Toma Clark Haines is a speaker, writer, entrepreneur, and CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, Europe’s largest antiques touring company, offering customized one-on-one buying tours in eight countries for trade professionals and mere shopping mortals.
At The Antiques Diva & Co—Europe’s largest antiques touring company—we’re often asked for travel advice, and for antiques-lovers eager to source Scandinavian antiques while enjoying Danish dining and design, Copenhagen is a dream. Just a hop across the 10-mile-long Øresundsbron Bridge, the Danish capital is connected with Skåne, the antiques warehouse district in southern Sweden. So how do we recommend you spend a couple of days in Copenhagen? With Diva Style, of course!
Lodging: When you’re on an antiques buying tour, the days are long. You start early and get into your hotel late at night, so while sourcing abroad, we often recommend budget accommodations. But all work and no play makes Freja a dull girl, so feel free to spoil yourself with luxury. If you don’t mind staying 30 minutes outside of city center, Kokkedal Slot is a princess-and-the-pea kind of hotel. Built in 1746, this Renaissance castle is one of Denmark’s most prestigious country manor houses. Should you prefer to stay in the city, my recommendation is the sexy, over-the-top boutique Nimb Hotel with its Moorish towers overlooking the Tivoli Gardens. (Yes, Tivoli is touristy, but as the second oldest amusement park in the world, it’s a Copenhagen institution.)
10am Let the shopping commence! Head towards Ravnsborggade with its clustering of 35 antique shops. In particular, I like ABC Antik (#15), and you simply never know what you might find at Ingerslev Antik (#22). Four times a year, this street hosts a flea market that locals love for its vintage, antique, and second-hand fodder.
12noon God Save the Queen! It’s time for the Changing of the Guards! Watch Den Kongelige Livgarde as they march from their barracks at Gothersgade #100 by Rosenborg Castle through the streets of Copenhagen to end up at Amalienborg Palace.
12.30pm Grab lunch on the run. Danish favorite dives are the humble hot dog stands that dot the cityscape. You can enjoy more antiquing near the palace on the Kongens Nytorv and Store Kongensgade.
If you’re lucky, you won’t need to eat street food. Antiquing insiders are invited to dine in the home of antique dealer Britt Paulsen of Casa Nova Antiques. My favorite vendor in the city, Britt sells (by appointment only) wholesale, giving clients the opportunity to shop off her living room walls.
3pm Head to Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s 17th-century waterfront district where Britt’s sister runs one of the best antique shops in town, Smeden & Journalisten. Built in 1737, one of the oldest homes in the city houses this lovely antique shop. Visit her neighbor at #20 where Hans Christian Andersen used to live and then pull up a seat at any of the nearby waterside cafés.
7pm It’s not officially an Antiques Diva itinerary until champagne has been served, so it’s time to head to Balthazar at Hotel d’Angleterre for a glass of bubbly.
8.30pm If you opted to eat the hot dog lunch today, you’ll appreciate tonight’s dinner. From the moment you walk in the door of the renovated harbor-front warehouse Noma, you know you’re in for a treat as you’re greeted at the door by a parade of chefs and an endless coup de champagne. Make your reservations well in advance: The restaurant runs a 6-month waitlist. You’ll be well rewarded with 2-star Michelin cuisine that was voted #1 out of the top 50 restaurants in the world. (My favorite dish: sea urchin and duck.)
10am Start your day shopping at Green Square, a giant warehouse filled with European, Scandinavian and Asian antiques that specializes in making antiques feel modern. Ask if owner Mads Holst is in the shop: Seeing the shop through his eyes changes the entire experience as he points out favorite pieces. (Make sure he tells you the story about the hidden room of all-brown antiques that have been walled in until they come back in fashion.)
1pm A girl’s got to eat lunch. Ida Davidsen’s traditional Danish smørrebrød open sandwiches are Copenhagen’s quintessential mid-day meal.
2.30pm Following lunch, take a little break from sourcing antiques. Stroll the Stroget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets and cruise the local design scene. Not to be missed are Royal Copenhagen’s and silversmith Georg Jensen’s flagship stores or llums Bolighus, the premier center for Danish designs. If you’re into department stores, sneak into Magasin du Nord. For more fashion retail therapy, check out ParisTexas and Malene Birger.
4pm When you’re ready for an afternoon pick-me-up, skip Starbucks and head to Café Europa, an upscale modern Danish coffeehouse. Do as the locals do and forego the java: Order the hot chocolate on a stick instead.
8pm If you’re heading home to the Nimb Hotel—or even if you’re not—dine on the Nimb Terrace while you take in the lights and sounds of Tivoli Gardens. Take some time to celebrate your beautiful finds and the satisfaction of enjoying even a small slice of this breathtaking city.