Destination: Copenhagen, Denmark
I’ve just about finished my scrapbook from the Baltic cruise, so it’s on my mind and I’m ready to share. Here’s what I suggest seeing if you have just 2 days in Copenhagen.
What to Do/See in 2 Days
My husband and I arrived early Wednesday morning and caught up with our friends who’d arrived the night before at the hotel. We showered in their room (our room wasn’t ready yet) and set out on this plan. Unfortunately it started raining just before lunch on Thursday, so we gave up on the last few places. I’d definitely like to go back and check out Copenhagen further.
Frederiksborg Castle. “King Christian IV’s magnificent renaissance castle in Hillerød north of Copenhagen was built in the beginning of the 17th century. In the following centuries the castle provided the setting for important ceremonial events, first and foremost the anointing of absolute monarchs. Today the castle has been transformed into a national historical museum.” (VisitCopenhagen.com) It is a really gorgeous castle, so definitely go if you like castles and/or photography. We took the S-train, line E to Hillerod, from Copenhagen (~40 mins) and then a local bus (701, 702, 703, 325), which was included in the Copenhagen Card (~5 mins). It was super easy, especially since the bus driver spoke English and assured us we were on the right bus and told us when to get off.
Stroget. Stroget is the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe and a popular tourist attraction.
Christiansborg Palace. Christiansborg is pretty important; this complex serves as the seat of the Folketinget (the Danish Parliament), the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Royal Reception Rooms. We thought the Royal Reception Rooms were pretty neat – sorry, no photos allowed.
Glyptoteket. This art museum is built around the collection of Carl Jacobsen, the founder of Carlsberg Breweries. It’s mainly a sculpture museum, but it also has a nice collection of paintings, including some important French impressionists and post-impressionists. My friend Ami and I enjoyed this museum while the boys visited…
Tojhusmuseet. “The Royal Danish Arsenal Museum has since 1604 held hand weapons and canons. Originally, it served as an arsenal for the Army and the Navy and finally as a museum. Only a few buildings in Denmark have a tradition this long for at specific purpose.” (-Official site) It’s fairly hands-on, so this is fun for guys who enjoy checking out weapons and kids.
Radhuspladsen (City Hall Square). Check out the dragon fountain, weather girl on the Richs building, and the Hans Christian Andersen sculpture.
Brewpub Kobenhavn. This is where we had dinner on Wednesday night, and I’d probably recommend it solely for the opportunity to get a beer flight (assuming you like beer). It’s very close to Radhuspladsen, so it’s convenient if you’re in the area.
Tivoli. Tivoli is a famous amusement park, the second oldest in Europe. It’s the 3rd most visited amusement park in Europe with good reason – it’s so cute! Even if you’re not up for riding rides, it’s still fun to just walk around.
Ice Bar. I’ve always wanted to check out an ice hotel, so checking out the Absolut Ice Bar in Copenhagen was a good first step. It’s a fairly unique experience – the first Absolute Ice Bar was in Sweden, and now they have them in Copenhagen and London. And, of course, there are ice bars in the ice hotels. I’m not going to lie – it was COLD! But it was pretty fun. They keep music with a good beat thumping, so everyone’s kinda bopping around to keep warm while they slug down the interesting concoctions and take a few pictures. Oh, and yes, your camera will be fine.
Rosenborg Castle. We visited Rosenborg Castle Thursday morning. This is another picturesque castle, so I definitely recommend checking it out. It’s also home to the crown jewels!
Amalienborg Palace. This is where my plan fell apart because of the rain. Amalienborg was originally built for 4 noble families, but the royal family bought it in 1794 after Christiansborg burnt down.
Marmorkirken (Marble Church). This church has the largest dome in Scandinavia. Although first designed in 1740, it wasn’t completed until 1894.
Little Mermaid Statue. The statue was commissioned in 1909, completed in 1913, and then placed in the harbour at Langelinie. It’s been vandalized repeatedly, so it may be moved further away from the shore. Perhaps after it returns from Expo 2010 in China?
Nyhavn Harbor. I was most disappointed to miss out on a chance to at least photograph the adorable harbor area. Our plan was to take a look around and grab a drink before heading back to the ship. If the weather cooperates when you’re there, I highly recommend that you do exactly that! You should particularly look for Nyhavn Ale.
More Things to See
Rundetarn (Round Tower). This is exactly what it sounds like – a round tower. The observation deck is a good spot to see the city.
National Art Museum. This museum holds Danish and foreign art dating from the 14th Century till the present day.
Louisiana. This art museum has an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art, dating from World War II to the present.
National Museum. This is the country’s cultural history museum.
Canal tour. A guided tour on the canals or the hop on hop off waterbus is a fun way to get a feel for the city.
Where to Stay
I looked for somewhere that was centrally located, was 2-4 stars (the star thing is so variable!), had decent TripAdvisor reviews, and was reasonably priced. The hotels below are ones I identified as places I wanted to stay based on those criteria.
Clarion Collection Hotel Twentyseven. This is where we ended up staying for a number of reasons. It was very convenient to everything except the stuff I’d planned to do on Thursday afternoon, so we didn’t waste much time or energy dealing with getting places. The price was pretty reasonable as compared to similarly rated hotels, and it also included WiFi, air conditioning (be warned – only the top floor has air conditioning!), breakfast (this was fine though chaotic), and “dinner buffet” (lame; don’t bother unless you’re on a very tight budget). It was also pretty simple to find from Centraal Station (~10 min walk with bags). If you’re not familiar with the usual size of European hotel rooms, be warned – our room was incredibly tiny. The view was cool though, and we enjoyed the fun interior design. Oh, and the Ice Bar is associated with this hotel, so that was extra convenient. View from our window:
Hotel Fox. At this hotel, each room is a unique work of art.
Admiral Hotel. You have to see a picture of this place to see why I was so interested in it – it’s a former grain warehouse built in the 1780s and refurbished in 2003. This one is close to Nyhavn
Ascot Hotel. Like Hotel 27, Ascot is well-situated near Radhuspladsen, Tivoli, and Stroget.
Axel Hotel. This hotel is also perfectly located near Radhuspladsen, etc. This place is a spa and sounds very nice – “The original Balinese style rooms and suites have Persian rugs, wooden floors, genuine art on the walls and modern technology, such as flat-screen TVs and DVD-players.”
Airport: Be warned that the baggage handlers here are notorious for losing luggage, so carry on as much as you can and cross-pack whatever you have to check.
Copenhagen Card: This can be a good deal if you plan wisely. It includes the trains, buses, and metro, so it’s super convenient. I figured out that we needed to visit 3 places to make it worthwhile, so my husband and I just got 1 day passes at the airport and used them on Wednesday. If we’d had more flexibility, we would’ve saved even more because we would’ve visited Rosenborg on Wednesday instead of Thursday – we just couldn’t do it because of the hours places were open. By using the card and making sure to eat places that accepted credit cards, we were able to completely avoid having to obtain any Danish currency. We did use a couple euros for a locker rentals, but we had those from a previous trip so it was no problem. Had we been dealing with fewer currencies on our trip, I would have been sad not to have gotten local currency, but avoiding 1 of 7 currencies made the Card all the more valuable to us. I especially like that we were able to purchase it at the airport and, thus, use it to get into town by train.