72 Hours in: COPENHAGEN

Welcome to my first travel guide. Back in my flying days we’d have called this a ‘Euro tour’ as we went to three countries in the same trip, although we had a lot longer in each place than I would have at BA.

I found flights for £140 per person travelling Bristol – Copenhagen – Stockholm – Dublin – Bristol on Kiwi.com and for that price we couldn’t not go!

We LOVED Copenhagen. Out of the three cities we visited in this trip, Copenhagen was both of our favourite. We felt really safe there, there was loads to do, all the food we had was great and it was small enough to walk everywhere. This post is pretty much a list of what we did and what I thought of it. I’ve rated everything out of ten so you don’t even need to read my comments if you don’t want to! Of course everyone’s interests are different; the world would be a very boring place if they weren’t, so please don’t take my ratings to heart; It’s just my quick way to sum up my experiences!

My top tip for Copenhagen is to buy a Copenhagen Card at the airport as soon as you arrive. This covers your train into the city along with pretty much every attraction in and around Copenhagen, as well as train, metro and bus tickets.

I’ve split the rest of this post into four sections – ‘how we got there’, ‘what we did’, ‘where we stayed’ and ‘where we ate’ to make it easier to navigate.


How We Got There

We flew to Copenhagen Airport from Bristol which took about 1hr 40mins. We immediately purchased our Copenhagen Card from the Information counter in between Terminal 2 and 3. The Copenhagen Card covers all the public transport in the Copenhagen area, which meant that we could get the train into the city centre free of charge. The airport train station is right below the airport and trains run about every 15 minutes. The train to Copenhagen Central Station took 15 minutes. Our hotel (see below) was two blocks from the station so we walked there in about 5 minutes!

What We Did

Entry for everywhere we visited was covered by the Copenhagen Card, we didn’t pay for anything else other than food and drink. Public transport was covered by the Copenhagen Card but we walked everywhere (apart from Roskilde) as the weather was lovely the whole time and the city centre area is pretty small.

Check opening hours before you make plans, as many attractions are closed on Mondays.

Amalienborg and Frederiks Kirke (The Marble Church)

Amalienborg is the current home of the Danish Royal family. It consists of four identical palaces set around a large courtyard. One of the palaces is open to the public. A few rooms are left as they were when they were used by the royal family and there is written information that helps you understand a bit about who they are and the family tree – it turns out that most royal families in Europe are related to the Danish royals! The current queen is really into making costumes and scenery for the ballet and pantomimes and so there is an exhibition of costumes and sets that she has designed. The museum is quite small and without the Copenhagen Card entry costs around £11 per person. I wouldn’t say that it’s worth the money unless you’re particularly interested in the Danish royal family.

The Marble church is part of the Amalienborg complex but is free for anyone to visit.

Visitors must remain silent so it has a really peaceful atmosphere. At the time of our visit it was decorated with faux cherry blossoms and looked gorgeous.

My score: Amalienborg 7/10
Marble church 8/10
Canal Tours Copenhagen

This is the first thing we did when we arrived and I’m really glad we did. It was a great tour which went around the main islands of the city. It was educational but not too much so and it gave us a great base from which to decide what we wanted to explore in more detail. The tour started from Nyhavn which is the oldest part of the city, built by Swedish prisoners of war in the 17th century. The tour takes about an hour.

My score: 10/10
Christiansborg Palace

There are a number of different buildings in the Christiansborg palace complex including the Danish parliament and the Supreme Court of Denmark, as well as a library, palace kitchens and stables. We didn’t visit the main parliament building as we would have had to join a guided tour and we were a bit pushed for time. The ticketed parts that we visited were the castle ruins beneath the palace and the Royal Arsenal (more on that later). The ruins were really interesting, but because there were two castles and then three palaces built on top of each other, the the exhibition did get a little confusing at times.

We also climbed the tower which was free to do. They only allow 40 people up at a time and there is a security checkpoint to go through before you go up there. We only waited about five minutes in the queue and another five minutes for the lift so it’s definitely worth doing if you have good weather. You get 360° views of the whole of Copenhagen and there are handy signs so you know what you are looking at. Just below the top viewing area of the tower there is a ‘secret’ room where some plaster casts of the statues from the outside of the tower were found when the tower was being renovated.

