So this weekend I popped over to Denmark for a mini break 🙂 🙂 :0 how amazing is that.
I was secretly hoping to meet a prince a la Mary Donaldson. I don’t know if this story is as well known outside of Australia? It’s pretty much every girl’s dream come true. Our Mary from Tasmania was hanging out in a pub in Sydney when she met this nice guy, who she later discovered was the Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, visiting Sydney for the 2000 Olympics. Can you even imagine???? Their first conversation was about Frederik’s chest hair. Four years later they were married, she became the Crown Princess, they now have four children together and live in a palace in Denmark. Interestingly, she is also a Knight of the Order of the Elephant, whatever that means.
Unfortunately I did not meet any princes in any pubs, but I still had a nice weekend.
My first tip for Copenhagen is to consider getting a Copenhagen Card.
For me it might not have been the best value as I’m not hugely into museums and things. But, I thought it would be super easy to have everything included and paid for in advance. I could hop on and off any train, bus or tram for the whole weekend without worrying about having the right change etc. I could also speed through attractions that I didn’t find particularly interesting without any guilt.
It didn’t quite work out that way, as I lost my card within a few hours of getting it… so that’s a word of warning. It’s like cash, not registered to you or anything, so don’t lose it.
Aside from that, I had a lovely time in Denmark. I stayed nice and close to central station (Kobenhavn H). It was easy to get to and from the airport via bus or train – or metro, although oddly the metro didn’t stop at central station, you had to walk about 20 minutes.
I didn’t get to see everything, but I saw a lot of things that interested me, and I’m going to explain my favourites to you.
I made a beeline for Nyhavn first thing, which is a cute little canal lined with brightly coloured buildings and restaurants. Hans Christian Andersen lived in 3 different houses along the row.
Directions: the closest metro station is Kongens Nytorv. Bus routes 901, 902, 903, and 904 all stop there.
The Little Mermaid
I followed the headland further around to see the Little Mermaid statue, which was placed there in 1913. It was inspired by the ballerina Ellen Price who danced the role of the Little Mermaid.
The sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade.
Directions: I walked there from the city centre (about 45mins), but the closest train station is Østerport, or you can also take bus 26.
Nearby to the Little Mermaid is the lovely Kastellet, which is a star fortress. I never even knew that was a thing.
Within the grounds are a church and a windmill, and lots of raised paths to wander and get a bit of a view of the city and the harbour.
On my way to see the Little Mermaid I stopped to admire the military discipline of the guards at Amalienborg. It is a big octagonal courtyard surrounded by 4 palaces.
The Danish royal family live there now. They commandeered it from some nobels when the royal palace burned down in the 1970s. I don’t quite understand this, as there seemed to be many palaces to choose from in Copenhagen, but I’m sure it made sense at the time.
You can see the changing of the guard daily – they depart Rosenborg Palace at 11:30am and arrive at Amalienborg at midday.
Directions: Again, I walked there (about 20 minutes from Town Hall) but you could get bus 29 or 65E. The nearest metro station is Kongens Nytorv.
You can go up to the top of Rundetaarn – the Round Tower – to get a view of the city.
It is quite an easy walk up a long spiral ramp, and the view is well worth it although very windy.
Rundetaarn is close to the city centre, and easy to spot.
You can also visit the free state of Christiania on the island of Holmen. An alternative community has existed here since the early 1970s, when squatters occupied military barracks in the area. It is officially perceived as a kind of “social experiment” and so been left alone despite being surrounded by a pretty fancy neighbourhood. Or maybe just deciding to live somewhere and taking possession of it was the thing to do in the 1970s (ergo what happened with Amalienborg).
Directions: The nearest metro station is Christianshavn.
Frederiksberg Palace and Gardens
Frederiksberg palace and Gardens are also lovely to visit, although don’t get them confused with Frederiksborg Palace which is about an hour to the north of the city.
Frederiksberg is a romantic landscape garden designed in the English style, with various canals and follies to explore. There is a viewpoint to the neighbouring Copenhagen Zoo where you can spy on the elephant enclosure. The Palace is no longer open to the public.
Across the road is the Frederiksberg Kirke (church) and graveyard which is really pretty and well maintained.
Directions: I walked there (about 30minutes from central station) which was very pleasant along Frederiksberg Alle. You can also get the metro to Frederiksberg Station, or buses 6A, 18 or 26.
Tivoli is a must to visit during the day and at night – this is one advantage of the Copenhagen card; you can visit most attractions multiple times on the card (generally once per 24hr period).
Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in Europe. It has rides, obviously, but also nice little shops and cafes, gardens and exhibitions. At night the rides and displays are covered in beautiful lights. The Tivoli Concert Hall shows plays and musical events throughout the year.
The park gets dressed up for the different seasons and holidays so you can really get into it. When I was there it was just before Halloween.
Directions: Tivoli is right next to Kobenhavn H (central station).
It seems to be often very windy in Denmark – which stands to reason as it’s quite coastal. So keep that in mind when looking at the weather forecast and detract a few degrees for the wind chill factor.
NB: The sun rises at about 7:30 but stays quite low in the sky all morning, and again is low in the sky for most of the afternoon. It makes for interesting photo opportunities.
Complete your experience
Danish pastries of course! Although, I discovered they are called Vienna bread in Denmark because that’s where they are actually from.
And drink Carlsberg / Tuborg beer.
Snuggle up with original Hans Christian Anderson Fairytales by the fire to really get that Hygge experience.
If you’d like something a bit grittier than The Little Mermaid, try Borgen.
Kamikaze by the great Danish artist Mo