Copenhagen – Why visit the happiest country in the world

Denmark – Considered by many to be the happiest place in the world. As one of the most socially progressive countries in the world, perhaps this is why it is also one of the happiest? Considering all of this, it’s not surprising that this was my second visit to the Scandinavian country.

My previous trip here, around 6 years ago, was in the middle of December during what felt like the ice age passing over us. It was absolutely freezing. Fast forward to 2017, and I’ve found myself booking another long weekend away to Copenhagen – this time in the summer.

Copenhagen streets, yellow house
The vivid pops of colour throughout the streets in Copenhagen makes you feel like you’re walking through an illustration.

In December the streets are lined with fairy lights and market huts selling an array of Christmas treats and mulled wine. But even in the peak of summer, Copenhagen still has the charm which I remembered and a certain bit of magic in the air. There are bikes galore, and you can find them piled up on every street corner – it’s a city made for cyclists. In 2016 it was even made official that Bikes now outnumber cars in the city centre, an exciting prospect for other cities to hopefully follow in their “bike tracks” (see what I did there)!

Like most of our city breaks, our trip revolved around food, and although everything is generally quite expensive, there are some hidden treasures waiting to be found! On our first night, we found a great little Vietnamese restaurant (very traditional, I know) which served the most delicious Bahn Mi baguettes at a reasonable price.

Smørrebrød lunch, Copenhagen, Denmark
Contemplating life whilst waiting for a Smørrebrød lunch in Copenhagen.

We’re a little bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears when it comes to finding a good restaurant. It has to be not too big that you can’t hear yourself think, but not too small that everyone can listen in on your conversation. Anyway, this place had the right balance – it was just what we needed after a long day!

One thing the Danish have definitely nailed is their ice-cream! We went for a hat-trick over the course of our long weekend, with one ice-cream per day. The best we tasted was from a little parlour down Nyhavn on our last day before we headed back to the airport.

Copenhagen graffiti near Copenhagen Street Food market
Walking up to the Copenhagen Street Food market we found so much graffiti with hidden and not so hidden messages.

Another gem waiting to be discovered is the waterfront food market, found next to the Opera House. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much with a few long tables overlooking the water. Inside is a different story, as the warehouse is a trove of delicacies waiting to be sampled!

Whilst there we also wandered over to Christiania, the “free town” was originally set up by a group of hippies in the 70’s who developed their own community with rules separate from the Danish Government. It’s a bizarre place, where the so-called “Pusher Street” openly sells drugs to passers-by, and cameras aren’t allowed in order to protect dealers identities.

Copenhagen streets
Hunting out the most colourful streets in all of Copenhagen.

Tivoli Gardens is a must-see for anyone – even returning visitors. Personally, I like to go to the park just as it is beginning to get dark when illuminations light up the park.

If you’re looking for something even more chilled out, head West through the trendy Vesterbro and grab a bite to eat. We tried some traditional smorgasbord (basically open sandwiches) for lunch at Granola. Though expensive (as expected) it was a cool place to chill out for an hour or so, and the food was also pretty tasty.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Personally, I think Frederiksberg Gardens is an underdog of the things to do whilst in Copenhagen. Once home to the Royal gardens, this lovely spot has long been open to the public and it’s where you’ll find people enjoying a break from the (albeit already pretty peaceful) city. There’s even a zoo here – we didn’t have enough time to see this as well though!

Frederiksberg Gardens, Copenhagen
Cute little band stands and bridges in Frederiksberg Gardens, Copenhagen.

Copenhagen, you were grand. Until next time…

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