Copenhagen has one of the highest standards of living in the world, but well-being in this country is not ostentatiously displayed. But rather, a pleasant sense of comfort and happiness is expressed based on knowing how to enjoy life.
The Danes call it hygge (pronounced “juga”). Meik Wiking, director of the Happiness Search Institute in Copenhagen, says in his book Hygge, that the secret of the Danish lifestyle is in the calm and warmth of the home. A “simple”, “cheap” lifestyle that can be applied to “any aspect” of daily life such as clothing, food, home or social relationships, and can be easily discovered by walking around Copenhagen.
You could say that hygge is that pleasant feeling you breathe when the Danes come together in groups of two or more people. These people do not have to be friends-in fact, they may not even know each other-but when you engage in conversation (preferably, so that it flows well, avoiding controversial issues such as politics) in a friendly tone, the hygge begins to impregnate the environment.
01.Nyhavn (Puerto Nuevo)
Enjoy people watching
Nyhavn is a canal that was built in the 17th century to link the port with the city. It is bordered by Dutch-style houses in different colors like a postcard. This was a sordid part of the city, with its rowdy sailors and their “women of lively life”. Today, you can visit any of its many restaurants for pickled herring and brandy. If it is not your thing, and if it is fine weather, do like the natives: buy some beers in a store, sit in the bulwark and watch the city’s movement.
Nyhavn is the must-visit of any trip to Copenhagen and you have to leave here to discover not only the city and its streets, but also its “soul hyggelig”: to the north is the district of Frederiksstaden, seat of the palace of Amalienborg, The sumptuous Marmorkirken and the Designuseum Danmark. Frederiksstaden extends to the Kastellet and the famous figure of The Little Mermaid.
Hot tea and walnut tart
La Glace is the oldest konditori in Denmark: it has been delighting its customers since 1870. It is impossible to resist a piece of valnoddekage – a sin in the form of a caramelized walnut cake, whipped cream and mocha frosting -, and Same can be said of sportskage, which carries nougat, cream and profiteroles. In his book hyggelig, Meik Wiking invites us to visit La Glace with these words: “if there were ‘El Camino’ of the cakes, La Glace would be the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela”.
3.The Tivoli Gardens
‘Hygge’ for children and adults
This amusement park is the second oldest in the world and one of the most touristic places in the country. A mixture of fairgrounds, lights and magic, capable of raising the mood for anyone, the Tivoli Gardens were founded in 1843 and are a classic attraction of Copenhagen; In fact, many Danes buy annual passes. Although many of them visit during the summer, the best time for hygge is when the Tivoli is dressed for Christmas and New Year’s Eve (usually from mid-November to January). It’s a celebration of light: hundreds of thousands of lights turn the gardens into a magical place in the middle of the dark of winter, and you can enjoy a gløgg near one of the fires in the garden or warm up by the fireplace Of the Nimb bar.
A boat trip
Christianshavn is part of the city center of Copenhagen, but is separated from the rest by the inner harbor. It is dominated by canals and may remind you a bit of Amsterdam. The best way to visit this part of the city is to rent a boat and paddle through its canals, and in order to ensure that you’re full of hyggelig, you should bring blankets, wine and a picnic basket. You can round up with a kanelsnegle (cinnamon conch) from the Lagkagehuset bakery, or have lunch by the harbor in one of their restaurants.
The canals, the curious churches and the green walls of Christianshavn make this neighborhood one of the most beautiful in the city. It is a residential area where artists, executives who want to look bohemian and a large community of Greenlanders live together. And in the middle of the island, like a hippy trapped in time, is the striking commune of Christiania. On the island are also three of the best restaurants in the city (Noma, Kadeau or Kalanen)
It’s a place that, surrounded by old houses, transports you easily a few centuries ago. This square hyggelige takes its name from the Grå brødre, established in 1238. It’s full of cozy restaurants, such as Peder Oxe, where you can eat the classic Danish smørrebrød and enjoy the heat of the fire. Even one of the hairdressers in the square has a fireplace (and a French bulldog who will sleep placidly in your lap while you get a haircut). Total Hygge.
Relax in Vesterbro
The inhabitants of Copenhagen feel a special weakness for Vaernedamsvej, a little street reminiscent of Paris. No one can deny that it is one of the most attractive of Vesterbro thanks to its shops, cafes, bistros and, above all, to breathe a very authentic atmosphere that travelers especially appreciate. As some shops close on weekends, it is best to go from Monday to Friday to enjoy the experience to the fullest.
