After a surprisingly not terrible $250 flight on Norwegian Air Shuttle, I arrived in Copenhagen.
I was cautiously excited for my first time in Copenhagen. My only other Scandinavian experience was back in 2006 when I went to Stockholm with my family as they tried to convince me to move there. As much as I love Abba, Sweden was not for me and I assumed Copenhagen would be pretty similar, but I was pleasantly surprised.
This trip to Copenhagen was also my first Airbnb experience, when ended up being great. We stayed in a lovely flat in the Norrebro area and it was very helpful to have locals available to help plan out the day.
It turned out that Norrebro was also a very convenient place to stay. The stuff near by was more local and less “touristy” which was nice, but it was also walkable to all the tourist attractions.
Although, everything seemed walkable from everywhere. Aside from the cab ride from the airport, I didn’t need to use any of the public transport while I was there. It did mean a lot of walking, but I prefer to see the city by foot. At least, I hope that’s the reason and not just that I embarrassed myself trying to pronounce “Faelledvej” to the cab driver and then didn’t bother attempting it again.
After getting to Copenhagen an settling in a bit, the rest of the day was primarily spent just wandering around getting my barrings and taking in the scenery. I was very comfortable all over Copenhagen (except for the fact that everyone there looks like they stepped out of an Abercrombie catalog). I read in a guidebook later that where I was staying in Norrebro was probably the “least safe” area of town. The book made sure to use the term “least safe” as opposed to “most dangerous” because everywhere in Copenhagen seems to be very safe and clean.
One thing I loved immediately about Copenhagen was there attitude towards outside drinking. It was not unusual at all the have a drink while you walk around town, or grab a few beers and sit on a park bench. in fact, I passed several people of all ages and creeds openly drinking wine from the bottle as they went about their business. These are my people.
Here in the Land Of The Free that’s an activity that’s primarily confined to hobos, or at least concealed by a paper bag or water bottle full of vodka.
The first night there I also got to witness the (almost) midnight sun. This photo was taken around 11pm.
This was a phenomenon that I had read about and prepared for, but enjoyed way less than I thought.
It was just always sunny! I live in Florida. I love the sun. I thought this would be great. In actuality, I just never knew what time it was. It made it very difficult to adjust to the time difference and made jet lag that much worse. Not to mention that for a a country that gets 18+ sunlight hours every day for part of the year, they really don’t have curtains figured out.
The first full day in Copenhagen started with a walk towards the attractions, beer in hand,
with a few requisite stops for silly photos. Other languages are ridiculous.
Farts and sluts everywhere!
CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR
I did see a few more cultural sights as well, including the Church of Our Saviour, a baroque church built in 1695, who’s million-stair spire offers spectacular views of the city, in addition to making me feel super out of shape.
I was told I couldn’t visit Copenhagen without seeing Christiana, a “freetown” / hippie commune, where absolutely no photos are allowed even though they’re totally “not selling pot.”
and the most touristy attraction yet,
There are many canal tours offered and they’re a great way to see a lot of the city with only a little bit of time. Most of them are very reasonably priced, about $7-10 per person and leave out of Nyhavn (pictured above). It was a good way to take note of different attractions in the city to come back to later.
Perhaps best of all was the view of the tourist fan fare around this little mermaid statue from behind.
The next morning my airbnb host gave me a few suggestions of where to go. It was supposed to be a warm (for Denmark) sunny day, so he offered many outdoor options. The top suggestion was to take a blanket and case of beer and drink outside in one of the many parks around the city, which is just what I did after a quick stop for some Danish pastries.
It seemed the boozy picnic was an idea that everyone else in the city also had, which leads me to believe that warmish sunny days are pretty hard to come by.
As you can see, everyone there has a bike. Really, everyone, 80 year old grandmas, businessmen in suits, children, ladies in tight dresses and high heels, everyone. There are lots of places around town to rent bikes if you want to experience the city like a local.
After having an adorable, and aptly themed beer in the park,
I left to check out some of the sights I didn’t get to the day before.
The Kastellet, despite it’s name, is more a fort than a castle. I found this out after circling the Kastellet 3 or 4 times wondering where it is. It’s a very nice walk though, with some picturesque views.
While the building itself may be unimpressive, the host told me a fun (and totally unsubstantiated) story about an impending conflict between Denmark and Sweden. The Danish Royals invited the Swedish Royals to the Kastellet and held a military parade in their honor. Because of it’s circular shape, the Dane’s were able to parade the same army in front of the Swedish Royals over and over and over again for 3 hours, after which, thinking the army much bigger than it was, the Swedes decided it was a better idea not to attack Denmark. Like I said, the story is unsubstantiated, but the legend is fun!
THE LITTLE MERMAID STATUE
Of course, no trip to Copenhagen is complete without a visit to the notoriously underwhelming Little Mermaid Statue.
This was not as crowded as I was lead to believe. Of course, I live near Disney World, so my definition of crowded could be a little different than others, but I had no problem getting a photo without too much wait or hassle.
Frederik’s Church is quite noticeable around town, especially from the palace. The gold leaf and enormous dome make it unmistakable.
It’s open to the public with guided tours available throughout the day. I chose to show myself around without a guide. The inside of the church is truly stunning.
After leaving the church and reading in a guide book that the National Museum of Denmark was free on Wednesdays, I decided to check it out for the last hour or so before closing, and also decided to not tell the airbnb host who seemed pretty insistent that I not spend even a moment indoors on a sunny day.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF DENMARK
Once there, I realized that the museum was in fact free everyday, not just Wednesdays. Free museums is one of my favorite things about Europe. That and the amount of things they let you touch and take pictures of in museums, way less up-tight than their American counterparts, and with way older and more impressive stuff. Take note America.
The inside of the museum houses historical artifacts from Danish pre-history, Vikings, and a collection of Egyptian antiquities. You can’t beat the price and there is plenty to see here. They don’t allow large bags, but provide lockers and everyone on the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful.
Amalienborg is the Winter home of the Danish Royals. A large courtyard surrounds four identical homes that house various members of the royal family. I was lucky enough to stumble by during the changing of the guard.
I felt like I packed a lot into the 3 days I had in Copenhagen and I saw most of the city. Copenhagen made a very good impression. I often found myself thinking that I could live there, until I remembered that Winter exists.