There is too much that could be said about Denmark’s culture. Whether we talk about their genius (they invented the Lego after all), their reputation of being the happiest country in the world (while also being highly medicated for depression), or their love for bicycling and all things green/environmentally-friendly. It would be another post (or several) entirely.
From Viking days to fishing villages, and from a powerful kingdom to a rough Nazi occupation, Denmark has been through a lot. And its beautiful capital city has an abundance of colorful buildings, delicious food and waterfront forts to show for it. History, culture and other thoughts aside, here’s a quick look at how we spent 36 hours in the capital city:
After arriving at Copenhagen Airport in the afternoon, we followed the perfectly translated signs to the trains and took one into the city center, navigating to our accommodations from there. Our first steps in any city are the same: drop off our bags, find an ATM to get some local currency, and get a bite to eat. We then bundled up and headed out into the cold rain of mid-June in Scandinavia.
First stop: the famous Little Mermaid Statue. Based on the character from Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s work, this small statue is a bit further north than our other destinations, so we decided to get it out of the way (its famously a bit underwhelming).
Next up was a visit to the Nyhavn area, a beautiful waterfront promenade with lots of seafood and Hans Christian Andersen’s house. After enjoying a fantastic patio dinner wrapped in blankets with heat lamps all around us, we decided to grab ice cream for a [cold] dessert and called it a day.
Getting a late start to the day, we headed to Rosenborg Castle, set in the King’s Garden, and wandered around it. We watched the guard change at noon. We decided not to go inside the castle, as we had too many other things to do that day.
We headed to Stroget, a pedestrian-only, high-end shopping area. We peeked into shops featuring prices worth our entire salaries before grabbing lunch nearby, enjoying a smørrebrød—an open-faced sandwich.
After lunch, we took a tour of Christiansborg Palace. Set on an island, the palace contains the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of State. The royal family has events at the palace throughout the year. We also visited the 12th century ruins under the palace (formerly Absalon’s Castle). We then checked out the view from the Tower — we love getting a look at a city’s skyline!
We decided to head to our hotel for a quick break before heading to Tivoli Gardens that evening. We fell in love with Tivoli. One of the oldest theme parks in the world, it was a magical visit where we rode a few rides and enjoyed Turkish coffee. You can read a past Latitude post about Tivoli here.
We headed out early the next morning on a plane to Bergen, Norway to visit the fjords. We felt like our less-than-two-days in Copenhagen was just the right amount of time to get a taste for the city. We loved what we saw and would be glad to go back one day!
Here’s some quick thoughts to consider if you’re wondering what a visit to Copenhagen would be like:
We found Copenhagen to be very walkable, which made it easy and cheap to get around. We took the metro a couple of times when we had a longer ways to go, but for the most part stuck with our feet. The weather was cold and rainy, but even though it was the middle of summer we had planned on that and managed it fine.
There is lots of delicious food to be found in Copenhagen. Danish pastries are obviously a must. Smørrebrød sandwiches are everywhere and a decent price. Herring is very popular, though fried pork and potatoes are considered the national dish. We had to have some seafood while we were right on the water too.
Like most of Scandinavia, Denmark is a little pricey, though not terrible for an American. They use the Danish Krone (DKK), though some places may accept Euros as well. Also like most of Scandinavia, English is spoken almost everywhere, and things are almost always translated. If you speak English, you’ll be fine!