I arrived in Copenhagen just before sunset so that the flattering light was falling on the boats on the sparkling water of the Canal at Nyhavn, a cobblestoned, 17th-century waterfront and canal that is also the entertainment district of Copenhagen.
Nyhavn is boats, bridges, lights, bicycles, colourful vintage buildings, fancy restaurants, and takeaway alcohol stands.
It’s also within easy walking distance to Freetown Christiana and the Copenhagen Street Food Market which were the two places I decided I most wanted to go to since I had a limited amount of time in Copenhagen, a 20 hour layover to be exact. I also wanted to get some sleep since I was exhausted from the non stop party mode I’d been on in Ireland and I had an early flight to Iceland the next morning.
To save on airfare I had booked flights through Iceland on my way back from Dublin, including one flight which had a 20 hour layover in Copenhagen. Some might hate a 20 hour layover, but the flight was dirt cheap and I didn’t mind since it meant I got to have a fleeting entanglement with a new city and a part of the world, Scandinavia, that I had not been to before.
As a layover city, Copenhagen is a very convenient choice. With it’s fast public metro, accessible directly from the airport, it was one of the easiest transports from the airport to city centre that I have ever used, even with it being mostly in Danish. I also love how organized the sidewalks and bike paths are with clearly marked areas for both and for each direction. Very streamlined and efficient.
I took the metro from the platform within the airport to the Kongens Nytorv station, the beginning of the Nyhavns area, and walk 7 minutes to my hostel. I chose the Bedwood Hostel because it was in the Nyhavn area and when I looked online at pictures the street and view around the hostel looked gorgeous and I was not disappointed. The hostel also has hand built wooden beds which are each individually curtained for privacy, which I thought was a very nice touch.
One thing to keep in mind is that Copenhagen is a one the more expensive European cities. I exchanged my 70 euros left over from Ireland which would have lasted me a few days in Dublin, for Danish Kroner and despite getting several hundred Kroner, this was not enough to last me the night and I had to withdraw more money from an ATM later in the night.
After settling into the hostel, I walked over to Christiana to check it out. Christiana is is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood with an interesting history. You are not allowed to take photos or film while there. Reading about the area beforehand, I was intrigued by this idea of self governance and the mystery of this place. I won’t go into more detail about it because I think the mystery of it is what makes it so interesting but it is checking it out. It’s also a good place to get snacks and coffee for much cheaper than other parts of Copenhagen which can be quite pricey.
The next stop was the Copenhagen Street Market. I made the right choice deciding to visit the Market. It had a great vibe with music and funky decor and so many stands of unique interesting food and drinks. Best of all, there was a whole stand of Smørrebrød which was the one Danish specialty I really wanted to try while here, but all the well known Smørrebrød shops were closed before my plane landed that afternoon.
Smørrebrød is an openfaced sandwich on rye bread featuring flavourful combinations of nordic ingredients layered simply on top. I chose the pickled herring Smørrebrød because it seemed the most unusual and different from what I’d eat at home. On it was pickeld herring, egg, sorel mayo, spring onion, and crees. It was delicious, the perfect combination of soft with a bit of crisp and flavours which delicately revealed themselves to my mouth. For dessert, I was tempted over by a stand of Crème Brulee donuts which I could not resist because Crème Brulee is my favourite French flavour.
I walked back to my hostel in the dark evening of Copenhagen with the lights of the buildings and city reflected on the water. I went back to my hostel early because after a week of late nights in the pubs of Ireland I needed a good night of sleep and I had an early flight to catch. Plus the alcohol is a bit expensive in Copenhagen!
The next morning, I was up early after having a restful night and headed on the super speedy metro to the airport. So convenient! After checking in and going through security, I could not resist one last treat. How could I not try a danish while in Denmark? The little stand in the airport that was selling pastries and coffee had a huge lineup compared to many other places like the Starbucks for example so I knew it must be really good if so many people were willing to wait in line so long! I treated myself to a latte and this delicious berry danish:
I had a little taste of Copenhagen and I definitely would love to go back for more, but now it was off to Iceland!