Copenhagen is loved for many reasons — adorable cobble stone streets lined with tidy colorful houses, some of the world’s most inventive chefs, and a way of life that is so unique that it earned its own adjective. That aside, it also boasts an impressive amount of design inspiration and international draw, making it a top spot on the bucket list. For these reasons, I’ve decided to dedicate this next travel guide to “The City of Spires.”
SHOP & DESIGN
The Royal Copenhagen store has a case of the blues - ROYAL blue that is! Established more than 240 years ago, Royal Copenhagen sells an unbelievable collection of hand-painted porcelain that add the perfect touch of luxury to your next dinner party. Although collections were classically painted blue, the company has updated its aesthetic over the years to also include a variety of multi-color designs to fit any occasion.
For a more modern spin on home goods, stop by Hay on Østergade street. It feels like a cross between a museum and a design shop, and many Danes will tell you that visiting it is a MUST. Known for innovative yet affordable furniture designs, Hay also offers a range of textiles, home supplies and modern artwork.
If antiques are your thing, take an Antiques Diva Scandinavian tour, which kicks off in Copenhagen before crossing the bridge to Malmo and shopping Southern Sweden. Antiquing in two countries in two days offers you the opportunity source everything from Baroque, Rocco, Gustavian and Empire all the way to Mid-Century Modern.
EAT & DRINK
Høst, which means “harvest” in Danish, is truly a restaurant experience not to miss. The space perfectly captures “rustic-chic” with exposed brick walls, simple wooden furniture, fuzzy chair covers (for the wintertime), and oodles of lovely leafy green decor. The food is also heavenly to match, as their menu specializes in rich Nordic cuisine that includes lobster, beef, and a spread of Danish cheeses.
If you’re craving something more lavish, try Mielcke & Hurtigkarl in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District. Here, you’ll be served plates that are visual masterpieces and the decadence continues once you finally take a bite. The two head chefs have gathered a following for their inventive yet successful flavor combinations, with inspiration from Nordic, French and Asian cuisines. Feeling really indulgent? Go for the prix fixe menu!
Last, but not least, I love when I can mix food with touring and a visit to Reffen is just that. Take a leisure boat ride here and dive into this waterside market packed with various food and drink trucks that offer menus from all over the world. In sticking to the local trend, though, visit a truck that offers smørrebrød - a style of open-faced sandwiches that are particular to Denmark. They are unbelievably scrumptious.
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking, who is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, explores the uniquely Danish notion of Hygge. To experience hygge is to enjoy simple pleasures and relish the warm, cozy moments in life. And that is something I can get behind! This book is not only delightful to read, but it offers interesting insight into Danish society, everyday life routines, and even offers some local recipes to try - the perfect souvenir gift!
For something more on the artsy side, pick up a copy of Danish Art Prints: Art Versus Design by Hanne Mikkelsen. The gorgeous mint-colored, canvas-bound book provides both visuals of artwork and interviews of 66 contemporary Danish print makers. As hinted via the title, the featured artists discus whether they feel their work is more “art” or “design”, prompting an interesting conversation about how the two realms can differ.
One of my favorite “local” activities is a bit of summer relaxation in Tivoli Gardens. While plenty foreigners know of this hotspot for its theme park (said to have inspired Disney World), it’s actually uber popular among the Danes. Tivoli Gardens offers a range of summer events that includes outdoor movie viewings, free concerts, weekend picnics, and more.
I also highly recommend a boat tour at sunset. And in case you’re thinking it — no, it’s not cheesy! In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Not only does a trip down the canal better your orientation of the city, the view from the water in the evening is stunning. You’ll pass the famed Little Mermaid statue, the Royal Danish Opera House, the Royal Danish Theater's "Old Stage", the busy little harbor… It feels like visiting a movie set.
BEAUTY & FASHION
Project4, located in Copenhagen’s Latin Quarter, provides a highly curated collection of fashion that perfectly exemplifies the understated, cool “Scandinavian look”. I find the store’s interior design also interesting in the way that it speaks to the clean, industrial, and even rustic style that feels so very Copenhagen.
Storm is another chic concept store located in the heart of Copenhagen. While it does host a selection of garments by prestigious labels, it also offers elegantly designed skincare, haircare and artisanal perfumes. For the beauty mavens who love to try niche brands, this is your store.
In addition to jewelry (my true love), a great purse can also amp up any outfit. One of my local favorites is the Danish brand Decadent, whose store is located in city center. The collection consists of fabulous leather purses that have an architectural shape, are beautifully color coordinated, and made with just the right amount of hardware.
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is only a 45 minute train ride from Copenhagen city center, and houses a fascinating variety of modern art, beautiful architectural designs, manicured gardens, and a view across the Øresund Straight to Sweden. Experiencing this one-of-a-kind scene where outdoor meets indoor design is well worth the excursion.
Of course, though, I would be remiss to not also mention The National Gallery of Copenhagen (Danish abbreviation “SMK”), which is Denmark’s largest museum. It displays a fantastic amount of artwork from Danish and international artists over the past seven centuries, and is especially famous for housing a spectacular collection of Danish Golden Age art. Just like the Louvre in Paris, I could spend hours here paling up #designinspiration!
Rosenborg Slot was originally the summer residence of the royal family, but it’s now open to the public and houses a jaw-dropping collection of antique furniture and decor. Every corner you pass oozes in decadence, rich velvet, and gilded details. What could be more inspiring than exquisite antiques? Only jewels, of course! Rosenborg Slot is also home to the Crown Jewels, which is packed with every kind of precious gem you can imagine. It is heaven.
Inspired by Rosenborg Slot, this piece from our Art Deco Collection speaks to the ornateness and grandeur of the palace. With a brilliant gold setting, an impressive carre cut Lemon Quartz, and Ruby detailing on the band, this ring is definitely fit for a #Queen.
Lemon Quartz (18.80 ct.), Ruby (1.75mm/.25ct.)
18K Yellow Gold Vermeil
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