Kicking it off in Copenhagen
We were anxious to start ticking off places on our list, and flights from London were cheap (around £50 roundtrip), so Copenhagen was a no brainer. Admittedly, we didn't know much about the city before we went and were pleasantly surprised. We loved the city's architecture and vibe, making it the perfect short trip to kick off our Euro-adventures.
Day by Day
Saturday 19 September
After a 5am wakeup and a quick flight, we arrived in Copenhagen midday. It was a quick ride from the airport to Copenhagen's central train station, and 15-minute walk from there to our hotel.
Kalvebod Brygge 5
The hotel had gorgeous canal views on one side, and city views from the other. We were lucky to have a room facing the city, and each night watched the Tivoli Gardens fireworks from our window. Breakfasts were great as well. The only downside for us was the location, which seemed a bit out of the way from everything we wanted to do.
Daily at 11am and 2pm; tour lasts 2.5 hours*
Meet your guide next to the Dragon fountain on the Town Hall Square (Rådhuspladsen).
Our guide was a bit all over the place with his storytelling, but the tour was helpful to get our bearings and see the city. He earned a bonus point for his excellent post-tour snack recommendation.
Just the pick-me-up we needed to get through the afternoon. This delicious ice cream shop with homemade waffle cones is conveniently located along the Nyhavn (canal area). We took our ice cream outside to sit and enjoy the sunshine and the views. It was so good that we went back a second time -- this time we tried the marshmallow topping (you should too!).
Tours run from 10am-6pm (4-5 departures an hour, no need to pre-book) and last 60 minutes.
Departs at Nyhavn at Heibergsgade.
After seeing the city by foot, the canal cruise was the perfect way to explore the canal district. Reminiscent of Amsterdam, this is one of the most beautiful parts of Copenhagen. The guiding was sparse, but we were happy just to take in the views. There are a few companies offering similar tours, but this one was the cheapest and was completely satisfactory.
We then spent time wandering the Nyhavn (canal area), and Stroget (pedestrian mall area) and the neighboring side streets. Homeland of the Lego, the Lego Store was one of the best we've been to!
Dinner in trendy Meatpacking District
After a quick nap and shower, we headed back out for dinner at Mother (Høkerboderne 9), a sourdough pizza restaurant in Copenhagen's trendy Meatpacking District. We enjoyed a drink at the bar while we waited about 30 minutes for a table. Once we were seated the service was quick and the food was delicious. We splurged on a Nutella and ricotta dessert pizza and are still dreaming of it today!
Sunday 20 September
10:00am - 5:00pm (closed Mondays)
Ny Vestergade 10
We're not huge museum people, but we figured we should get a dose of history and take advantage of some of Copenhagen's free museums. We were disappointed that we didn't learn more about the Vikings, but did enjoy a temporary exhibit called the White Busses about rescuing people from German concentration camps during WWII.
10:00am – 8:00pm
Climbing hundreds of steps to an observation point is a must-do in every European city. In Copenhagen, the climb is up the Rundetam, or Round Tower. There were a couple small art exhibits part way up the building, and the views from the top were rewarding.
At this point we were hungry and it was starting to rain, so we walked over to the Torvehallerne, an indoor market and foodie haven. After ogling every stall, we settled on a fancy sausage from Pølse Kompagniet and cappuccinos from The Coffee Collective. Had we not eaten so much non-danish-pastry for breakfast, we would have gotten a treat from Laura's Bakery.
Post-lunch and post-rain, we walked a few blocks over to the lakes. We had been walking all day, and the weather wasn't great, so we crossed the bridge just to check out the area but ultimately weren't interested in a long walk. In nicer weather, this would be a great place for a long afternoon stroll or picnic.
Check website for seasonal opening times.
After recharging at the hotel, it was time to check out Tivoli Gardens, the inspiration for Walt Disney World. We arrived around sunset, which was perfect. We explored the beautiful grounds before it got dark and then did the rides when it was dark and lit up. We weren't sure if it would be worth it, but we were glad to have purchased the unlimited ride pass. You can buy your park ticket in advance and buy a ride pass separately at a kiosk in the park. We didn't bother to eat at the park because it was expensive and instead opted for a pre-park happy hour at the hotel and post-park street food snack. Since we knew we could see the fireworks from our hotel, we left before the show. It was a really fun night and definitely worthwhile.
Monday 21 September
Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1
Copenhagen is known for its interesting and functional architecture, so today was our day to explore this side of the city. We had coffee from the shop inside the Black Diamond Library and sat outside, overlooking the canals.
We then walked across the bridge to Christiania, an autonomous commune area that remains from the 1970's. It developed into a haven for hippies and other free-spirited folks, and there is an interesting semi-legal drug trade that takes place there. To us it seemed the area has lost its hippie charm, and we found it a bit unnerving, but we were glad to have seen it. We'd recommend trying to find a tour that takes you through there, so you have more context.
Lunch today again was at another street-food market, Papirøen. At this point in the weekend we were feeling quite full (and saving room for ice cream round 2) so we shared something small and unmemorable.
We spent the last few hours wandering the canal area and slowly made our way back to the hotel to catch our flight.
On every trip we share our rose (highlight), thorn (lowlight), and bud (what we're looking forward to).
Rose- finally taking our first trip! (Becca), eating ice cream on the canal (Josh)
Thorn- feeling tired the first day (Becca), didn't eat enough danish (Josh)
Bud- my birthday! (Becca), Oktoberfest (Josh)
If you go...
How long should you stay? Copenhagen itself is pretty small, so two full days is plenty to see the sites. There were some day trips recommended to us, so that would be a great way to fill up a third or fourth day. Something important to know is that most museums are closed Monday, so plan accordingly.
Walkability. Copenhagen is really walkable, so plan accordingly with your footwear! Also, because of the canals, it can feel cooler than it actually is.
Tivoli Gardens - worth it? Yes!
When to go? Copenhagen would be lovely in the summer months when you can soak up the sun along the canals (or make friends with a local on their houseboat), but I think it's also a great year-round place to visit.
* Opening times and meeting points are subject to change - please double check before you go!