I just got back from Copenhagen! What a wonderful city. The Danish capital has so much to offer that you don’t know where to go first. The many famous landmarks, the areas of Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Frederiksberg. And the proximity of the Swedish city of Malmö makes it also very attractive to spent a day there. We wanted to see it all! And with only 3,5 days we decided to fit all the landmarks into one day. Naturally we had a lot of ground to cover, so we decided to rent a bike and that is actually the best way to explore Europe’s hipster capital. This week I will be taking you on a little sightseeing adventure to the city major’s touristic attractions.
But first things first; let’s talk breakfast! As we wanted to start our sightseeing adventure at Nyhaven, we searched for a spot close to that area and that’s how we find Original Coffee. No elaborate breakfasts here, just coffee and yummy ‘Danish’ and that’s exactly what we needed to start the day off right!
And then time for Nyhaven! This cute and colorful little harbor used to be a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock. Back in the days many of the houses were the homes of prominent artists, such as the famous Danish fairytale writer, Hans Christian Andersen, who used to live in no. 20. Today Nyhaven has turned into a popular hub with bars and restaurants, but don’t be surprised things can get very expensive back there!
From Nyhaven it’s about a five minute walk to Fredericiagade, where we picked up our electric bikes. All over town you will find the white ‘Bycyklen’ bikes and they are really easy to operate (except for the fact that they are quite heavy). You make a private account upon the GPS of the bike and use it for as long as you want to. Once you are done with the bike, the GPS searches the nearest station and you place the bike back. Afterwards your credit card is charged for the time you used the bike and you receive the bill via e-mail.
Two of Copenhagen’s touristic highlights, Amalienborg and the Frederikskirke were just around the corner from Fredericiagade ! Amalienborg or the Royal Palace consists of four identical buildings used as residences for the royal family. In the middle of the square you will find the statue of King Frederik V from 1771. Every day at 12PM there is the changing of the guards, which is very popular with tourists. We did not visit the palace on the inside, as the weather was so nice we wanted to stay outdoors as much as possible. Across the street lays the Frederikskirke, one of the most impressive churches in the city. If you walk towards the riverside you will see the Opera House on the other bank of the river.
A lovely bike ride along the waterside will get you to the Little Mermaid, a statue based on the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. Don’t be disappointed because she is actually very little, but no Copenhagen trip is complete without saying ‘hej’ to her!
Last stop before lunch is Kastellet, a citadel that was founded by the Danish King Christian IV in 1626. Today, the buildings inside the Citadel are used as military barracks and offices. The area is open to the public and very popular with joggers and people who like to take a walk in a more green environment.
All the sightseeing got us hungry. I really wanted to go The Union Kitchen, a comfy little restaurant close to Nyhavn and a very popular breakfast, brunch and lunch spot. We had no reservation, but tried our luck anyway and got a table. Jippie. On the menu lots of yummy things. I had the organic goat’s cheese salad with salmon balls, spinach, roasted carrots & parsnips, croutons & mustard vinaigrette and E. ordered the green bowl with masala spiced lentils, shaved broccoli, roasted sweet potato, poached egg, pistachio, pea shoots, onion chutney. Both being equally delicious. No interior shots here, because it was really crowed in there, so it would not do the place any justice. Make sure to check out the website though.
The Kings Gardens are one of the most beautiful gardens in the city. We were not really planning on visiting them, but as we had to pass them anyway, we had a look around. Inside the gardens lays Rosenberg Castle, built by King Christian IV in the 17th century.
Another must visit on your to do list is Christiansborg, the home of the Danish parliament, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of State. Parts of the palace are used by the Royal Family for various functions and events as well. As a big fan of the TV series ‘Borgen’ I was curious about how the parliament would look like in real life. You can go on a free guided tour of 45 minutes. Tickets for these tours can be picked up from 10:00 in the morning on the day of the guided tour and are available on a first come first served base.
Next stop: Magstraede to take some pictures of this cute and colorful little street.
Head to the Original Coffee Rooftop Bar on top of the Illum shopping mall at Strøget for a little coffee break. We were lucky to get a spot outside, as the weather was so nice that everyone wanted a spot in the sun! From up there you have a nice view upon Strøget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets with plenty of shops, going from budget-friendly chains to some of the world’s most expensive brands.
The Danish interior brand HAY has its flagship store at Strøget, and I really fell in love with all the amazing pastel kitchen utensils and accessories. Another fan favorite: Moss Copenhagen, with lots of pretty clothes from several Scandinavian brands. Truth be told: the day of our arrival, after we got settled in at our Airbnb we went straight to Strøget to get our shopping spree on! Sure we could have planned our sightseeing over several days, but girls got to get their priorities straight… and shopping well that’s always been one of them! #sorrynotsorry
As you know by now, I like to see a city from a higher perspective and rumour ‘had’ it, that the nicest views were from the observatory of the Rundetaarn. The 17th century tower is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. Note that there is no elevator, so to get there you need to go up the spiral walk. I loved the views up there and with the sun shining we decided to stick around until closing time (6PM). Afterwards we dropped of our bikes at the Pilestraede, right around the corner of the Rundetaarn, and went on our way to Tivoli (there is also a drop off point at Tivoli, but as we were done with the bikes at that point we left them near Rundertaarn).
We agreed to meet our Airbnb host at Tivoli’s main entrance at 7PM for a little tour around the amusement park. Making your way to the entrance you will see the Radhuspladsen (cityhall) and the statue of Hans Christian Andersen.
Once we found Naella at the entrance (turns out there are 3!), she showed us the best foodie hotspots and told us some more about the history of the park. Tivoli was founded in 1843 and is a very popular attraction with young and old. Both Hans Christian Anderson and Walt Disney frequented the park very often. And I really can see why everyone loves it so much. It truly is a magical place! The rides are all designed to match Tivoli’s architecture and gardens. Some rides are wonderfully nostalgic.
Also in terms of food, Tivoli is hotter than hot. All over the premises you will find plenty of eating facilities. Upon recommendation of Naella we tried the typical Danish Frikadele sandwich, a delicious meatball sandwich served with red cabbage and pickles. Yummy! Afterwards we went to the Tivoly Food Hall, a brand new food market with plenty of stalls (you can also access if you don’t visit the park). Every Friday Tivoli gets a little more magical, because then, as from 10 PM there are concerts and light shows being organized at the main square.
In the beginning we were not sure if we would visit Tivoli, but it ended up being the surprise of the trip, so I can only recommend to go and enjoy the ride (haha or look from a safe distance like me :p)
If you are in for a nightcap go to Hotel Manon les Suites. Guldsmeden Hotels brings a hip, relaxed and sustainable hotel concept to Copenhagen. Especially the pool area breaths urban jungle all over the place. And curious as I am, I wasn’t gonna skip on a sneak-peek of the hotel.