Make my first Europe trip a success. Copenhagen, Sweden, and the works!
April 8, 2014 11:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to Copenhagen for 7 nights in mid-May! It's definitely not the first Europe trip I had been longing for, but some time ago I found an insane deal on airfare and it was too good to pass up, even if it meant upstaging my plans for a much longer trip to the continent. MeFi, help me make it a success. Give your best tips on. Also, what would be viable day trips from Copenhagen?

I'm staying in a pretty central Copenhagen hostel for 7 nights. I'm looking to spend the majority of my time in Copenhagen itself, but I'm very interested in doing some day trips, but they have to be just that. I'm not looking to do something crazy like going to Amsterdam or Oslo. What are some good options for day trips? I see that Malmo, Sweden is nearby and I'm definitely going to do that. I am also considering Gothenburg, and while I would love to visit Stockholm, I fear that it's too far and too big to comprehend in just 1 day. I'm totally down for heading to the destination late-night/early morning and arriving end of day. I also see that Hamburg isn't too far, but is it interesting enough to be worth it? Feel free to suggest any other places that could be a realistic day trip that I'm not thinking of.

As for Copenhagen itself, what to do? When I travel, I love getting to really know a place. For me, this means walking and wandering around everywhere. I've done my research on the city and have come across some cool stuff to do, but I haven't really written anything in the must-see section other than a boat tour of the canals because I'm obsessed with canal cities like Copenhagen.

Not really big on museums or anything like that, but I am kind of an architecture geek. I just like taking in the local culture and checking out the neighborhoods/city. I love vibrancy.

Suggestions on food and local cuisine would also be great. I see that Copenhagen is known for local food trucks? Is that a good option for grabbing hot dogs and stuff on the cheap? I also love pizza, specifically Neapolitan-style.

Looking to eat and do things on the cheap, but I definitely have the funds to stretch for that special something!

I'm kind of a free spirit so I don't like to plan too much, and I'm staying in a very social hostel, so that will keep me busy as well. But if there is anything must-see, I would like to know about it. I won't be able to have my big Europe trip until 2016 most likely.
posted by signondiego to Travel & Transportation around Copenhagen, Denmark (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Copenhagen is a lovely city and a nice gentle introduction to European travel. Seven days sounds a little long, but if you take some train day trips like you're proposing you'll have plenty to do.

In Copenhagen, Nyhavn was the place it was fun to hang out and have a beer when I was last there. The city center is also pleasant and worth exploring some. Copenhagen also has a great free bike program so if the weather's good grab a bike and go for a ride out by the water. Danish food is not world famous but really some of it is quite good. Eat all the kinds of herring you can find, it's really and special to Denmark. Also places specializing in Smørrebrød are great for lunch, fresh and clean flavors.

The day trip to Malmo is pleasant and it's fun to see how Sweden is a little different but not too different. When I did it I took the train one way and the ferry the other, a nice variety. We also wanted to go to Roskilde's Viking Museum as a day trip but didn't make it, something I regret. Gotheberg sounds like a long way to go for just a day, Google is guessing about 4 hours by train. I wonder if Helsingor / Hesingborg is interesting?
posted by Nelson at 12:07 PM on April 8, 2014

Best answer: The hot dogs are great! They are bright red and delicious, and sometimes come in a hollowed out baguette. Yum.
posted by Grither at 12:12 PM on April 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: a day trip to Malmø would be nice, also Helsingøre, and Århus, for an overnight trip you could go to Skagen. We don't have a large food truck culture other than pølsevogn (hot dog trucks - but definitely try DØP hotdogs by the Round Tower), but there is the beginning of some at Tørvehallerne by Nørreport station (plus a lot of other delicious things to eat there at the small stands). Mother's in Kødbyen makes quite good pizzas as well as Itzi Pitzi Pizza on Søndre Boulevard. I would just walk around the neighborhoods like Nørrebro and Vesterbro and look at life there. Also Tivoli, and Bakken. If you rented a bike you could bike to/from Bakken and enjoy biking in Dyrehaven as well. North Sjælland is very pretty.

hope you enjoy your time here! if you have other questions just get in touch.
posted by alchemist at 12:14 PM on April 8, 2014

Best answer: In terms of food, I'm a major proponent of visiting Ida Davidsen's at least once at lunchtime for smørrebrød. She and her restaurant are institutions in Copenhagen.

