Following my previous post on Copenhagen, here’s how I experienced the city. It might not be the best itinerary for you but I was more than pleased with the trip that Mr Goh planned (yay, finally his trip planning skills leveled up! LOL)
Warning: long post ahead
We opted to skip the itinerary for Day 1 since we were both exhausted by the train ride. We were up since 6+am and only reached our hostel at 4pm due to a 2hr train delay. But we were supposed to just explore the surroundings of our hostel. (We stayed at Generator Hostel, which was near Stroget the shopping street, and Nyhavn.)
We started using our CPH card and took a lot of Metro! We went to Islands Brygge station to view the Tietgen Student Residence, Bella Center station to view the VM Mountain and VM Houses (I liked the Houses better than the Mountain… the facade of the Mountain reminded me of old Chinese cemeteries… oops) and also Vestamager station to view the 8Tallet. Interesting note was that these are all residences but they seemed so artsy fartsy and yet liveable. And I really liked that there were lots of open living spaces for people to hang out at.
After overcoming envious emotions, we headed to The Blue Planet (aquarium). It’s funny how we always visit the aquarium when we travel (such as Melbourne, Singapore and now Copenhagen) but I’m actually quite afraid of the water and marine animals.
We neglected to foresee that the aquarium will close early on Christmas eve, so we only completed one small section of the aquarium before we had to leave. Luckily we had the CPH card so we could go back again (for free) the next day.
Since we had an ‘early release’ from the aquarium, and most paid attractions would be closed as well, we went to some of the ‘attractions’ that didn’t require entry, such as the Amalienborg palace. I read online that His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary sometimes live there, and if they are “onsite”, the Danish flag will be put up. Sadly, they were not there when we visited.
If you’re there around noon, you could also catch the change of the Royal Guards. The “ceremony” takes about 30 minutes in total.
If you don’t mind, you could walk another 15 mins from Amalienborg Palace to The Little Mermaid. By the way, did you know that the original Mermaid story doesn’t have a fairytale happy ending?
Next to The Little Mermaid, there’s Kastellet, a 17th-century star shaped fortress. We walked there since we were nearby but I thought it wasn’t anything fun. Nothing much to see, nothing to do but just walk the grounds.
We returned to the aquarium in the morning to complete our tour. Since the sun sets quite early in winter, we decided to go to Tivoli Gardens at around 2pm. It was crowded but full of festive joy. The gardens had amusement rides suitable for the young and the not-so-young. We didn’t take any rides though… the one that Mr Goh wanted to take wasn’t open, and thankfully it wasn’t open. It was one of those free-fall type rides.
I swear the “lazy” sun messed up our bodies… we were so used to having sunlight, and took the setting sun as an indication of evening, so we ended up having “dinner” at 4pm!
We went to the Christiansborg Palace which was a highlight of our trip. We had the chance to visit the Ruins, and the Royal Stables. Just across the river, you could board a Netto boat and take a tour down the canal.
If you aren’t into boat tours, you could pop by the Thorvaldsen’s Museum, just next to the palace grounds. The museum holds a large collection of Thorvaldsen’s own sculptures and his personal art collection as well. This is where I learnt that Jupiter is a horny man and a strange story about Nessus and Deianira. We actually came here on Day 5, and spent a good 3 hours enjoying the sculptures and reading the explanations. Never knew we could be so artsy.
Take a walk to the Round Tower, and enjoy the view from the top of the observatory. There are few steps up to the observatory so you won’t be exhausted. If you’re brave enough, you could also stand on a floating glass platform which looks down the core of the tower. For lunch, enjoy an organic Danish hotdog from DOP, a famous hotdog stand just next to the Round Tower.
If you’re into churches, you must visit the Copenhagen Cathedral (also known as Church of our Lady). You will see more of Thorvaldsen’s works. That aside, we really liked the peaceful aura of the church.
We visited the Copenhagen zoo and though it was a weekday, there were many families around. In fact, there were tons of kids, maybe more than adults. But the zoo premises were large and it never felt crowded. The Copenhagen zoo also had one of my favorite animals to view – the Tasmania devil. I don’t know why, but I sorta “fell in love” with the animal when I saw it at the Melbourne Healesville Sanctuary. There was a feeding session for the devils but I think the video of them eating dead bunnies may not be so suitable for upload here. Besides the devils, there were also cute animals like pygmy goats, cows, monkeys, giraffes, zebras, hippos, polar bears etc.
While you’re at the CPH zoo, why not pop by the Carlsberg brewery just 10 minutes walk away? Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to enter the place since it was a Monday that we were there, and they do not operate on Mondays in winter. If you manage to visit the place, please let me know if it’s worth it!!
It’s the last day of our CPH card, so we wanted to really make full use of it. We took a 20 mins bus ride to Assistens Cemetery. It may seem strange to visit a cemetery while on holiday, but I wanted to go to this place because it’s where Hans Christian Andersen is buried and that it is a very pretty green space.
From Assistens Cemetery, you could then catch a bus back to Noerreport station and drop by Torvehallerne, where there are 60+ food stalls, definitely sufficient to satisfy your curious tastebuds.
Of course, you cannot leave CPH without visiting Christiania. There are some rules to visiting the little village, and I could understand why upon entering the village. There were several small stalls, very dark and mysterious looking, selling hash. It was early when we went, so no stoned people yet. As long as you follow the ‘rules’ of the village and be aware of your surroundings, I don’t see why the place is not safe.
Of course, there are many more attractions in Copenhagen, and we have only touched the tip of the iceberg. If you’re planning a visit to Copenhagen, I’d definitely recommend you to get the Copenhagen card, and check out the VisitCopenhagen website. It was extremely useful in helping us plan our trip!