In 2013 I spent one blissful day in the capital on my bus journey around Scandinavia with Topdeck. My time there may have been brief, but I managed to pack a lot into my day. Copenhagen is perfect for a weekend or a week's holiday and has the right ratio of bustling city to relaxed town vibe- oh and locals are super friendly!
If Copenhagen is on your list of destinations to visit in 2015, then here's my top tips for the city.
This iconic landmark is often the vision that everyone has of the Danish capital, and with good cause. It is beautiful. Perhaps I found it more fascinating then other Europeans do, but that could be that you don't really have this in Australia. Nyhavn looks like something out of a fairy tale, so you can see where Hans Christen Andersen got his inspiration. Apparently he used to live at a few houses on the quayside. The harbour is the main hub for the city and is lively with both locals and tourists. In the summer you will find bands playing and many sunbathing, picnicking people. On both sides of the harbour you can pick up sweet treats, ice creams and my favourite, the Danish hot dog. At the top of the harbour you will find a tiny hot dog stand that sells these truly wondrous creations- and I highly recommend you give those bad boys a try, you won't regret it!
No trip to this city is complete without a visit to the First Lady of Copenhagen. She's had a rough few years, as people sometimes try to steal, graffiti or decapitate her to take home for themselves. But she still sits majestically atop a rock at the harbour. The best way to reach her from the city centre is to walk along the waterfront, she a bit away from the main thoroughfare, but still worth the trek to Langelinje Pier. In 2013 she turned 100 years old (she's aged well I must say) and was originally a gift to the city from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen. She is Copenhagen's most popular tourist attraction, so I recommend visiting her early morning or in the evening to get undisturbed photos.
Home to the Danish Royal family (including Australian born Princess Mary from Tasmania), Amalienborg Palace stretches around a square near the Copenhagen waterfront. The outside is perhaps a modest palace compared to the likes of Buckingham Palace, but it is nonetheless a site worth seeing. The Changing of the Guards takes places here at noon everyday, although the size of the demonstration and route changes depending on who is in residence in the Palace at the time. I would recommend checking online for full details first to avoid disappointment. The Changing of the Guards is popular, but generally not as busy as the likes of Buckingham. You can also get pretty up close to the action. There's a museum inside one of the palaces which is great for any other royal enthusiasts out there.
The Danes love a bit of shopping, and it mostly gets done in what they call Stroget. I get the feeling its become more of a tourist hub rather then locals, due to the amount of stores selling snow globes, flags and shot glasses. In this area you'll also find the Lego shop, which is every little kid's fantasy (or big kid for that matter). You'll also find big fashion brands if you've got the urge to splurge. The street snakes its way from the City Hall Square to The King's Square and the Royal Theatre. There's some tourist sites along the way such as the Church where Princess Mary and her Prince got married.
Next to Copenhagen's Central Train Station and a short walk from the City Hall, Tivoli is loved by locals and tourists. Probably best described as an old school theme park before they all became over commercialized, Tivoli has kept its charms and in 2014 its famous wooden roller coaster reaches its 100th birthday. Surprisingly for a birthday milestone like that, it is only the second oldest amusement park in the world. Not just for rides, the park also features green spaces, restaurants and music.
It may seem like a tourist cliche, but I highly recommend a cruise around the harbour and canals of Copenhagen. Not only is a great way to see sights along the waterfront, but its also a way to see a unique part of Danish culture. The waterways and harbour have played a major part on the lives of the Danes for hundreds of years, so a cruise is a fascinating insight into a way of life that has grown and sustained a city and a country. Landmarks that you can see along the waterfront include the Opera House, the Royal Library, The Little Mermaid statue, and the Royal Yacht.
One place I won't be visiting is Christiania though- once was more than enough for me and I don't recommend it. The locals there aren't fond of tourists or outsiders, especially not bus loads of Topdeck travellers wanting to take photos.
For more information about Copenhagen, I recommend www.visitcopenhagen.com
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Have you been to Copenhagen? What's your favourite place in the city? Leave a comment below and let me know!