still early days for me but it feels fab. I’ve let go of having to fit everything in now. Love having things to go back for to be honest. Oh the coffee!!!! It was amazing – hence all the coffee recommendations, ha! Helsinki is on my list so I’ll be hounding you for recommendations xx

  4. Hi Jessica, I’ve recently come across your blog and really liked your photos. It’s been years since I’ve been to Copenhagen the last time if I don’t count the numerous times changing a plane at the airport on work travel. Reading your post really made me want to go again, I know it’s a lovely city. I also like to take it slow on my travels, and I’m glad to find I’m not the only one in the world. Spending time with a good cup of coffee and a book and people watching are perfect ways to spend a city break.

    1. Hi Johanna! So happy you like my photos, thank you! Slowing down my travels has been the last area of my life I’ve applied minimalism too but it’s great. I’m still adjusting to it but I’m really enjoying taking a slower pace instead of trying to do and see it all. I love people watching too. Copenhagen is a great place to take it slow and people watch. I really admire their approach to life. We can learn a lot from them.

  5. Being a danish slowtraveler……I got inspired reading your post about Paris. Was curious about what you found out and recommended about my home city of Copenhagen. Very nice perspective. Arken I another museum south of Copenhagen – very true to the scandic minimalism. xX

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