My score : 8/10
Church of Our Saviour

This church is famous for having a spire with a spiral staircase on the outside. I’m not a fan of heights but as soon as I saw this during our canal tour I knew I had to climb it! The Church Of Our Saviour is on the pretty island of Christianshavn to the south-east of the city.

When we arrived, the queue to climb the tower was looong, as they only allow a certain number of people up it at a time. We must have queued for about half an hour.

It was a one-in-one-out situation, so once we were actually allowed up it didn’t get busy. The first part of the climb is under cover and it is just the 150 stairs that are outside. The views are fab and it’s not too scary as the tower feels really stable (which shouldn’t really have come as a surprise!) We also didn’t have any wind which probably helped! There isn’t a viewing platform at the top and the steps just get gradually narrower until you can’t climb any more and then you have to somehow turn around and come down… which is a bit leg wobbling! We spent a lot of our time in Copenhagen up various towers but it was good to see the city from different angles!

We went to the church for the tower, but ended up being almost as impressed by the actual church underneath. There is an amazing ‘carillion’ organ supported by elephants which is apparently the largest in North Europe.

My score: 9/10
Tivoli Gardens

This is a theme park right next to Copenhagen Central Station. The food court is free to visit and park entry is included on the Copenhagen Card, but rides are extra. you can buy an unlimited ride pass for 350dkr (£40) or pay for rides individually, but they cost about £10 each if you do that! We didn’t go in any rides because we are tight and didn’t want to spend the extra pennies, but queues didn’t seem that long compared to Alton Towers etc!

We went in October so the park was decorated for Halloween with thousands of pumpkins which looked amazing but I couldn’t help think about how much waste would be created by the end of the month. I’ve marked it down because of the high price to go on the rides.

My score: 6/10
The Rundetaarn (Round tower)

The Rundetaarn is a 17th-century tower in the centre of Copenhagen, Which was built as an astronomical observatory. It is famous for having a spiral slope instead of stairs leading up to the top. This was so that horse and carts could go up and down. The top is open and has signs pointing out the main sights. because it’s central you get good views of most of the city. There’s no limit to the number of visitors so I imagine it can get very busy at the top but it wasn’t too bad when we were there.

My score: 8/10
The Royal Arsenal

This is a massive building and the entire ground floor is filled with rows and rows of cannons! Not my thing but it was impressive nonetheless. There was also a small exhibition set out as if you were in Afghanistan which I enjoyed. The upstairs contains models of ships, uniforms and weapons as well as exhibits that discuss key battles and moments in Denmark’s naval history from the past 400 years. I found it hard to follow at times, not being familiar with Danish history but they had some interesting artefacts and i’d imagine it is amazing if naval history floats your boat.

My score: 8/10
The Little Mermaid Statue

The Little Mermaid is a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen depicting the mermaid from the Hans Christian Andersen story. She is a Copenhagen icon and a major tourist attraction. We wouldn’t have made a special trip to see the statue as we had already seen her backside from the Canal Tour but we had walked via Amalienborg and Kastellet to this end of town so popped over to have a look from the front. It was fairly busy but not so much that you couldn’t see the statue. it was quite nice but just a small statue. Like I said I wouldn’t make a special trip to see it – unless you are particularly into Hans Christian Andersen or the sculptor.

My score: 7/10
Visit Carlsberg

I don’t like beer so wasn’t sure about visiting a museum entirely devoted to it but I actually found this really interesting!

We visited on the way back from Roskilde – you can get off the train one stop early at Valby and it’s about a 10 minute walk from there.

You can also get a free shuttle bus from town. The Carlsberg area of town is massive and is undergoing a complete redevelopment at the moment so isn’t as easy to navigate as it may look on a map. if you are lucky you may be able to find the famous arch that is supported by two stone elephants.

The main ‘Visit Carlsberg’ attraction is the ‘Copenhagen Exbeerience’ set in the old Carlsberg brewery. The first exhibit you will find is the worlds largest collection of unopened beer bottles.

This attraction is based In the old Carlsberg brewery so you can see where all of the brewing process used to take place as well as learning about the history of beer and the family who first produced it. I found the museum interesting although we wizzed around it at a fair pace. My favourite part was meeting the ‘famous’ Carlsberg horses!

