HOW TO ADOPT THE DANISH LIFESTYLE: ONE DAY STAY-AT-HOME HYGGE ITINERARY
Even though you may be stuck at home and travel to distant lands is prohibited for most of us during this uncertain time, nothing is stopping you from virtually exploring the destinations you have on your bucket list and letting your imagination carry you away until we can all travel again. The Trip Boutique has developed this virtual travel series for you so you can experience various cultures, landscapes, and destinations from the comfort of your home.
Enjoy our carefully curated list of destination-specific ideas and feel the anticipation of preparing for your next big trip. If you get inspired, then take our quiz and get a complimentary custom-made city trip itinerary designed especially for you to #travellater!
To prepare for the launch of our new destination – Copenhagen – we’ve been researching all the best places this easygoing harbor city has to offer, as well as hitting up our local curators, for hints on mastering the Danish lifestyle and one of its biggest components: hygge. This has inspired The Trip Boutique to curate an at-home guide for you to reacquaint yourself with the luscious concept of hygge or discover it for the first time.
Maybe you are housebound or social distancing has left your soul needing a hug, either way, this is a perfect moment to hygge your home and adopt the Scandinavian inspired lifestyle that Danes and others use to stay happy – particularly during long and dreary winters.
WHAT EXACTLY IS HYGGE?
Hygge (pronounced something like “hue-guh”) derives from the old Icelandic word ‘hugga’ – which means ‘to comfort’ – and shares the same origins as the English word hug. But when it comes to explaining or translating hygge, even Danes are not sure how to define this elusive concept. As it turns out, hygge is rather undefinable. Pia Edberg said it best when she wrote: “hygge was never meant to be translated—it was meant to be felt”.
Still, many translate hygge to something like ‘being comfortable or cosy’ but it is more than that: hygge is a feeling, a mindset, and a lifestyle. Meik Wiking, the founder of the Happiness Institute of Copenhagen, explains that “hygge has been called everything from ‘the art of creating intimacy’, [...] to ‘taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things’”. Considering that the World Happiness Report has ranked Denmark as the happiest country “in 2012, 2013 and 2019”, the Danes must be on to something with their hygge lifestyle.
So, to put this Danish happiness pursuit to the test, we have researched and curated a full day of hygge to inspire you to discover your very own version of the hygge lifestyle.
SETTING THE STAGE: PREP YOURSELF AND YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Copenhagen is full of quirky cafés and cute restaurants that have dedicated themselves to creating a blissful atmosphere in the spirit of hygge. They know that the right ambiance is crucial for feeling comfortable and content.
Here’s how you can capture the same sense of tranquillity in your own space.
Step One: Dress the part – Comfort is key and how you look should be of little concern on your hygge day. Hyggebukser is the Danish name for the cosy and well-worn pants that you wouldn’t dare wearing out of the house.
Step Two: Create your hygge nook – There are certain physical and spatial elements, which are almost always included in hygge. A defined, comfortable, and secure space is essential, and it should be filled with as many indulgent and luxurious blankets, throws, and pillows as you can manage.
Step Three: Stage the lighting – Soft lighting is an instant hygge evocator. If you have candles, especially scented candles, light ‘em up and let their warmth and sweet scent permeate the air. Go for fragrances that exude warmth and familiarity like vanilla, gingerbread, and other aromas based on baked goods fresh from the oven.
Step Four: Get together – Hygge is about togetherness, invite your pets and loved ones for a cuddle (IRL or virtual). There is a connected state of mind associated with hygge moments that generate a special energy with those near you.
YOUR ONE DAY HYGGE ITINERARY
Morning – A Relaxed Start to Your Day:
Begin your day slowly, don’t set the alarm, and sleep in. Give yourself some time to wake up and laze in bed as long as you can. A true hygge day should be work- and stress-free, so do your best to unplug and go offline!
Brunch the Hygge Way:
When you are ready, roll out of bed, slide into your fuzzy slippers and ease into the day with a late breakfast or better yet, brunch. The Danes are all about brunching and Copenhagen is home to countless instagrammable brunch and breakfast spots.
If you feel like a full-on Danish brunch, here are some ideas for a wholesome spread:
A stack of pancakes
Your favourite-styled eggs
Crispy bacon (or any other savoury cold cuts and sausages)
Fresh orange juice
Vitamin-C boosting fruits like strawberries, raspberries or mangos
A cake from your trusted bakery
But if you’re looking for something a little more low-key, here are a couple of Danish porridge variations you can try out – the recipes are available on two of our favourite Danish blogs:
Ideally, take your food to your hygge nook or back to bed and enjoy your breakfast in nesting mode.
Afternoon – Laze the Day Away:
Now that your belly is warm and happy, fill the rest of your day with some hyggelige activities. We suggest re-watching your favourite movies or Netflix shows (just avoid anything scary or creepy because this could produce feelings of uhygge: the antithesis of the hygge vibe) whilst munching on popcorn or if you have more of a sweet tooth, try some “lakrids” – the Danish are absolutely crazy about their liquorice.
Alternatively, plunge into an imaginary world with a book and a steaming cup of tea or coffee in hand. Nothing pairs like a good read and a hot beverage - try to mix-up your routine and switch to hot chocolate made from scratch, like this recipe.
If you prefer to keep your hands busy while you are relaxing - knitting is the ideal hygge activity for you. Pull out your knitting needles and start stitching a bulky cable-knit sweater or fuzzy socks. This site has several hygge-knitting-patterns to inspire you.
It’s not mandatory to shelter inside the whole day. If the weather permits, taking a walk in nature or preparing a lovely picnic also conjures the spirit of hygge.
Evening – End on the Perfect Note:
To finish your day, take some time to pamper yourself. Soak in a rose-petaled bath, wear a minty face-mask, or give yourself a pedicure: anything to wrap your body in a veil of comfort.
If you’re in the mood to imbibe, we recommend a Glogg - warmed wine with cinnamon, clove, allspice, cardamom, and a zesty burst of orange peel. Or perhaps something stronger like an Aquavit cocktail – this Scandinavian spirit with its signature caraway flavour translates to “water of life”. The Cocktails of Copenhagen website has a bunch of Aquavit cocktail recipes paired with traditional Xmas lunch specialties for you to peruse.
And for some music to accompany your tranquil evening. Morten Lindberg, a Danish DJ and legendary radio host, has composed a hygge playlist with ten tracks that you can listen to on Spotify.
Finally, go to bed the same way you woke up: with comfort and ease, and let the spirit of hygge lull you to sleep. TRANSLATE A DAY INTO A LIFETIME – LIVING THE HYGGE LIFESTYLE
We hope that our hygge inspired itinerary helps you figure out what hygge means to you and the aspects that you can adopt into your daily routine.
Once you've mastered your at-home hygge technique and it's time to travel again you can explore the hygge life directly in Copenhagen: create a profile to have a personalized itinerary produced for you and get some real-life pointers from our Danish curators!