12 July 2016 | 4 mins

After barely recovering from the crippling hangovers of Spain in 2015, our group started thinking of places to go next. We decided on the more expensive Scandinavian cities of Copenhagen and Stockholm, so we could visit friends who lived there. At least, that was the plan.

It ended up being five of us travelling to Scandinavia last week, originally planning to visit our Danish friend who’d moved back to Copenhagen, and our Turkish friend who’d landed a job in Stockholm. Before the trip, but after we’d started booking, our Turkish friend let slip that he was no longer working in Stockholm. Not a problem really, it still sounded like a great city to visit.

On all of our previous group travels, we’ve visited almost exclusively destinations with a relatively low cost of living. Copenhagen soon put paid to that, with hostel beds the same price as a decent hotel room in central Europe setting the tone from day one. We all arrived late at Copenhagen airport on the Sunday night, caught the train to Copenhagen Central Station, and walked the one block to our hostel.

Our hostel, Urban House, turned out to be less than a year old, so everything was pretty much brand new. It was also the biggest hostel I’ve ever stayed in, spanning five floors and over two hundred rooms. We checked in, made our beds, and headed downstairs for a couple of quiet beers and an early night. Six hours, countless beers, shots, and Jagerbombs later, we staggered back from a nearby bar. Tone set.

We still made it up in time to catch the 11am walking tour from City Hall Square, the other side of Tivoli from our hostel. The Danish girl leading the tour took us around Copenhagen City Centre, teaching us the history of Denmark and Copenhagen, and their relationship with the other Nordic states. The tour finished in Amalienborg, the Danish Queen’s winter residence, and from there we walked north to see the extremely underwhelming Little Mermaid statue near Kastellet Fortress.

After ticking off the Little Mermaid, we headed back south towards the hostel, tired, hungover, and hungry. We stopped at the ubiquitous Hard Rock Café for food (not massively impressed with the local; rye bread was a bad choice) and met our Danish friend there after he finished work. We eventually made it back to the hostel, where we learned about the hostel bar’s happy hour promotions running until 9pm, which we exploited ruthlessly.

After that, we hit the streets of Copenhagen with some vodka, winding up in a jazz bar in the early hours of the morning with a Norwegian guy and a Californian who we’d met in the hostel. The hangover the next day was brutal, and we didn’t leave a two-block radius around the hostel for the entire day.

Not that we learned our lesson, hitting the same bar as the first night and staying out once again until the early hours with our Californian friend (the Norwegian couldn’t face another night of heavy drinking), this time with a bottle of the local vodka variant, Fisk. I wouldn’t recommend it. Despite the third consecutive late night, we did manage to get up in time to walk around the city centre some more, including climbing the Christiansborg Palace, which rewarded us with some beautiful views across the city.

Running low on Danish Krone, we elected to eat in the hostel and stay in for a relatively quiet final night in Copenhagen ahead of a morning train to Stockholm via Malmö the following day. We watched the semi-final of the Euros between Wales and Portugal, and had a few quiet drinks in a bar near the City Hall called The Scottish Bar. Where else would we spend our last night in Denmark?

This post is part 1 of 2 of a trip I took in July 2016.
Part 2 covers our time in Stockholm.

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