By Becca Hensley
This story originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Elite Traveler.
No doubt you’ve been hearing a lot about hygge in the past few years. For the Danish, it’s a way of life. It describes those cozy, joy-focused moments of casual conviviality where people slow down to appreciate what matters—family, friends, food, conversation and beauty. This fondness for hygge may explain why Denmark perpetually ranks as one of the happiest countries on earth. Though the rest of the world has embraced this concept as a trend, why not go right to the source with a visit to Copenhagen? This walkable city, with pedestrian streets (try Strøget, one of the longest and oldest such pathway in Europe), canals brimming with boats, castles and fascinating museums, reigns today as a top culinary destination. Besides Noma 2.0, it boasts 15 Michelin-starred restaurants—more than any other place in Scandinavia. But don’t miss a chance to take to the streets (which harbor avant-garde boutiques and galleries, a boon for fashion and design fans) to sample indigenous treats as well. Try towering open-faced sandwiches known as smørrebrød (shrimp is a favorite), well-crafted beer and pickled herring in not-to-miss historic Nyhavn, a 17th-century waterfront entertainment district. Later, grab a bike to pedal off your meal, joining the locals in their favorite mode of transportation. You’ll feel the hygge all around.