Copenhagen: A guide to the happiest city in the world

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • As the cold months creep in and short, dark days loom, do you find yourself slowly retreating, cancelling social plans and feeling generally just bummed out by everyday grey skies? Time to check out of your winter melancholy and take a short trip (a mere 2 hour flight) to the land of happiness, more specifically Copenhagen, the Danish capital where ‘Good Vibes’ is literally the country’s moto.

    ‘Hygge’ the Danish phrase which can be loosely translated to ‘the pursuit of everyday happiness’. To cure winter blues we recommend a prescription of 2 or 3 days or a week if you’ve got the annual leave.

    We were recently in the city for Copenhagen Fashion Week and quizzed the By Malene Birger team on the cities hot spots and fashionable hangouts, read below for a true insider’s guide on where eat, sleep and shop your way to happiness in Copenhagen.

    Where to Stay?
    One of my friends, former ballet dancer Alexander Kølpin has opened a hotel of casual luxury, Sanders, set in the heart of Copenhagen’s historic quarter. Expect luxury service, where hand-picked hosts tailor and personalise your stay.
    Lulu Henkle, PR & Brand Consultant,

    Hotel Manon Les Suites may be the most hyped hotel in Copenhagen at the moment because of the relaxed, sustainable lifestyle in a very hip, happy and fertile environment. The hotel is a perfect urban base for friends, work, or families to enjoy everything that Copenhagen has to offer.
    Sofie Holst Nyvold, PR Coordinator

    Where to eat?
    For breakfast:
    Sofie: Atelier September is one of my all-time favorite places in Copenhagen. I would love to start every single morning with a soft boiled egg, a croissant and a cup of strong black coffee while the city awakens.

    Lulu: I love this cool and cozy place called Hafnia Bar. It is not a bar but a small café with healthy, tasty and sustainable food. All the food is homemade, with super-foods and organic ingredients. They have wide selection of gluten free, vegan or add meat and fish.

    For Lunch:
    Lulu: When you come to Copenhagen you have to try our famous “smørrebrød” also called an open sandwich. I love the small old fashion restaurant called Sankt Annæ. It was opened in1894 and is a classic Danish restaurant with a charming atmosphere with sublime service. All dishes are served on Royal Copenhagen porcelain and the napkins and tablecloths are ironed to perfection, very classy.

    If you’re looking for a place to grab a quick bite then I recommend Bæst, for the best pizza and buratta in town! My other favourite lunch spot is Beau Marché.
    Michelle Gry Sonne, PR Assistant

    Sofie: I love having lunch at Cantina. This place has the best simple Italian cuisine, homemade pasta, pizza and small dishes for sharing. Swing by and grab an exquisite piece of Italy in Copenhagen city.

    For Dinner:
    Lulu: Restaurant Pluto is one of my favorite spots. I love the atmosphere here it has a cool vibe and the restaurant is always full of fab people even on a Monday night. The food is delicious, the prices are good and they have great wine and yummy cocktails.

    Sofie: Restaurant Geist is a real pleasure to eat at and the food is absolutely amazing.

    Michelle: Check out Aroii on Nørrebro as well for the best Thai food.

    Where to drink:
    Lulu: Dandy is the new place in town and looks like an NY lounge club. The interior design is an amazing mix of colors, prints and materials and gives the place an extremely cool and cozy vibe. If you come early the atmosphere is chilled and you can enjoy the amazing cocktails and a good conversation. Later on the music is turned up and the place turns into a party.

    Michelle: Vinhanen, is also a very cosy and local wine bar on Nørrebro, where you can keep your bottle and get a refill. For something more extravagant then head to Brønnum, it is the most beautiful cocktail bar in central Copenhagen.

    Sofie: There are a lot of cozy wine and cocktail bars in Copenhagen but for drinks before dinner I like to go to Llama, Ved Stranden 10 or Nebbiolo.

    What to see and where shop:
    Lulu: Etage Projects is a Copenhagen-based art and design gallery. I love this hidden pearl in Copenhagen, you should never miss a visit to this amazing place.

    Sofie: Also check out Shop Dora are a small but cool shop with the most of beautiful and colorful interior, it is located next to the By Malene Birger HQ.

    Michelle: The Apartment, is a beautiful interior shop in Christianshavn. Christianshavn and Christiana are my favourite places to grab a coffee and go for walks along the canals.
    You must also visit Normann, a beautiful concept store in Østerbro and if you’re looking for a bargin, Magnolia is a secondhand shop is worth visiting. Gl. Strand and Glyptoteket are amazing art association with lots of interesting exhibitions.

    Reading now

    Popular Life stories