Copenhagen didn’t really allure me in the beginning. I came because I found a very cheap roundtrip ticket for less than €35. My only favorite thing about Denemark is a dead man, Hans Andersen who died in the city, but what fun is there visting a dead man’s memorial. Then I remembered something I recently read about Denemark being ranked the happiest nation in the world and thought to come here to find the happiness of this country.
I’m a sucker for cliche and stereotypes. While I’m very opened to new experiences and see what’s in store for me, I often come and look for some images already formed in my head.
Well, the Danes might be the happinest bunch, but there was no happiness for outsiders. It was cold, rainy, expensive and a little bit dull.
Nyhavn Harbor, used to be sailor quarters, lined up with colorful coffeehouses, bars and restaurants, is very nice to stroll and take photos. This is where you can take a tour on many canal cruise boats.
The longest pedestrian street in the world, stretching 1.8 km, goes through the heart of the city. It’s a nice place to window-shop, have a cup of coffee and enjoy lively performance from buskers and street performers.
The royal castle of Amalienborg Palace is located conveniently in the city is where the royal family reside over the winter.
Visit Carlsberg Visitors Centre to learn not only about Denmark’s famous beer but also about the owner family who played an important role in Denmark’s social and culture life. Copenhagen’s pretty symbol, the Little Mermaid, is a donation from Carl Jacobsen, son of Carlsberg Brewery’s founder.
This small, unassuming statue is the most popular tourist attraction in Copenhagen and the most photographed statues in the world. If the guidebook doesn’t tell you to visit the Little Mermaid, you probably won’t. If the guidebook doesn’t tell you it is the city’s symbol, you probably pass over it without knowing. The statue’s appearance is nothing special as it is just another bronze sculpture, but the story of how she was born is. The Little Mermaid is the cutout version from the fairy tale of the same name by the world’s favorite fairytale writer, Hans Christian Andersen.
The National Gallery and National Museum are free to all. Take the advantage to see 700 years of western art and thousands years of Danish history. If you’re not here for the culture, then you might show up here to avoid the rain. I was in Copenhagen in October. It was freezing cold then and rained often. The good thing about it was that I got a chance to hide out here and spend almost a day exploring both. Be prepared, the National Gallery and Museum are huge; you’ll be finished feeling dizzy.
Have seen enough of Copenhagen and feel the money being drained from your wallet? Take a trip to Malmo, a small city in Sweden. The trip takes only half an hour by train. Everything there is cheaper: food, shopping, accommodation. The two cities look clean and rich the same way. The only difference is in prices. Copenhagen is the most expensive city in Denmark while Malmo belongs to one of the poorest region in Sweden.
BUT do not leave before discovering the quirkiest, the most unique attraction in Copenhagen, the freetown of Christiania. This self-government society has its own currency, a post office, coffeehouses and an art gallery. The moment that you walk in, you can smell hash all over the places and see people burning and selling drugs. It will be very interesting to walk around, peaking into ruined, broken former military barracks and observing people living in there.
Copenhagen is an expensive city, thus you’ve better eat smart. Look out for the words “dagens ret” on restaurant menus. This means “meal of the day” which is usually cheaper. For something Danish, try pølsevogn (sausage wagon). Eating typical Danish meals can be expensive. Alternative budget eateries can be shawarma and pizza joints. There are few all-you-can-eat Mediterranean buffets around the city. The cheapest Copenhagen signature food you will love and have to try are hot-dogs which available from hot-dog stands all over the city.
Don’t eat Häagen-Dazs ice-cream just because you’re in Denmark. There is nothing Danish about it except for its name. The ice cream was invented by a Polish immigrant in USA who thought that the Danish name might appeal more to American consumers. It did.
- Hostel: from €17 per person
- Apartment: from € 53,60/night
- Budget hotel: Overnight stay in a double room from €69.05 per person. Single supplement from €43.58/person, including cocktail in SALT bar and breakfast buffet.
- 12 hours card: DKK 229 / €31
- 72 hours card: DKK 459 /€62
- Shawarma €2-3
- Main dishes (at all-you-can eat): from €13.12
- Large beer: €2-5 Misc.
Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport (CPH) is the hub for SAS, Scandinavia’s largest international airline. A number of low-cost carriers also fly to the airport. Low cost easyJet serves Copenhagen from London Stansted, Manchester, Milan, Geneva and Berlin Schönefeld. It takes twelve minutes by train to get from Kastrup to the central station (Hovedbanegården) in downtown Copenhagen.
There are frequent and excellent train connection between Copenhagen and the rest of the country and Sweden due completion of the Øresund fixed link. But connection to the rest of Europe are mediocre.
Domestic buses are only marginally cheaper than trains although there are considerable discounts offered from Mon-Thu. However, on international routes, prices can be lower.