Our December 3-days weekend trip to Copenhagen was just one of the best. In this short visit, we have really gotten the impression that we could have easily live here for a year or two. Yes, it is expensive, but yes, it is totally worth the money! We had our share of rain, sun, wind, cold, sweating on the bicycle, delicious smørrebrød, rollercoasters in Tivoli park, mulled wine on the Christmas markets, Lauryn Hill concert, amazing architecture and top restaurants.
We stepped into the weekend on an early Friday morning, with a flight from HANOVER to COPENHAGEN. Landing at around 7 am, it took us only about 15min to get TO THE CENTRE FORM THE AIRPORT with the train. The ticket was just 5€. We stayed in a HOTEL in the VESTERBRO area, which is walking distance to the centre. Our room wasn´t ready that early in the day, but we could leave our bags and RENT BICYCLES at our hotel. Sun was shining so we first cycled to one of the most known areas in the town, NYHAVN.
NYHAVN is without a doubt the most touristy place in the city, but because we were there so early, we had it almost to ourselves for a while. COLORFUL NARROW HOUSES dating from the 17th century shining in the morning light were absolutely charming. But not only the architecture, also the OLD WOODEN BOATS dotted in the water channels were impressive to look at. Really nice and a great place to start exploring the town.
In December you also find a CHRISTMAS MARKET in NYHAVN, but it was still closed at this time of the day. Otherwise, there are lots of RESTAURANTS, BARS and (a bit more upscale) HOTELS as well.
Around Copenhagen with a bicycle
CYCLING AROUND COPENHAGEN is the best way to see the city! Tracks for cyclist are just perfect and you immediately understand why this is the MOST BICYCLE FRIENDLY CITY IN THE WORLD. From Nyhavn we cycled onwards to NORREBRO area and had a big breakfast at MØLLER KAFFE & KOKKEN cafe. Again, nothing is cheap around here, but we closed one eye while paying the receipts. It was worth it.
Not hungry anymore, we were ready to move on a little bit more further out of the center, all the way to the SUPERKILEN PARK. Being a landscape architect, I had this one under my “must see” things in the city.
The park is divided into 3 main areas, the red square (mainly for urban recreation), te black square (water features and bbq areas) and the green park with grassy hills. Squeezed between big block buildings it was designed to reflect the ETHNICAL DIVERSITY in the area and you can see many different CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS artefacts and signs in the details.
After a couple ten kilometres and a quick rest in the hotel, we walked to the famous TIVOLI GARDENS. In December time, this is a great place to spend a fun evening at, even though there is an ENTRY FEE and you need to pay for all the extra activities once you are inside the park.
Pancakes, mulled wine, games, little shops and crazy ROLLERCOASTERS – I have not been on one for about 10 years I guess, so that was real fun. Lights everywhere, fake snow, music and a real Christmassy feeling! Even the rain drops towards the end of the evening could not ruin this great evening.
THE LITTLE MERMAID STATUE
Saturday morning. Still raining. We take the bikes anyway, just like the locals do. We decided to go see another one of the most known places in the city, the LITTLE MERMAID STATUE. It wasn´t a very pleasant experience as we were soaking wet once we got there only to be greeted by hundreds of tourists with selfie sticks. Got lucky with a picture with no persons on it and after about 3 minutes we were off.
AMALIENBORG PALACE with its MUSEUM is the best place to learn about the Danish rich ROYAL HISTORY. At 12:00 you can watch the GUARD CHANGE outside – we skipped it this time, due to the rain.
TORVEHALLERNE FOOD MARKET
Rain, rain, rain. We decided to catch some warmth in the excellent TORVEHALLERNE – a wonderful covered FOOD MARKET HALL. There are more than 60 food stalls and shops, offering anything from sushi to French cheese, fresh fish and of course LOCAL SPECIALITIES. Another must visit for everyone who likes to eat good.
SMØRREBRØD in endless varieties. We each get one. And then another one. The price was quite reasonable here, between 10 and 15€ for one piece. Finally it stops raining and saves us from ordering the second expensive beer and the third smørrebrød.
Speaking of food. We really ate good in Copenhagen. The city is a true culinary mecca and the Scandinavians are rightfully famous for their unique dishes. There are many restaurants which were out of our budget (just have a look at Noma or Geranium for example), but we still found free tables at some other excellent ones.
For breakfasts we usually ordered a table full of little cups and plates, with eggs, avocado, different spreads, fresh herbs, rye bread and berries. Between lunches and dinner we snacked on little things at the Christmas markets, the main meals were usualy fish or meat. We got to love smørrebrød (which in direct translation means »butter and bread«) – an open sandwich with different toppings and yummy sauces on the side. Looking forward to visiting Denmark once again, already next month!
ISRAELS PLADS SQUARE
On the way back to the hotel we stopped here on this LARGE PUBLIC SQARE, just outside of the TORVEHALLERNE. In warmer days this place must be packed with people and it looked like a great place to visit with THE KIDS.
Christmas markets (JULEMARKED) in Copenhagen
There are many bigger and smaller Christmasmarkets or JULEMARKED as they call them here around the city. A mug of hot MULLED WINE (gløgg) was a good decision to keep us warm. The Danes are big beer lovers, therefore you can find MULLED BEER as well. And especially if you have a sweet tooth, there are many yummy things to try out at the Christmas stands.
For a change we spent our SATURDAY NIGHT listening to LAURYN HILL, live in the FORUM COPENHAGEN concert hall. With the exception of expensive drinks and a pretty late appearance on the stage, it was a great night.
CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR
On our last day, we woke up into a sunny SUNDAY MORNING, left our bags in the hotel and did some more CYCLING around the city. Once it got dark it was time to head back to the AIRPORT. First stop was the Churh Of Our Saviour with its magnificent BELL TOWER.
In order to get up we really had to wait in line for over 30minutes but in the end it was totaly worth it. THE VIEW ON THE CITY is amazing from up here and the tower and its STAIRS are wonderful on they own.
From the TOWER you can also see the famous FREETOWN CHRISTIANIA. A former MILITARY BASE was abandoned for years, before a group of HIPPIES decided to live there in 1971. Today there are around 1000 INHABITANTS. The easiest (and maybe also safest) way to visit Christiania is to JOIN A GUIDED TOUR, there is atleast one every day. The tour times didn´t fit into our day so we left it out for the next time.
CIRKELBROEN bridge, connecting the areas of Christiansbro and Appelbys Plads, is worth visiting if you are at least a little bit interested in architecture. As we were heading down towards the Islands Brygge, we had to cycle over this bridge too.
ISLANDS BRYGGE SWIMMING PLACE
Shame that it is not summer, I would have loved to jump in for a swim here. Looks like a very nice place for summer afternoons. In the winter, there is a SAUNA place set up and you can jump in the cold water after it. Many locals did it.
A few impressions of the great DANISH ARCHITECTURE, they really have some great ideas and the combination between the old and the more modern is somehow working perfectly here. Can´t wait to visit a few more cities this summer.
So, Copenhagen for a weekend trip yes or no? Definitely YES! If you have 3 DAYS time, like we did it is even better, but it is also possible to see a lot even in just 2 days, especially with a bicycle. We liked the city a lot and could easily live here for a year or two – if we had a good paycheck, that is. We´ll be back, next time with Lu!
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