When my friend and Copenhagen-resident Mariel asked me what I wanted to see in the city, I answered: “Anything really, apart from Tivoli and The Little Mermaid”. Not that I have anything against amusement parks, but being from Belgium, and having grown up with Manneken Pis, I didn’t particularly develop a passion for disappointing little statues.
Of course I wanted to wander along the oh-so-famous canals and I was definitely curious to check out Copenhagen’s alternative community Christiana, but I was especially interested in “everyday life” and the more trendy neighbourhoods of Copenhagen. Turns out it’s a pretty cool place to live!
Copenhagen’s hipster district: Nørrebro
I chose to stay in Nørrebro, an area that is a perfect mix between hipster haven and multi-cultural neighbourhood. No busloads full of daytrippers here, but instead parents bringing their kids to school or locals cycling to the nearest bakery.
THE place to go for your daily dose of kanelsnegle or tebirkes (that’s cinnamon and poppy seed rolls to you and me) is “Meyers Bageri”. On a Sunday morning, people are queuing outside! Head just across the street to “Coffee Collective” for what has a reputation to serve “the best coffee in town”!
The perfect place to eat your freshly-brought breakfast is Assistens Kirkegård, the nearby cemetary. Not the most obvious choice perhaps, but Assistens Kirkegård is nothing less than the Danish equivalent of the Parisian “Père Lachaise” , a place where famous Danes are put to rest. Not only that, the place also seems to double up as the perfect spot for sunbathing, a romantic date and a dog-walkers heaven. It’s a great place for reminiscing and aimless wanderings until you finally stumble upon the grave of Copenhagen’s most famous resident: Hans Christian Andersen!
There aren’t any “must see’s” in Nørrebro, but it does have a great selection of cool bars, eateries and independent fashion stores! Jaegersborggade, Blågårdsgade, and Rantzausgade are a few of the streets you should definitely check out. “Tjili Pop”, a bar with a cosy interior and nice craft beers, soon became my favourite place to hang out! And where else can you catch a documentary about James Brown projected on an empty basketball court?
Copenhagen’s Latin Quarter: Pisserenden
Nørrebro is not the only trendy area of Copenhagen. Smack in the city center is the “Latin Quarter” or “Pisserenden”. Close to the university, the vibrant streets are filled with independent fashion labels, quirky cafés and tasty eateries. “Paludan Bog & Café” is THE place for Sunday brunch or for one of their delicious home-made ice-teas amidst thousands of books.
Like it more quirky? Venture inside “Bankeråt”: taxidermy seems to be the norm here, together with spooky lamps and eccentric toilets!
Copenhagen’s food markets
One of my favourite pastimes in Copenhagen however, was to stroll (and taste) around its food markets! Since restaurant“Noma” won two Michelin stars, there seems to be a new wind blowing through the Danish capital’s cuisine. Copenhagen has now definitely earned its spot on the international food map!
The most central food market is Torvehallerne: Spanish tapas, Danish smørrebrød, Japanese sushi: there are over 60 stalls selling everything from fresh fish to French wines. I was here on a sunny Friday evening, the place was heaving and the outside tables very much in demand! Not a bad way to start the weekend!
A maybe lesser known market, on the other side of the canal, is Papierøen. Jumping on the hype train of food trucks, the food seems to be even more international here than in Torvehallerne! Turkish, Korean, Italian and even Colombian: you name it, it’s there! Needless to say, the deck-chairs looking out over the canal are very sought-after on a summer’s day!
Copenhagen is a city on a human scale. The bikes, the numerous parks, the canals and the general way of living make for a very high quality of life! It’s a place I could see myself return to, over and over again! And who knows, maybe one day, I might venture as far as the Little Mermaid…
Have you been to Copenhagen? Do you like to see “everyday life” in a city or do you prefer visiting the “must see’s”?