Copenhagen calls straight from story books – where castles look over the moat, cannons point toward the harbor, churches and towers spiral toward the sky, and museums tell of fascinating Nordic history. And amid that fascinating background, a traveler can enjoy a gourmand’s feast, an idyllic tour to a bohemian village, or a posh opera performance. With all these, you can expect your trip to this Scandinavian paradise to mostly consist of revelry in its splendor and unique local color. Here is a travel guide to make that vacation all the more enjoyable and worthwhile.
Best Time to Visit
Travel to Copenhagen starting from the month of April. The climate is pleasantly cool in time for the Danish spring. Summer brings in the sun until the later part of September.
Copenhagen’s climate is relatively mild. January and February are the coldest months when temperatures approach the freezing point. Spring is crisp in April, with temperatures improving in May. Flowers start to bloom in June and the month ushers in early tourists. Copenhagen is warmest in July and August, when outdoor concerts and parties enliven tourism and nightlife. December is usually cold and windy. Rain is spread throughout the year, with no real dry months. Snow is mild, too. But when it snows in Copenhagen, it’s absolutely gorgeous.
Getting Around Copenhagen
Copenhagen, like any other big city, offers travelers plenty of options to get around it. If you don’t want to walk, make sure you secure the cOPENhagen CARD, which grants you unlimited travel (for 24 or 72 hours) and also gives you access to 75 museums and other tourist attractions.
Copenhagen boasts an extensive bus system. They come in several types, which have their own designated codes and colors. You can tell you are nearing a bus stop through a yellow pylon with the bus numbers for a specific route at the top. Regular buses go by roughly the same schedule as trains, from 6 a.m. to midnight. The night (N) bus lines run in the off time. Fares start around USD 45.
Copenhagen Metro is Denmark’s rapid railway system. While it cannot hold a candle in terms of size to New York’s or Paris’, it is relatively new, clean, and operating 24 hours a day. At daytime, Metro train run every four minutes, and in the wee hours, every 15 to 20 minutes. Fares start at 5 USD.
Although trains use the same tickets as Metro, they use an entirely different system. They come in two types: commuter and regional. Apparently, commuters are taken by passengers who wish to get around the city area; whereas regional trains are used coming or going to the airport and the outskirts in Denmark.
Copenhagen can’t be famous for its bikes for nothing. The city is designed for bikers, and most drivers are looking to just go around by bike. There are rental companies around the city and hotels that offer bike rentals. Bikes are rented out at USD 8.50 for a 24-hour use. There is also a citywide free program called Bycyklen. Although they aren’t the sexiest bikes out there, you only have to give a USD 3.00-deposit and be able to bike around as much as you want, then return it to a bycyklen rack and get your deposit back.
This is probably the most common option to get back to where you are staying after a night of partying, and the most useful if you have walked your feet off the entire day. You may find it a bit expensive though. Meters start at approximate USD 11.
Things to Do
With the friendly and convivial nature of its people and its eclectic mix of coziness and peacefulness, Copenhagen leaves no doubt in a traveler’s mind that it is an ideal choice for a city break. Here are things you can do in Copenhagen, all of which will assure you of that absolute joie de vivre feeling.
1) Visit museums.
There is no better way to explore a city than to learn about its past first before seeing its other landmarks. Knowing about a city’s history puts later exploits in the right perspective. Copenhagen has several museums and you should start with the National Museet, Denmark’s repository of its glorious past, before going to the more contemporary museums, like the Louisiana Museum on the shores of Oresund.
2) Take a bike and explore Copenhagen.
The best way to get soaked up in Copenhagen’s culture, geography and history, is to join guided bicycle tours. It is fun and active, and it will engage you no end. Like most highly-physical activities, it is not for everyone since you have to keep pace with the others on the tour. Another alternative would be to hire a bike and take your own tour, and you can do this at your own pace and pleasure. Tours will cost around USD 46.
3) Romp to the beaches.
You can take a day to the beaches. There is a free public beach just 5-km off the center of the city, Amager Beach, and it is being dubbed as Copenhagen’s best. More secluded private beaches, like the Bellevue Beach, are also great options.
4) Enjoy theme and amusement parks.
Copenhagen is home to the world’s oldest amusement park called Bakken. It is located at Klampenborg. Or you may opt for Tivoli which is right in the middle of the city. It is a theme park with flower gardens and magnificent lights in the evening.
