Denmark somehow manages to effortlessly mix history and classic old-world charm with modernity.
The country has topped the World Happiness Report multiple times, which may have much to do with hygge (pronounced hoo-ga); a Danish word with Norwegian roots that translates to cosiness, contentment and wellbeing. It refers to the unique way locals have of enjoying life’s little pleasures.
Denmark is known for its design scene, cuisine and laid-back way of life. Travellers often rave about the friendly nature of the Danish people.
For a city that epitomises Scando cool, it’s hard to go past Copenhagen.
Nørrebro is a dynamic area with great restaurants and shopping. Try the streets of Ravnsborggade, Sankt Hans Torv, Guldbergsgade and Jægersborggade. You’ll find cool new designers and wonderful pop-up restaurants.
Rent a bicycle and ride to Christianshavn, part of the old fortifications of Copenhagen. You’ll discover narrow beautiful streets and old colourful houses along the canal.
The food scene in Copenhagen is hot. There are Michelin-starred restaurants and wonderful street food options. There are some glorious markets too, right in the heart of the city. Papirøen (The Paper Island) is a big old hangar filled with food trucks.
There are a number of great day trips you can take if you’re based in Copenhagen. There are castles, museums, parks and beautiful old-world villages waiting to be explored.
The accommodation offerings range from the predictably hip to more traditional digs.
A popular place to base yourself is Hotel SP34. Positioned on a quiet street parallel to one of the city’s main roads, its unassuming entrance belies what’s inside. Everything about the place oozes warmth. Timber accents and minimalist lighting set off an inviting space of white walls and polished concrete floors, furnished with soft-cushioned lounges, tan chairs and tulip side tables.
Creative quirks include a bicycle displayed as art, a waif-like cactus in a terracotta pot, and a ‘choose your own adventure’ wall of tongue-in-cheek expressions.
Another great option is the Kong Arthur. Housed in a building dating back to 1882, the hotel is nestled quietly down a cobblestone lane off the main road of Nørre Søgade, which runs alongside the city’s gorgeous lakes.
The lobby, an L-shaped space surrounding a pretty central courtyard, is particularly cosy at night, with softly glowing lamps and a bar proffering the “world’s best G&T” using Geranium gin made by Danish gin maestro Henrik Hammer.
With lots of couches, a gently crackling fireplace, a row of Danish shields lining one wall, and a real suit of armour standing near the bar, the area is cool, hygge and full of character.
At Cozy Hour (5–6pm) guests can gather for a drink and snack relating to the season (mulled wine and cookies for Christmas; beers on Super Bowl Sunday and so on).
Denmark is also a great jumping off point to explore Greenland (an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark). West Greenland is fast becoming a holiday destination in its own right, where you can take a midnight-sun cruise around the whales and exquisitely sculpted icebergs.