Our summer in Europe and in Finland has finally started. Before arriving to Finland, we made a quick stop to Copenhagen in Denmark. We stayed for two nights so we had a one whole day to explore the city. Well, we did stop by at the downtown on the night we arrived too, but mostly just to get dinner and see how the metro line works. Luckily, Copenhagen is very easy to get around and most sites to see are in the downtown, so even in one day we were able to see a lot.
THINGS YOU CAN SEE IN COPENHAGEN IN A DAY
Nyhavn is that famous harbour area from the 17th century, which are always featured in pictures of Copenhagen. It is known for its colourful houses which the oldest one is from 1681. Today, there are restaurants, cafes and all kinds of shops in the ground level of the houses, and people come there to enjoy a glass of beer or a sandwich. It is definitely a must place when visiting Copenhagen! The cruises in the canal also depart from there.
THE LITTLE MERMAID
Like my Danish friend said: “The Little Mermeid is the most overrated sites in Copenhagen, but still a must see!” So true! The statue is sitting on rock the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen and is so small, that it is hard to spot it behind the crowds. The character is from the H.C. Andersen’s fairytale published in 1837.
AMALIENBORG PALACE AND THE CHANGE OF GUARDS
Amalienborg Palace is in the downtown of Copenhagen and just a short walk away from Nyhavn. The palace is used by the Danish royals, and there are four separate buildings. When visiting, you should aim at being there at noon when the Royal Guard, Den Kongelige Livgarde, is changing new guards in front of the palace. The guarch march to Amalienborg from the Rodenborg Castle. When the royals are home the marching band will join the change of guards.
Rosenborg Castle was built in 17th century to Christian IV summer home. Today it is open for public, and they display for example the royal jewels. The locals gather to the park in front of it, and there are many beautiful flowers in the castle garden. You can visit the garden and castle yard without a fee.
Just a short walk away from the Little Mermeid is one of the best preserved fort; Kastellet. The buildings are from the 17th century, and the main things to see are two gates with bastions, commander’s house, and the Rows where the commanders resided at some point. There is also a beautiful wind mill in the area. The area is still used by the army so you can see the solders walking around.
Freetown Christiania was developed in the old military area in Copenhagen and is partially autonomous intentional community. It is located in Christianshavn and about 1000 people live there. You can walk around, see colourful buildings and the hippy culture, but you can’t take photos on the Green Light District. Kannabis is publicly sold there even though buying and selling is not legal. On other parts of the Christiania you can take photos as long as you ask people first if you take photos of them. Today, Christiania follows Danish legislation.
TRADITIONAL DANISH TREATS
While in Copenhagen, don’t forget to try some local treats and go out to some of the many cafes in the downtown. All the cafes are selling Danish sandwiches, smørrebrød, which is rye bread with different fillings. Very often it is fish or seafood, or some shrimp and boiled egg. Most restaurants offer trendy, international foods and drinks.
And when in Denmark, you must also try the real Danishes which were invented in Denmark in 1860’s. The most popular ones seemed to be cinnamon danishes, kanelsnegle, which were covered with chocolate. We tried to find the danishes we are used to eating in the U.S. which have some fruit or berry fillings.
COPENHAGEN - EASY TO GET AROUND
It is so easy to go around in Copenhagen. Starting from the airport we had no issues finding out how to get around even though we had some luggage, kids and a stroller with us. From the airport you can take a metro to downtown, or like we did, to a hotel nearby. The metro station is on terminal 3, and there were some staff members helping people to buy tickets. Metro is fairly easy to understand since there is only two lines; yellow and green. If you plan to use the metro more than ones a day, you should consider getting a day pass which is valid for 24 hours, and also works in buses. The kids were free in the metro while traveling with adults.
It seemed like everything in downtown was close enough to walk, but if you want to be like a local, get a bicycle! They were all over! I think it was the most bikes I have ever seen in one place. And no wonder, since about 60% of locals bike to work everyday.
Copenhagen was such a nice and compact city that we really felt like we want to come back someday. We did’t have time to visit Tivoli for example which is very famous. Other than that, we did see most of the sights in the city and had a great time. Copenhagen felt safe, if you are not afraid of fast going bikers, and everyone was friendly. The airport is close to the downtown, so it is easy to do a stopover like we did. We managed to break the jet lag by stopping in Denmark, and then flew over to Finland to enjoy the Midsummer and the Nightless Night. But we wont forget beautiful Copenhagen!
Have you been to Copenhagen? Did you like it?