5) Bring Copenhagen home.
Buy something to remember Copenhagen by. If the big stores on Stroget are too big for you, you can scour Studiestrade and Larsbjorns Strade for distinctly-Danish couture at sensible price. And if you’re the type, you can also comb for rare finds in second-hand shops in Norrebro.
6) Canal Tours
This is an invitation to approach Copenhagen from its maritime location. This is a different take at touring Copenhagen from the idyllic canal networks. Tours take various itineraries, looping past historic buildings, warships, warehouses along harbors, and the Little Mermaid statue. Tour price starts at USD12 for adults and USD 7 for children.
Most attractions are closed on Mondays, so plan your itinerary meticulously with a mental note on this. Some attractions are free, and most charge minimal admissions. Take the most of your trip and choose sights that teach you of Copenhagen, its people, the scenic sights, and its proud past.
1) National Museet
What is a travel to Copenhagen if you have not seen it from its magnificent Nordic origins? This museum exhibits Denmark’s historical past through a vast treasure of Viking jewelry and weaponry, domestic interiors from the 18th century, stone-age tools, Danish furniture, and its absolute treasure – a 3500-year old Sun Chariot. The museum is located at Frederiksholm Kanal 12. Take note that it is closed on Mondays. Admission to this historic treasure is free.
2) Rosenborg Castle
The Dutch Renaissance palace stands imposing on immaculate and lush laid out about it, and complete with a moat – a picture straight from a fairy tale. The castle is also where you will find the National Gallery, a historical collection chronologically displayed in the castle’s 24 regal rooms. A botanic garden, which is also the city’s oldest park, is behind the edifice. There is a marionette theater which gathers people especially during the summer season. Admission fee is USD 10 for adults and USD 8 for children.
Family fun and activities are big in Copenhagen. This is the reason for the huge theme park located right where the city throbs. Tivoli is a story book theme park with gardens that date back to 1840s, 24 exciting thrill rides and carnivals. Concerts are regularly performed here, as well as fireworks and seasonal markets. A magical night is promised with the garden’s 100,000 lights. Adults have to pay admission fees of USD 17, while children pay USD 9. Rides are paid separately, a multi-ride ticket costs around USD 36 for adults and USD 30 for children.
4) Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Take a train ride from urban Copenhagen and visit a modern museum settled in a fetching forest location that rolls down the sea like a painting. This is the fitting setting of this contemporary museum that holds several works of Picassos, Bacon, and Giacommetti. Bring along a picnic basket for an idle time on shaded grounds. You may also have snacks at the café while taking in the seascape from the wide terrace. Children below 18 are admitted free, but adults need to pay USD 17 for admission.
Address: Gammel Strandvej 13, Humlebaek.
5) Vor Frelsers Kirke
Take the most amazing, albeit dizzying, view of the city from the steeple of this 17th century church. Admire its Baroque architecture and antique grand organ. Everyone is free to visit this church without any fee. Visitors are expected to accord it with respect as a religious site. It is open all year round.
Address: Sankt Annaegade 29, Christianshavn
6) Amager Beach
Just 5 kilometers off the city, ride the metro to Lergravsparken and onto Copenhagen’s best beach. Amager Beach is a sheltered lagoon that should be a destination for summer visitors. Kids will love playing on the wide sandy strip while adults can sit by the cafes and watch the day and people go by. The beach is free and open to the public all year round. The cafes, however, open during summers only.
This is an independent city within the city of Copenhagen. The sleepy and undeveloped atmosphere of Christiania makes it an attractive destination. It is not far from the city and riding a bicycle to it is a quaint way of synchronizing with the city’s quiet beat. It is free to roam in this community at Princessegade, Christianshavn. Try their cafes and bars for a refreshing beverage.
Claimed as Europe’s oldest observatory, Rundetårn is a 17th century brick tower constructed for King Christian IV. It is great for viewing images of the sun and for admiring the view of Copenhagen from an elevated point. There is a spiral ramp going up, and an art exhibit halfway. Admission is USD 4.50 for adults and USD 1 for children.
Address: Kobmagergade 52A
9) Copenhagen’s Canals
Literally chill out in the city’s canal pools and take a few laps along the length of the canals in Havenholmen. If it becomes too chilly for comfort, wet suits can be availed of. This outdoor activity is free and a nice outdoor option from the months of June to August.
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