Copenhagen 4 days at the end of April
April 15, 2022 2:30 PM   Subscribe

We are visiting Copenhagen the next week. Lmt and me are going for a concert (twice rescheduled due to covid - original date was in 2020) but due to budget airline flight organization (ie.: no flights on saturday, very expensive ones of friday) we'll stay there 3 nights. I'm checking the previouslies, but would be happy to hear the hive mind suggestions - especially with regards to covid. Details below the fold.

  • My wife (lmt) and me are going for a metal concert in Pumpehuset. Is there anything we should know about the place and the neighbourhood?

  • We generally like less touristy attractions and in all our travels we ended up weird places with great food and friendly locals. For example, ending up in a remote district, eating fish with blue collar workers who speak no English would be totally fine - this happened to us in many places (Istanbul, Cadiz, Prague, Rome, etc).

  • We are thinking about a day trip to Malmö - is that sensible? How much time should we budget for it? Is there frequent public transport (buses) between the two cities or is it better with a rented car?

  • It'll be around my birthday and we are thinking about going to a higher end restaurant too. The catch is we don't like the very conceptual, very experience-y, very big-N Nordic cuisine. Not to mention that Noma and the like is both out of our budget and there's no way to book a table in one week's advance. Still - can you recommend a fancier place where we can have some really great, old-school Danish food?

  • Are there any flea markets around this time of year? What are the best second-hand bookshops? These two are also on our checklist - we visit these type of places in every city we go to. Also, is it accepted to bargain in flea markets or is it frowned upnon?

  • How is the covid situation? We are both thrice vaccinated with EU approved vaccines, and we have both the little leaflets and the EU vaccination certificate. Is that enough?
  • posted by kmt to Travel & Transportation around Copenhagen, Denmark (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
    Best answer: Trains between Copenhagen and Malmö run every twenty minutes and only take 35 mins.

    "really great, old-school Danish food"

    Not high end as such, but you can find great old school Danish food platters here.
    posted by knapah at 3:00 PM on April 15, 2022

    Barr, which is the restaurant that currently sits in Noma's former location, is excellent.
    posted by decathecting at 3:23 PM on April 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

    I haven't been there for a long time, but liked the Booktrader (they have lots of books in English, as well).
    posted by pinochiette at 3:30 PM on April 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

    Opposite poles of the experience would be Tivoli, which is charming and slightly weird, and Freetown Christiania. Form the sound of it you shouldn’t miss seeing the later, an anarchist community that squats in an abandoned military base.
    posted by sjswitzer at 4:40 PM on April 15, 2022 [2 favorites]

    Best answer: I feel I should be able to answer everything on your list, but corona has disrupted everything and some things seem hazy to me. I may update when the kids come back from wherever they are right now (night in Copenhagen).

    - Pumpehuset is in the middle of town, just outside the historical center. It is a very safe area and easy to get to from everywhere. Copenhagen is generally extremely safe, but there are pickpockets in every city and they can find tourists at 100 meters, so still take care. The venue has a glorious history and is much beloved by Copenhageners.

    - Remote districts with no tourists are very far out in Copenhagen, it's a long story, but the working class have been priced out of most of Copenhagen. Kind of like Manhattan or Central London. For a very authentic Danish experience, have lunch at Ravelinen. Not cheap, but you normally just have one or two open sandwiches and a beer and a snaps.
    A cheaper option is to visit a "smørrebrødsforretning" and pick up the smørrebrød to take home: this is probably one of the eldest in town and very good.
    For dinner, you are going to have to go to the next town to get an old-fashioned Danish meal at a fair price. Instead explore Nørrebro, where there is still a lot of social housing, and thus cheap options for meals. This is where you are more likely to have a simple meal with friendly locals, who are probably immigrants or students from other parts of Denmark, and more likely to have a shawarma than pork belly. There are tons of other options than shawarma, but few of them traditional Danish. Vesterbro has interesting places too, though it is a bit more posh, for instance the old meat processing district and the surrounding streets has many good eateries.
    There is a TV-famous Turkish guy who runs a traditional Danish restaurant Guldkroen. I haven't been there, because everyone says it is overwhelming, but very good if you like big portions and gravy.
    Café Petersborg is as traditional as it gets, but it may be hard to get a table.

    - Malmø is great. Take the train, absolutely not a car. I'm not sure how long it takes to go there, because I don't know about current passport checks. Less than an hour each way though.