For more pricey fare, there's my long-time favorite Cofoco, which is somehow casual and quite refined all at once, as well as Formel B (a fairly major splurge, but with astounding food) and Kokkeriet, which is modern and also a splurge but pretty incredible.

You're in Noma territory, as I am sure you know, but in my experience, Formel B is every bit as good as Noma at a fraction of the price.
posted by yellowcandy at 12:36 PM on April 8, 2014

Best answer: I was just in Copenhagen for two weeks back in March, as we got an insane deal on airfare as well (Norwegian). We based ourselves in the city and then did side trips to Helsingør, Roskilde, Humlebæk and Malmo.

I would really recommend getting the Copenhagen Card if you plan to do any public transit at all. We had a really hard time figuring out the zones system and the card covers Metro, S-train, buses (even the waterbuses), and trains to all of our day trip cities EXCEPT Malmo. It made everything so much easier. It's kind of expensive, but if you go to any museums or tourist sites at all and use the train for side trips in Zealand, you will get your money's worth out of it. It even includes the base fare for Tivoli and several of the tour boat operators.

However, Copenhagen itself is really walkable. We regularly walked about 9 - 10 miles a day in the city and really enjoyed walking around in the neighborhoods of Vesterbro and Christianshavn (so many canals). Make sure you check out Sweet Treat, a really charming coffee shop in Christianshavn. You can then climb the spire of the Vor Frelsers Kirke, where you can get a great view of the city. The last bit of the climb is a bit terrifying, if you are somewhat wary of heights like me, since it is outside the spire but the view is worth it! Also pretty cool is the Rundetårn, an old astronomical observatory which you can climb up for a view. Some other cheap places to eat include the very prevalent hot dog stands (I like the one at the end of Nyhavn) and RizRaz, which has a good salad buffet with a lot of Mediterranean touches (falafel, hummus, pita, etc).

Regarding the side trips, I really enjoyed all of them. My favorite part of the whole trip, however, was visiting Humlebæk to see the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Even if you aren't much for museums, the architecture of this one and how well it is integrated with the landscape is stunning. They have a very well done sculpture garden as well. Helsingør had a lot of interesting architecture, from the new Maritime Museum to Kronborg Slot. The trip to Roskilde is worth it to see the cathedral, where all the Danish kings and queens are buried. Many of the tombs are very elaborate. It's also fascinating to see the tomb of Christian IV, who built a lot of Copenhagen (and also nearly bankrupted the country).

The trip over to Malmo was interesting, as Nelson says, to see how different and not different it is. We enjoyed lunch at a vegan restaurant called Kao's. They had a little buffet and a few daily entrees.

Enjoy your trip! Memail me if you have any questions.
posted by topophilia at 12:57 PM on April 8, 2014

Best answer: Welcome!! First of all, memail me right away. I'm not always here, but I might set you up with someone fun and interesting depending on your interests.
Daytrips from here would be Malmø, Lund, Roskilde, Humlebæk, Køge and Helsingør. Further than than, well that depends on your purse and interests and the time of year. The boat to Oslo is a cheap experience, and Oslo is wonderful, but it is a lot of time sailing. If you fly there, Oslo in it self is crazy expensive.
I love Stockholm, but I would spend at least two whole days there + travel. But in May, that might be good.
Hamburg is great, but not if it's your first trip to Europe, while you might consider a trip to Berlin (But as with Stockholm - at least two days).

Copenhageners are very friendly, and when you first get started, you are bound to meet a lot of nice people who will lead you on to further enjoyments. There is a huge international community. Depending on your age and interests: people in Copenhagen love parties and they are open to visitors. However, they are generally not ready to invite people home at first sight and Copenhagen girls are selective.

