Travel Guide to COPENHAGEN
Besides being the capital, the biggest city, and the seat of the monarchy of Denmark, Copenhagen “merchant harbor” is said to be the trendiest and liveliest city in Scandinavia… Some might even go so far as to call it the de-facto fun capital of Scandinavia and you can easily see why. While being somewhat intimate and easy to navigate even on foot, the vibrant young feel is very palpable here and I was even lucky enough to be there during ‘Distortion’, a massive yearly electronic party in the streets of the city. A weekend destination for many Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish people, most of whom would openly admit that this city is way cooler than theirs and that it’s the place to be.
But that’s just one side of the story, since CPH also packs quite a mean historical punch as well. The problem is that most of medieval Copenhagen’s structures and houses were made out of wood and there was no shortage of enemies back in the day. An explosive mixture (literally) that led to the city being burned to the ground and rebuilt many times over the years until it finally settled on its final version during the 17 and 18 hundreds.
But what really makes this city stand out are the Danes themselves. A fun, loving, friendly bunch (by Nordic standards of course) that works hard and plays even harder. They would never miss spending a precious sunny day swimming in the city canals or laying topless on the grass in one of the city parks.
In terms of cost the city itself, being the region’s tourist magnet, isn’t cheap at all, but you can still manage to find good deals on food, beer and drinks in any of the major supermarkets and local liquor stores. On the other hand, you’ll be saving quite a bit on taxis and public transportation since most of the city is within walking distance.
Things to do and see
Stroll down Europe’s oldest and longest pedestrian street, Strøget which is 1.1 kilometers long, and dotted all along with souvenir shops, restaurants, bars and money exchange offices. Basically anything and everything a tourist might need.
If you feel you wanna look at the city from a different angle, then I definitely recommend a tour on one of the small boats docked near the waterfront “Nyhavn” for a beautiful short journey through the city’s clean and scenic canals.
Spend the afternoon chilling in Nyhavn which was originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock. Today the beautiful old houses have been renovated, and classy restaurants dominate the old port that is filled with people enjoying the relaxed atmosphere by the canal, with jazz music and great food and drinks.
Experience the Freetown of Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood of Copenhagen which was established in 1971 by hippies who occupied some abandoned military barracks and created their own set of rules, completely independent of the Danish government. It’s also proclaimed as a ‘green zone’ which basically means its weed friendly.
The Historical Museum, The national history museum has many exhibits relating to Danish history and Viking way of life. It’s an excellent place to brush up on local history and culture. And best of all…entrance is Free!
The parliament building and Christiansborg Palace. In this complex you can go either up or down and either way there’s something to see. Below the palace you’ll find the ruins of Bishop Absalon’s (the founder of Copenhagen) medieval castle, which is quite something if you’re into history. Alternatively you can take an elevator up the parliament building tower for a 360 view of the city (admittance free)
The Staten Museum for Kunst (or the national gallery). If like me, you’re into classical art then this is a great place to spend several hours admiring an extensive art collection from the great ones like Rembrandt, Picasso, and Dali.
Recommended things to do
Copenhagen Fairy Tales: A fun 2 hour tour of the city guided by young locals, which takes you around the main sites of the city center while listening to some entertaining stories.
Recommended places for drinks
Curfew Cocktail Bar: Curfew takes after the infamous Prohibition-era speakeasies. Meet Humberto and Antonio at the bar who will dazzle you with a dizzying variety of exquisite cocktails, all carefully crafted with the freshest hand-squeezed herbs, spices and fruits.
Vinhanen Wine Bar: Cool little place with a laid back atmosphere, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and in a great part of town outside the main touristic area. The idea here is to keep prices low and the vibe easy-going, while still serving a great product. Besides wine, you can enjoy small dishes and nibbles at the bar.
Recommended places to eat
Kjobenhavn: Wonderful Culinary Experience: Authentic Danish gourmet food at affordable prices in a cozy setting, and a carefully crafted menu that rotates every month. An Outstanding and hospitable team will serve you, from the passionate knowledgeable floor waiters to the meticulous chef. Enjoy the large selection of wines and a superb set menu to satisfy all tastes!
Recommended places to stay
Urban House Copenhagen: Centrally located a few meters from the central station, a trendy setting, self-automated check-in process, cool bar with live entertainment, friendly young staff, large kitchen facility, outdoor patio, and a comfi TV room.
Annex Copenhagen: Set in a Neo-Classical building, this cozy and trendy hotel is perfectly located close to the Tivoli gardens, the town hall, and the central station. It offers brightly colored rooms and an amazing buffet breakfast. But best of all the crew is super helpful, and always ready to assist with a smile on.