The other day, my housemate and I went to Copenhagen for the weekend, in what was my first visit to Scandinavia. The plan? Do as much touristy shit as possible in 48 hours, and find the fine balance between partying and being able to get up the next day to make the most of our short stay.
We managed pretty well! Much of our sightseeing involved walking around, which is a nice way to get a feel of a city. We walked about 15 km on day 1 alone. We also took a boat trip around the town centre, which I would recommend doing. The city isn’t big so you can get a good idea of where the major attractions are this way.
Copenhagen is beautiful. The numerous bridges and canals are reminiscent of Amsterdam, but with more colourful, less anorexic buildings. In many ways, it feels like the town of the future, a live 3D-model of what a developed metropolis should strive for in the 21st century. It is the single cleanest place I’ve ever visited. The architecture is simple and noticeably symmetrical. Pragmatism is the order the of day.
While much of the town is modern and new, it is scattered with treasured history, including the many churches and government building towers which peak into the horizon. Similarly to areas of London where the medieval tower of London can be photographed cozying up to glass skyscrapers, it is an intriguing timeless hybrid.
The metallic metro stations (equipped with fully automated trains, of course) all look identical. They sort of feel like walking into a spaceship. There are boat houses to make the most of limited space, including old transport containers converted into cool student accommodation.
Everything gets recycled, and there is free WiFi on public buses. The cycling lanes are so well designed few people drive, and the hire bicycles have GPS trackers and send updates directly to your phone. I would also definitely recommend cycling around, which is much safer than in London.
There are plenty of sights and places worth visiting. These include:
The famous Little Mermaid status (smaller than you’d expect)
The notorious and very Instagram-friendly Nyhavn spot
Rudentaam tower for a great view of the city
Freetown Christiania – the city’s independent hippy-type district. Cool place
Paper Island – an awesome food market
Couple of warnings. Firstly, it gets pretty cold especially in the shade. It’s definitely a gloves and hat sort of holidays. We were actually very lucky with the weather, as most of Saturday was sunny – I even took my coat off outside at one point. But generally speaking, you can leave your bikinis at home.
Secondly, it’s super expensive. And that’s coming from a Londoner. Food and drinks are particular extravagant. We paid 200 krones for a 48-hour transport pass, which is about £24 for 2 days of metro and bus. That’s not quite London expensive, but it’s definitely up there.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend Copenhagen. Although it’s expensive to stay in, the flights to Scandinavia are generally cheap. There is plenty to do, whether you’re in it for the night life or the sightseeing. Danish people are really polite and friendly, and virtually speak impeccable English. That being said, they’ll most likely spend a lot of time apologizing for their level of English (in perfect English).
Anyway, cool city. If you haven’t been, go.