Our Norwegian fjord cruise in May ended back in Copenhagen, Denmark. The cruise arrived arrived at the port in the morning, and my flight back to London wasn't until late afternoon. Therefore, I had a few hours to spend in the city. I previously visited Copenhagen in 2008 and immediately fell in love with the city. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to spend some more time in the Danish capital, even if it was only for a few hours.
There's plenty of famous attractions to see in Copenhagen, including Nyhavn, Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art further afield. With such limited time, we didn't even try tackling all these tourist stops. Other than one coffee shop and a department store I had on my "to-do" list, we went without much of a plan.
To fill up the rest of our time, I turned to Instagram. That's right, a bit of hashtag hunting yielded some amazing finds. Before I visit a new city, I've gotten in the habit of doing a little "instaresearch". With the recent app update, this has become an even more fruitful practice. The rebooted search functionality will yield the top hastags, people and places for any search. If you start following one local Instagram "influencer", you'll quickly uncover myriad options. Just don't get TOO carried away as it can quickly take you down an endless rabbit hole.
So what places did I uncover on Instagram and how did I spend our few precious hours in Copenhagen?
Immediately after arriving at the port, we headed over to Torvehallerne for some morning coffee and congee. Sounds like a strange combination, right? It's not that farfetched when you consider that both are staple breakfast items in different countries. We grabbed some coffee at The Coffee Collective stall and some delicious congee from Grød. Credit goes to Jonas and Jen for discovering the later. If congee isn't your thing, there are dozens of other delicious vendors in this bustling food hall.
Our next destination was a bit off the beaten track and removed from the action in the city center. I came across some absolutely beautiful photos of Grundtvigskirke (Grundtvig's Church) on Instagram and decided we had to visit. Completed in 1940, the church is recognized for its striking, modern architecture. While the exterior is notable for its display of brick expressionism, it's the interiors of the church that really shine...literally. Light floods in from every angle, and the effect is exaggerated by a complete lack of ornamentation.
After our church visit, we headed back east and stopped for lunch at Smagsløget, a tiny sandwich shop recommended by friends. While the place looks like any other unremarkable deli, the sandwiches they churn out are anything but unremarkable. Come hungry, because the deli meats, vegetables and finishings are piled on liberally.
We proceeded to walk off the carbs with some retail therapy. This is where Copenhagen really stands out. The Danish are renowned for their cutting edge and innovative design. There are a plethora of awesome stores, ranging from tiny boutiques to sprawling department stores. No trip to Copenhagen is complete without a stop (or two) at Illum Bolighus. This multi-floor department store brings together the best of Danish design. Before you know it, you'll easily have spent hours (and way too much money) here. A few other shops I found on Instagram include Stilleben, a small design shop just around the corner from Illum Bollighus, the Tortus Copenhagen showroom and the new Han Kjøbehavn flagship store. All the stores are fairly concentrated in the city center, so you easily walk to all of them.
To cap of the afternoon, we made one final stop at another Instagram find: Atelier September. The airy cafe has a small selection of pastries, savory dishes and of course, coffee. The most photo-worthy item on the menu is their latte served in a small bowl Japanese-style.