The Huffington Post had its reasons for crowning Denmark the happiest country in the world in 2013, but after a quick weekend trip, I came up with my own list.
#1 – 56 grader
The hubs and I kicked off our weekend with lunch here. It felt like we’d been transported to a posh farm, which was perfect for relaxing in the sun after an early morning flight for me and long few days of working for the hubs. Including herring, smoked salmon, sausage, cheese, chicken salad (with mushrooms- weird but delicious), salami, mustard, pickles, compotes, and lots of homemade bread, the lunch table ran the gamut of Danish cuisine. #2A – Incredible architecture
After lunch, we strolled over to Operaen, the opera house. It’s easy to see how it’s one of the world’s most expensive, costing over $500 million dollars to build!
#4A – Breathtaking views
Although it was a long way back to our hotel from lunch, the scenery was too good to pass by through the window of a taxi (plus we had no local currency yet!), so we walked and walked while picking out our favorite boats along the way to Vor Frelsers Kirke. 400 stairs afford this view.
#6 – Fantastic restaurants and even better cocktail and wine bars
Restaurant Tight, a trendy place with an eclectic mix of French, Australian and Canadian food, had a mouth-watering pork schnitzel, something I never order but was so happy I did! The sophisticated yet totally unassuming cocktail lounge, Ruby, was just around the corner and a great place to cap off the night. Room after room of cozy, library-like decor and seriously good mixologists made for an excellent experience.
#7 – Creative construction art
There is a massive amount of construction going on in the city center. However, it wasn’t an eye sore with cool facades like this surrounding it. Couldn’t resist saying hi to mom!
#8 – Coffee art
Seriously, how did they do that? The Union Kitchen’s coffee tasted even better than it looked, and life was definitely better after a few sips.
#4B – More amazing views at the top of the Rundetårn
#11 – Good eats at every corner
Summerbird’s flødebolles, a biscuit base topped with marzipan and coated in grand cru chocolate (plus a few truffles) was an irresistible after early lunch/pre-late lunch sweet treat. Bodega, in the hipster Nørrebro neighborhood looked too good to pass up as well. We’d earned it after walking past all of the runners…
#12 – Mikkeller Bar
Mainly out of curiosity because these guys just opened a sister bar in San Francisco, we hiked all the way to this neighborhood establishment. Much to our surprise, Hoppin’ Frog was on tap, which is brewed in our small hometown, among some of the other best beers in the world.
In this storybook setting, it is easy to see how Copenhagen born and bred, Hans Christian Andersen, concocted such wonderful fairy tales. #2B – More amazing architecture
Disappointingly, it started to rain just as we approached the library gardens and learned that the Royal Library was closed. We waited it out in this bubble-like cafe. Just your average cup of coffee in Copenhagen.
#15 – Danish pastries
If you’ve ever liked one at a hotel breakfast, don’t have one in Denmark or you’ll ruin yourself for life. It is a very good thing we waited until the end of our trip to seek out a Lagkagehuset. After trying Wienerstang, which is only sold in a full roll serving maybe 10 people and possibly the best thing I’ve ever eaten, we likely would have bought one for lunch. We settled for sneaking a few more samples from the dish, a cinnamon swirl and Danish specialty pastry.
#16 – Smørrebrøds
Our time was quickly running out, but fortunately we found Brooklyn Bar to be a hail mary for these delicious and famous open sandwiches made of a dense, dark brown bread with various topping combinations. It felt sinful to leave Denmark without having one.