Nick and I decided to take a little break from our normal life in Germany and booked a very last minute mini-vacay. This weekend we ran away to Copenhagen, Denmark for less than 48 hours of Danish adventure. Although we had limited time in the city, we made our short time in Copenhagen count and were able to experience many of the highlights that the city has to offer.
After taking the train from the airport to our hotel, we were greeted at the Island Hotel by a very friendly concierge who recommended a few things that we should check out while we were visiting. After dropping off our luggage, we headed out for one of the aforementioned attractions; the Tivoli Gardens. The Tivoli Gardens is the second-oldest amusement park in the whole world, and luckily for us, the whole place was decked out for Christmas! We spent a few hours walking through the park, eating snacks and drinking hot chocolate while checking out all the Christmasy goodness it had to offer. If you’re ever feeling low on the holiday spirit, this place will certainly change that for you! After spending most of our evening in the gardens walking around, we decided to walk back to our hotel for an early night. Being as we had booked everything so last minute, we hadn’t properly planned anything out; we had no idea where we wanted to visit or what attractions we wanted to see. So, after returning back to our hotel, we sat down to research some activities and mapped out our tour for the next day.
We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to make our way to our first destination, Church of Our Saviour; this church is most famous for it’s helix spiral that extends almost to the very tippy-top of the structure. For a few DKK, you can climb the never-ending spiral staircase to get some seriously epic views of the city! At the beginning of the climb, you’ll feel optimistic about it “not being so bad”, by mid-climb your legs will be shaking and you’ll have an ass cramp you fear will never release and by the end of the climb you feel like a superhuman as you look out over the whole city. It’s an absolute emotional and physical rollercoaster, but totally worth it! Keep in mind, this is a huge tourist attraction so, be prepared to deal with hoards of people.
After our morning cardio at church, we walked a few blocks towards Freetown Christiania; Christiania is essentially an anarchist commune residing right in the middle of Copenhagen. Originally, the location of Freetown Christiania was an army barracks, but after it had been abandoned for some years, a group of squatters took over the military base and turned it into the community it is today. We arrived fairly early in the day, so most of the community wasn’t awake yet, which didn’t give Christiania the full, lively atmosphere it is known for. But, we still had the chance to walk around the grounds, check out the markets, food trucks and have a peak of some of the more controversial offerings.
As we had spent most of our morning climbing a bajillion stairs and walking around a giant commune, by lunchtime we had worked up quite an appetite and decided there would be no better place than Paper Island to visit next. Paper Island plays host to a food market that houses food stalls and trucks with cuisines from all over the world; from burritos to bagels, this place had it all! It was relatively affordable too. Nick and I got there on the early side of lunch, so we lucked out with getting to explore the hall and scope out what we wanted to try for a little bit before it was swarmed with tourists and locals alike. As more and more people started showing up, we decided it was best to head out to our next stop.
We soon arrived at the most colourful canal in Denmark, Nyhavn. Back in the day, it was notorious for beer, sailors and prostitutes. Nowadays it is a lively entertainment district lined with cafes, bars and restaurants. We spent our time in Nyhavn window-shopping, walking up and down the canal and taking photographs of the super-colourful European homes and businesses. We had been touring Copenhagen by foot all day, by the end of our trek through Nyhavn, we were ready to sit down and relax for a bit.
So, we decided to hop on the next boat-tour leaving the Nyhavn dock and saw the city from the water for a little bit instead. I always try to go on a boat tour if I’m travelling somewhere that is surrounded by water; you get to see your surroundings from a new perspective and learn about the history from a local tour-guide. Our one-hour boat ride took us all over the city and we got to see some buildings and monuments that we wouldn’t have otherwise had time to see, like the Little Mermaid statue! There’s a lot of mixed reviews about this statue online, and as it was way out of our way to go see it, we decided against making it a priority. But, with this tour we got to see it anyways! After our boat tour, we made our way to the fancy part of of Copenhagen experience; palaces and castles!
Before visiting Copenhagen, I had never seen a castle or a palace up close and personal, so the next part of our adventure was pretty cool for me. We stopped at the Amalienborg Palace, this expansive building decked-out with real guards is the home for the Danish royal family. As we travelled during off-season, we were lucky and didn’t have swarms of people fighting for the perfect selfie-spot in front of the palace. We hung out in the courtyard for a little bit, snapped some photos and stood next to the Royal Guards, a safe distance away from their sword-gun-thingies. After our time at the palace, we went off towards our next fancy adventure, the Rosenborg Castle!
The Rosenborg Castle was originally built as a summer house (yeah, me too), now it hosts 400 years worth of history, jewels and royal treasures. Nick and I showed up too late in the evening to actually go inside the castle, but the grounds were still open so we were able to walk around the gardens and appreciate the architecture from a distance! We were beginning to run out of daylight at this point and still had two more destinations on our ambitious list of tourism. Our next stop was the Botanical Gardens. Yet again, we were foiled by Denmark’s early-business hours and weren’t able to actually go into the building; we were fine with strolling through the gardens outside though.
Leaving the gardens brought us to our second food market of the day and final stop on our tour of Copenhagen; the Torvehallerne food market. Well, I at least THOUGHT it was a food market, but it was really more of a farmer’s market. Torvehallerne has over 60 stalls selling everything from fresh fish and meat to gourmet chocolate. While it wasn’t the experience we were expecting, it was still a cool opportunity to check out a farmer’s market in a different country! Our very long, exciting day of exploring Copenhagen had officially come to an end. We made our way back to our hotel for a night of taste-testing random Somersby flavours we hadn’t seen anywhere else and a spread of delicious room service. Perfect way to end a perfect day!
While we had very limited time in Copenhagen, we certainly made the most of the time we had and saw as much as we could. I’d say we did pretty good at seeing and experiencing the city.