"Hygge"—the Danish word that can't be translated and has to be experienced. It's the art of Danish coziness and at the heart of the culture. It's just as much a state of mind as it is an action or experience.If you've ever been to Copenhagen you have felt it. The city is lively, yet relaxed, and the work-life balance is evident as parents leave work early and spend the afternoons with their kids. Go and find out what "hygge" is to you.
When to Go
Go in the summer for long, light nights and lively parks. The city's urban beaches and baths attract both locals and tourists alike. If you prefer to be on water and not in it, rent one of the solar-powered picnic boats and explore the canals of Copenhagen. That being said, Christmas season is as charming as can be. The city's streets are lined with Christmas markets offering something for all senses, and the air is filled with the smell of mulled wine and chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
The Copenhagen Jazz Festival takes place in July. With more than 250,000 people attending, it is one of the largest jazz events in Europe. The city is buzzing with jazz in the clubs and concerts halls but also in the streets, parks and city squares. No need to leave your mini-me behind, there are kid friendly events all around the city, too. Love is in the air in August when Copenhagen Pride takes place. It's festive, colorful and full of love. Lots of activities take place around Copenhagen, with City Hall Square—called Pride Square during the event—serving as the main focus point.
What to Eat
Modern versions of the iconic "Smørrebrød" (top loaded open sandwich) have been popping op lately. Don't miss a toasted piece of rye bread with avocado and shrimp or smoked salmon. Your tastebuds will thank you. Flush it down with one of the many amazing microbrew beers available in the city.
Souvenir to Take Home: Danish design is of high quality and a great investment. It is both classic and contemporary. While you may not be able to fit an Arne Jacobsen chair in your backpack you will probably find room for some of the colourful ceramics found around town.
Sustainable Travel Tip
If there are nine million bicycles in Beijing there must be at least 10 million bicycles in Copenhagen. The best way to get around Copenhagen is by bike. Rent a bike for the length of your stay or grab one on the go from one of the many city bike stands around the city. The city is flat so you can easily wear your fancy clothes and not need a shower before you arrive for dinner. There are bicycle paths virtually everywhere and even the trash cans along the way are tilted so you don't need to slow down to score a hole in one.
Head to Nyhavn for the most iconic, touristy, traditional shot of the harbour and colourful houses. Or grab a coffee and take a stroll around the lakes for beautiful views of the bridges and the reflections of the surrounding buildings. The tower of Christiansborg Palace offers the perfect bird's-eye view of the city (and all the way to Sweden if you're lucky), and best of all—it's free.