I went to Copenhagen in February 2018 but seen as I just wrote an itinerary for a friend who was going (don’t worry she’s home and safe!) I thought I would share my feelings on the place.
I planned it relatively quickly. I found some RyanAir flights on Skyscanner for around £70 each, there was plenty of choice on timing from Stanstead Airport. I chose the earliest flight out on Friday – 08:25. We did have some drama getting to the airport as there was traffic on the road, so we arrived a little flustered.
I really rate Stanstead as an airport its clean and relatively easy to navigate. The security queue was pretty empty which was helpful!
We booked the latest flight back on Monday night. In hindsight, this left us at a loose end for a lot of the day and getting home very late at night. So, if I had my time again, I’d book an earlier flight home.
When we arrived in Copenhagen, we took a train to the central station, which was easy and quick. Once at the central station we took a few moments to get our bearing’s and then walked to our hotel which was only 5 minutes’ away.
We primarily walked around to see the sights apart from one train journey which traumatised us, as we struggled to find the correct train and then hopped on the return train with the wrong type of ticket.
We chose the Absalon Hotel as it had a good location, near to the central station and Tivoli Gardens. It also had some fabulous reviews on TripAdvisor. Plus it was cheaper than our usual Radisson.
The hotel was fabulous, the room was large enough for my boyfriend to work and for me to chill on arrival. The design and atmosphere of the hotel nailed the sleek Scandinavian reputation. The staff were attentive and breakfast left no desire unfulfilled.
There was also a games room and a wonderful bar serving lovely cocktails and the all-important Carlsberg.
FOOD AND DRINK
We took a stroll into town to get our bearing’s and stumbled across a wonderful café called Buzz Kaffebar, which was full of students and people working. The coffee was lovely and they even replaced the one my boyfriend spilt everywhere for free. I had an insane salami, pesto, avocado and spinach ciabatta sandwich. It was the ultimate Hygge experience! We loved it so much we went again on our last day!
Naturally, the main drink of the trip was the local Carlsberg. I am not usually the biggest lager drinker and rarely touch a Carlsberg, but something in it tasted a little different on home turf.
Where this wasn’t served we settled for Tuborg, which too tasted better in its native land. As with any Nordic country, the cost of alcohol was high.
We went to Vapiano’s for dinner on the first night and the last – my Nordic favourite!
On our second night, we had the obligatory visit to the Hard Rock café and were suitably disappointed. It was pretty dead, the service was slow and the food was not that great.
It wasn’t a trip for fine dining, however, I do wish we had tried Noma – as I have heard so many good things about the supposed 2nd best restaurant in the world.
ACTIVITIES AND CULTURE
Unfortunately, our time in Copenhagen coincided with the death of their Crown Prince – which meant the whole country was in mourning. So a number of attractions were closed or had huge queues, as other people had decided to visit them while they were in town.
We spent our first day wandering around getting the lay of the land and deciding what we wanted to visit and more importantly what was open.
On day two we got up early and took a trip to the zoo. It was relatively easy to get to we just hopped on the train and then walked up the hill to the zoo. It was incredible, we saw the penguins and seals at feeding time, elephants, tigers, lions and kangaroos.
The most majestic animal by far had to be the polar bear, although he looked to be in distress continually swimming the parameter of his enclosure. The sheer power of him was incredible and seeing him swimming past was amazing.
For the afternoon we decided to go and see the famed Mermaid, we decided to walk there – a mistake. As I ended up with the most annoying chub rub! We also ended up on the wrong train and getting a little lost, but it was worth it.
We kicked off day three with the obligatory trip to the Nyhavn which was awash with tourists and just as dreamy as all the beautiful Instagram photos you see. Recharged by our Irish coffee and obligatory Danish pastry.
We decided to go and visit the beautiful Amalienborg Palace where the Royal Family still reside. We saw the changing of the guard, called Den Kongelige Livgarde – which is a must-see, even if you don’t pop inside for a nose around!
Made up of four separate palace’s, the Christian VIII place is open to the public. The interior of the palace is a marvel showing the great dynasty of Glücksburg a family once known as the “in-laws of Europe”!
They have painstakingly recreated corresponding rooms from across the other three palaces. Thus you can walk from study-to-study meeting the Danish monarchs of the past.
We spent our final day walking around, admiring all the architecture and soaking in the city – as well as the obligatory mooch around the shops. I even bought myself scarf as a souvenir – which was my winter hero, up until I lost it on a night out.
WOULD WE RETURN?
Honestly, in a heartbeat. We loved it, even discussed moving there. Despite running around trying to visit places and being frustrated when they were closed we were completely relaxed while we were there. We walked to most places, partly because the transport system did confuse us, but that can easily be learned.
One of the places I really want to go back and visit was the Frederiksberg Castle. Also the Christianborg Palace, which was closed at the time as sadly the body of the prince consort was lying in state there. We also skipped Tivoli Gardens, as it was expensive and we felt we could see a lot of it from outside, plus it was freezing.
Another place that was regrettably closed due to national mourning was the Nationalmuseet. I’d love to go back in particular, to learn about the German Occupation during World War II. Also, we’d love to see Frederiksberg Castle!
The flight was pretty good value, but in future, I would select slightly friendlier flight times. The hotel was lovely and the staff were so kind, I would totally recommend it. As with any Nordic country, the “spending money” side was expensive. Next time, I wouldn’t return to the Hard Rock café and I would definitely spend some time planning where to eat in advance.
Copenhagen is a fabulous sightseeing location full of history with interspersed with quirky Danish design. The Danes were so friendly, even at a time of profound sadness, eager to help out a lost tourist in any way the could. When I do return I would like to go in summer so the temperature is more forgiving. If you are going in winter, pack your thermals and don’t forget your hat, scarf and gloves!
Have you been to Copenhagen before? Where would you recommend? Have you been to a country while it is mourning before?