I recently took the opportunity to travel to Copenhagen for a bit of R&R, and it turned out to be one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.
Travelling alone can be quite intimidating for many people — and for some perhaps it doesn’t even appeal.
I know I often find that I don’t enjoy things as much when I’m on my own and I have no one to share the experience with.
… But this trip was different.
This was a trip specifically just for me.
Why I Like Solo Travel
For the last 2.5 years I’ve been travelling with my partner as we set up and ran our businesses on the move. While it’s been a lot of fun — I’ve also had some of the most anxious times of my life.
In some ways our life is super simple, but at the same time, the logistics can be a lot to juggle, and it’s non-stop because we’re always travelling.
Accommodation bookings, transport, visas. What to do. Where to work. Wifi codes.
Where to eat, what to eat. Where is good for coffee.
This can change and be up in the air on a daily basis.
Partly because I’m a woman, and partly because that’s just the way I am — I like to run a tight ship. So I take on all that logistics and management. It doesn’t just naturally fall on my shoulders — I volunteer for it.
My partner doesn’t ask me to do it, it’s just how I roll. But it’s tiring. And I complain about it, even though I choose it.
It got to a point where I was quite ill with it. My cortisol levels were so elevated that my endocrine system was buckling. I was exhausted, constantly cold, and could barely focus. Anxiety was closing down a comfort zone around me.
Stress is a hard cycle to break.
I knew I needed a break though, and I needed to break this cycle that was descending into codependency.
I needed some space, and some time to myself — and Copenhagen seemed the perfect place to do it.
Simple, functional, beautiful Danish architecture and design.
The perfect place to reset, recalibrate, and look after my Self, by myself.
That’s why I love solo travel.
How I Arranged The Trip
I searched my favourite pet-sitting app and found a cute cat sit. I sent the application to the owner, and it was all organised in a matter of hours.
I booked the flights.
And then I made the first mistake.
I started to research all the things I could do.
This was not. the. point.
I was there for self-care and self-awareness… Not my Instagram feed.
So I checked in with myself, and got back on track with six days of self-care — a self-directed retreat, if you like.
The Best of Self Care in Copenhagen
Here’s a rundown of my best self-care tips and experiences in Copenhagen.
- Find a Yoga Class.
There’s so much great yoga in Copenhagen! No matter where you stay, you’ll no doubt have a yoga studio on your doorstep.
My tip: Do as much as you can. I have the ClassPass app so I tried a couple of different places in the six days I was there, and it was exactly what I needed.
I went to a gong bath at Vita De Lux and it was the most beautiful, soulful and chilled 60 minutes of my life. I also hear Hot Yoga Copenhagen is great, and next time I go back I will be going to go Nordic Health House every damn day.
2. Spend some time in Outdoor Spaces.
Spending some time in nature, in parkland, just wondering around is so good for the soul. The nice thing about Copenhagen is that the culture really revolves around spending time outdoors — whatever the season.
Some great spots in Copenhagen to do this are the Botanical Gardens, or Assistens Kirkegård, where you’ll find Hans Christian Anderson’s burial spot. The cemetery is a beautiful spot in its own right. Macabre as it sounds, I’m told that in the summer locals bring their picnics here to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Ofelia Plads is a wonderful outside space in the city by the waterfront — and if you visit in the summertime, it’s a great place for a swim.
3. Try a Spa
Going to the spa is a great act of self care, and I always love trying out new places when I’m travelling. It’s perfect for unwinding and relaxing, and in Copenhagen, you’re spoiled for choice and there’s options to suit all budgets.
I’d recommend CopenHot for something a bit different. Relax in hot tubs on the seafront, and the Panoramic Sauna gives beautiful views of the harbour skyline.
4. Seek out Peace & Quiet
Rather than race around and do all.of.the.things — it’s the perfect tonic to hectic lifestyles to slow down and indulge in some quiet.
I loved visiting the Glyptoteket. Wandering around the sculptures was deeply peaceful and a great chance to pause and reflect. Top tip: it’s free on a Tuesday. Taking coffee in the Winter Garden afterwards was super chilled out.
The Design Museum is also a fascinating place to spend a couple of hours soaking up Danish design culture (and get really geeky about chairs).
I also popped into the Nørrebro library — a good place to read, do some work, and just get some focus time in.
