Copenhagen has always been somewhere I’ve wanted to go, and I’m not sure why as it wasn’t somewhere I knew much about. I can only blame my obsession with the Hans Christian Andersen film when I was younger… Anyway, James and I were looking for somewhere for a long weekend break and realised that we both had friends living in Copenhagen so it was the perfect time to go.
I’m always amazed how much you can fit into such a short amount of time when visiting cities. I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to do everything we wanted to but, although we could have done more, we managed to fit in all of the main sights we wanted to see, as well as jumping cows (you’ll have to read my previous blog post for this to make sense).
We stayed in Hotel Østerport which was conveniently located right next to Østerport station where you can get a train directly to/from the airport. It was also walking distance from most of the main sights. The staff in the hotel were really helpful and friendly, and there was a good selection of food for breakfast each morning. My only complaint (and really it’s my own fault as I knew where it was located) was that we hadn’t realised quite how close to the railway we would be. The tracks literally went underneath our bedroom window and trains were running throughout the night. However I managed to survive on the little sleep I had so no harm done!
We knew we’d be spending most of Sunday with our friends so we tried to fit as much as possible into our own mini walking tour of the city on Saturday. We started off walking around Kastellet, one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. The Citadel is still an active military area, but also serves as a public park and is seemingly a popular place for locals to go for a run at the weekend. We were surprised to see a windmill, but apparently they were useful in the event of a siege.
From Kastellet we headed to see Den Lille Havfrue, also known as The Little Mermaid and regularly referred to as one of the most disappointing European sights. However (and perhaps it was because we were forewarned) we weren’t disappointed. We hadn’t really expected anything bigger, and I liked the fact the statue is set a little way from the shore as it meant you could get a photo without other tourists standing in the way (although I can’t share it with you due to photo rights)!
After passing the beautiful Gefion Fountain, we made our way to the royal palaces just in time for the changing of the guard.
We then made our way to Nyhavn, which we had seen briefly the night before, to admire the coloured houses before heading up the pedestrianized shopping streets in the city centre. I’ve never seen so many Lego shops in such a small area! We decided to try something traditional for lunch and stopped at a hot dog vendor to eat something on the move. It wasn’t an experience we repeated the following day!
After our bite to eat we headed towards Rosenborg Castle which is home to the Danish crown jewels. If you like a bit of history then I would recommend going as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Pick up a guide before you wander round as this has some really interesting facts to keep you entertained as you walk round. The Palace is located in the beautiful Kongens Have (King’s Gardens) which was the perfect place to sit and enjoy an ice cream in the sun – although there was no escaping the cold wind.
Our final tourist sight of the day was the Rundetårn (Round Tower), a seventeenth century tower which was built as an observatory. From the top there are beautiful views all across the city, and as it was a clear day we could even see across to Sweden and the bridge that connects the two countries. I was very relieved to find that we wouldn’t have to climb up endless spiral stairs (as is usually the case with towers) but instead could reach the top by following a ramp. Exhibitions and concerts now regularly take place within the tower.
The following day was taken up with the cows and Tivoli Gardens, but as our flight home wasn’t until Monday afternoon we still had time for a few things before we had to leave. We took a boat tour which lasted about an hour, and is something I would definitely recommend although we hadn’t originally planned to do it. The guide was very informative and we learned quite a lot, as well as getting to see some of the places that hadn’t made it into our walking tour. Had we done the boat tour first we might actually have ended up doing things quite differently, but now we’ll know where to head for next time.
Following the boat tour we headed across to Copenhagen Street Food on Papirøen (Paper Island) which had been recommended by both friends. It was effectively a huge warehouse filled with different street food vendors, but there was an incredible amount of choice in styles of food. James opted for Korean food, having never tried it before, whilst I chose some healthy chicken and avocado wraps, which came with lemon chicken skewers. We really should have chosen one thing and shared it between us as the portions were huge, but never mind. Unfortunately the market is due to be closed shortly to make way for some fancy apartments being built, so if you are headed to Copenhagen anytime soon make sure you go whilst you still can.
I really enjoyed the time that we spent in Copenhagen, and the amount that we managed to fit in (as you can probably tell from the lengthier post than usual). It was a city that felt very safe and with lots of culture. I definitely think the best way to experience it is just by wandering round, and perhaps stopping for a Danish pastry or two…