Exploring Europe: a weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark

I feel like I'm quite well travelled in Europe but Scandinavia is a region I had yet to visit. And it happened to be on my boyfriend's bucket list so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and book him a trip for his birthday. Well Stockholm actually was top of his bucket list but Copenhagen had cheaper flights so that sealed the deal. Oh my, I feel head over heels in love with this Danish city. I genuinely could imagine myself living there - it felt like it could be home.

One thing I will say about the city is to make sure you save up plenty of money. It will be an expensive trip! What I loved most about the trip was that Copenhagen is just effortlessly cool. The people dress impeccably and always willing to help you out, the restaurants and bars are casual yet buzzing and the architecture is beautiful without being too try hard. There are endless places to eat at, visit and explore - I think I could go ten times and still not see everything I wanted too. Like I mentioned in Sunday's post, the food scene blew me away. I had some of the best meals I've ever eaten. The possibilities were endless and of such high quality. It's worth just going for the food and forgetting about all the sights. In fact, that's how I'm looking to visit next!

We wanted to take the four days pretty easy as there's nothing worse than coming back from a holiday and feeling even more exhausted than when you left. Plus if you never manage to fit everything in, there's an excuse to visit for a second time. I love leisurely city breaks as I feel you get a real feel of living like a 'local'. We had a list of sights we wanted to visit and an order in which we wanted to do them. I love a castle but alas my boyfriend does not. I would spend every weekend visiting a castle, stately home or palace but my inner 80 year old lady is crushed every time. But for once, I did manage to get him to agree to Rosenborg Castle with the promise of the Crown Jewels. This was one of my highlights! I'd also recommend trekking up the Round Tower for some incredible views of the city. There's nothing better than being at the top of a building and gazing over the rooftops of the city below. I really enjoyed the hour long canal boat tour too as it was a great way to see the city and learn all about the landmarks. It's always good to have some knowledge of the place you're staying.

The things that didn't really float our boat were Tivoli despite it being top of my boyfriend's list of things to do. I'm not a massive theme park person anyway and it cost us £70 for two unlimited tickets. A bit of a waste as neither of us are that keen but we made of the most of it and dragged ourselves on four rides to get our money worth. It's a cool place to see but not really worth it unless you are into those sorts of things. The mermaid was a little underwhelming considering it's probably the most famous landmark in the city. It's small and over crowded. I'd recommend getting the canal boat tour so you can see it on the way round.

I had a great time in Copenhagen and it's made me eager to visit more of Denmark. I'd urge everyone to move it further up their travel list and pay it a visit. You won't be disappointed. Hopefully it won't be too much longer until I'm back in the city!


6 of the best places to eat in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a foodie's paradise. Hands down one of the best cities I've been to for food. There's such a insane collection of different cuisines to try from street food markets to more fancier sit down restaurants with tablecloths. Being lucky enough to spend almost the majority of the week in London stuffing my face, I've turned into a bit of a food snob and rarely spend time in a city that compares. But the food scene Copenhagen was incredible and completely rivalled my 'home' city  - it's easily in my top two of cities I've eaten in. So what did I manage to eat?

1. Fleish
As soon as I discovered The Meatpacking District, I knew that I wanted to spend a lot of my time eating in the area. One restaurant that grabbed my attention was Fleish and I booked us in for an evening meal immediately. This butchers slash eatery has a busy open kitchen and industrial decor vibe. My boyfriend and I are massive meat eaters and really appreciate good quality cuts so this seemed right up our street. Being the greedy little piglets we are, it took us a total of 10 seconds to spot the seven course taster menu and order it. It. Was. Incredible. Easily one of the best meals I have ever eaten. Ever. Consisting of various dishes including ham-wrapped asparagus, rich bone marrow, zesty scallop ceviche and rare steak medallions. The portions were surprisingly generous and the high quality meat was insanely tender. Each bite melted in your mouth, was bursting with flavour and made us hum with pleasure. Copenhagen is not cheap but if you don't mind splashing out, pick this restaurant. You won't regret it one bit, it's worth every single penny.

2. Nose2Tail Madbodega
We both like to be pushed out of our comfort zone when it comes to eating out, eager to try different foods we've never tried before and different cuisines that we've only read about in books. Copenhagen's first sustainable and organic steakhouse is based on the 'nose2tail' concept meaning that every single part of the animal is used. They have three specials on the menu, a meat of the day, an innard of the day and a fish of the day. After choosing to sample the plank, we feasted on a selection of board of different local meats, lashings of mustard, addictive pates and a basket full of bread, alongside a huge slab of pork crackling. Delicious! For the main we decided to ask for the innards of the day which turned out to be veal liver. I'm going to hold my hands up and admit that I didn't fall in love with this. It was a bit too tough and dense for my liking, I prefer chicken livers. But it wasn't horrible in the slightest and was just down to personal taste. It came with a pile of homemade coleslaw, crispy potatoes, roasted tomatoes and garlicky green beans. It is a really cool concept and the atmosphere was buzzing. Definitely one to eat at if you're a big meat fan.