Food is a big part of the Copenhagen identity, but there are many choices at milder price-ranges than NOMA, and at near the same level of quality. If you are on a budget; I'd personally prefer street food and the district of Nørrebro for RizRaz (actually there are two Michelin restaurants in Nørrebro,at Nørrebro prices), but I agree Sweet Treat is very nice.
May is a bit early for bathing, but everyone will be out sunning and barbecuing, and there are lots of good places to go. Probably the more urban beaches are more sociable in May and the parks as well. If the weather is good, one of the really authentic Copenhagen experiences is to picnic at Fælledparken, where everyone comes with their own grill and meet up for great parties.
posted by mumimor at 2:13 PM on April 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Day trips from Copenhagen er doable - but maybe not quite big cities like Stockholm or Hamburg. I'd stick to the Oresund region (Malmo is lovely) and then explore Denmark. If you arrive in mid-May, expect Copenhagen to be in full Eurovision Song contest mode. Check out the dates and see how they correlate.

Suggested day trips:
+ Roskilde Viking Museum and Roskilde Cathedral (a UNESCO heritage site)
+ Odense (birth place of Hans Christian Andersen)
+ Denmark is crazy-good for pre-history and Iron Age stuff - check out the National Museum in Copenhagen and also check out the Lejre Experimental Archaeology Centre (not far from Roskilde).
+ Trelleborg near Slagelse is a big Viking settlement/fortress.
+ Louisiana in Humlebek north of Copenhagen is an ace art museum - south of Copenhagen you can also visit Arken, another modern art museum. Note most museums are closed on Mondays.

I'm biased (because I grew up in the region) but I'd probably just grab the 90 minute train to Kalundborg (one of the few 5-towered churches in Denmark), hang out there for an hour, then grab a local bus to Havnso (make sure to grab a giant ice cream from the harbourfront cafe) and take the ferry to Nekselo. Denmark's dominated by islands and is a sea-faring nation. Nekselo is tiny, walkable and very indefinable Danish. You get amazing views of the landscape from there and may even catch a glimpse of stuff dating back some 8,000 years. It's maybe not what you seek, but it's definitely a glimpse into a very specific mindset and culture. My non-Danish partner was dubious but ended up loving it. And you can be back in Copenhagen for dinnertime.

Seconding the rec for Mother's in Copenhagen. I also really like Von Fressen on Vesterbrogade.
posted by kariebookish at 7:09 AM on April 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hej! I live in Malmö. It's an alright place to live, but not too exciting for travelers (imho). The restaurants are pretty lousy overall, even if the falafel is cheap. The museums are mostly mishmashes, though the Malmö Konsthall is good for an hour or two, the shopping is repetitive and you'll find most of the same things in Copenhagen.

You mentioned architecture; the bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen is pretty impressive, and in Malmö there is the (debt-plagued) Turning Torso which might be of interest; possibly also the Stadsbibliotek (city library)

Some of the nice things about Malmö are lost on short visits: the beach, a lot of parks, that it's easy to cycle around.

If you want to spend a day like a hip Malmö-ite, take the 999 bus from Copenhagen, go to Möllevången, get a coffee from the anarchists at Glassfabriken (or Simpan), buy some sesame bread at Nansi's bakery, see some art at krets, go on a ride in Folket's park, eat some falafel somewhere, go sit on the square (Möllevångstorget) in the sun for a while, maybe drink a beer at Sapla, eat dinner at Carib Kreol, then maybe see a concert at KB or Inkonst or Babel or Cuba Cafe.
posted by beerbajay at 2:25 PM on April 9, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! So many things listed here that I never even thought of. Mother looks amazing.
posted by signondiego at 5:55 PM on April 9, 2014

« Older Where do I find a freelance graphic designer for a...   |   Can I eat this, delayed FedEx meat shipment... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.