Our first morning in Copenhagen, we woke up early to roam around the picturesque district, Nyhavn. Well known for its unique canal lined with colorful store fronts, the less-traveled side streets are just as enchanting. Natalie - my travel buddy - and I meandered around small alleyways bursting with ivy and richly painted exteriors. My favorite in particular was hidden away on Lille Strandstræde. When we were exploring this small alley (pictured to the right), we began to smell the most delicious aroma of food. We decided to follow the scent, and were brought to a small, unmarked restaurant called Chill-ee. If you're in the area, I could not recommend it more. The owner, Carina, prepared for us the best sandwich I've ever had in my whole life (this is not an exaggeration) - homemade bread, pesto, & grilled vegetables were perfectly seasoned to deliver a flavor that was savory, spicy, and sweet all at the same time.
Rudentaarn (English translation: Round Tower) was one of the places I was most excited to visit in Denmark. Located in the center of the city, it winds up about 114 feet through a cylindrical ramp. Light flooded in through the windows that lined the white walls along the winding path to the top. At each window, you could stop to see the bustling city below (we spotted Espresso House - a cute coffee shop we later visited for delicious vanilla lattes). From the top, you could see the entirety of Copenhagen in every direction. Circling around the outlook, I was in awe of the beautifully colored rooftops and incredible spires protruding above the buildings. This is a must-see for anyone visiting!! (Fun fact that it was built in 1635 as an astronomical observatory).
Another one of my favorite sights to see in Copenhagen was Kastellet - a star fortress built in the 17th century that is still an active military area for the Danish Defense Ministry. However, lucky for us, it also serves as a public park! In order to enter the grounds, we had to walk across the moat on a bridge. There I was, an American who had only seen a castle like this in my European history textbooks, completely in awe of the amazing structure that lay before me. Once we crossed over, we pranced around the rows of brightly colored buildings. If there is one thing I learned about the Danish from my short visit is that they truly have an eye for burnt orange – no complaints here! There was also a charming windmill, and impressive Church on the grounds. It really is no rumor that Denmark looks straight up out of a fairytale - or is it that fairytales look straight up out of Denmark? It's debatable.
Our last morning in Denmark , I had a bit of free time to myself while Natalie had to hop on a work call. Luckily for me, our accommodation, Steel House Copenhagen, was located close to some cool sights. When I walked into City Hall, I felt like I was transported back in time. Danish flags lined the intricately designed walls, and light flooded in from the ceiling windows. It was so quiet that you could hear a penny drop, and the silence gave me time to reflect on how perfectly content I was in the moment. Nothing invigorates me more than traveling.
With just two nights to explore around the city, we only dipped our toes into all that Copenhagen has to offer! I will definitely be making my way back here to dive deeper into the beautiful culture & wander around the myriad of neighborhoods I've still yet to see. When reflecting on my experience, the Danish word "hygge" comes to mind. Most say there is no direct English translation, but that it is more of a feeling - the ritual of finding enjoyment and comfort in life's simple pleasures – what an amazing perspective on living life.