Does traveling to one of the happiest cities in the world intrigue you? If so then put Copenhagen, Denmark on your list.
Copenhagen notoriously makes the “best cities” and “happiest cities” in the world lists. Are you curious to know why?
Well here are some reasons why you might want to consider the capital of Denmark for your next European adventure.
It’s gorgeous, stylish yet not standoffish.
The city itself sits in a beautiful location on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager. With lots of canals and colorful buildings Copenhagen is incredibly picturesque.
Nyhavn Harbor is one of the best places to sit at a cafe and take in the scenery of the water, bobbing boats and brightly hued buildings.
Copenhagen is also known for its stylish, yet functional designs. You’ll see this in the architecture. And in something as simple as a chair. The Danish have a flair for simple chic.
In short, Copenhagen is cool. It’s hip. Yet it’s approachable. And it’s fairly compact so it’s easy to get around.
There are houses of royalty.
Castles and palaces are not just found in Scotland and Germany.
In fact, there are 3 palaces worthy of some time in the Danish capital.
Christiansborg Palace is actually now the home of the Danish government. But it was once the royal palace and one of the grandest in all of Europe.
It burned down in 1794 so the royals moved. It was rebuilt and the damn thing burned again in 1884. The present palace was completed in 1928. Most of the building is open to visitors.
Rosenborg Palace was built in 1606 by Christian IV as a “pleasure” palace — a sort of summer home. It was used by the royal families until the early 19th century when it was turned into a museum.
Now Rosenborg Palace is one of the most visited attractions in Copenhagen. This museum is filled with cultural treasures from the royal family. You’ll find crown jewels, coronation thrones, paintings, and trinkets. It’s a must if you’re into royal life.
Amalienborg Palace is the third palace. This one is actually a complex that housed 4 wealthy families until Christiansborg burned down. Then Christian VII bought one of the four palaces and, viola, it became the royal residence.
This palace is known for its Great Hall with its Rococo vibe. With its waterfront location and beautiful gardens, it’s a beautiful retreat. You’ll want to check this palace out for sure.
It’s eco friendly.
Denmark in general is one of the greenest countries on the planet. Copenhagen leads the way with wind farms, electric buses, people who recycle (and really stick to this) and, these same people walk and bike — most everywhere.
Roughly two-thirds of the city’s hotel rooms are certified as eco-friendly and most of the food (approximately 75%) you get from restaurants, cafes and take away establishments is organic. Wow! That’s impressive.
The city actually has the goal to be the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. I love this!
There are interesting sites.
From the National Museum of Denmark that is a fabulous place to learn about Danish history to Kastellet where you’ll find the Little Mermaid statue, there’s something to entice everyone.
Tivoli is the famous amusement park that was said to have inspired Walt Disney. It’s not just an amusement park though as it also has cultural attractions and some lovely gardens. The Danes love it and consider it a national treasure.
Art lover? Then check out Statens Museum for Kunst. It’s filled with a fascinating collection of European art.
Want to shop? The Strøget shopping area is for you. It’s made up of 5 interconnected pedestrianized streets. There’s not only shops, but cafes, restaurants, churches and even a few museums — and lots of people if you like to people watch!
The food is delicious.
Copenhagen actually has roughly 15 Michelin star restaurants. Now, you’re going to pay for this. But there are plenty of other options that are kinder to your wallet.
The best thing about the food in Copenhagen was mentioned above: you’re going to get organic ingredients. But not only that, you’re going to get fresh, locally sourced food. The freshest seafood, meat, eggs and veggies. Danish bread is quite good too as there’s been a resurgence in using ancient grains such as spelt and barley.
The result is simple, yet tasty food. And it will be served in that Danish simple, yet chic style.
It’s fun to search for hygge.
What the hell is hygge?
Well, it’s a bit difficult to define but the best way the Danes can describe it is “coziness.” It’s a feeling, a kind of social atmosphere that makes you feel safe, warm.
But not in the physical sense. For the Danes it’s a psychological state of balance — one in which all your needs are met equally.
So the search for hygge is another reason to visit Copenhagen.
Where might you find this?
A pub or a cafe might be a good place to start. But don’t expect it to come right away. It takes time.
Are you sold on Copenhagen?
I have to admit that I’ve thought about this city quite a bit over the past few years. It’s one of those destinations that seems to keep climbing higher and higher on my list. Every time it comes up on the happiest cities list I want to go and experience this happiness.
What about you? Does the mix of happiness, eco-friendly and history entice you? Are you ready to go on your search for hygge?