May the Norse Be With You in Copenhagen

Summer has only just arrived, but perhaps you’re already longing to get away – perhaps the cicadas are forcing you to plan your escape or maybe you’ve already had enough of the endless planning necessitated by the kids being out of school. Summer feels far too brief, but I’ve just discovered the “cheat code” to find more joy in your life and light in your days.

Icelandair offers a free stopover in Iceland on the way from North America to Europe, so a trip to Copenhagen this summer can include two spectacular countries where the sun stays in the sky until late, giving you more opportunities to pick up some Vitamin D(enmark) until well into the night. Click here to learn more about Icelandair’s offer.

While I didn’t have the time to add in Iceland this trip, I’ve experienced it before, and it is well worth a stop. The unlike anything you’ve ever seen topography will keep you in awe at every turn. There is a reason that so many production companies have used this location to shoot movies such as Interstellar, Star Wars; The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and the Last Jedi, as well as tv shows such as Game of Thrones. Your Icelandic language skills may not be furðulegur, but never fear! Everyone I came across in Iceland spoke spectacular English, and even the announcements on public transportation were given in English in addition to Icelandic.

A non-stop 3 hour flight from Reykjavik to Copenhagen, Denmark will have you touching down in this beautiful city where innovation meets history, and you will experience both cutting edge contemporary architecture and historic half-timbered houses. From 2023 – 2025 Copenhagen has been awarded the title of UNESCO’s World Capital of Architecture, which underlines the importance of Copenhagen as a liveable city. Besides world-class architecture, Copenhagen is also world-famous for its gastronomy scene. In fact, Copenhagen is the home of The New Nordic Food Manifesto, which celebrates its 20 years in 2023. Today Copenhagen has a thriving gastronomy scene.

The Charm of Nyhavn

Right away we were whisked away to the 71 Nyhavn Hotel, a gem tucked away in the picturesque Nyhavn district. The hotel, a converted warehouse, oozes historic charm while offering modern comforts. Its prime location overlooking colorful boats and bustling waterways- you cannot get a better walking location. Nearby, Kongens Nytorv and Strøget offered a plethora of eateries, art galleries, fashion boutiques, and cultural attractions just waiting to be explored. This four-and-a-half-star property is a restored former warehouse with raw beams, light walls, modern furniture, and insanely comfy beds.

After a quick shower we made our way to Restaurant Oranje, conveniently located on a boat in the Nyhavn Canal just a few steps from our hotel. Dining here with the gentle sway of the boat added a unique touch to our culinary experience. It was so beautiful dining on the barge, that passing people kept taking photos of our enviable lunch with views of the canal.

Sailing Through Copenhagen

Post-lunch, we embarked on a guided sailing tour with Hey Captain. Navigating the canals, our private tour guide unraveled the city’s history and anecdotes, all while we soaked in the scenic beauty. The picturesque waterways, lined with colorful facades and bustling cafes, painted a vivid picture of Copenhagen’s maritime heritage. A full cooler of drinks with champagne, wine, beers and sodas supplied by the boat company made it a lively happy hour as we learned more about the buildings and sights we passed.

Dinner at Vækst

After a leisurely 30-minute walk, we arrived at restaurant Vækst for dinner. This Michelin guide recommended restaurant is a botanical paradise, featuring fresh Nordic vegetables and herbs amidst a stunning greenhouse. Dining here felt like an evening in an enchanted garden, with every dish reflecting the vibrant, fresh flavors of the region. You can see why this would be as popular a spot during the dark days of winter as it was during this warm spring day.

Day Two: History and Culture

Our second day began with a walk to The National Museum of Denmark. Here, we delved into Denmark’s rich heritage, meeting famous Vikings and exploring the nation’s storied past. The guided tour was both educational and enthralling, offering a deep dive into Danish culture and history. We got a sneak peek at their interactive Viking exhibit which will open next month- a true VIP experience. Modern technology mixes here with artifacts to tell the story of Vølve, the Viking Sorceress, conveyed by exhibits designed by the same team that designs the Danish Opera sets.

Lunch at Smör restaurant right in the museum featured traditional Danish Smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches)., Smör provided the perfect setting for a leisurely meal before our quick visit to Glyptoteket, a treasure trove of art and history, funded by the founder of Carlsberg Breweries.

After our morning of museum culture, it was time to go to the Home of Carlsberg for a fascinating tour and beer tasting. Immersing ourselves in the story of Carlsberg, we appreciated not only the beer but also the passion and innovation behind it. We explored the Carlsburg campus from the tasting rooms to the interactive museum, the stables, and down to the cellars which included a secret bunker deep inside Old Carlsberg’s cellars which was used thoroughly until the year of 2004 to strategize between government leaders and advisors, planning defenses/attacks.

Our final day began with breakfast at our new home for the night, Villa Copenhagen. The world-famous RUG Bakery is here and is run by a former chef for what was widely known as the best restaurant in the world; NOMA. Gonzalo Guarda bakes here for the Villa Copenhagen and I promise that you’ve never had such spectacular bread, butter, cheese and eggs in your life. If I hadn’t brought only a carry on for this trip, my bag would have returned home filled with bread.

The Villa Copenhagen is a luxurious five-star hotel is housed in the historic Central Post & Telegraph Head Office. The hotel tour revealed a perfect blend of history, luxury, and contemporary design, and we knew that we had made the right decisions for our place to stay when we ran into the cast of FX’s The Bear who were staying here, as well as the King of Denmark who came one night for an event. It’s well located across from the train station as well as Tivoli Gardens, but you’d never hear a peep due to the thick glass windows and black out curtains that protect your precious night of sleep in their dreamy down beds.

The Foods of Copenhagen Cycling Tour after breakfast was a highlight, offering a unique way to explore the city’s vibrant food scene and cycling culture. This tour was a feast for the senses, with stops at various culinary hotspots around the city to sample more Smørrebrød, Snaps (a Danish digestive drink), chocolates, and organic wines by the canals. I think that the food intake outweighed the biking/exercise output, but we were all happy and felt like true locals.

Evening brought us across the street to Tivoli Gardens for dinner and an evening tour. This historic amusement park and gardens has elegant and casual restaurants, a boutique 5 star hotel, concert venues, and shops- it’s so much more than an amusement park. The location may have inspired Walt Disney, but it was so much more, combining the charm of the past with modern attractions.

Reflecting on the trip, it is clear that Copenhagen, with its blend of history, culture, and modern luxury, offers an unforgettable travel experience through one of Europe’s most charming cities. It also never hurts to know that from Danish Royalty to American TV Royalty- others feel quite the same.


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