Copenhagen is an absolutely beautiful, dynamic city that I visited with my dad during my university days. I revisited recently for one of my friends birthdays and loved it just as much! However, don’t book it on a whim or due to cheap flights without any planning as Copenhagen is oh so expensive and not somewhere to visit for a budget break. However, with a bit of planning (and saving) it is a perfect weekend destination that I would highly recommend! I have always been blown away by the beauty of Scandinavian countries and the city of Copenhagen is no exception.
A word of warning though, despite most countries that I have visited in Scandinavia being great for gluten free and English being widely spoken, I was still extremely jealous of everyone being able to eat the tempting smorrebrod that is one of their national dishes. Basically an open sandwich that the Danish may eat for any meal, it felt like the beautiful sandwiches were everywhere and on this trip sadly I did not discover a gluten free option. Between all the sandwiches and the hot dog stalls on the streets, Copenhagen may not be an ideal location for a newly diagnosed coeliac that can not resist the smell of bread, hot dogs and open sandwiches!
The Hotel – Tivoli Hotel
Copenhagen isn’t the cheapest city for hotels in the summer, but in the end we decided to stay at the funky looking Tivoli Hotel. Located 0.3km away from Tivoli Gardens it is conveniently located to the amusement park after an evening on the rides! We didn’t eat breakfast here and it was a bit of a walk to where restaurants seem to be located so somewhere more central, or an air b n b may be a better option, but we did love our stay at the hotel – especially evening drinks on the rooftop bar! (Shame about the cranes in all our shots!)
Grod, the Worlds first porridge bar, came highly recommended to me on my Instagram for gluten free in Copenhagen and we headed straight there on our first morning. However, I would say it is more one for the winter than our hot summer weekend in the city, as I got a steaming hot bowl of gluten free porridge but that seemed a must given that it we were at a porridge bar! The portion was huge, despite being expensive at about £10 for the porridge and a drink but I could pick my toppings and I had peanut butter, freeze dried raspberries and cocoa nibs. They also had an amazing looking chia pudding that may have been more appropriate for the weather.
Grod porridge pots are also available in 7-eleven stores.
Restaurant Tight describes itself as a ‘Nordic Kitchen with a southern twist’ and for a fancier meal it came highly recommended. I opted for the crab cakes to start that were on the specials menu and they got us off to a great start, especially when washed down with some epic frozen passionfruit margaritas.
The main was a surprising half rack of ribs and we all loved our dinner here despite being far too full to contemplate dessert. We really must have been full for me to turn down a gluten free chocolate fondant!
When we visited Blue Taco it heavily promoted gluten free on its website as everything here is gluten free except some breaded fish – so do be a bit careful of cross contamination of other taco toppings if you’re having anything fried (or in case the menu changes). I can’t honestly say they were the best tacos I’ve ever had but they were good and a great casual stop for lunch.
Despite our tacos not being exceptional – the stand out of the show and the reason I say you MUST visit here were the gluten free churros! It is amazing to find gluten free churros anywhere so I was so so excited to eat these! (Again do double check when you go that nothing except the churros have been in the fryer!)
Visiting the Carlsberg factory to sample a pint of coke at the end may have not been my first choice activity in Copenhagen but unfortunately the Carlsberg factory tour did top everyone else’s list of things to do! However, Nordic Noodle conveniently located right near by saved the day for lunch when we exited the tour hungry! They had rice noodles, lots of toppings and sauce options (including gluten free soya sauce) and they could cook it in a clean wok for you. The portions were generous, but everyone still licked their plates clean showing how good it was. There are also a few locations of Nordic Noodle in the city!
Dop – not coeliac safe
I have to admit that whilst wandering the streets of Copenhagen I really wanted a hot dog like everyone else, so went in search of Dop who came recommended online for gluten free hotdogs. I was extremely disappointed to find it was not coeliac safe in my opinion, or theirs, as there were crumbs everywhere! Sometimes you just want to cry with frustration and for me that tends to be when I’ve dragged people around somewhere looking for a specific recommendation to cater for whatever my current gluten free desire is to find it is not safe after all. Argh – never blindly trust recommendations online without checking you are happy with the processes yourself. Dop had crumbs EVERYWHERE! #thefearofcrumbsisreal
The Airport had a couple of branches of Joe and the Juice, which I have eaten at safely in London. However, they had run out of gluten free bread on the day I was there.
I did find some gluten free crisps and snacks, and they had a gluten free and vegan salad bowl in one of the stores. I just stuck to eating some of the food I had with me from home though.
Vita Boost was recommended but I didn’t eat here having had porridge at Grom. My friend got a smoothie here though and it notes glutenfrei under the sign for paninis – but apparently it all is if you ask.
Sightseeing in Copenhagen
Nyhavn, translated into English means ‘New Harbour’ and it is the classic postcard shot of Copenhagen that can’t be missed – a fabulous, but busy touristy area for daytime strolling and evening drinks! (Or vice versa?!)
We had an absolute blast spending a night at Tivoli – an old fashioned amusement park that is one of the oldest in the World, it is an absolute must visit for Copenhagen!
*Note – The Carlsberg museum and tour is closed until 2020 for refurbishment.
Bus Tour / Little Mermaid
We took a sightseeing bus tour to see the sights of Copenhagen, and to get a better feel for the city and see the Little Mermaid, which is actually quite small close up!
Day trip to Malmo
By train, in 40 minutes from Copenhagen Central Station you can be in Malmo, Sweden. I personally wouldn’t choose to visit on a weekend trip as there is plenty to see and do in Copenhagen so we didn’t visit this time. However, on the trip with my dad that was longer we did get the train over for the day so is an option if you are there for a few days!
I didn’t have a lot of recommendations for Copenhagen but I managed completely fine for two nights in the city. I ate at places based on recommendations but in other Scandinavian countries I have always been pleasantly surprised with the knowledge of coeliac in restaurants and the fluent English that people can normally speak, so hopefully it would be the same in Denmark if you are lucky enough to be visiting on a longer trip!
Other tips for Copenhagen
* Buy a wristband for rides and enjoy yourself at Tivoli. I know I’ve mentioned it already but we did really love it here.
* Another tip that I can’t say enough – be prepared for it to be expensive!
* I couldn’t tell you the name of the company but we also took a boat sightseeing trip around the canals!
* We visited in the summer and it was beautiful but I imagine it would also be magical at Christmas too. I love European city breaks timed for the Christmas markets (check out some of my other guides for European cities that should also be great Christmas Market destinations such as Helsinki, Prague and Vienna – they were also all amazing for gluten free options!)
*I did eat several snack bars on this trip that I’d taken with me for convenience so as always I’d recommend having some in your bag! Just in case you think I’m always mega organised eating my way around the world – sometimes I just don’t have the energy or desire to find somewhere that is safe for gluten free and just eat the snacks in my bag (despite the others eating sandwiches for breakfast!)
For more links and tips on Copenhagen and Denmark, see my extensive gluten free guide to Europe!
I hope you have an amazing time in Copenhagen and love it as much as I did! Please comment below if you do find anywhere that sells coeliac safe smorrebord so I can visit on a return trip!