How To Do Copenhagen

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By Benjamin Salmon "2nd year politics*

Benjamin Salmon tells a tale of a city green, clean and supreme.

‘Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen!’ Danny Kaye sang in the 1952 film musical Hans Christian Andersen – and with good reason! Copenhagen is nothing short of a beautiful, bustling and altogether cool city. Typically stylish Scandinavian design mingles happily next to the brooding cosiness of a traditional Danish pub. But if you want to experience the Copenhagen lifestyle the right way, there are a few tips, tricks and even some rules of this charming place that need to be known. Here’s a few of them.

Worship the bicycle

Everyone cycles. I really do mean everyone. Two-thirds of Copenhagen residents bike into work every day – and with good reason. The whole place is flat as a pancake, the roads are in top condition and good cycle lanes are actually, like, a thing here. No matter how long your visit to Copenhagen, renting a bike is a must and less daunting than you think it might be.

Search Out Hygge

With no literal translation, hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’) is the latest trend taking over Britain’s middle class. Essentially, it is the warm feeling of cosiness and contentment one often feels in different settings. The Copenhagen pub scene fulfils this mysterious adjective to the fullest with a whole array of warm and friendly bars just waiting for your custom. Be prepared to splash out though, drinks are pretty expensive at anywhere between £4-8. That said, all that matters is that you’ll be guaranteed that hygge feeling.

Some favourites include Kalaset, Bar Farfar, Café Halvvejen and Granola. If you’re less picky about where you drink, the bars along Gothersgade tend to be fun and cheap (well, this is Copenhagen, so nothing is ever cheap.)

Be tempted by Danish design

Talk to anyone with even a smidgen of knowledge about interior design, and they will tell you it’s the Scandis, and especially the Danes, who do it best. Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Egg Chair and famously ubiquitous Ant Chair are the stars of the show, popping up all over the world. But it is in Copenhagen itself where Danish design is really let loose and any visit to the city is not complete without visiting some of the shops, even if they are a little out of a student’s price range.

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Epigram / Benjamin Salmon

Enjoy the environment

All you woke environmentalists in Bristol would love what the Danes do. Copenhagen is set to be the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025 with electric busses, clean harbours and of course the wide use of cycling all contributing. It is also Danish law to recycle, with heavy fines for those that don’t. Littering is almost unheard of which, apart from being good for the natural environment of the city (Copenhagen has many large parks with much flora and fauna), it is genuinely a pleasure to walk around town and not be depressed by the influence of human waste. If you’re really trusting in the above information, of Copenhagen’s cleanliness, I’m sure you’d have no problem going for an open-water swim in the frigidly cold harbour as boats pass by… Do as the locals do and all.

Take in the view

One thing the guidebooks don’t really tell you about is the vast array of viewpoints and towers people can visit. Danish law states that buildings over a certain height are forbidden from being erected in the city centre, meaning the tallest towers are actually still the church spires and clocktowers that existed before modern skyscraper technology was developed. Many of these towers have beautiful views all across the historic city and are very cheap to climb up. The best views are from the top of the Round Tower and the iconic spiral tower at the top of the Church of Our Saviour, both only £3 to summit.

Prepare for the weather

It is no secret that Denmark is a cold place, but in reality, winter here pretty consistent: it rains, a lot. It’s rather safe to say that winter is not the best time to visit. However, once Easter rolls around, the city changes and the warm weather brings out the best in Copenhagen. A lack of open container laws means people sit by the canals swigging beer and wine straight from the bottle they bought while the sun beats pleasantly down on the city.

Of course, there is so much more to Copenhagen than the stuff I have listed here, but I hope this rundown provides something of an insider’s guide for those looking to visit. I guess you’ll have to come here to find out more!

Featured Image: Epigram/ Benjamin Salmon


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