After 11 hours of non-stop flight, we arrived in Copenhagen! Land of bicycles, pastries, and hygge!
We stayed at Hotel Nebo, which is located directly across the street from the central train station, right on the edge of Indre By (the Inner City). Indre By is the historical center of the city, surrounded by lakes. There are many restaurants museums, and attractions here. In fact, every place we visited was located in Indre By, so it was the perfect location for us. It was super convenient, and we were thankful to be able to set our over-stuffed packs down as soon as possible after stepping off the train.
We opted for a “standard room” which included a private bathroom, TV, wifi, and a double bed. Breakfast is not included, but is available for an additional fee. There were also rooms with shared facilities available for those looking to save a few bucks. We knew after our flight, having the private bathroom would be worth it. It was clean, comfortable, and the location was great. We would highly recommend it!
Immediately upon our arrival, we checked in to our hotel, changed, and headed out to Tivoli Gardens, which was just a couple of blocks away, and open until 12am. Tivoli Gardens is the 2nd oldest amusement park in the world, and Walt Disney took many ideas from it and applied them to Disney. If you have been to a Disney park, as you walk around Tivoli, you will find yourself thinking, “Hmm..that looks familiar!” It is a delightful place. So delightful we decided it needed it own post.
You can check it out HERE.
Once we were done at Tivoli, we were exhausted ready to nap, which was perfect timing, since it was actually night-time. (Not that we normally let daylight stop us.) This was all pre-planned to reduce jet lag as much as possible. You will see late arrivals as a theme throughout our trip.
Around the corner from our hotel was a 7-Eleven, which are in abundance in Scandinavia. This might not sound as great as it really is, but the 7- Elevens are a little different from those in the US. They have a larger offering of fresh foods…foods that you may actually be interested in eating. We saw them taking freshly baked pastries out of the oven one morning as we were picking up our daily sodas, and probably would have bought some if we didn’t already have bakeries on the list of places to visit that day.
Unfortunately, Mookie woke up not feeling in tip-top shape the next day, and SPOILER ALERT: Pharmacies are not open on Sundays. We have been pampered by the 24hr/7 days a week convenience of US drugstores. Thus, didn’t really bother “wasting” precious baggage space packing over the counter meds. BIG MISTAKE. HUUUGE. You know what really puts a damper on a vacation? Feeling like shit the whole time. Other than drugs on Sunday, do you know what else doesn’t exist in Europe? Pepto Bismol. Just warning you in advance. Don’t worry, we’ll touch on this more once we get to Germany. *shudder*
She powered on, because, vacation.
We found a nice cafe for brunch that was a buzz with locals. Turns out, no one is manning the pharmacies because they are too busy enjoying life. Paludan Bogcafé is and combination cafe and bookstore located in the University area, and thus, there are many students hanging out and working away on laptops. The atmosphere is quite charming. There are huge windows looking out to the street, and two stories of self-seating surrounded by book-lined walls.
It had a wide variety of reasonably priced breakfast fare and beverage offerings. They have every drink you could want from soy lattes, ginger tea, and blueberry smoothies, to rhubarb juice and good old Coca Cola. They even serve alcohol! We were there for brunch, but the menu had plenty of choices to cover your bases any time of day. We were able to split the Paludan’s Brunch for 99kr ($12) and just ordered an extra beverage. Butters needs her coffee. Everything was fresh and delicious.
After brunch we were ready to explore. From the cafe, we could easily walk to Strøget. This street is a pedestrian only shopping paradise, and many of the arterial streets are also chock full of shops and pubs. Though we came thorough on a Sunday, and most of the shops were closed, it was still fun to get a glimpse of the high-end goods in the windows.
Even if you aren’t interested in buying anything, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend strolling these narrow streets and checking out the beautiful buildings.
On our walk, we happened upon Rundetårn (the Round Tower). It wasn’t on our list of things to see, but we practically ran right into it, and it looked quite popular, so why not?! The round tower is exactly what it sounds like, a round tower.
The tower is home to the oldest working astronomical observatory in Europe. There is a spiral walkway that takes you all the way to the top where the observatory is.
From there, you can get sweeping, 360 degree views of the city. It cost 25dkk (about $4) for entry.
About half way up the spiral, you can take a break and check out the Library Hall which holds rotating art exhibitions. There are also bathrooms on this level, as well as at the Bell Loft level.
Next stop on our list was Meyer’s Bageri. There are several locations in Copenhagen to fulfill all of your Danish pastry needs. And need them you do. They seem to be known for their kanelsnurre (cinnamon bun), but the cinnamon bread, which we couldn’t pass up, stole the show.
This stayed soft and insanely delicious for days. Even once we were in France, Butters kept reaching for a hunk of this to nuke for a few seconds and quickly inhale the evidence.
We took our delectable pastries down to colorful Nyhavn to snack while perched on the edge of the canal. Nyhavn (New Harbor) is an old commercial port which has been renovated into a picturesque gathering place full of restaurants.
Nyhavn was alive with people. Even in October, the pier was packed with other picnickers seeking out prime real estate for watching the boats come and go from the harbor.In addition to the restaurants, which have a reputation for being more expensive than they are tasty, Nyhavn is host to several events throughout the year.
The jazz festival, and Christmas Market look particularly intriguing!
After strolling for a bit along the water front, we made our way to Christiania. We spotted the tower of the Church of Our Savior on the way, which we decided to stop and check out.
Unfortunately, they closed just minutes before we walked up. Bummer. On to Christiania!
Freetown Christiania is a free society in the center of the city. It has a long, controversial, history. It partially feels like a commune, and partially like a large art exhibition. Not like the fancy gallery kind… more like the, “I quit my bullshit job to grow my own food and make drug induced public art kind.”
They make their own rules, which are posted on signs, and should be abided.
Two to know in advance are:
No outside vehicles allowed… strap on your walking shoes!
No photos or videos allowed on Pusher Street.
Yes, there is an entire street, and then some, dedicated to the buying and selling of cannabis.
Did we mention this might not be the place for your family vacation? Then again, who are we to judge? If you like to partake, you will have plenty of company and ample seating to smoke the day away.
Phew! What a day! We had to catch our flight to Geneva that evening. So, on the way back to the hotel, we stopped and picked up a huge sandwich (for about $8) at Smagsløget to share at the airport. It was delicious, and a steal for the amount of sandwich-y goodness per dollar spent. We get all the deals.
Copenhagen can be quite expensive. Plan in advance, and you will find there are a lot of free or low-cost attractions.
Eating out is pricey. If you want a sit down meal, take advantage of the posted menus and make sure you know what you are in for before you ask for a table. There are many bakeries and to go places that have excellent food at a good price, perfect for a picnic.
Use public transit or rent a bicycle to get around like a local.
If you are a night owl, you are in luck! Unlike many European towns, Copenhagen is stays awake late! Except for Sundays…
Here are a couple of sites with tons of information for your trip:
Visit Denmark : Everything you could want to know about visiting Denmark, with detailed sub-categories such as “Free Museums” and “Average prices.” We like the way they think.
Visit Copenhagen : Same as above, but entirely catered to Copenhagen