If hygge (say “hoo-ga”) could be bottled and sold, Denmark would be even wealthier than it already is. The distinctly Danish concept, loosely translated as “coziness,” really must be experienced to be understood. And when you steal away for a weekend in Copenhagen, there’s hygge on every corner.
Is it a cozy feeling in your soul, a glowing candle on a tabletop dinner for two, a convivial moment between friends, or just a general feeling of contentment in a setting of simple pleasures? Hygge can be all that and more.
It can also be indoors, outdoors and all around. So follow our lead to the Danish capital and embrace the concept at these spots that are breeding grounds for hyggelig moments.
Pedal for Hygge
Bicycling is one of the most quintessentially Danish things you can do, and Copenhagen’s flat terrain coupled with dedicated bike lanes on nearly every street make it a pedaling paradise.
Rent a secondhand bike from Baisikeli or pick up a City Bike for a few hours and pedal a leisurely route around town to let the hygge vibes flow between the two of you.
Favorite places for a scenic pedal include Amager Beach Park, with its beachfront promenade, or Frederiksberg Gardens, one of the city’s spectacular “green lungs” that’s home to a 17th-century palace and is just a 20-minute ride west of the Copenhagen Marriott Hotel.
Follow Their Lead
What better way to learn about hygge than from the masters themselves? Copenhagen residents are your hosts during the Dine with the Danes program, which sees you heading to a Danish home for a cozy home-cooked dinner.
That there will be candlelight is pretty much a given. And the menu might be a typical Danish fish dish or meat. But the real hygge factor comes in settling into a comfortable conversation over delicious food with your new local friends.
Coffee and Cake with a Side of Hygge
Whether you’re coming in from a cold Copenhagen day or the weather is warm and summery, arriving at Conditoriet La Glace — Denmark’s oldest confectionery, which dates to 1870 — heralds a hyggelig time to come.
The sportskage (sports cake) is a favorite, made with crushed nougat, whipped cream and caramelized pastry. Do like the Danes do: Put your phone away, order something sweet and something steamy, and settle in for a proper conversation that gets your full attention.
Another classic café just a 10-minute stroll from the Copenhagen Marriott Hotel is Nimb, where you can relish year-round hygge and an afternoon tea or a cocktail served in front of an open fireplace.
Dinner a Deux
Fighting to hear your dinner companion over the blare of a sports game or being surrounded by more flatscreen TVs than barstools isn’t likely to happen in Copenhagen. Finding a restaurant with good ambience is quite easy here (not that it should come as any surprise in the land that so values hygge). Deciding where to dine in the Scandinavian gastronomy capital, however, will be the hard part.
The New Nordic menu at Kadeau sources its exquisite produce from the Danish island of Bornholm, and the restaurant offers a juice pairing in addition to the requisite wine version.
And for something über-hygge, head to the multicultural district of Nørrebro and ask for the particularly romantic corner table, number 9, at Kiin Kiin, where Michelin-starred Thai-fusion fare gets served in a contemporary Copenhagen setting.