Well, at least it’s a dream come true… For us that is. A visit to Copenhagen, Denmark has been on our European travel list for a long time. And now that we’ve been to the amazing capital of Denmark we want to share this fairytale trip with you guys.
As you may know many of the world’s most famous fairytales are written by Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish author and poet who lived in Copenhagen for a long time. So there are many references to him and his work but the city has much more to offer.
Getting to the city centre
As many major European airlines fly to Copenhagen airport, there’s heaps of choice when it comes to cheap flights to Copenhagen. The next step is getting to the city centre. And that’s pretty easy.
As the airport is so close to Copenhagen city, it’s only a few stops by Metro. The M2 metro line takes you to the city centre in just 12 minutes and it’ll cost you DKK36 (NZ$8/€5/GBP4/US$7). Or you can take the regional DSB train from the airport (“Københavns Lufthavn”) to Copenhagen Central Station (“Kobenhavn H”) for the same amount (DKK36) by purchasing a 3-zone ticket.
All travel in Copenhagen done by Metro or regional train requires you to buy zone tickets. Don’t bother to look for the option of punching in the street name in the ticket vending machines. Simply check the map near the ticket machines to see in which zone you are and which zone you want to go to. Then buy the difference as a zone ticket from the machine. For example, if you’re in zone 2 and want to go to zone 4, you need to buy a 2 zone ticket. With that ticket, you’ll have a certain amount of time to travel to or within these zones. Or plan your journey through the city online.
Yes, you can buy unlimited travel cards for the metro and train system in Copenhagen, but don’t bother. Walking around and seeing heaps is more fun and it’s so easy. The city isn’t that big. Just hop on a metro or train with a zone ticket when you’re tired or want to go to the outskirts of the city. That way you’ll save heaps of money. Money that you can spend on important things like Carlsberg beers… Or souvenirs.
Accommodation in Copenhagen
The next thing you need to settle: your accommodation. That’s pretty easy, there are plenty of hostels and affordable hotels to be found in Copenhagen. As Copenhagen is a relatively small city with excellent public transport, it really doesn’t matter which district you select for your accommodation. As a rule of thumb, the closer your hotel is to the city centre the higher the price will be (as with all cities around the world).
We found a great deal on the Admiral Hotel. This 4-star hotel is an 18th-century warehouse converted into a hotel. Have a look at the photos below and see those awesome beams. They kept the 18th-century charm and added 21st-century luxury. The hotel is a 7-minute walk from Nyhavn.
A must-see: the colours of Nyhavn
Nyhavn is one of the famous sights you see in the Copenhagen city travel books or on postcards. You simply can’t forget the bright colours of the houses in this heritage harbour. These houses are 17th and early 18th century townhouses. There are also many restaurants and bars. Also at number 20, you’ll find the house where Hans Christian Andersen lived for about 18 years.
Experience the work of H.C. Andersen
Talking about Hans Christian Andersen… As he was so important for Copenhagen, Denmark there are so many references in and around Copenhagen. Places, where he lived or worked, can be visited, there’s the statue at H.C. Andersen Boulevard, and heaps more.
In case you’re one of those people who think museums and libraries are boring, there is also a more fun way to explore the work (many famous fairytales) and life of Hans Christian Andersen: the World of Hans Christian Andersen (next to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum). And it’s more like a theme park than a museum.
Visit the Carlsberg brewery
In the Vesterbro district, an interesting area just outside of the Copenhagen city centre, one of the biggest attractions is the famous Carlsberg brewery. It is the perfect place to taste the freshest Danish beer ever. The brewery is a must-see in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Carlsberg complex is just massive. There’s heaps to see from the moment you walk up to the buildings. Inside you can go on the Carlsberg beer tour to see how that liquid Danish gold is crafted (tour price is DKK70/NZ€17/€10/GBP9/US$14 and includes two free beers). There’s also a great Carlsberg brand shop for picking up Carlsberg branded clothing, various items, or… More beers.
The Visit Carlsberg Experience is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Getting to Carlsberg is easy… Yes, you can walk the 2km from Copenhagen Central Station, but it’s easier to go by bus (line 18 or 26) or by S-train to Enghave Station or Valby Station. From both train stations, it’s 15-minute walk to the Carlsberg brewery. For more info about Visit Carlsberg.
Off the beaten track: Christiania
Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania (Danish: “Fristaden Christiania”) is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares (84 acres) in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital Copenhagen.
Freetown Christiania is something you just have to see. It’s an area filled with alternative people, creative ideas, and plain old fun. Simply abide by the rules, especially the photo ban, and you’ll be fine. Then you decide whether it’s the best part of Copenhagen that you’ve seen on your city trip. For some it is, while for others it’s just a shabby area. You be the judge.
See more of Copenhagen
(click the images for a bigger version and to browse through our photo gallery)
Note: This blog post was posted between 2010 and 2015 when we were called DIY-OE. As we’re still happy with the quality, it was published again on our new blog Travel.Geek.NZ.