‘Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen. Friendly old girl of a town’ and how very wonderful she is. I really didn’t know what to expect of Denmark’s capital but what I did find was very pleasant. Mr ESLT and I love to spend our birthdays exploring a city and creating memories so for Mr ESLT’s recent birthday we travelled to Copenhagen. The first thing I loved about this city was the fact that it only took 90 to get there from the UK, I hate flying you see but with this flight we had just reached cruising altitude when we started making our decent into the very modern Copenhagen airport. I think we landed at the furthest gate from the exit, so it was a good job our carry-ons are on wheels and we had a monster walk to get out of the place.
We bought train tickets from the ticket office in the airport and headed for platform 2 as directed. Apparently every train that stops at Platform 2 goes either to or through Copenhagen central train station which was our destination with our hotel only being a couple of minute’s walk away. The first thing I noticed about the city was how clean it is, especially for a capital city. Secondly, was the number of bikes piled high everywhere and the fact I nearly got run over twice within two minutes. And thirdly, and possibly a generalisation, but how Danes have a very distinctive look. It appears that Danish men are very tall and very broad and look like they could snap the average person in half and how all the women look like that have just stepped out of the pages of Vogue (not jealous at all)!
Talking of bikes, it is estimated that 50% of Danes cycle to work, school and socially and each own two bikes. This is evident everywhere and the city is so geared up for cyclists with dedicated cycle lanes on most if not all roads. This has brought pollution down considerably in Copenhagen and in my opinion simply adds to the laid back atmosphere the city exudes. In that respect Copenhagen really reminds me of Amsterdam however the comparison doesn’t end there. Another thing both cities have in common is the canals and a visit to either isn’t complete without a canal cruise. One thing that is evident in Copenhagen is the amount of building work that is being undertaken. Nearly every street we looked or walked down had scaffolding at one building or another or the roads were blocked with construction vans. Of course restoration/modernisation needs to occur in every city and because of all the beautiful areas of Copenhagen I do not feel the building works detract from the lure and history of the city.
Top 5 things to do in Copenhagen, Denmark
The place where I’m sure most people envisage when thinking about Copenhagen. The row of beautifully bright buildings along the canal side. We visited on a hot Saturday in August therefore it was extremely busy with tourists and locals alike however this did not spoil our experience, if anything it added to it. As it was lunchtime it would have been rude not to have stopped to enjoy a Danish Smørrebrød (open sandwich) at one of the many restaurants in this pedestrianised part of the city along side a canal and watch the world go by?
2. Visit Tivoli
Gardens, restaurants, bars, live music (on a Friday evening, usually at 10pm), entertainment and rollercoasters all in one place. That can never be a bad thing and here at Tivoli you will find them all. A great place to visit for all ages, from the young to the young at heart. We visited on a lovely Friday evening in August and had the pleasure of having a great meal, drinking some cold local larger and enjoying the atmosphere of a live band followed by the nightly illuminations over the pond. Great night and right in the city centre located right next to the central train station.
3. The Little Mermaid –
This little (4.1 ft.) bronze lady certainly pulls the crowds in to have a look at her. Commissioned by the son of the founder of Carlsberg after seeing visiting the ballet of the same name, Edvard Eriksen set about creating her based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. Her head is modelled on the ballerina from the ballet however the body is modelled on Eriksen’s own wife. We visited on a busy Saturday afternoon, so couldn’t get up close and personal but if your camera has a good zoom function this shouldn’t be a problem.
4. Church of our Saviour – the spire of this church can be seen across the city. It’s helix spire has an external anticlockwise staircase and if you have the time and/or inclination to climb it you will be rewarded with fantastic aerial views of Copenhagen. It is a beautiful baroque style church which is worth having a wander around. Saying that though I love the architecture of churches and am always drawn to them wherever I visit in the world if you don’t have that same passion I’d probably suggest Christiansborg Palace (castle) instead which is the seat of the Danish Parliament including the Prime Minister.
5. Visit Carlsberg – what better way of sampling the local beer offering than at the Carlsberg Brewery itself? A little way out of town (around 30 minute’s walk from the central train station), however there is a free shuttle if the walk is not doable for you. Here you can learn the history of Carlsberg by taking a self-guided tour around the brewhouse, take part in beer tastings, take a horse and cart ride and generally just drink beer in the late afternoon sunshine. Obviously, if you are a tee-totaler or don’t like beer I’d probably give this place a miss.
In summary I loved Copenhagen. Even though it’s a capital city it didn’t seem like people were in a ‘rush’ like in other capitals and major cities i.e. London. It seems very laid back and easy going – my kind of place. We spent 4 days in the city and I think that, that was enough to see what we wanted to see and do what we wanted to do. It is not a sprawling city like Paris for example, everything can be achieved on foot or bike if you want to fit in with the cycle culture. If Copenhagen is a good indicator of what other cities in Denmark are like I really can’t wait to visit somewhere else, perhaps Bergen or Odense. We were lucky with the weather but I’d like to think that not even rain would have dampened our spirits in this happy and friendly city.