Urban Adventures hosted Megan and me as guests in exchange for my honest review of their Hygge & Happiness tour. As always, all opinions are my own.
When my friend and former flatmate Megan was convincing me to come to Copenhagen with her at the beginning of December, she only had to say one word: hygge. Although I’d been to Copenhagen before, I felt like my first trip had been sorely lacking in that distinctly Danish feeling of cozy charm.
So this time around, I was determined to actually experience some hygge at whatever cost. And so, me being me (aka a person who has a weird love for guided tours with unique themes), I decided to look and see if there were any Copenhagen hygge tours. So I typed in ‘hygge tour Copenhagen’ into Google and Urban Adventures’ Hygge & Happiness tour popped up. It was exactly what I had in mind.
HYGGE TOUR COPENHAGEN: THE BEGINNING
We left our hostel bright and early to make it to the meeting place for 9 am (and ended up a few minutes late because I sorely overestimated my navigation skills). The modest but adorable street corner outside of the center of Copenhagen that served as our meeting point was the perfect place to set the scene for the next three hours.
Our small group (there were only three others besides Megan and I) gathered around as our guide, Soren, introduced himself and challenged us to define Hygge. “Coziness!” Megan exclaimed. “Spending time with friends,” said someone else. Soren told us that, though all of our assumptions were close, we weren’t quite there.
Of course, hygge is pretty much impossible to define, but Soren told us that he thought of hygge as the feeling that you get when you’re alone or with friends that’s a little bit cozy, a little bit happy. And yes, Danish people actually use the word hygge. Like, all the time.
After we had a basic idea of what hygge is, Soren took us around the neighborhood that we had met in: Nyboder. These endless rows of orange houses were initially commissioned by Christian IV for the navy, but many are now being converted into apartments for regular people.
I honestly couldn’t get over how sweet the orange of the houses was (they were all originally white, but rust from the roofs died them orange), and so many doors were decked out for Christmas. It was definitely the perfect place to start a hygge tour!
While we wandered, Soren told us all about the history of the place, including possibly the cutest tradition ever: ceramic dogs placed in the window to look over the soldiers while they were away. I’m not crying, you are.
Of course, you can’t be hygge if you’re hungry, so after a short bit of exploring we just HAD to duck into a bakery to sample some Danishes.
Soren gave us his recommendations and Megan and I both went for the classic “snail”/swirl — Megan got chocolate, I got cinnamon. While both flavors were totally to die for, we had initially planned to split them so we could try both, but then I wouldn’t give up my cinnamon one sooo… I suggest the cinnamon.
Sitting around a table devouring our pastries and connecting with the others on our tour was definitely hygge.
ROSENBORG CASTLE GARDENS
With our bellies full and happy, we moved on to the Rosenborg Castle gardens for a little stroll. We stopped by a statue of Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark’s most famous author, and Soren told us all about his life and how it likely inspired many of his stories (especially The Ugly Duckling).
We didn’t stay long, but it was easy to imagine locals coming to take a walk through the gardens with friends and it being super hygge–especially in the summer when it’s warmer outside.
WORLD OF CHOCOLATE
Our next stop was Peter Beier World of Chocolate for a chocolate tasting. This was one stop that I didn’t remember being on the itinerary, so when I realized what we were doing, I was SO excited. You know, because, chocolate.
Our first tasting was of little niblets of SUPER single origin chocolate – like, from the same farm but one nib was made of chocolate from the field and the other from the riverbank super single origin. And you could seriously taste the difference between the two. Mind. Blown.
Next was beer truffles, which I was definitely skeptical about because I kind of hate beer with a fiery passion. But somehow these truffles were some of the best truffles I’ve ever had. I’m still confused.
Finally, we tasted little chocolate pyramids filled with meringue. Pure heaven.
I am honestly still dreaming about this little chocolate shop.
I seriously thought things couldn’t get any more hygge after our chocolate tasting, but I was wrong. Because the next thing we did was turn a corner and find ourselves in one of the cutest hidden alleyways I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot of cute, hidden alleyways in my time), made even more adorable by all of the Christmas decorations. I was obsessed.
From there we also stopped by Strøget, Copenhagen’s main shopping street, where Soren pointed out the best spot to catch the guards marching from Rosenborg to Amalienborg during the changing of the guard as well as the place where every Dane dreams of having fine china from, but we didn’t stay very long. Big shopping streets close to Christmas aren’t very hygge.
Next up was a quick stop by Christiansborg Castle and the Danish Parliament, where Soren introduced us to the Danish political system and talked about why Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. A few reasons might be: free healthcare, college, etc., extended, paid maternity (and paternity) leave, and also hygge (time to get out the corkboard with a bunch of red strings).
One thing I find a lot of tours in Europe do is highlight the history, so getting to learn about the modern-day political system was something super unique that I really enjoyed!
Finally, at the end of our tour, we ducked into a little coffee shop where we sipped at our drinks and sat around talking until people had to run off to their next destination (or in the case of Soren, his upcoming tour). And yup, you guessed it: it was totally hyggelig.
Urban Adventures’ Hygge and Happiness tour was unlike any guided tour I’ve ever taken before. It was far less about hitting up the main sights than it was about the journey in and of itself, and I seriously, seriously enjoyed it. I think it’s safe to say that I succeeded in my goal of experiencing hygge in Copenhagen.
IF YOU GO
I really couldn’t recommend Urban Adventures’ Hygge and Happiness tour more–definitely book a spot if you ever find yourself in Copenhagen.
When does the Hygge and Happiness Tour run?
The Hygge and Happiness tour runs Monday-Saturday throughout the year. It starts at 9 am and lasts approximately 3 ½ hours.
How much does the tour cost?
The tour costs $85 for adults and includes a pastry, chocolate tasting, and coffee as well as a fantastic, knowledgeable local tour guide and a small group. Kids go free.
How do I book?
You can book your Hygge & Happiness tour on Urban Adventures’ website.