They do free horse and cart rides around the area but only a couple of times a day. For 80dkr (about £10) extra you can have a beer tasting session. We didn’t do that, but there was a free beer or soft drink included with the ticket anyway and you can choose from a couple of different Carlsberg beers.

My score: 8/10

Walking around Copenhagen

We didn’t just visit the places I have mentioned above. We walked everywhere so didn’t have time to visit every attraction. Here are some of the other places we saw on our travels.

Christianshavn – canals and houseboats

Frederiksberg Palace and Park

Rosenberg Slot (castle) and around

Roskilde

To get to Roskilde you take a train from the main station in Copenhagen. this is included in the Copenhagen Card and takes about half an hour. Roskilde is a cute little town and it is an easy walk from the station to the main attractions. We spent half a day here but you could easily spend a full day.

Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I’ve been to cathedrals all over the word (because they are usually free!) but haven’t been to any quite like Roskilde because of the massive number of royal tombs here.

Nearly all of the kings and queens of Denmark have been buried here for the past 1000 years.

The present queen will be buried here and her cut-glass tomb has already been built, although it won’t go on display until the she passes away. The cathedral is built from brick and is very impressive from both the outside and inside. It is easy to forget how old it is when looking at it as the design is quite clean and modern looking – I suppose that is traditional Scandinavian style! There was some weird avant garde music playing when we were there with a man on the organ and a woman seemingly singing to a completely different tune. I don’t know if it was deliberate or if they just needed more practice!

My score: 8/10
Viking Ship Museum

The Viking ship museum is about a 5-10 minute walk down a tree lined path from Roskilde Cathedral. There are a large number of reproduction boats outside, along with boat building and Viking life demonstrations. If you are interested in boats or woodworking it’s definitely for you! We aren’t, so we spent about ten minutes looking around outside and then headed inside to view the Viking boats that were found in the fjord next to the museum. The boats were scuttled to block the harbor entrance and have now been re assembled to show the size and construction methods used in those days. There are a few displays of actual and replica Viking tools, weapons and clothing. In the summer you can do an hour long boat trip on the fjord in a reconstructed Viking boat.

I didn’t find the museum that fascinating if I’m honest – I think it would be good if you have kids and/or an interest in boats and Viking history. My favourite part was the view from the museum building!

My score: 7/10

Where We Stayed

Hotel Axel Guldsmeden Colbjørnsensgade 14, 1652 København V, Denmark guldsmedenhotels.com

Denmark is expensive. You are looking at around £100 per night for any decent hotel room. With that in mind I felt that a 4* hotel would be much better value than a 3* hotel that cost maybe £10 a night less.

We stayed at Axel Guldsmeden 4* hotel which is perfectly located between the main train station (with direct trains to the airport) and the bars and restaurants of the Meatpacking District.

The decor isn’t traditionally Scandinavian – the look is much more maximalist than minimalist, with leather Chesterfields, Persian rugs and taxidermy animal heads in the cozy, dark reception area. There are just over 200 rooms spread over two buildings set around a central courtyard filled with plants, sofas and Bali-esque stone statues.

Despite the large number of rooms, there were never more than a few people in the communal areas at any one time.

I loved everything about the decor, especially this crittal garden room that was just off the breakfast area.

Stepping into our hotel room felt like being transported to Bali. All of the rooms feature wooden four-poster beds with parquet floors and more of the boho style Persian rugs. The (very small) bathrooms have free standing units with carved stone basins and bamboo towel racks.

Some rooms have balconies overlooking the courtyard, but we looked out to the street. Despite the outlook into a main road in the centre of town it was surprisingly quiet. In fact, apart from one morning when we were woken up by a man screaming because he had been pepper sprayed by a load of policemen right outside our window, I don’t think I heard a single shout or raised voice the whole time we were in Copenhagen!

The Guldsmeden chain is committed to being eco-friendly and all of their hotels are Green Globe certified. This meant bamboo toothbrushes, recycled toilet paper and eco toiletries in the room. There was a paper laundry bag which I really appreciated because even though we didn’t get any laundry done, I always tend to take the bag to keep my dirties in and I felt slightly less guilty using a paper bag than yet another plastic bag. They also provided empty water bottles made from 100% recycled plastic to fill up yourself from the tap, which was a nice touch.