    - For your birthday experience, maybe going to Tivoli and eating at Grøften could be an idea. Tivoli is very different from other amusement parks, and still a huge thing in normal Copenhageners lives. Nothing like Disneyland, even though Disney was inspired by Tivoli. The entrance fee is steep, but Grøften is moderately priced. Then you can go for a walk in the gardens and have an ice cream for dessert.
    Another idea could be Lumskebugten. The chef, Erwin Lauterbak, is in a way the godfather of what became New Nordic Cuisine, the food is excellent and you don't have to buy a whole 16 course tasting menu.
    Or what about Koefoed, a restaurant bringing produce from the island of Bornholm to Copenhagen.
    I'm putting Pastis in here, though it is a French bistro, so maybe not for your birthday dinner. But it is a place that hits the exact right spot between value for money, great atmosphere, relaxed and glamorous. This is a place where the royals eat alongside workers. Actually, I like it best for lunch.

    -- Many flea-markets have suffered during corona, but it seems the one behind Frederiksberg town hall , Saturday mornings, is back up.
    In the old days, there were tons of second-hand bookshops in Fiolstræde and Skindergade, but now there are only three or four. But there are many spread in the other districts, so it depends on where else you are going. There's a good one in Elmegade in Nørrebro.

    -- regarding covid, all restrictions have been lifted, you don't have to wear masks anywhere and you no longer have to register if you are infected, except if you want to travel outside the EU. But there are lots of infections, so take care for your own sake. If I were you I would stay away from public transportation during rush hours. But you are going to a concert, where anything can happen.

    Also, yes, visit Christiania. And btw, a birthday dinner at Loppen could be good. It's a bit rustic, but the food and atmosphere is great.
    posted by mumimor at 5:52 PM on April 15, 2022 [6 favorites]

    Best answer: One restaurant in Malmö I can recommend is Lyran. It definitely punches far above its weight in terms of quality vs price. Plus, you get to come to Malmö!

    As stated by others, do not rent a car to come over to Sweden. It'll cost you far more (the bridge alone costs around 50 EUR, I think, one way), and it will be much faster and easier to move around if you take the train. Plus, there is something amazing about the view from the train as you head across the Öresund.

    Copenhagen has some fantastic beer bars, some of my favourites have been Ørsted Ølbar, Peders bar, To Øl, and depending on how you're feeling about them at the moment, Mikkeller.

    Otherwise, Copenhagen is a lovely city to walk around in. The canals in particular are lovely, and the lakes in the middle of the city are a nice relaxing area as well.
    posted by vernondalhart at 12:23 AM on April 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

    Oh, there is this place, that somehow manages to be both very authentic working class Copenhagen and very authentic Vietnamese. Though after is has been "discovered", prices are higher and there is less of a Wild West atmosphere. Food is still great, though.
    posted by mumimor at 7:21 AM on April 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

    Response by poster: Thanks all for your kind suggestion! We had to adjust our plans for the trip a bit so we couldn't check out everything you suggested. I don't want to write a whole travel diary - though that would be great, because Copenhagen is *fantastic* - just giving back a little to the community.

    - We checked out Christiania (great place) where we met a friendly Polish lady who suggested we try out Reffen instead of the originally planned Torvehallerne. We didn't regret it, especially not the walk from Christiania to Reffen via Holmen. Such a lovely part of the city, lots of schools, libraries, kids and students cycling with a sixpack in hand.

    - We met with friends living in Norrebro, so we checked out a metal pub, some open air street party and a kebab place.

    - We also checked out the flea market suggested by mumimor - it was really great, and my wife found the perfect shoe for herself: once used high heels, with the original price tag still on, for 10th the price.

    - We visited Malmö too, it is indeed a lovely city, a perfect day trip. It was a clear day so we witnessed three marriage ceremonies in short succession on the main square. We didn't have any plan, but browsing the map when we arrived, we spotted the Ribersborgs open-air bath. Walked there, but realized we don't have our swimsuits with us. Note for the future: definitely try it out next time.

    - Unfortunately we missed Kanalcaffee (it's closed on Sunday, and on Saturday they closed before we arrived back from Malmö). So we opted for Ma'ed Ethiopian Restaurant in Norrebro and loved it. As for Danish food, on Sunday we checked out Hansens Have for a lunch menu and were not disappointed. I don't know how authentic it is (and in general don't really care about authenticity - problematic concept), but I always love places where locals go, and as far as I saw we were the only tourists. The food was great and old school, just as we wanted.

    Thanks again for all your suggestions! I'll come back to this thread when (not if!) we visit again.
    posted by kmt at 5:49 AM on May 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

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