Christian Lytje, Danish restaurateur and hotelier, shares his top picks for what to see, eat, and do in Copenhagen.
Christian Lytje is the owner of Copenhagen Food Collective, also known as Cofoco. The company operates 15 restaurants across Copenhagen, each offering a unique dining experience, from traditional Danish fare to oyster bars and even an izakaya. His latest venture is Coco Hotel, a boutique hotel expected to reopen in mid-May after spending most of 2020 in a hard lockdown. For our virtual meeting, Lytje calls me from the empty hotel, cheerful about the future. “Maybe I’m a bit biased,” Lytje says. “But I really think I have the best hidden gem in Copenhagen: at our hotel, there’s an outdoor courtyard. It’s a green oasis. It hasn’t really been used yet, and it’s getting greener and greener every day.”
Below, Lytje shares his perfect day in Copenhagen, including his favorite spots to grab a meal, the best places to explore Danish art and culture, and his preferred mode of transportation.
Christian Lytje’s Perfect Day in Copenhagen, Denmark
9 a.m. — Coffee & Avocado Toast, Naturally
I like to go to Kaffevaerk, a small coffee shop near my home. It’s quite hidden, and yet somehow, they make the best coffee in Copenhagen. It’s actually a problem for me—that it’s not one of my own businesses earning this title. But when you can’t run the best coffee place in the city, the next best thing is to live next door!
For breakfast, I recommend our very own Les Trois Cochons. The vibe is friendly and relaxed, just like on Cheers. We get so many regulars; everybody knows everybody. I come almost every morning, but it’s impossible to get any work done. There are too many friends! I get the avocado toast on rye, sometimes with an egg on top.
10:30 a.m. — Mid-morning Bike Ride
Copenhagen is one of the greenest cities. Biking is the most popular form of transport for locals. You must explore the city via bike, especially during the warmer months. Tip: bike through the city on your first day (before tourist fatigue sets in!) for the ultimate Copenhagen experience. You can typically borrow a bike from the hotel you’re staying in, but please remember to bring your helmet.
12 p.m. — Noon Fuel-up
Now that you’ve biked up an appetite, I recommend heading to Møntergade for smørrebrød, or Danish open-faced sandwiches. Møntergade, in the Old Town, is a high-end restaurant serving up this Danish specialty. The whole tempo slows down, and having a beer and an open sandwich—that’s Danish tradition.
1 p.m. — An Afternoon of Arts & Culture
3 Days of Design is always fun to follow, where designers showcase their work in local settings. I get a lot of inspiration from that event. Also, I recommend visiting the music festival Roskilde Festival at least once in your life. I’ve been going since I was a teenager, and I still go there—not for seven days in a tent anymore, but for a day or two. Cph Dox is a documentary festival also worth checking out. If you’re not in town for any of these seasonal events, visit the Louisiana museum. Both the exhibitions and the house itself are spectacular.
4 p.m. — Light Bites
I would bike to Ved stranden 10 and drink wine on the harbor promenade. Afterwards, head over to Italo Disco for modern, clean Italian fare. If you happen to be in town on a Friday, check out their all-seafood menu, which I highly recommend. For a vegetarian option, try Baka d’Busk—my family loves coming here when they visit from overseas.
6 p.m. — Wine & Dine
Consider traveling 15 minutes by car from the city center to Michelin star restaurant Søllerød Kro. Simply put, it’s the best service I’ve ever had. They make you feel like family.
Where to stay: My heart beats for Vesterbro—that is my absolute favorite neighborhood! Of course, I recommend Coco Hotel for a luxurious, comfortable 4-star option. Unfortunately, the hotel has spent more time in lockdown than in operation, though we’ll be reopening in mid-May. Look forward to our pristine courtyard, brand new furnishings, and modern Scandinavian decor.
The biggest mistake tourists make is not seeing the city by bike. The tempo is perfect—not too fast, not too slow—and you can see everything.