Weekend Travel Guide: Copenhagen
A place I am already dying to return to is Copenhagen, the magical capital of Denmark. Scratch that, I want to see the entire country from coast to coast. But for now, I've got 24 hours to see everything I want to see in Copenhagen, guided so expertly by a family friend and local resident.
The bustling Danish hub sits on the waterfront, interwoven with canals and Scandinavian architecture, home to just under 800,000 people. Arrival in Copenhagen can be by flight, but as I was holidaying in nearby Hamburg, I took the train across country and ferry for a different travel experience instead. This train takes 5.5 hours and tickets can be bought online at Deutsche Bahn.
First stop: Nyhavn Harbour
Perhaps the most well-known backdrop in all of Copenhagen, this view is a pastel-coloured perfect welcome to the capital. Boats mill about the little man-made inlet while Hans Christian Andersen's house looms above sun umbrellas inviting people to sit under their shade and enjoy a coffee and Danish pastry.
While you're here, take a guided boat tour of the city. You'll make your way along the coast and through the canals that show off Copenhagen's architectural highlights and a stop at the famous Little Mermaid statue.
Second stop: Freetown Christiania
Known more commonly as just Christiania, this self-proclaimed communal space is in the heart of Christianshavn home to just under a thousand people. Due to the nature and culture of the local trades, strict photography rules are in places to prevent many areas from being documented on film. However, I can tell you that some of Denmark’s most delicious foods can be found in the inviting local kitchens here; you’re welcome in advance.
Third stop: Tivoli Gardens
Just before dusk, make your way to Tivoli, an exotic fairground complete with gardens, four roller coaster rides and a beautiful outdoor stage featuring local and national talent. Attracting four million visitors annually, Tivoli is the world’s second oldest amusement park.
Fourth stop: Copenhagen Cathedral
The next morning, wake up early and head out to explore. Visit the Church of our Lady Cathedral in the heart of Copenhagen, featuring a huge dome prominent on the city’s skyline. The original cathedral was built in 1209 on Vor Frue Plads; today it is next door to the University of Copenhagen.
Fifth stop: Copenhagen International Sand Sculpture Festival
After your stint at the cathedral, head down to one of the world’s largest international sand castle contests to wander through some incredible sculptures that will make you say ‘how did they do that!’.
Sixth stop: Guinness World of Records Museum
Outside the museum, you can find a statue of the world’s tallest man. Take a picture to document how incredibly short you feel! The museum is worth a wander too, if you have the time.
Seventh stop: Royal Danish Theatre
This gorgeous theatre sits right on the road across the street from where you first walk out of the train station. Home to the National Danish Performing Arts, this beautiful structure houses world-renowned performances.
Where to Eat
The Hard Rock Cafe has created a global brand that has thrived off the internationalism of their locations. Hint – think of the white shirts with city names on them. Enjoy something yummy off their comfort food menu with a Danish twist.
If you’re looking for a snack as you run around the city, pick up a danish pastry from any number of local bakeries and cafes: they all make them and they make them well.