After having a moderate lie-in after the nightmare journey to Copenhagen from Gothenburg (I won’t go into too much detail, but I will never ever visit Malmo ever again in my entire life), it was time to embrace the sunshine. The first stop of the day was to grab a hot dog for breakfast outside the city hall. Passing a couple of other hot dog stands around Tivoli Gardens, we were very selective and didn’t want to panic buy.
Delicious. Fed, we headed to the water and sat taking photos and catching-up on our favourite TV shows and all things post-uni. Around us people were jumping into the water and sunbathing. Blitzing it to the Christianshavn, we crossed the brige and took a walk in the beautiful central park, a runner’s paradise. It was interesting to find such a countryside spot so close to the main roads, but it was quiet and unspoiled. It gave London a bit of a bad name for green areas, as I find the air pollution in the cities I’ve visited so far to be negligible in comparison.
Exploring the areas of Copenhagen
We then trekked to Christiansborg Slot and after some convincing, I walked up to the top of the tower at St. Michael’s Church; a tower visible throughout the city resembling a theme park ride. Hopefully this doesn’t confuse tourists looking for the genuine amusement park of Tivoli, about twenty minutes in the other direction.
Before our ascent, we visited the main place of prayer on the ground floor and marvelled at a very decorative organ circa 1698.
Climbing up to the top level was challenging and took longer than you’d perceive from staring up outside. Starting with wide staircases, it quickly enters uneven wooden stairs that become narrow and narrower before they eventually spiral. To get out on top, there are several steps that are incredibly steep, so you earn the view if you make it! At roughly £8 entry fee, we stayed enjoying the scenery for half an hour before struggling with the stairs again.
Just a handy note, the church doesn’t operate a one-way system on the spiral staircase, so you have to wait for people either coming down or going up. If you suffer from claustrophobia or just don’t like enclosed spaces that are hard to navigate, give it a miss as there are a few coffee shops with roof terraces offering nice views, if not as high or expansive of the city.
Now it was time to grab an official Danish pastry – highlight of the day! Who could resist? (Apart from my travel partner).
By now, we were getting used to the cycling system in Copenhagen: everywhere you go, each street has a pavement for pedestrians and an equal sized lane for cyclists. A Swede whom I met on the unspeakable journey from Oslo told me to watch out as they go very fast and have no patience for people getting in there way, which is understandable. It actually has more bikes than Utrecht and goes some way to explain the air quality.
Lapping up the sun and taking numerous selfies, we followed the water across the southern part of the city to the Opera House, spotting a Ben’s and Jerry’s boat en route. Here, we got a little lost due to a gps error on my phone (it wasn’t updating our location fast enough and without a ferry to hand, we needed to work our way back to the bridge and up north).
Our goal was to walk the 40 minutes to the Little Mermaid statue, a gift to the city over one hundred years ago, taking in the the highlights of the city centre as we passed them. You can’t come to Copenhagen and not see the mermaid, this is the mantra I chose to live by.
The statue itself can be spotted from the second tip of the man-made star – Kastellet – a land formation that’s also a park to the east of the city. Very much like the Mona Lisa, the statue is a lot smaller in reality than you’d guess from Google Images. It’s simple, understated but very finely tuned as the expression on the mermaid’s face is enchanting. Was it worth the 40 minute walk? Yes, because you can’t go to Copenhagen and not see the mermaid! To be fair, we got to the Gefion Fountain thrown in for free as well.
After walking back to the hipster hostel of Urban House, getting slightly lost ironically enough on the high street, we’d managed to walk 10 miles over seven hours, which would later become a total of 12 miles for the whole day after grabbing dinner, and a total of 28k steps. Naturally, this achievement resulted in the purchase of M&Ms from the train station, which we walked through to get to our hostel just based on the other side.
In my mind, I’ll remember Copenhagen for being a fairly compact city with a lot of history. Great for walks, I’d say leave the metro and just stay outside as long as you can to get a feeling of the atmosphere and people. In fact, the Swede I met who lived in the city with his wife echoed this to me the day before; “Copenhagen is about a feeling rather than anything in particular to see and do”. I now know what he meant and would come here again to relax in a friendly environment with some of the best pastries in the world.
Now I’ll hand over to my latest travel parter Caroline for her insights on Copenhagen:
St. Michael’s church was a surprisingly interesting attraction and offered fantastic views of the entire city (albeit the steep wooden & rickety spiral staircase to get up there)! We managed to get some panoramic views of Copenhagen, whilst also exploring the beautiful organ of the church which has been there since 1698.
Attempting to navigate the local metro network after coming off the plane alone was pretty interesting! After several unsuccessful attempts at trying to translate station names and destinations, I boarded a random train and luckily got to where I needed to go by pure chance.
Definitely try the local hot dogs – they’re delicious.