The Danish know how to live a good life! I recently came across the word: Hygge (pronounced hue-guh), on Pinterest. Hygge means the acknowledgment of a moment spent alone or with family or friends in a cozy and warm atmosphere. Naturally, I needed to buy at least 5 ebooks on the subject, as you do, to find out as much as I could about this lifestyle. Instantly I realised that I was in fact born in the wrong country and that I should pack up my stuff and leave for Copenhagen immediately! Well, my wife didn’t feel as strongly about it as I did so here I am, still in Cape Town, patiently waiting for winter so I can hygge-fy my home and pretend I’m Danish.
Copenhagen is the capital and most populated city in Denmark, with an urban population of approximately 1.3 million people. In 2013, Copenhagen was named the world’s happiest city in the world (as per the World Happiness Report). It regularly secures a spot in the top 5 on lists of best places to live. So why are the people in Copenhagen so happy? Well for starters, they get a lot of exercise. (Incase you don’t know this: when you exercise, your brain releases feel-good endorphins). About 55% of Copenhageners cycle to and from work. They also love their beer. I don’t know about you, but beer makes me happy too!
As for the weather, nothing makes me as angry as being hot and sweaty. In Copenhagen, the climate is mild with temperatures seldom above 20 degrees Celcius in summer. In winter, temperatures are close to freezing point and even though it snows, it tends to melt quickly. So when would be the best time to visit you might wonder? Copenhagen experiences unsteady weather patterns in all four seasons but June and August are thought to be the best months to visit. July is the wettest month so if you don’t mind a little rain, I say go for it!
Before I travel to Copenhagen, there are a few things I would like to know beforehand like do they have public transport, things to do in Copenhagen, do they have parks and greenspace and most importantly, what is there to eat. So let’s explore those aspects.
Public Transport: Copenhagen has a substantial public transport system consisting of buses, trains, and ferries. It is advisable to buy a Rejsekort Anonymt smart card specifically for visitors. This will enable you to travel across all zones and use all public transport.
Tourist Attractions: There is a lot to see in Copenhagen like The Little Mermaid (sculpted by Edvard Eriksen and unveiled August 23, 1913), Rosenborg Castle (where the Crown Jewels are kept), Tivoli Gardens with its famous roller coaster, Nyhavn (17th-century waterfront canal) and much more.
Parks: One thing Copenhagen sure has enough of is green space. These parks are perfect places to relax, go for a stroll or have a picnic. You can visit King’s Garden, Frederiksberg Gardens, and Fælledparken, which is the biggest park in Copenhagen.
Food: Food is a very important part of my life especially when I travel. I sometimes daydream about meals I’ve had while traveling, but everybody does that, right? No? Just me? ….. (quickly runs to the fridge to get something to eat). Ok, I’m back… So FOOD… For the most part, Danish food looks delicious and mainly consist of pork (fried pork belly, pork meatballs, and pork roast), yummy pastries (think flaky, buttery bundles of joy with sweet or savory fillings, taking me straight to puff pastry heaven) and open sandwiches topped with protein, veg and garnish. They also offer a variety of food from other cultures as well as a wide range of street food from food trucks.
I’m just gonna leave this here for a minute…..
Here are some beautiful pictures of Copenhagen. (These images are not my own)
As you can see, Copenhageners (or the Danish in general) have more than enough reason to be called the happiest people in the world. Most of all I think that it is their attitude towards life that makes the difference. They have short work weeks (33 hours) so they can spend more time with their families and be outdoors. They know what is important and I believe we can learn a lot from the Danish.
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