In April, we spent a week in Copenhagen, Denmark! I will be sharing our experiences in a series of six posts with recipes inspired by our travels. Today, I am covering Rosenborg Slot, Torvehallerne, and Nationalmuseet along with a recipe for Kartoffelmad (Danish Potato Open-Faced Sandwich). Here are my previous posts on Copenhagen in case you missed it:
- Tebirkes (Danish Poppyseed Pastries) and Copenhagen: Nyhavn, Christiansborg Slot, and Strøget
- Flødeboller (Danish Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Puffs) and Copenhagen: Tivoli Gardens, Nørrebro, and Vesterbro
- Birkesvafler (Poppy Seed Waffles) and Copenhagen: Experimentarium and Den Blå Planet
- Ristet Hotdog and Copenhagen: Rundetårn, Amalienborg, and Langelinie
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Rosenborg Slot is a gorgeous Dutch Renaissance-style castle situated in the heart of København at Øster Voldgade 4A. It is less than a 10 minute walk from Nørreport Station.
Admission was included with our Copenhagen Card (you still have to wait in line to pick up the tickets). Tickets can also be purchased online for specific time slots during busy periods to avoid the queue. Current price is 115 kr and free for children under 18. Hours differ depending on the day of the week and season. Check here before visiting.
Lockers are available for bags (20 kr, but the coin is returned when done) and I parked the stroller just outside the entrance. There is also a garden cafe with sandwiches, salads, pastries, ice cream, and coffee along with a picnic table area for those who packed a lunch.
Completed in 1633, Rosenborg Slot was originally created as a summer home for Christian IV. It continued to be used as a residence until 1710 when it primarily became the place to store royal collections (aside from two emergencies- the fire at Christiansborg in 1794 and the English attack on Copenhagen in 1801 when it was temporarily a residence again).
The castle opened to the public in 1838 and continues to be a safeguard for the royal family’s heirlooms and Crown Jewels. A few other highlights found inside this elaborately decorated palace include the Knights’ Hall (coronation thrones and tapestries of the Scanian War), The Glass Cabinet with a collection of glass presented to Frederik IV by the city of Venice in 1709, The Winter Room (most important of Christian IV’s three private chambers and best preserved from the original castle), Royal portraits, and more.
The basement of Rosenborg Slot holds the treasury with the Crown Jewels, weaponry, and other valuable items. We unfortunately did not see this section. The day before during our visit to Kronborg Slot (more on this soon!), both kids were slightly traumatized after walking through the casemates and refused to go into anything resembling a basement of any kind for the rest of the trip. No amount of persuasion or mention of shiny objects could convince them otherwise.
The country’s oldest royal garden, Kongens Have (King’s Garden) surrounds the castle. After a busy morning, the gardens were a perfect spot to take a few minutes and relax.
Arbejdermuseet (The Workers Museum), Geologisk Museum, Botanisk Have (Botanical Gardens), and SMK (The National Gallery of Denmark) are also nearby.
Right next to Nørreport St. at Frederiksborggade 21 is Torvehallerne, a sprawling food hall made up of two large glass buildings and an outdoor area. Open since 2011, TorvehallerneKBH is packed with over 60 stalls featuring restaurants, fresh produce, seafood, baked goods, cookbooks, drinks, flowers, spices, and plenty of shopping. They also feature activities and events year-round. Current hours are 10:00-19:00 Monday-Thursday, 10:00-20:00 Friday, 10:00-18:00 Saturday, and 11:00-17:00 Sunday.
Stalls include The Coffee Collective, Grød, Tante T, Granny’s House, Hahnemanns Køkken, Gorm’s (we tried this at Tivoli Food Hall), Summerbird, Asa, Tapa del Toro, Uganic, Le Petit Vinbar, Torvehallernes Frugt og Grønt, and so much more.
The cold temperatures didn’t deter Evan and Claire from splitting a chocolate ice cream from Is à Bella.
There were so many stalls to choose from, but I had my eyes on the beautiful variety of smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) from Hallernes Smørrebrød. I picked the Kartoffelmad (potato, red onion, fried onion, mayonnaise, and herbs) and Flæskesteg (roast pork with crispy crackling, pickled red cabbage, and cucumber salad). Somehow, they were both still completely intact after the train ride and walk back to the apartment.
