Region: Hovedstaden (Capital region)
Population: Between 600 000 and 700 000 (The Internets don’t seem to be sure)
Of course, ”C” had to be Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen! Or København (The merchant’s harbour), more precisely! If you never really paid attention to Denmark (shame on you, LOL), this is probably the only name in my list that rings a bell to you.
Although I think it is a good idea to travel around a bit, if you only have a couple of days to spend in Denmark, staying in Copenhagen will not leave you disappointed. It is the perfect introduction before a second, and longer stay.
Now, please bear with me, because there is so much to say about Copenhagen, that one post might not be enough…
So… Copenhagen, here we come!
Some people hesitate to travel to foreign countries because the language barrier can be scary. Although Danish is the official language, most Danes are fluent in English. So language matters shouldn’t stop you.
One of the first things you’ll notice in Copenhagen, is how bike-friendly it is. The whole city is adapted to easily ride your bicycle around, and many parking places are available in every neighbourhood. You can also rent a bike easily and at a low cost. You can see your many renting options here.
Forget ”Where’s Waldo”!
What is there to do in Copenhagen? The real question would be ”What do you want to do?”
Wether you are interested in history, architecture, arts of all kinds, outdoor activities, museums, sightseeing or just hanging around and having a good time, you’ll find something to keep you busy all day and all night long.
If you are planning on really making the most of your time in Copenhagen, I recommend taking the Copenhagen Card.
The 24, 48, 72 or 120 hours cards give you access to over 85 museums and attractions all around town, and free transportation by bus, train and metro, for the same period of time. It also gives you discounts in selected bars and restaurants. You can pre-order your card, but it is really easy to get it at the Central Station (train station). So if you’d rather take a day to stroll around the city before you decide if you’ll need the card, no need to stress about buying it in advance.
If you’d like to see the list of places and activities available with the Copenhagen Card, click here.
If you don’t take the card, you’ll have plenty to see anyway. And you can always pay for one or two entries in the capital’s most popular sites. Just know that the center of the city can easily be traveled around by foot, or if you wish, you can take a Metro pass that will take you from one corner of town to the other in no time!
There is so much to do and see, that I can’t sum it all up in one post. So here is (and in no particular order) my top fives of ”Free sightseeing places” and ”Indoor must-sees”.
Free of charge
The Little Mermaid
She’s not big, and unless you are incredibly lucky, there will be a huge crowd around her, keeping you from taking the perfect picture. But needless to say, you have to see the Little Mermaid before you leave Denmark. Hans Christian Andersen’s character is THE thing people will ask you about when you come back home!
Amalienborg & the Marble Chapel
I’ve put these two together because they are so close to each other! Amalienborg is the Royal Palace, and you can freely walk in the huge open court between the buildings of the palace. Free bonus for you, if you get to Amalienborg for noon, on any day, you’ll get to witness the changing of the Royal Guard. The Mable Chapel (peaking in the middle of the picture) is also worth a visit. Its dome is even more majestic from the inside of the church, and admission is, yes, free!
Freetown of Christiania
Formerly a military area of Copenhagen, Christiania is a town-in-the-city, self proclaimed independant from the Copenhagen’s autorities. The squatters who took over the abandonned area created their own simple set of rules, and live by them in this micro-society. The entrance is free, and the people of Christiania are very welcoming! It is truly worth the visit, but remember at all times; picture taking is forbidden within the Freetown limits! Enjoy your stay, but as the saying goes, ”What happens in Christiania, stays in Christiania!
Rosenborg Castle & The king’s gardens
Although Rosenborg Castle can be visited (you can see a very interesting variety of art pieces, some antic Royal belongings, and even the Royal jewels!), you can save on your budget and just enjoy some time in the beautiful gardens around the castle. Pick up some lunch, and come enjoy your meal in the shade of the tall trees, or next to the water, with the ducks and the swans! Bonus, just behind the castle, you also have access to the Botanical Gardens, but that’s not free.
You most likely know the sight of the harbour of Nyhavn, even if you didn’t know it was in Copenhagen. The colorful houses looking down on the canal are famous all around the world. Needless to say it is a must, to go walk along the docks at least once before you leave. The sunset is amazing, on Nyhavn, and if you find the many restaurants a little too expensive for dinner, you’ll always find hot dog stands in this area of town (and those hot dogs are Yuuuummy!!)
Worth the Kroner
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
This museum is a must-must-must-must see! If you enjoy art of all ages and origins, you can easily book a whole day of wandering through the multiple exhibitions offered at the Glyptotek. My favorite being the amazing collection of Rodin sculptures! Walk around for a while, then come and rest in the tropical inner court, and continue the visit… A must see, I am telling you!
Now open all year around, the Tivoli Gardens are definately worth the stop. Wether you actually want to try some of the rides, or you’d rather just walk around, enjoying the fun filled famous Danish amusement park, you won’t be disappointed. Open since 1843, Tivoli is the second oldest operating amusement park in the world (the oldest is also Danish). If you have the chance, wait until the sun comes down, to see Tivoli light up in the darkened skies of Copenhagen… quite a sight!
Danes like their beer. So it just seems natural that one of the largest and best known breweries in the world is Danish. The museum will take you through the history of the Carlsberg family, and the company’s. You’ll also get to see the World’s largest bottled beer collection (it is quite impressive), and of course, a complementary beer awaits you before you leave!
Den Blå Planet
This futuristic looking building is the National Danish Aquarium. Den Blå Planet (The Blue Planet) was opened for the public in March of 2013, and is, since, the largest aquarium in Northern Europe. The building is separated in 5 main sections under the themes: The Rainforest, The African Great Lakes, Evolution and Adaptation, Cold Water and The Warm Ocean. The Ocean tank is especially stunning, with its sharks and stingrays swimming around, and the tunnel, giving you the impression that you are, indeed, walking at the bottom of the ocean!
The rundetårn (round tower) stands tall in the very heart of Copenhagen. Primarely built to house an observatory, it is now one of the best view points to embrace all of the capital, from above. The entry is pretty cheap, and the tower is special in the way that you don’t have to take endless staircases to get yourself to the top!
View from inside the rundetårn
You can easily walk your way up, and enjoy the 360° view of Copenhagen from 35 meters of the ground. Take your camera along, you’ll need it!
I hope you enjoyed your introduction to the great city of Copenhagen. As I said in my premise, there would be so much more to say, but this post is already long enough as it is! Maybe I’ll prepare another one to talk about more aspects? Well see…
To find the links to the others posts of my 2019 A to Z Challenge, click here.
(Please note that pictures were borrowed from Google Image, for technical reasons.)