Together Journal: If you want to become one of the happiest people on the planet, spend a weekend in Copenhagen. Yep, this Scandinavian city repeatedly trumps all others in international surveys by having the world’s happiest residents. Once you’ve spent a few days here, you’ll begin to see why. The beating heart of Denmark’s design, food, fashion and art scene, Copenhagen is ridiculously liveable and low-key charming. It’s not so much a city of action, adventure and grand tourist attractions that grab your attention. It’s more a place where you are best to just relax and immerse yourself in the ebb and flow of everyday life, as the locals do. Grab a bicycle and mosey along the river or stroll amongst the vast pedestrianised streets, taking time to pop in and out of cafes and design stores at your leisure. If you visit in the colder months, pop your woolly jumpers on and embrace the Danish art of ‘hygge’ (keeping cosy). That could mean sipping hot chocolate in a sweet little cafe, combing the galleries for mid-century furniture and art, or simply ordering a leisurely breakfast in one of the city’s many stunning new hotels. No one has mastered the art of enjoying indoor activities like the Danes. Whatever you do, and regardless of the season, enjoy the city at a slower pace. Trust us — and the research — you’ll be a happier person for it. And it’s not just us who think Copenhagen is one of the best places to visit at the moment. Murray Crane of Crane Brothers also recently took a trip to this idyllic city and has generously shared with us his favourite places to visit eat and stay.

Words from Murray Crane:

Copenhagen is one of those cities; Everyone tells you how amazing it is but very few people have actually backed that up with a visit. It may have something to do with the relative isolation of this small country that sits somewhat outside the European Union, so I was pleased to learn that Cathay Pacific launched a seasonal service to Copenhagen in May, making it very accessible with just two flights and one stop in Hong Kong. The seasonal route closed in October but I was lucky enough to enjoy it and I got to spend a week in this small and perfectly formed city. I have been travelling to Europe on a regular consistent basis over the last 30 years wearing a well- worn path between Milan, London and Paris. These are all cities I love. What I wasn’t prepared for was the modern and fresh thinking that I encountered in Copenhagen. In particular an outstanding hospitality and retail scene. The city itself functions at an incredibly high level with an amazing public transport system, great cycling and no Uber. Denmark has amongst the highest taxes in the world but you can see where the money is spent with amazing public spaces, almost zero waste, low crime and minimal vagrancy.

Together Journal Play. You can walk or cycle everywhere in Copenhagen, which makes the city feel very laidback and accessible. With plenty of bike rental companies and cycleways everywhere, we suggest grabbing some of your own wheels to explore. You can cover more ground than you can on foot, and you’ll blend in nicely with the locals merrily going about their day. Spend a morning cycling beside the river, through the old fishing neighbourhood of Nyhavn. You’ll pass its quaint, brightly painted 17th century buildings and the magnificent Christiansborg Palace, where the Danish parliament sits. Strøget is the main street through this neighbourhood and it’s completely car-free, which makes for leisurely strolling. If you need a little more retail therapy, head to Jægersborggade in the hipster neighbourhood of Nørrebro. You could spend hours wandering around its fashion and design boutiques, ducking into cafes to refuel on coffee, getting inspired in the local galleries or nabbing goodies from one of its many specialty food stores. Torvehallerne, a buzzing food market which sells the freshest locally grown produce, is a great place to grab a handful of delicious treats to take away and eat, picnic-style, in one of the city’s squares or gardens. This is a glorious thing to do in the summer months, day or night.

Murray Crane:

The Danish Museum of Art & Design
The Danish Museum of Art & Design is one of many museums in Copenhagen featuring Danish and design and craft. It features works of famous Danish designers like Arne Jacobsen and Jacob Jensen. Housed in a remodelled Hospital, it was converted into a museum in the 1920s. Great Gift shop and Cafe

Ditte Fischer
Ditte Fischer handcrafts high-quality ceramics with attention paid to the smallest detail. Her style is smooth and minimalist. Fischer’s designs are extremely popular in Denmark with locals and businesses alike including Noma.

Illums Bolighus
Illums Bolighus is part of the George Jensen chain of Royal Shopping stores and is a great one-stop shop for modern design for your own home or for gifts. Source the best in Danish design, materials, and craftsmanship. Ilums Bolighus is a purveyor to the royal Danish court.

Together Journal Eat. Over the past two decades, Copenhagen’s culinary reputation has skyrocketed, mainly thanks to Noma, a Michelin-starred restaurant that pioneered a new kind of cuisine, blending local, organic and seasonal ingredients with traditional techniques, like fermenting, smoking and salting. Judged the best restaurant in the world four times, it kicked off an avantgarde style of cooking that has rippled far and wide.

But you don’t have to eat at Michelin-starred restaurants to taste what Copenhagen has to offer. There are local bakeries making amazing fresh bread and Danish pastries, and the Saturday morning farmers’ market has an abundance of colourful produce and traditional food. For a sit-down bite, we recommend the yoghurt granola with zucchini jam and matcha at Atelier September, a buzzing cafe doing great coffee. Cafe Victor is where the cool kids come for pastries, coffee or a glass of champagne after shopping on Stroget. Right on the river and housed in a former ferry terminal, The Standard is a hot-spot destination for dining, and home to Almanak, a truly elegant restaurant dishing up Nordic cuisine in an unpretentious environment. This restaurant embraces its physical landscape and pays regard to the seasons (hence the name) in its dishes, which use plenty of wild forest food, vegetables, seeds, berries, fresh seafood and herbs collected from nature every morning. Host is another excellent yet affordable spot for fine Nordic dining.

Murray Crane: 

Atelier Sept
Café Atelier September came highly recommended from locals. The friendly staff, good wi-fi, and communal tables make it an ideal base from which to plan your day.

Mud Honey
The Mud Honey is in the popular area around Skt. Hans Square. Serving interesting cocktails and pre dinner drinks in a very kitsch environment.

Baest
Local, sustainable and organic Danish produce combined with Italian craftsmanship to create contemporary Pizza and Pasta served with Natural Wines. .All ingredients are sourced from their own farms and made by hand. Pop next door to Mirabelle for Sourdough and Rye bread.

Relae
Relæ boasts one Michelin star and regularly ranks on lists of the World’s Best Restaurants for food, wine and sustainability. Simply stunning!

Together Stay. Copenhagen has some seriously stylish accommodation. Its architecture is a blend of 17th & 18th century palaces and townhouses, mixed with mid-century creations, and regardless of whether you choose to stay in a hotel, a hostel, or rent a room with AirBnB, you are bound to find something with character and charm.

As far as neighbourhoods go, Nørrebro and Vesterbro both have a really vibrant, bustling atmosphere with lots to see as soon as you step out the door. There are slick, trendy bars or cool, scuzzy bars, beautiful design stores and cheap kebab joints, and if you fancy some quiet time, the Assistens Cemetery has some beautiful green spaces to relax in.

The five-star Manon Les Suites Hotel and Hotel d’Angleterre both have impeccable service and are centrally located.

With its beautiful informality and truly forward-thinking spirit, this historic city is worth more of your time than just a weekend city break, but if that’s all you can grab for now, do it. It’ll have you smiling like a local.

Murray Crane:

Hotel Sanders – Billed as Copenhagen’s first luxury boutique hotel. The hotel Sanders of is all about modern townhouse vibe, luxury without the fuss and a clever design narrative. A great Hotel Lobby to hang out in with two exceptional bars (including the rooftop). Hotel Sanders epitomises Denmark’s commitment to great design and exceptional service.

Photography and travel tips—Aaron Sami | Words—Caroline Waldegrave and Murray Crane