In Vaernedamsvej, the cars are dodging cyclists and pedestrians who walk quietly enjoying aromas of flowers or coffee. Florists, cafes, bars and interior design shops make this street a great place to spend an afternoon of relaxation and hyggelig. Here, for example, is Granola, a place reminiscent of an old shop and filled up at breakfast time and during brunch on weekends. Or Falernum, where antique chairs, worn-wood floors, bottle shelves and soothing melodies make it an exquisite place. Apart from the more than 40 wines that are served in the glass, they have craft beers, coffee and several dishes to share.
A food ritual
There are few things more Danish than smørrebrød, a word that means, literally, bread and butter. It is an open sandwich of rye bread that the Danes love and is often one of the first things they miss when they live abroad. However, some foreigners living in Denmark call it “the devil’s sandals” because of its difficulty in chewing it and its peculiar flavor.
Despite this, it must be proved: smørrebrød is, in every way, an authentic Danish lunch experience and can carry almost unlimited ingredients from herring to raw beef, eggs and seafood; Some have names as picturesque as “the night food of the vet”. The smørrebrød is usually served with beer and spirits. In Copenhagen there are plenty of traditional smørrebrød establishments and take it for lunch, according to the Danes, it gives you hygge for a long time.
8. Library Bar
Urban oasis with club air
In the Hotel Plaza, near the central train station, is the Library Bar, which opened in 1914. It has been recently chosen as one of the five best “oasis for gentlemen” in the world, with its wooden shelves Full of old books bound in leather (some of them first editions), their sofas, the panels of wood and a very hyggelig illumination. The bar offers live music from time to time, but on a quiet night is perfect for a relaxed and deep conversation. If you are visiting for Christmas, you will see a Christmas tree hanging upside down from the ceiling.
Irreverent and artistic
The modern can also be hygge. This is the case of Bankerat, a captivating Norreport pub, casual and extravagant, decorated with irreverent urinals and dissected animals as unusual as a ram dressed in vintage. All is the work of the local artist Phillip Jensen, who also designed mouth-shaped urinals. The question is: is this really art? A good topic of discussion while enjoying a Calsberg.
When the worker becomes hípster
The old is fashionable in this very lively venue of Vesterbro. In its day, the Dyrehaven was a bar of workers that was not exactly known for its attractiveness. However, over the years it has become the favorite place of young bohemians in this neighborhood. You can breathe a cordial, drink well priced and serve simple dishes: the most classic is kartoffelmad, a potato toast with egg, mayonnaise and shallots.
11. Manfreds og Vin
The echo is also ‘hygge’
This cozy restaurant with exceptional dishes and wines is a last-minute bistro offering the most pleasant atmosphere. Many people have a wine here when they leave the office. The origin of the products of the day is indicated on a map of Denmark and the waiters waste passion for their work. At Manfreds, we strive for simplicity and ecological ingredients in such sensational dishes as sautéed spinach with poached egg and crispy broccoli with cheese, onion and toasted bulgur.
12 Ol & Brod
To eat design
The design, food, beer and hospitality are always mixed in this place with a modern touch. Danish modernist furniture, Arne Jacobsen glassware and gray and green tones create the perfect ambiance for contemporary smørrebrød. Ol & Brod offers five- or seven-course menus – the latter with artisan beer included – that bring in such elegant reinventions as the smoked goose breast with boiled egg, boiled corn and chervil. In addition, they say they have the largest collection of akvavit and snaps in Denmark.
13. Ved Stranden 10
”Hygge” with a good wine
The most well-known winemakers are clear when it comes to enjoying the best wine: visit the Ved Stranden 10, where they offer a good selection of European wines and biodynamic wines. The premises, with pleasant spaces and a very considerate service, boast a modernist Danish design and be attended by the most expert staff. It has several rooms perfect to chat quietly while the wine is marida with cheese and smoked meat.
The seduction of the candles
Getting to Lidkoeb is like playing hide and seek: follow the signs to the second patio, the lights. The prize for finding it is their fantastic cocktails. Borge Mogersen chairs ensure comfort for Danish talent and good taste with Nordic drinks such as the Koldskal, a vodka cocktail that gives an innovative twist to the famous national buttermilk dessert. In addition, above offers more than 100 references of whiskey.
Whew, that’s plenty to check out. I’m definitely going back. In the meantime, Im in my happy place!