My Scandinavian trip earlier this year ended with an overnight stay in Copenhagen. Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark and borders Sweden, Norway and Germany. Here are the places we manage to cover within our 1 day time span in the city.
We arrived in Copenhagen via a 5.5 hours train ride from Stockholm at the earliest schedule of the day in time to reach around noon at the Central Station. Central Station has great connection to most places you’d want to go to see Copenhagen. Weather was lightly drizzling and foggy at the time so there wasn’t much visibility of the skyline. It would probably be a much better visit in seasons other than winter. As soon as we arrive, we can tell Copenhagen is bicycle friendly as the streets have dedicated bicycle lanes as well as bicycles are abundantly parked around major points in the city.
From the Central Station, we headed to our accomodation to leave our bags and start discovering the city. A recommended stay was the Cabinn City hotel. The rooms are affordable with a lot of amenities provided. We actually had a room with a bunk bed and under bed so it could’ve fitted 3 people at one time. It’s compact but just enough space that we needed. Location was fantastic as it is only 10 minutes away from the Central Station and a block away from Tivoli Gardens.
After we had dinner at a restaurant near the Central Station, it’s time to start exploring. Since it was winter and drizzling, we opted to go around the city by train. Navigating the metro train network in Copenhagen is not quite easy. All sorts of trains seems to run parallel within the Central Station and the metro train that makes stops to attractions are called the S-Tog trains. So at intersecting stations elsewhere, keep an eye out for S-Tog train platforms as well or you’ll get confused. I hope to write a more detailed experience on this is an upcoming post. I think it deserves more explanation.
Our first visit is the Little Mermaid statue (known as Den Lille Havfrue in Danish) over in Langelinie. From Central Station, we ride the S-Tog northeast to Osterport. From there we walked east following signs towards the statue. At times, the rain got heavier and the air got colder but we pulled through the 20 minutes walk to the Langelinie promenade. There weren’t many people around so we did manage to get some one on one time with the famous statue celebrating the work of well known author Hans Christian Andersen. You always see it in photos but having to see it with your very own eyes gives a sense of accomplishment and excitement. I’ve arrived at the fairy tale city.
We passed by Kastellet on our way to the Little Mermaid statue, so on our way back we thought of making a visit to this area. The unique star shaped island is a military base that was once used as a fort. You can imagine yourself as an officer guarding your post from atop the border of the Kastellet as you stand at one of the star’s edges looking down below for any enemies crossing over the water. Or at least I did. This would make a great jogging track as well as the area is huge. There’s even a windmill and a church around the complex.
After checking in our hotel room, we headed back out to see the rest of the city. A free and great place for a viewpoint of Copenhagen is at the Tarnet at Christianborg Palace. Just a bus ride away, we head into the center hall at the palace and queued up to go up the Tarnet tower. There was only 1 other person before us so it was definitely a quick ride up to the observation deck. There you can get a 360 degreee view of Copenhagen from where you are. The fog didn’t give us quite the distance of a view but it still gave us quite an amazing view. The Tarnet itself was previously used as a storage facility for a lot of the palace’s sculptures and you can see it being detailed on you way up. There’s also a restaurant if you’re hungry.
From Christiansborg Palace, the rest of the journey involves just walking to the other hotspots. We head northeast towards Nyhavn passing by a few landmarks including the Theatre and public square, Kongens Nytorv. The Memorial Anchor greets you as you arrive at Nyhavn. Nyhavn or New Haven is an area centered around a canal that is filled with restaurants and pubs. The colorful buildings and boats docked along the canal even gives it a great photo opportunity. We arrived at night so it didn’t look as colorful compared to when you are there in the day but the place is still brightly lit up.
From Nyhavn, after a quick coffee break, we head towards Stroget. Stroget is a long pedestrian street that serves also as the shopping street in Copenhagen. We walked all the way from Kongens Nytorv towards the other end of Stroget near Central Station. Along the way you can find a lot of shops to buy souvenirs or anything else you are looking for to spend your Danish Kroners on. We stopped by a Lego store and just realized Lego is actually from Denmark. It had a Pick and Build area where you can buy bricks to the color of your liking in a bucket. We also stopped by Hard Rock Cafe near the end of Stroget for me to buy a HRC shot glass. The city hall sits at the other end of Stroget and a statue of Hans Christian Andersen sits overlooking an entrance to Tivoli Gardens. Tivoli Gardens was unfortunately closed for the season until spring so we didn’t get to go inside. Since we had time before the night ended, we just roamed the streets looking for more interesting places to visit.
The next day, we made a stop to Torvehallerne, which is a closed market selling both fresh foods and prepared food. We had a bit of breakfast in one of the French pastry shop inside and got to look at another shop selling Smorrebrod, which is like these mini open sandwiches that Scandinavian countries often serve and eat. Unfortunately, it was still too early for the shop to open so we couldn’t give it a try. From Torvehallerne, we walked back to Stroget to do some last minute souvenir shopping. We happen to come across Rundetaarn, which is one of the oldest observatory decks in Copenhagen where climbing requires you go up a spiral ramp instead of stairs. We didn’t have enough time to try that out but it certainly would be in our Must Try Next Time list.
As out flight back to Kuala Lumpur was in the afternoon, we had to head back early to check out and ride the train to the Copenhagen Airport. Passport Control was a nightmare and we had to ask some nice people to let us ahead and run to our gates at the end of the terminal. 1 day was certainly not enough to discover this historical yet magical city. I hope to 1 day come back.