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It’s been two months since I visited Copenhagen, and for some reason, I’ve been struggling when trying to put my visit into words. Copenhagen was lovely. But what made this trip so different?
Well, first of all, I failed at tourism.
I planned for only four days in Copenhagen without accounting for how the seven-hour eastward jet lag would affect me. (A very late but very fun night on my first night exacerbated this.) As a result, I couldn’t drag myself out of bed before 11:00 AM and missed a lot of would-be sightseeing time.
I didn’t go to Christiania. I didn’t eat anywhere spectacular (NOMA, I’m coming for you someday!). I barely saw the historic city center. I couldn’t muster up the will to do work until late, so I kept vampire-like hours.
But you know what? It didn’t matter. This was a different kind of visit.
I’ve changed so much in the past few years. I’m stronger. More secure. More comfortable. More solitary. More wary. More cynical. More wise.
As a result, this is not the Copenhagen I would have experienced if I had first visited in 2010, when I began my long-term travels.
I can tell you exactly how that trip would have gone:
2010 Kate would have been knocked over in the bike lane at least three times.
2015 Kate knew better and watched the streets and sidewalks like a hawk.
2010 Kate would have fretted over the chilly June weather.
2015 Kate was thrilled she actually got to wear her leather jacket. (Trust me, leather jacket season in Boston is about three days long.)
2010 Kate would have scoured the hostel reviews to find the most social, party-heavy hostel.
2015 Kate got a private Airbnb and reveled in her solitude.
2010 Kate would have gone to all the top sites, followed her guidebook religiously, and taken multiple tours.
2015 Kate strolled a lot with no destination in mind.
2010 Kate would have seen a lot of Copenhagen.
2015 Kate saw much less, yet felt much more.
Copenhagen had that rare ambiance to it — what I used to identify as an “I could totally live here” feeling but what I now recognized as simply being content in the moment. It seems basic, but it’s rare. For 2015 Kate, Copenhagen fit beautifully. And that’s more important than checking the sites off a list.
Copenhagen was like Stockholm, but more informal. Like Helsinki, but more traditional. Like Berlin, but not as crazy.
All my memories of Copenhagen are like these snapshots — fleeting.
Watching the kids scoot through black square on the Superkilen in Nørrebro.
Seeing these buildings bashfully peek above the treetops.
And finally, watching the bonfire go up on the Nyhavn at Sankt Hans, the feast of St. John.
I liked Copenhagen a lot. And I’m sure I’ll be back soon. Norwegian flights to Copenhagen are one of the cheapest ways to cross the Atlantic, and now they’re adding direct flights from Boston next year.
And when that time comes, I’ll see everything I missed this time around.
Essential Info: While in Copenhagen I stayed at this Airbnb rental ($103 per night plus Airbnb fees). It’s a comfortable one-bedroom apartment in the heart of Nørrebro, which is both a great neighborhood and an easy journey to and from the airport. And there’s a juice bar a two-minute walk away. I’d definitely stay there again! You can hotels in Copenhagen here.
A few other recommendations: don’t miss Papirøen (Paper Island), home to Copenhagen Street Food — a collection of street food vendors from around the world. Also, I drank a ton of coffee in an attempt to beat the jet lag, and the best coffee I had was at Ricco’s.
Sankt Hans takes place on June 23 each year. Celebrations take place in several different spots in Copenhagen, but head to Nyhavn for great pics!
You should never travel without travel insurance. I use and recommend World Nomads.
Huge thanks to my bud Alex for showing me around Copenhagen — and, um, teaching me how to classily smoke a pipe. Which was hilarious at 3:00 AM and probably shouldn’t be repeated, ever.
53 thoughts on “Copenhagen in Photos”
I spent a long weekend in Copenhagen last September. I did some sightseeing but pretty much enjoyed just exploring the back streets. We went to this streetfood event at the National gallery. It was awesome way of actually mingling with locals and looking at some art.
Your photos bring back some memories. Thought the bikes were really friendly compared to Berlin 😉
I agree, Synke. I thought Copenhagen was the bike-friendliest city I’ve ever seen — more so than Berlin and even Amsterdam!
I think this is a lovely tribute to Copenhagen, where I’ve never been but would be curious to, as I am getting to know more and more of Europe.
I am afraid of traveling like the 2015 Kate – I still travel only a few weeks per year, and have seen so little of the world (compared to you/pro travel bloggers, not to mention just… proportionately), that every time I travel somewhere I need to see everything and taste everything and do everything, and I get really stressed if I don’t, because I know that my opportunities for a re-do are very limited.
I get that, Anna. It’s totally understandable. But I think it’s important for all of us to look inside ourselves and genuinely determine what will make us the MOST happy, and go for that! I might be maximizing sightseeing, it might be having some relaxed days. We are all different!
