Is it possible to take a trip with girlfriends without feeling “mom guilt?” Moms often feel we don’t deserve such a treat or we don’t want to spend the money on ourselves. Honestly, when my three girlfriends asked me to come to Copenhagen, my first answer was going to be no. However, with the encouragement from my family ,I decided to take the plunge! I am so glad I did. The amount of beauty, inspiration, food, shopping, museums, and deep belly laughs released all of the guilt!
How to travel with friends — without mom guilt
One helpful tip in releasing the “Mom Guilt,” is making budget friendly choices. Obviously the most economical way of traveling is through Airbnb or the like. We chose a nice apartment, centrally located, but also in a family friendly neighborhood for $100 a night (split 4-ways). The second budget friendly decision was renting bicycles for five days. Copenhagen’s urban planning is specifically designed for bicyclists. Copenhagen actually has more bikes than people in the small country of Denmark. My girlfriends and I committed to five days of cycling for our mode of transportation.
It was very helpful that the four of us did our travel research before our visit to Copenhagen. Proper planning ahead of time, allowed for us to make the most of our time on the trip. Each morning we would plan our day over coffee, mapping out our wishes and wants for the day. It was time-saving to Google map our bike route prior, and just assume we would find some unexpected gems throughout the day. This format allowed us to have the most success checking things off of our collective bucket list. Our day began around 10 a.m. and we would get home around 10 p.m. (all rental bikes come with lights and locks). Copenhagen’s landscape is flat, so even though we often rode between 8-10 miles a day, it did not feel like it!
Don’t miss the museums in Copenhagen
The sites and museums to see in Copenhagen can be overwhelming. Choosing museums based upon your personal interests can help narrow down the offering. The most delightful and favorite museum was the Designmuseum Denmark. If you love Scandinavian Design, this is a gem, specifically the Danish Chair exhibit. The museum’s center gardens, café, and museum shop are well worth some time to meander. Our second favorite, however a short train ride out of town, was the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. I specifically loved the John Muro and Alexander Calder sculptures perfectly placed on the shores of the Humblebaek. This museum is itself is stunning, the architecture, and the way it is perched on the shoreline.
Shop by bike for an authentic experience
The shops of Copenhagen are unforgettable! It is truly the epicenter of clean design, both spatially and in product. Riding our bikes offered us to “stop and shop” at every turn. We had a few shopping districts in mind, but biking really allowed us to explore small side streets and tiny boutiques. One of our favorite shopping districts started with a stop at Sostrene Grene, a stunning home décor shop that is worth a visit. We took the time to meander down the small side streets, which led us into small galleries and coffee shops. If you are one for unique antiques, one shop particularly worth mentioning is Fil de Fer. A few others worth mentioning: Paustian Concept Store and Hay for home décor and Republic of Fritz Hansen for furniture design.
Must-see sights in Copenhagen
I would suggest early in your trip booking a boat tour on Hey Captain . It is a great way to take in a lot of history and see the land from a different perspective. Hey Captain is a smaller, more intimate canal tour that is worth every penny. Our group was guided on a 6-10 person boat, served cocktails, and given the deep history as we motored along on the water. Truly a beautiful experience and a good time to ask a lot of questions in regards to “best eats, bars, and sights to see.”
When touring around Copenhagen, don’t miss the iconic pastel lined buildings in Nyhavn, it is definitely worth the photo opportunity. Next up, The Round Tower is worth the small fee to enter and walk up the 17th-century tower. It is a stairless corridor leading up to the most expansive views over Copenhagen. Another favorite, the stunning Botanical Gardens. It covers eight acres and is particularly noted for its historical glasshouse dating from 1874. Last but not least, Tivoli Gardens. The second oldest amusement park in the world with delightful rides, shops, and food. We took the suggestion to go at dusk and enjoy the magic of the lights. We were all glad we did and carved out time to have the whole evening at the gardens.
Our favorite food in Copenhagen
The food in Copenhagen is stunning. If you are looking for a once in a lifetime experience, book at least six months in advance at NOMA ($$$$). If you opt to not break the bank, we adored Aamanns 1921 for a lunch experience (Michelin award winner). They offer a Smorebread tasting tour, it is the traditional Scandinavian open-faced sandwich. Aamann 1921 was delicious and had jaw dropping décor. A perfect breakfast spot is Café Norden, their open faced breakfast sandwiches are a delight.
For lunch we chose the three best food markets: Reffen, Bridge Street Kitchen, and Torvehalleren. Reffen and the Bridge Street Kitchen both overlook the harbor. All three of the markets use local produce, have urban style settings, lots of options, as well as amazing and unique drinks. A local lunch favorite is The Union Kitchen, literally the best burger I’ve had in my life! Lastly, dessert. We were given the advice we must have a waffle cone or two while visiting Copenhagen. Vaffelbageren did not disappoint, and the complimentary whipping cream topping is delicious!
This trip was a visual and gastronomical dream! Traveling with girlfriends is a delight and I would highly suggest spearheading a trip with your favorite friends.
Many have asked if I would bring our boys to Copenhagen, and my answer is “yes!” Copenhagen is a very family friendly city and our boys would have loved touring on bikes. I left a piece of my heart in Copenhagen and I look forward to returning someday.
How do you make girls’ trips work for your family?
DeNai Jones contributed this post for Savvy Sassy Moms. DeNai is the founder of Petunia Pickle Bottom. She is passionately creative with a wanderlust heart. DeNai is married with two boys ages 11 and 13 years. They live in the sleepy coastal town of Ventura, California and love to travel in their VW Van and internationally as much possible. Keep up with DeNai and Petunia Pickle Bottom on Instagram.