Breakfast was 225 DKK per person, half price for children 5 – 12 yrs, children under 5 are free. We opted out as it was way too expensive for us but this is what the hotel’s ‘digital guestbook’ said about it:

“The breakfast is completely organic, and the variation and possibilities are endless. A great selection of breads and croissants, fresh boiled and scrambled eggs, the best crispy bacon, Danish ham and salamis, mounds of fresh cheeses and butter, bowls of sliced fruit and platters of the best cakes, chock-full of nuts, dried fruit and honey followed by our absolutely mandatory homemade special yoghurts topped with homemade brown- bread cereal, acacia honey and almonds”

There is also an organic restaurant and bar on site for lunch and dinner.

Pros :
  • Great Location
  • Stylish decor
  • Free tea and coffee all day
  • Free WiFi
  • Eco friendly
  • 12pm check out
  • Onsite gym and spa
  • Bike rental
Cons:
  • Not super clean
  • Small room and tiny bathroom
  • No air con and very hot room!

My score:

Location 10/10
Rooms 9/10
Decor 10/10
Cleanliness 6/10
Staff 9/10
Value 8/10

Overall score 9/10


Where We Ate

Cocks and Cows

We ate here because the Copenhagen Card offered 20% off the bill. It is a chain with a number of convenient locations. We visited the branch at Gamla Stan. The staff were friendly and the burgers were good with a couple of veggie options. Portions are large. Chips etc are extra.

My score 8/10
Neighbourhood

I had pinned this place on my Google Map before we even left for Copenhagen and it didn’t disappoint. They do organic pizzas and salads and a range of craft beers and cocktails. The pizzas here are NOT traditional so if you’re a purist I wouldn’t recommend it… they had a vegan option and two veggie options and I went for the ‘mushroom blues’ – mushrooms, blue cheese and pickled onions which was delicious. Lewis had the ‘pork n’salsa’ which he said was the best pizza he’s ever had. Can’t argue with that! I’ve only given this a 9/10 instead of 10/10 because it’s fairly pricey.

My score: 9/10
Restaurant Hyggestund

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so when I spotted this all day breakfast restaurant near to our hotel I couldn’t wait try it. It is owned by Mikeller who have a few unique restaurants throughout the city. We were one of only a couple of customers in there. Presumably it is busier on the weekend. I always pick avocado toast if I see it on a menu, so I’ve had a few in my time, but this was honestly the best. Perfectly seasoned and with loads of the tastiest cherry tomatoes I’ve ever had! I had it with a fried egg. Amazing. Lewis had a breakfast burger which he loved and the filter coffee was also delicious. I also loved the simple Scandi decor.

My score:10/10
Tivoli food court

This was right by our hotel so we went here twice – for lunch on our first day and for breakfast another day. It’s a posh food court with about 15 different kiosks ranging from burgers to tacos to smorrebrod and of course Danish pastries. We ate at Glo which sells healthy wraps and salads, and at a little coffee and pastry kiosk where we had – of course – Danish pastries! It’s quite expensive for what it is.

My score: 7/10
Veggie Heroes

We spotted this when we went for breakfast at Restaurant Hyggestund. It is an all vegan Indian buffet. Most of the curries used mock meat. It there was also a dal and a chickpea curry. The curries were nice but not that hot (in temperature or spice). They also had a salad bar and some chapatis and popadums. I wasn’t that impressed by the curries but then I have lived in India so maybe I’m used to more spice! Lewis really liked it despite the fact it was all vegan.

7/10
Halifax Vesterbrogade

Part of a small chain of burger restaurants. You choose your ‘destination’ (toppings) first, then your bun and then your patty. There are 3 veggie patties including one vegan one. Lots of options and big portions but chips etc. and dips are extra. Both of our burgers were delicious.

My score: 9/10
RizRaz

This place was along a road full of restaurants, all with very similar menus. The downstairs was very dated with dark Formica counters but it was being updated. We sat upstairs where they had already redecorated and I loved the decor – loads of hanging plants and wooden fixtures.

They offered a ‘green buffet’ including salad, falafel etc but we both went for a veggie burger! My third of the trip! It was nice and came with fries and a dip. I’ve deducted a point because that was the only veggie option on the menu.

7/10
This entry was posted in English. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.