I still regret not hopping over there from southern Sweden. So close. A friend of mine dined at NOMA and said it was heavenly. (Though I think you’d have to say that no matter what.) The mural of the girl floating away with her balloons is very moving to me. And I love your black-and-white shot of the skaters. I don’t normally prefer black-and-whites, but that one begs for it.
I’m jealous of your friend! Thanks, I especially love that black and white shot.
I spent 5 days there last Dec, I fell in love with it, and like you I saw very little! I just simply enjoyed wandering, soaking up the festive spirit. And with such short winter days, I didn’t need to rise early!
I love your 5 year comparisons, I’ve come to realise that I don’t need to see everything, simply doing what I enjoy is the most important, and if that means sitting in a cute cafe on a Copenhagen side street watching the world go by for a whole afternoon then that’s totally fine by me!
Ha, being so far north has its advantages! I remember catching a sunrise in the Scottish Highlands around 9:00 AM in January and marveled how I wouldn’t have seen it any other time of year!
I came into your post to enjoy learning more about Copenhagen – a city on the wishlist – but instead became more enamored with your self-awareness and the recognition that your travelling style has changed so much. I’m probably more 2010 Kate but definitely aspire to be a 2015 Kate!
Thank you so much, Emmalene! I was wary that some people would be disappointed with the lack of recommendations but I’m very glad you liked it.
I’m visiting Copenhagen in a few weeks and now I’m ultra-excited!
Lovely photos & thanks for that coffee recommendation, i’m adding it to my list asap!
That is a great coffee shop!
I love your beautiful pictures of Copenhagen. I also like how you compare the way your travel style has changed over the years. As I get older, I think I’m skewing toward airbnb more than party hostels too!
My brother is visiting Copenhagen in October, and I’m so jealous of him, haha! I’ll definitely show him this entry!
Beautiful photos! Even though you didn’t see as much as you would have linked, it seems like you still saw a lot! I haven’t had the chance to visit Copenhagen, but I absolutely love Scandinavia. It really is unlike anywhere else in the world! Can’t wait to explore Copenhagen next summer!
I’ve never been to Copenhagen but it is definitely a place I would love to visit one day. Beautiful pictures!
Wow, that black and white shot of the skate park or whatever it is is awesome! This city looks so gorgeous. I’d probably enjoy it the same way 2015 Kate did 🙂
That is my favorite photo. Some photos are just made for black and white!
I’ve been to Copenhagen twice and have loved it both times. I think a lot of what you said resonates, it’s a very calming place you can just stroll around. I’m not ruling out living there someday!
Every year we travel to Europe and our favorite thing to do is just wander around and enjoy the local culture or as I like to call it ” the museum of life”
Copenhagen has a totally different feel the the rest of Europe. Calm and peaceful and lovely to walk around. But it wasn’t a place I felt at home. Purely a visitor. I didn’t feel that way elsewhere.
Gorgeous photos! It is amazing how we change as we travel. I definitely understand how 2010 Kate and 2015 Kate can be so different. i am actually going through that right now. I cannot explain how much I prefer apartments and Airbnb over hostels. I almost dread staying in the party heavy hostels! It is so nice to wake up not hungover (unless I indulge in too much wine) and just wandering a city instead of having my nose in a guidebook!
On my two-month trip this summer, I stayed in two hostel dorms. In one of them, the guy beneath me set his alarm to go off every 10 minutes around 6 AM and it never woke him up, so I had to keep getting up and shaking him! UGH!!! It’s usually not that bad, but that definitely put me off dorms for life!
This was fantastic – 2015 Kate definitely did my kind of trip. Lovely. I’ve never been to Copenhagen, but when I go I will do it just like this!
That black and white pic with all the lines (for skating/skateboarding?) is just awesome. Rest of the pics also make the city so much more appealing. Good job kate!
LOVE that black & white shot, Kate. I’ve only ever spent about 15 hours in Copenhagen (flight layover on our way to Iceland) and would love to head back some day and explore it more!
That black and white shot was my favorite. 🙂
Love the photos Kate! I spent my 31st birthday in Copenhagen this year with my sister. We loved it! It was super cold in February but loved it all the same. Christiania was cool to take pictures of, but there was an eerie vibe that everyone was watching you. I love biking & eating & the people were really lovely! I’d definitely go back. I know the 31 year old me travels so much differently to the 23 year old me. I’m not sure if it’s age, or just wanting different things out of adventures. All the same, it’s part of the journey!
Copenhagen seems to be so beautiful! Definitely on my bucket list! 🙂
This is how I like to travel to places! I actually enjoy not having a set plan of things to do. I probably also miss some of the tourist stuff, but I get to enjoy my vacation a bit more this way. It also make my interactions with people better because I am not crabby from being jostled and have had a nap!
Also, lovely photos! June weather looks amazing there!
