Copenhagen is often regarded as a popular city destination in both the winter and summer months. I was in the process of weighing up options for my end of year trip, and decided on Scandinavia for the location, so included Copenhagen into my plans. I had four days in the capital and plenty on my hit list.
Once I'd decided on Scandinavia as the location for my end of year trip, Copenhagen was an obvious choice, as I've never heard anyone say a bad word about the place. Even the welcome sign in the airport put a smile on my face. Denmark is regarded as one of the happiest nations on earth, and also one of the greenest. The country has a goal of becoming co2 neutral by 2020.
Where to stay?
One thing I was assured by with Denmark, was to make sure my wallet was armed with plenty of wealth, as the country is certainly not a cheap one to visit. After research, I decided on Copenhagen Downtown Hostel for my accommodation. Turned out to be a top choice, as the hostel was fantastic. A perfect base to explore the city, a large social area, helpful staff, along with a selection of both private and shared rooms.
What's the best way to explore?
Without a doubt, the best way to explore the city is by renting a bicycle. These are available everywhere across the city, and cost around $4 an hour. The technology associated with this mode of transport is very advanced. Each bicycle is fitted with a touch screen monitor. You simply register as a user, link your credit card, and off you go. The built in GPS provides ease of access to take you between each tourist attraction the city has to offer. The bicycles are available to use 24 hours a day and just need to be returned to any of the rental stations when you're finished.
Copenhagen is the cycling capital of the world. Rush hour sees 52% of the population commute by bicycle, via the 454km of cycle path spread across the city. A quirky fact... the city of Copenhagen has more bicycles than inhabitants.
What are the must do's?
Tivoli Gardens - A famous amusement park in the city centre that opened in 1843. Based on gate receipts, Tivoli is the second-most popular seasonal theme park in the world. A gentleman by the name of Walt Disney once visited the park, which inspired him to open his own theme park, and we all know what happened next. I'd definitely recommend visiting at night!
Christiania - Formerly an army barracks, and now a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood consisting of approximately 850 residents. The neighbourhood spans 34 hectares and has caused ongoing controversy ever since it's opening in 1971. The objective of Christiania is to create a self-governing society whereby each and every individual holds themselves responsible over the wellbeing of the entire community. I felt completely safe while exploring, even if I did struggle to abide by the 'no photography' ruling. The hippie hangout now attracts over 500,000 tourists annually.
Lego Store - No trip to Denmark is complete without a visit to one of the many Lego stores. After all, Lego was founded in the city of Billund back in 1934. Lego derives from two Danish phrase leg godt, which means "play well". The perfect opportunity to re-live your childhood, and find out about the history of Lego from the friendly staff.
The Little Mermaid - A bronze statue depicting a mermaid, that's displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade. The statue is a Copenhagen icon and attracts over 1 million visitors a year, although it's often ranked as one of the most "overrated tourist attractions" globally. To be honest, it's not overly impressive, but when in Copenhagen...
Nyhavn - A 17th-century waterfront, canal, and entertainment district in the city of Copenhagen. It's lined with 17th-century townhouses, bars, cafes, and restaurants. The canal is the gateway from the sea into the old inner city, and also the home to many historical wooden ships. The history of the area was notorious for beer, sailors, and prostitution. Be sure not to miss a walk along this area at both daytime and nighttime.
Church of Our Saviour - A baroque church in the city, which has a helix spire, and an external winding staircase to reach the top. There's impressive views of the city in every direction, including the Oresund Bridge on a clear day.
Michelin Star Dining - If you're a huge foodie like me, you'll be amazed by the classy dining options in Copenhagen. There's a monstrous 22 restaurants in the city that hold Michelin stars, with some holding more than one. Geranium tops the list, holding 3 stars. Shortly behind, you have Noma (2 stars), which is perhaps the most highly regarded, having won the title of 'best restaurant in the world' on more than one occasion. The restaurant I decided to check out was AOC (2 stars), and I wasn't disappointed. The aim of AOC is to give you the ultimate sensory experience, by stimulating as many senses as possible - sight, smell, sound, and taste. I chose the 10 course package, and yes, it was expensive!
How's the city on the bank balance?
It's definitely not a cheap city to explore, which could explain the cheap air fair to get there. I picked up a return flight from London for under $75. The entrance fees to tourist attractions are no more expensive than any other capital city. You can get a private en suite room at Copenhagen Downtown hostel for around £60 pppn over the weekend, and even cheaper midweek.
I'd say one of the most expensive costs, besides Michelin star dining, was Tivoli Gardens. As with most amusement parks, you can soon splash the cash before you know it. Be sure to check out the wrist band options available in order to get maximum value. Whereas the best value experience in the city is definitely the bicycle rental, so go and explore!
Copenhagen is a worthy addition to the bucket list. I feel the city would be enjoyed, regardless of the time of year. If you go in December, you have the added bonus of the Christmas market. The city could easily be used as a starting point for a Scandinavian tour, as has easy access to Sweden via road, rail, and air.