5. Recharge in Coffee Shops
There’s no other way to say this — I’m a big coffee (and more recently, vegan hot chocolate) snob.
I love coffee shops for slowing down, doing some work or some journalling, and just generally people watching.
My favourites for getting work done were Godthåb Kaffee (Good Vibes Coffee) and Coffee Collective Nørrebro — but there must be hundreds if not thousands of coffee shops in Copenhagen to choose from.
Find one, grab some coffee or a delicious oat milk hot chocolate, get your head down and do some work, or enjoy some time with your journal — or — just enjoy your surroundings.
6. Bonus Self Care
I found out this place after I’d left, but I really think it deserves a place on this list — the name says it all — The Self Care Shop!
Whether it’s a beauty treatment you’re after, or some lovely products, it surely is worth a visit — and I’ll definitely be going next time I’m in Copenhagen.
I still feel like I did too much in Copenhagen — and now’s perhaps a good time to mention the day that I had sudden FOMO and decided to try and do all.the.things.
It did not end well — I got frustrated, disappointed, and completely exhausted.
I should have just stuck to my agenda of self-care in the city — because it’s these experiences that nourished me the most and that I got the most out of — even if I don’t necessarily have all the evidence to show for it.
The point of the trip was to connect more — to myself, to my environment — to learn to be more in the moment, and that’s what being present is all about.
I lost it the minute I commenced my crazy site seeing tour, or I got my phone out and started snapping away…
How to Enjoy Solo Travel
You’ve probably already noticed, but I might as well just go ahead and caveat this now and say that for me, solo travel is not about being a tourist and “doing” the top attractions.
There’s a time and a place for that — and if I’m going to do it, I prefer to do it in company.
Solo travel for me is much more about getting to know myself better, and I like to do that in new places so that I’m not influenced or bogged down by the minutiae of normal life.
While I’m an extroverted introvert — I love people — I know I need space and time to myself. And so in my guide to Copenhagen for solo travellers, you won’t find a list of busy, overcrowded tourist attractions.
Instead, like with any solo travel, I hope you’ll find experiences that might just be more meaningful, mind-expanding and soulful.
And the really important bit is that these fundamentals of self care and solo travel can actually be practised anywhere, even — and especially — at home.
Here are the main principles:
- Know why you’re travelling, and what it is you’re doing — be clear about your purpose. Journal about it if need be. Maybe you like gourmet tours. Maybe you like working. Maybe you do like site seeing. Maybe you like a shopping trip. Maybe you just need some time by yourself. Just be clear about what your priorities are, and make sure that what you plan is in alignment with your values and your goals.
- Make a shortlist of things you want to experience. I find running all over the place exhausting and can end up just tourist guide box-ticking. I prefer to chill out, and so I try and limit myself to doing one or two things per day. And it’s totally legit for one of them to be going to the supermarket — I love a foreign supermarket. I made a mistake on my 2nd last day and tried to do check off 10 things in the space of 2 hours — FOMO struck out of nowhere. I got so frazzled and overwhelmed, and it did not let up until I paid attention room to my inner voice and just went home and did a quick but peaceful grounding meditation. So be clear about what you want, and do that — don’t get sidetracked or distracted.
- Do what lights up your soul. For me, that’s yoga (and coffee shops). I always travel with my yoga mat now, and when I’m in a place where there are local classes, I love to go to as many as I can. In Copenhagen, this beautiful gong bath class might just have been my favourite experience of the whole trip.
- Find a quiet spot. A library. A garden. A park. Find some space and take it up. Pause. Reflect. Often when on holiday or traveling, the temptation is to speed up, do more and cover as much ground as possible. But the trick to good self-care is to slow down. Be quiet. That’s where the magic happens.
- Nourish yourself. Have a bath, eat healthy food, get some exercise, schedule a beauty treatment. Or go to the spa — that’s my ultimate recommendation for self-care in the city — in fact, any time I’m away.
When I was doing these things, this was when I was having the most fulfilling and satisfying and enjoyable experiences. When I just follow the crowds or tour the well-known Instagram spots, I can end up feeling pretty empty and disappointed.
It made all the difference to make this trip about self-care, and through it, I fell in love with Copenhagen and back in love with my Self.
It thoroughly topped me up.