I loved seeing how much you’ve changed and how you have experienced more by seeing less. I just temporarily relocated for an internship in Chicago, and at first I thought, “I should see what there is to do and have everything planned out.” But then I realized I would be missing out on actually experiencing the city and what it has to offer. There’s nothing wrong with following guidebooks and wanting to be at party hostels, but sometimes it’s nice to have no agenda and revel in alone time.
Ahhhh Copenhagen. One of my couchsurfer friends lives here so its an inevitable destination for me next year.
I understand what you mean about being a bit unconventional, not trying to see everything but just soak up the city is a great way to travel. I go by the mantra that there is no right or wrong way to travel- it is whatever works best for you 🙂
I love how you did the comparison between 2010 Kate and 2015 Kate. Great to see how you have developed yourself and your travels!
what a lovely idea for comparison – thanks for sharing. I always have avoided party hostels when possible, even when I was younger! Copenhagen is a VERY pleasant city, and the cooler weather was always welcome when I was in the hotter parts of Europe. Having said that, I remember a week in Stockholm when every day was over 35 degrees!
I recently visited Copenhagen and now I rediscovered it through your lenses. It is indeed a remarkable city, a combination of great modern architecture and design and traditional buildings. The city is very green and very dynamic. I love its spirit and your photos!
I visited Copenhagen last summer and it became one of my favorite cities in about 2 and a half seconds. I also made a trip to Frederiksborg Slot (castle) that is about one hour train ride away from the city center. It was magnificent and probably the best thing from my trip. So next time you get a chance to visit Copenhagen, make some time to visit Frederiksborg as well. 🙂
Kate, I have always been wanting to go to Copenhagen and your pictures are so making me want to be there right now! Thanks for the airbnb and the street food vendor recommendations. One day, I am going get a bike and tour around this beautiful city. Can’t wait.
Beatiful pictures! Copenhagen is my destination next year.
Wow your pictures from Copenhagen are amazing! 🙂 I’m actually in Copenhagen right now and I totally understand having the “I could live here” feeling! I just love the simplicity of the city and how all Danish people are so content 🙂 I’m actually taking a gap year to travel the world for 9 months! I began in Italy, now Denmark, next Finland, Germany, Japan and Africa! Feel free to to check out my blog if you’re interested, I’d love to hear your feedback! I’m also curious as to how you began making money from your blog? I dream of one day also traveling the world and blogging about my adventures just like you!
There are plenty of ways for you to dig into the archives here! A lot is answered on my about page, too.
Great pictures, especially the black and white one from Superkilen, I live about 10 min. from there by foot.
Just a little advice, “Phoebe” were talking about taking pictures in Christiania, please be careful about doing that, it’s probably the easiest way to get a bloody nose in Copenhagen, the hash dealers are not happy with people taking pictures.
If you ever need someone to show you around Copenhagen or just need some advice about Copenhagen, please don’t hesitate to email me https://www.adventurouskate.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/simple-smile.png
These are great photos – other cities always seem so much more colorful than my hometown of Chicago. I’m going to be on a mission to find some colorful neighborhoods this winter!
Well, having visited Chicago recently for the first time, I have to say that it’s a very gray city. :-/ Wicker Park had a bit of color, though!
I ADORE COPENHAGEN. I recently quit my job to travel the world (you were one of my first inspirations!) and Copenhagen was my very first stop! I have been to a few other places in Europe since then (currently in Paris), but Copenhagen remains my very favorite. 🙂
Awww! Congrats on going after your dreams!
It’s always interesting to look back and see how you’ve changed. Neither way of doing things is better or worse than the other, but updating your take on life keeps things interesting.
Haven’t been there since I was a child, but my grandma and grandfather both came over from there. I still have fa,ily there and hope to return someday. Even as a child of 10 I was able to walk downtown with just my sister and it was safe. Everyone spoke English
I’ve just got back from a trip to Copenhagen and I must admit that I am pretty impressed by the city. It’s really a cool city! Thanks for this article, Kate; it was an inspiratipn for me.
I’ve just got back from a trip to Copenhagen and I must admit that I was pretty impressed by the city. It’s a really cool city! Thanks for this article, Kate; it was an inspiration for me.
Fab pictures, I must have missed this post the first time around as I don’t remember it!
I actually wasn’t the biggest fan of Copenhagen – you think June is cold, you should try March!! – but I did the same as you and wandered around pretty aimlessly. In hindsight I wish I’d hired a bike instead but the same principle applies – it was a really nice city just to wander.
In response to your FB post, I think one of the door pictures would look lovely framed! 🙂
Wonderful photos! I am planning to study abroad in London this next summer and extending my trip after. I am wondering what camera you use? I love your blog!!!!
This pics were taken with my Fuji X-T1. I love it!
I’m so happy to see that you like my hometown! Copenhagen is perfect for strolling around without any specific destination in mind – especially in the summer. Great shots of the city!