Hygge Honeymoon Alert! Your Do-It-All Guide to Copenhagen

This under-the-radar European destination is definitely worth a stop

Updated 04/20/17
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Are you as obsessed with the hygge lifestyle trend as we are? Are you just looking for a cozy honeymoon destination where you can simply cuddle up and take it slow? Well, it's time to consider a honeymoon in Copenhagen.

When most people first visit Copenhagen, they expect it to be snow covered and peppered with Hans Christian Andersen tourist attractions. Unpretentious and utterly whimsical, Denmark's capital does exude the aura of a fairy-tale locale, but it's decidedly untouristy. After spending just a few days in the city, you'll be able to find your way around without Google Maps. Here, canals lined with candy-colored facades hide jazz clubs and warehouses filled with eclectic food trucks. As for why it's worth a honeymoon visit? There's almost nothing more romantic than living a hygge lifestyle, that oft-discussed Danish sensibility of simplicity and coziness—nothing except maybe food.

Getting There
A nonstop round-trip ticket from New York to Copenhagen is surprisingly affordable (think $300–$600), which means you can splurge elsewhere. As far as labyrinthine airports go—looking at you, Heathrow—Copenhagen Airport is one of the most intuitive. Known as Københavns Lufthavn in Danish, it's where you can pick up a Copenhagen Card for access to unlimited public transportation and free admission to over 70 museums and attractions, including the ones described here. Then grab a train to the city.

You'll want to take the M2 Metro line to Christianshavn, Kongens Nytorv, or Nørreport station or the regional train to Copenhagen Central Station or Vesterport, depending on where your hotel is. The dreamy D'Angleterre is located on Kongens Nytorv, the city's central square, while 71 Nyhavn overlooks the canal, a.k.a. the tourist hub. The Bertrams Hotel Guldsmeden is an ecohotel with a charming bed-and-breakfast vibe located in the trendy Vesterbro neighborhood, which is known for design shops and coffee bars like Bang & Jensen and is a quick walk from the Meatpacking District. (Tip: Street names ending in "–gade" are pronounced with a "–gale" sound.)

Day 1, Afternoon
Recover from jet lag by climbing the Round Tower, a 17th-century observatory where you can take advantage of one of the city's best panoramic views. Fair warning: The spiral ramp means a built-in workout. Downstairs (or, rather, downramp), there's an art gallery showcasing contemporary artists in conversation with Scandinavian history. Afterward, visit Strøget, one of the world's largest pedestrian shopping districts. While it boasts most of your favorite international designers, you can also shop Danish and Scandinavian brands like Ganni, Wood Wood, Mads Nørgaard, Samsøe & Samsøe, and Illum—Copenhagen's landmark department store, which has a rooftop cocktail bar during the summer.

Day 1, Dinner
Noma may be closed, but that doesn't mean you can't try its signature New Nordic cuisine elsewhere. Noma cofounder Claus Meyer owns a portfolio of hotels, bakeries, and restaurants sprinkled throughout the city, including Nyhavn's the Standard. Nyhavn is the vibrant promenade along the city's most famous canal, but though it's arguably the most touristy area, the views and food at the Standard are worth it. There's a Michelin-starred tasting menu at Studio from former Noma sous chef Torsten Vildgaard, Mikkeller beers on tap and upscale bar food at Haven (a pop-up bar promoting an eponymous August music festival), and plein air dining at Almanak. Around the corner on Havnegade, you'll find five trampolines (yes, really) installed in the sidewalk. Assuming you're not wearing heels, go ahead and take that gleeful Snapchat video. Your inner child will thank you.

Day 1, Evening
Although Copenhagen's annual jazz festival takes place in July, the best jazz game in town is open all year round. La Fontaine hosts jam sessions almost every night (though Sunday nights are usually the best time to go). Its cheap drinks, dim lighting, and world-class performers are worth traveling for. The club has also had its share of celebrity guests: In 2015, Lady Gaga stopped by the club to play a set after a concert at Tivoli Gardens.

Day 2, Morning
Grab brunch at Wulff & Konstali or Bang & Jensen, then head north. Frederiksborg Castle is a must-see for history and design buffs who love a good spiral staircase through time. The castle was built in the early 17th century for King Christian IV, and it showcases the best of Dutch Renaissance architecture in a fantasia of filigreed ceilings, celestial globes, and cavernous halls. Following a fire in 1859, much of the castle was reconstructed, thanks to public funding and support from philanthropist J.C. Jacobsen, the founder of Carlsberg Brewery. As a result, the castle is completely restored to its former glory. To get to the castle, take S-train line E to Hillerød from Copenhagen Central Station, then hop on the 301 or 302 bus to get dropped off in front of the complex.

Day 2, Afternoon
Once you return to the city, head across the bridge from Nyhavn to Paper Island, home of Copenhagen Street Food. The converted warehouse is packed with food trucks selling cheap eats from all corners of the globe. Think duck-fat fries, elderberry cocktails, vegan burgers, and sandwiches with pickled sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and olive-truffle mayo. Oh, and there's a cow-shaped disco ball hanging near the entrance, giving the place a fun, irreverent feel. After lunch, take a walk through Christianshavn and check out Freetown Cristiana, a fortlike commune about a mile away. Founded in 1971 by a group of hippies, the self-sustaining alternative community considers itself separate from the EU and has an active cannabis trade. (It's also where Lukas Graham frontman Lukas Forchammer lived when he was "7 Years" old.) But take note, there are no photos allowed within the commune's walls.

Day 2, Dinner
Take the metro from Christianshavn to Nørreport and walk north through Nørrebro—the youngest, most multicultural part of the city. Kierkegaard is buried in Assistens Cemetery, which locals treat as a park. The street art around Superkilen park is Instagrammable to say the least, as are the shops on Jægersborggade—like women's jewelry collective Ladyfingers, porridge shop Grød, and liquid-nitrogen ice cream shop Istid. Eat dinner at Geranium, which is currently the top-rated restaurant in Denmark, the only one to receive three Michelin stars. It's located on the eighth floor of the national soccer stadium, so you can catch a glimpse of the entire city. The menu changes seasonally. Afterward, swing by Mikkeller and Friends or the Barking Dog for a nightcap.

Day 3, Morning
Take the DSB train to Helsingør (Elsinore in English) to visit Kronborg Castle, which was said to inspire Shakespeare to write Hamlet. It's a mystery whether or not Shakespeare actually visited, but each summer, the castle plays host to a production of the Bard's opus. The castle has stood since 1420, though it's been rebuilt a few times since.

And if you've ever wondered about the kinds of towns that inspired Hans Christian Andersen's stories, look no further than Helsingør.

Day 3, Afternoon
On the way back from Helsingør, get off at the Humblebæk stop and follow the signs down the road to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Built into the side of a cliff, this truly unique museum has shown the work of art-world rock stars like Cindy Sherman, Franz West, Damien Hirst, and Jeff Koons. Although most of the pieces are part of rotating exhibitions, the permanent collection includes a cosmic light installation by Yayoi Kusama and Giacometti sculptures. Retrospectives on both Marina Abramović and George Condo will open later this year.

Day 3, Dinner
108 is Noma's younger, cooler spinoff, run by 30-year-old chef Kristian Baumann. Like its parent, 108 relies on seasonal and local plants, and Baumann credits much of his inspiration to foraging. But he also isn't afraid to add more familiar notes to his dishes. Standouts on the menu include cured squid with bacon broth and salted plums, and beef shortribs with elderberry capers. Reservations book a few days in advance, but Baumann's staff keeps a handful of tables open each night for walk-ins.

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