3. Paper Island
Copenhagen Street Food calls this industrial estate near the harbour home. Getting it's name from the paper storage facilities, it's only here until 2017 so make sure you get in a visit quick! It had endless stalls offering everything from potent mojitos to Korean fried chicken. During the evening the place comes alive with live music but during the day it's a really cool place to hang out and eat your way around the stalls before settling down outside along the canal. It's very similar to Street Feast  night market in London. The prices are similar to that too, you're looking at dishes or around £7-10 for a main dish and cocktails are about £9.

4. Mad & Kaffe
For brunch I'd been hearing a lot about this cafe in the Vesterbro district. One word of warning is to arrive early because we ended up waiting around 45 minutes for a table on a Sunday morning at about 11am. It was well worth the queue but sometimes it's just nice to get seated straight away. They do a great mix and match brunch menu during the morning. You can pick from 3, 5 or 7 items - simply mark which ones you want on the menu with a pencil and hand it over to a waitress. I pumped for the avocado in chilli sauce with baked almonds, organic Vesterhavs cheese with fruity marmalade, creamy scrambled egg with chives and fried mushrooms, organic fluffy white and rye bread and spicy fried chorizo sausages. Paired with a fresh orange juice, it was the perfect sized breakfast to fuel lots of walking!

5. Torvehallerne KBH
Boasting over 60 different stalls selling a variety of different dishes, fresh produce and drinks, this food market is the perfect place to enjoy cheap eats without compromising on the taste. Similar to Borough Market in London, the market is a great place to explore. Make sure you take a stroll around the whole place before deciding what to have. Already addicted to the Danish smorrebrod - or open sandwich - we decided to opt for the only stall selling the dish. Piled high with generous toppings of fish, ham and coronation chicken, we eagerly tucked in and declared it absolutely delicious. The one above topped with ham, roasted tomatoes, egg and chives won for me. We obviously had to pick up a Danish pastry for the road too.

6. Schonnemann
This was the surprise of the bunch for me. The restaurant was rated very highly in my Lonely Planet book and kept popping up time and time again during my research. Rightly so, as the three sandwich sample we ate was so flavoursome. They offer over 110 different types of smorrebrod and is a lunch time only restaurant so get there early around 11.30 or book a table. We hadn't a foggiest what to order so decided to go for the set menu paired with a glass of beer. In Denmark, the herring is supposed to always be eaten first and you go from left to right. I couldn't recommend the set menu enough and it was a great introduction into the Danish tradition. The waiter was extremely helpful and friendly, making the whole experience a hundred times better. Definitely one to add to your list!


Recipe: smoked mackerel and chive quiche

The summer may have been a bit hit and miss this year but you've still got to take advantage of the hot weather when it appears! One of my favourite things to do when the sun starts to shine is to eat al-fresco. A dish that always reminds me of summer is a quiche. This time I opted for a smoked mackerel and chive dish from one of my favourite cookbooks, Faye Makes It Easy. I actually almost followed this to the letter which is very unusual for me but everything from Faye's cookbook is great the way it is.

Paired with some refreshing Galvanina*, the quiche went down a treat! Offering organic flavours - in beautiful embossed bottles - such as Red grapefruit, Ruby orange, Sicilian clementine and Sicilian lemonade, the 100% fruit drinks are absolutely delicious. My personal favourite is the Sicilian Clementine - so fruity!

1 pack of ready rolled shortcrust pastry
2 large eggs, beaten
200g smoked mackerel fillets
100ml milk
200ml half-fat creme fraiche
I bunch of chives, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees for a fan oven/ 220 degrees/gas mark 7.

2. Roll out the pastry and line a small tart dish, roughly trim the edges. Prick the base a few times with a fork and blind bake - with baking beads and a sheet of parchment paper - it for 15 minutes.

3. Remove the paper and beads once baked and brush with beaten egg before baking for another five minutes. Set aside once cooked.

4. To make the filling, take the skin off the mackerel, tear the fish into little pieces and scatter over the pastry base.

5. In a large jug, whisk the milk, eggs, creme fraiche and chives with a couple of grinds of pepper and a few pinches of sea salt.

6. Bake for 25 minutes on a baking tray until the top is golden and set.

7. Cut into wedges and serve with a fresh salad - I've gone for roasted vegetable and goats cheese - and a homemade potato salad to up the carb intake!

Please do let me know if you make it, simple drop me a tweet!


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