My friend and I were completely bogged down in the pre-Christmas slump of having trudged through 11 weeks of lectures, coursework and revision. We knew a holiday was needed and we knew we couldn’t actually afford one. After a drunken search of Skyscanner however, I realised we in fact, could.
I had always wanted to visit Copenhagen, after hearing of the hygge lifestyle, the gold that is Nordic cuisine and then seeing Copenhagen crowned as city of the year in 2016 – it seemed like a no brainer. The flight from London Gatwick was £18, the return flight (which ended up being from Stockholm to Gatwick) was £24. To put this relatively, the train from Nottingham to the sheepish village that I call home in South-West Wales is £89 for a single, my weekly organic vegetarian shop is around £26. I booked the flights there and then.
After sobering up, I realised I had flights and no accommodation. However, my crisis was soon averted when I realised simply how cheap hostels could be. Generator Hostels are a franchise, and they offer some brilliant rates for what is, really, a (posh)tel. I’m sure we could’ve found something slightly cheaper, but £12 a night for such a secure and friendly place is a bargain.
The downside to the hostel is they don’t have a self-catering option, so you do have to spend a touch extra on food, however it was incredibly central and there was an Aldi within a hundred yards. So, having officially booked our getaway, we decided to cap ourselves a bit more. One rucksack each (to avoid luggage charge), and £30 a day – so £150 (roughly 1310 DKK).
If we hadn’t decided to go clubbing on night one, we wouldn’t have spent close to £100 on the trip. Drinking ‘out’ in Copenhagen, it turns out, is not cheap. The average beer is somewhere around £6 and spirits are taxed even more heavily.After a night of decadence, we woke up and realised there was about £80 left in each of our wallets. We decided to see the things we actually came for, and to lay off the alcohol.
We woke at 6am the following morning. After consuming all the free coffee we could bear, (they love giving you unlimited coffee in Copenhagen!) and eating a modest breakfast from the surprisingly well-catered supermarket, 7-11, we set off to explore.
We walked seventeen miles over the next twelve hours. We saw almost all of the main tourist attractions on this day. We started at the Rosenberg castle, which has a small entrance fee, but is host to the best view of Copenhagen – along with some smaller exhibitions.
My favourite part of the castle was ‘the museum of broken relationships’. There’s a few scattered across the globe, and if you ever get a chance to visit one, you ought to. They contain various trivial objects, which are symbolic of a very sobering, often upsetting, always heart-breaking story of a relationship that has ended in one tragic way or another. It really put things into perspective, and we left feeling far more appreciative about ourselves and the world.
We next headed for Edvard Eriksen’s Den lille Havfrue (The Little Mermaid statue), it’s a fair while out from the city centre but it’s very walk-able. On route there were a whole host of coffee shops, designer stores and glorious architectures to gaze at or visit, so the walk isn’t without excitement.
After visiting the mermaid, we walked back through the city to Nyhavn, a 17th century waterfront just off the centre of the city. We would eventually spend most of our days sipping coffee under the blankets provided by the cafes for their outdoor seating areas. It’s the perfect place to unwind, and as one of the entertainment districts, the food is all fantastic.
Afterwards we went to the ‘meat packing district’ which despite its less than appealing name, is arguably the trendiest place in Copenhagen at the moment. It’s a district that takes some inspiration from Manhattan’s meatpacking district, and is consequently host to all sorts of bars, cafes, independent museums, quirky stores, and avant-garde hairdressers.
Other must visits include Copenhagen’s street food market, which contains masses of sublime food at incredible street-food prices, and Freetown Christiania – a self-governed state within Copenhagen that came to rise after a hippy community took over a US navy base in the sixties.
Despite going to Copenhagen in the winter, the weather was alright, it hit -7 on one day, and around the coast (Nyhavn, or by The Little Mermaid) the wind can be fairly bitter, but it is almost always dry, snowing or sunny, and there is never disruption to their culturally dense and relaxed lifestyle. You can’t experience their way of living anywhere else.
Images courtesy of Rhys Thomas.
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