When you don’t have a lot of time or don’t have the inclination to run around too much. Every website and blog about Copenhagen will tell you it is a very walk-able city and this is true. However, there are walks and there are slightly longer walks and then you could even rent a bike and whizz past the landmarks like the locals- I didn’t get to try it this time but will do next time if I ever get there again.
So without much ado here’s 5 things you should definitely try
- Canal Tours of Copenhagen: If you arrive at Copenhagen mid-afternoon, then I would recommend that you start your sightseeing with a leisurely boat tour which starts from Nyhavn but pretty much gives you an overview of all major landmarks in the city. My friend recommended this to me and it really works out well. If you don’t have too much baggage you can even take the metro directly from the airport to Kongens Nytorv stop from where the canal tour start site is just a quick walk away.
- Hang out at Nyhavn: Seen photographs of Denmark with these really pretty multi-coloured buildings right next to a water canal? Chances are you’re looking at photographs of Nyhavn. It is the old port area with houses dating from the late 17th century onwards but is now filled with cafes. One of the things that people like to point out to you is that Hans Christian Anderson (he is a recurring name) lived and wrote some of his fairy tales in several of those houses. Nyhavn is the start and end point of the canal tours so you can hang out and chill right after your boat tour if you still don’t feel very refreshed.
- Walk to the Little Mermaid statue: This may not appeal to everybody but it really is Copenhagen’s most iconic monument so you shouldn’t miss it (by the way you do get to see the Little Mermaid from a distance when on the boat tour). It is extremely hard to get close to the monument more because there are so many tourists jostling to take photographs with the monument and some slippery rocks so do watch your step. From Nyhavn it is about a 10-15 minute leisurely walk to the statue.
- Amalienborg Palace: Amalienborg Palace is the impressive royal residence. A small part of the residence is open to public as a museum. You can also witness the changing of the guards everyday at noon from the square. I couldn’t but I’ve heard it’s quite interesting.
- Get a bird’s eye-view of Copenhagen from the tower at Borgen (Christiansborg Palace): The palace is the home of Danish parliament which may be familiar to many through the popular TV series Borgen (I haven’t watched it and I didn’t realise I was in Borgenland until my sister mentioned it to me). The tower is the tallest in Copenhagen and gives a lovely view on to the city. It’s good to go around sunset (the tower is open until 9pm) as the light is softer and the vista is nicer. DO NOT worry about having to climb stairs-they’ve got an elevator that goes all the way to the top. You do have to get your bags security checked first- this is a government building after all. There’s also a restaurant at the top of the tower.
This is just scratching the surface of Copenhagen- there’s literally tons more things you can do. I picked these because these are all 10-15 minute walking distance (max) from Nyhavn.
One thing I would absolutely recommend you to do when you arrive at the airport is to pick up your Copenhagen Card. Valid for 24, 48 hours etc the card gives you free access to transportation system in Copenhagen region and also free entry to almost every monument of interest. It offers discounts on loads of other things like bike rentals. Definitely a worthy investment.