Kelsey enjoying a superfood chia pudding at Torvehallerne food market. Photo credit: Rob Marsh
Have you ever come back from a vacation feeling like you need a vacation? You’re not alone! Traveling can often mean getting up early, staying up late, enjoying a bit too much sun, and indulging in delicious local food and drinks. Don’t get me wrong—it’s FUN! But when you get home, and reality hits, you often feel worse than you did before you left! This is especially easy to experience when you’ve been looking forward to getting to your destination for a long time.
Take Copenhagen, which has always been at the top of my travel wish list. There is something so wonderful about the city—lively, exciting and surging with energy, while at the same time quiet, quaint, and quintessentially European. There’s always something to do, and with only 6 days to explore, it would have been easy to run ourselves into the ground. Luckily, I followed some of my favourite self-care tips to stay healthy, hydrated and full of energy.
Holistic Travel Tips:
- It can be hard to get enough sleep when there’s so much to see and do, and only so much time to do it in. To make sure you have enough energy to last the long days of exploring, prioritize good quality, deep sleep! I always bring my bedtime rituals on the road, and packed my favourite room spray and a few sticks of palo santo. The familiarity of these rituals helped set us up for deep sleep—even if we did find ourselves on a lumpy bed.
- It's easy to eat well in Denmark, but I’m about to say something really ridiculous here. If you find yourself in Copenhagen, quickly locate your nearest 7-11, yes I know…. 7-11. But strangely enough it’s absolutely packed with delicious food like paleo egg wraps, superfood salads, and raw energy balls rolled in goji berries. I was gobsmacked in the very best way. Make sure to grab a snack to keep in your bag, as you don’t want low blood sugar to get in the way of long days exploring the city!
- Speaking of long days, make sure you keep a water bottle on hand. Dehydration can result in low energy, digestive issues, and skin problems.
- It can be really difficult to find time to exercise on vacation, especially if you’re prioritizing deep sleep (see tip #1!). Luckily, although a large city, Copenhagen is wonderfully easy to navigate on foot. There was almost no need for public transit of any kind—other than a cute city bike—so keep your mood balanced and energy levels up by walking and biking wherever you go.
- At the end of the day, keep making time for yourself. I brought my favourite facial mask and made sure to carve out 10 minutes to pamper myself in the midst of the traveling chaos. It’s the perfect way to reset, meditate, and mindfully care for yourself, wherever you are.
Welcome to Copenhagen
We arrived late from Iceland and quickly found our AirBnB in the bohemian and very local Christianshavn area. I was starving, so we quickly headed out to find a cute place for dinner. One of my favourite things about Europe is how walkable the cities are. We were about 25 minutes away from the city centre, but our walk took us through a peaceful area along the water and through one of Copenhagen’s many beautiful parks. We found Christianshavns Bådudlejning og Café, a cute place on the canal, and made ourselves comfortable for a welcome drink before (at the suggestion of our bartender) we made our way over to dinner at Sankt Annæ 8. We chatted with the “locals” (our server was from Iowa!) and indulged in fresh scallops, grilled asparagus, and wine.
Kelsey walking along the water on her way into Copenhagen's City Centre. Photo credit: Rob Marsh
We woke up on our first full day in Copenhagen to a clear sky and sunshine! We took full advantage by heading out early to check out some of the top sites on our list. We made our way to The Church of Our Saviour and climbed the rounded staircase to the top for an amazing view of the city before heading to the Royal Palace to enjoy the beautiful gardens.
Kelsey taking in the view at the top of The Church of Our Saviour. Photo credit: Rob Marsh
The beautiful gardens at the Royal Palace in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Rob Marsh
The Royal Gardens in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Rob Marsh
For lunch, we made our way over to Torvehallerne food market for a delicious selection, before stumbling upon Kayak Bar which made a perfect "beach" pit stop to enjoy the weather. We had to make time to get over to picture perfect Nyhavn, a 17th century waterfront, canal and entertainment district. The weather was still playing nice so the area was absolutely packed with people. Every single patio, bench and curb was full with tourists, and live music filled our ears.
Nyhavn, a 17th century waterfront, canal and entertainment district. Photo credit: Rob Marsh
Our AirBnB host told us we had to check out Copenhagen Street Food for dinner, so we enjoyed a beautiful walk in that direction. The market was filled to the brim with Copenhagen’s young, trendy and local, and sustainable choices were abound. I indulged in “new Nordic” and my partner had an organic Vietnamese wrap.
The crowds of people enjoying a beautiful evening at Copenhagen Street Food. Photo credit: Rob Marsh
Spring in Europe is one of my favourite things. There are flowers everywhere. I took full advantage by stocking up on flowers for our room, stopping to look at the selection at every single street vendor and flower shop, and finally visiting Copenhagen’s outstanding Botanical Gardens. The grounds are stunning, but as we made our way inside I was even more amazed at the care and attention that goes into every inch of the garden. There was room after room of unique and exotic plants and flowers, all housed in a complex of beautiful glass houses. We also made sure to stop by Tivoli gardens to check out the beautiful flowers and lights—it was like an adorable European Disneyland for adults!
Beautiful flowers everywhere we looked! Photo credit: Rob Marsh
The intricate complex of glass houses at the Botanical Gardens in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Rob Marsh
The most magical place: Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Rob Marsh
Off the Beaten Track
We found it… Christiana that is. Freetown Christiana started in a squatted military area in 1971 and has turned into Europe’s largest self-proclaimed commune. The area has a large cannabis trade, although no cameras are allowed inside as the dealers on “pusher street” tend to get anxious. We grabbed a drink from the beer garden and sat down to take in the scene.
Freetown Christiana in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Rob Marsh
Other Notable Must-Dos
You definitely have to make time to check out the amazing selection of museums and art galleries Copenhagen has to offer. We spent a good few hours escaping the rain at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, and exhausted ourselves learning about Denmark’s history at The National Museum of Denmark. Make sure to get to the Carlsberg brewery to learn about the history of beer drinking in Denmark—the Danes are known for it! The Latin Quarter is filled with tourists (and excellent people watching!), Nørrebro has wonderful little bars (like micro-brewery Mikkeller Bar), and ultra-hip Vesterbro is great for late night drinks.
Hours were spent escaping the rain in Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Photo credit: Rob Marsh
Copenhagen has my heart. Until next time! Photo credit: Rob Marsh
At the end of the day, there’s no wrong way to do this beautiful city—just make sure to take it all in and enjoy every single moment!