Tuesday 14 October 2014

10 things to do on a trip to Copenhagen

Colourful Copenhagen Bike

Recently we went to Denmark and spent several days in Copenhagen.  Here are my top tips of what to see and do.

1. Get a Copenhagen Card

This is well worth getting because it provides free entry to loads of museums + lots of transport possibilities (buses, boats, trains) are also free.  It means you can just take a look at lots of places and if you like them spend some time there and if not, move on!  They are available for various numbers of days - pick what suits you best.

2. Swim in the Canal

At Islands Brygge Havnebadet you can go lane swimming or do some jumping in and playing about.  This is me making a big splash!  It's free.  There are shallower pools for children. Lifeguards are on duty.  We went one morning and it wasn't very busy.  It's very bracing (that's code for "don't expect warm water!")

3. Visit the Tivoli Gardens

Go at night - it's all lit up.  Enjoy the rides or sample one of the many restaurants if you just want to eat out.  There are gardens and shows as well.  Entry is free with a Copenhagen card but you still have to pay for the rides.  We went on the Ferris Wheel (not too scary), had an Italian meal and wandered round - not all on the same night!

Ferris Wheel

4. Check out the Design Museum Danmark

Marcel Breuer display
Is it a tiny person or a very big chair?

Lots of interesting exhibits at the Design Museum and a nice cafe.  We saw the "Wegner - just one good chair" exhibition.

5. See Nyhavn, wander around (& do some shopping) 

Nyhavn is the colourful street by the canal that you often see on postcards of Copenhagen.  There are lots of restaurants and you can just watch the world go by.  Lots of canal trips start here.

Colourful Nyhavn
Quiet Copenhagen street
Street Art

Copenhagen is an interesting place to wander around, soak up the atmosphere, have a coffee and do some shopping

6. Take  a look at the Global Vizionary

Global Vizionary

Everyone knows about the statue of the Little Mermaid.  It is overrun with tourists and much smaller than you'd expect and altogether a bit underwhelming.  Take in the Global Vizionary instead.  He's bigger. You can sit next to him. He'll even hold your bag. Created in 2010-12 by Thezinker (Kim Michael) he's made of all sorts of scrap metal.  He's supposed to represent how humanity is made up of many different parts but from the same universal element - an intercultural landmark to show our joint and individual ability to influence the world we live in.

7. Go by boat

Harbour Bus

You get great views from the canals - you can take a tour or just hop on the harbour buses to get where you want to go!

8. Climb the spiral tower of Vor Frelsers Kirke

Vor Frelsers Kirke
If you don't like heights, confined spaces or ladder-like steps then this probably isn't for you.  But if you're feeling brave then you get great views from the top - 90+ metres up.  There are 400 steps - the last 150 are on the outside getting narrower and narrower till they stop.  It's a little bit daunting but quite exciting!

Steep stairs - some on the way up are quite broad and some ladder-like

Views through the gilded railings

9. Go to Helsingor

Helsingor Castle alias Kronborg Slot

Outside the Shipyard Museum

Helsingor is supposedly the site of Hamlet's Castle of Elsinore.  The origins of the Hamlet story are much earlier than the castle (Kronborg Slot - a World Heritage Site) but sailors from Shakespeare's time could have seen the castle and associated the two.  Kronberg Slot is generally referred to as Hamlet's Castle and is large and imposing.  We wandered round the outside rather than going in and had a very pleasant morning mooching round Helsingor's medieval quarter before heading off to Louisiana.  If you want to go inside the castle, Maritime Museum or spend time in the shops then you'd need longer.

10. Visit Louisiana

Sculpture by Alexander Calder
Louisiana is a modern art gallery just outside Copenhagen.  Standing on the Oresund it has great views, interesting sculptures in the extensive grounds and a fab cafe.  Indoors they have different exhibitions but not an extensive permanent collection so check what's on if you're fussy.

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