Nationalmuseet (The National Museum) quickly became one of my top 5 favorite museums with their extensive collection of Danish history and the incredible children’s museum. Located inside Prinsens Palais (used by the royal family before they moved to Amalienborg Slot) at Ny Vestergade 10 between Christiansborg Slot and Tivoli Gardens, Nationalmuseet holds the largest collection of Danish cultural items spanning over thousands of years to modern day.
Admission was included with our Copenhagen Card. Tickets are currently 95 kr. (80 kr. for a family ticket- 1 adult and 1 child) and children under 18 are free. As a note, the museum is closed on Mondays and open 10:00-17:00 Tuesday-Sunday. I parked the stroller in the designated section just inside the entrance of the museum. Claire was fine walking, but they do have strollers available if needed. Lockers are also near the entrance for bags and coats.
Among the exhibits, you will find a vast assortment of artifacts from the Stone Age, Viking era, Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Modern Age. Notable items include Solvognen (Sun Chariot) from 1400 BC, Bronze Age Viksø Helmets (top left photo above), the Egtved Girl, Egyptian mummies, Kingigtorssuaq Runestenen (Kingigtorssuaq Runestone found on a remote island in western Greenland) and Snoldelev Runesten (9th century runestone), Gundestrupkarret (Gundestrup Cauldron from between 200 BC-300 AD), and more from across the globe.
The Children’s Museum is one of the best I have come across so far. Designed for children between the ages of 4-10, this section is completely interactive with plenty of activities for role playing, dress up, an opportunity to design exhibits, and no “do not touch” signs!
Hours for The Children’s Museum are 10:00-16:30 Tuesday-Sunday.
Claire loved exploring kitchens and clothing through the ages and around the world while Evan was drawn to the Viking ship, books, and coloring area. I was completely blown away by the level of detail and thought put into the exhibits.
This museum is especially perfect for cold or rainy days. We spent about four hours here, more than any other area in København. If given the opportunity, the kids could have easily stayed for the entire day. There is so much to see.
I was inspired to make my own smørrebrød at home after trying it at Hallernes Smørrebrød in Torvehallerne. Smørrebrød is a Danish open-faced sandwich with a slice of rye bread, salted butter, and a variety of ingredients. They can range from simply a smear of salted butter and leftovers all the way to elaborate work of arts with a perfect balance of flavors. As a note, these sandwiches are best eaten with a fork and knife.
Literally translating to “Potato Food,” Kartoffelmad is a classic smørrebrød with potato. I arranged mine in a similar manner as Hallernes Smørrebrød with salted butter, sliced boiled potatoes, mayonnaise, red onions, fried onions, chives, and thyme. I peeled the potatoes before slicing, but this is completely optional. Slice the boiled potatoes about 1/4 inch thick and arrange in an overlapping layer over the buttered bread before topping with the remaining ingredients.
With just a few exceptions, smørrebrød are assembled with rugbrød (rye bread) as the base. This dense, flavorful bread holds up well to the weight of the toppings. I have yet to make my own, so I picked up a loaf from Copenhagen Pastry in Culver City, California. I also have recipes bookmarked from Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking and Karen’s Kitchen Stories for when I eventually do try it.
For the fried onion: I peeled and thinly sliced the onion, tossed in flour with a pinch of salt, and fried in vegetable oil until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a towel-lined plate before arranging over the Kartoffelmad.
Adapted from Open Sandwiches
Kartoffelmad (Danish Potato Open-Faced Sandwich)
- 6-8 new potatoes
- 4 slices rye bread Danish if possible
- Salted butter for spreading
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 red onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1/3 cup fried onions
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil, Reduce to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Larger potatoes may take longer. Remove the potatoes from the water and set aside until cooled, about 30 minutes. Rinse or place in cold water to speed along the process.
- Spread a layer of the salted butter over each slice of rye bread.
- Peel the boiled potatoes if desired and slice about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange in an overlapping layer over the buttered bread.
- Top with a line of mayonnaise, followed by a sprinkling of the raw and fried onions. Top with the chives and place 1 sprig of thyme over each.
- Sprinkle each smørrebrød with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.