We arrived in Copenhagen at about 8:00pm on Christmas day. We stood at the baggage claim looking for our one bag. “I don’t want to panic you, but our luggage didn’t arrive,” I said to Steve who was figuring out the metro system in our new location. We filed a claim, were handed a bag of toiletries, and were told we’d be notified when our bag was found. We picked up our Copenhagen Card from the information desk and made our way to our hotel. The Copenhagen airport was very tourist friendly. There were tons of maps and brochures available near the metro. All of the trains at the airport go the same direction, so you don’t have to worry about getting on the wrong train.
We stayed at A&O Nørrebro Hotel which was small, about $80 per night, did not have free breakfast, had wifi, was located super close to a metro station, but was a bit far from the city center. We had to connect at a smaller station situated near a 7/11. However, it was perfectly fine for the two of us, and it felt like a throwback to a college dorm room!
We were a bit exhausted from the lost luggage ordeal and too tired to go out into the city. We enjoyed a frozen hotel pizza, washed our clothes in the sink with the one packet of laundry detergent we had brought, and planned for our full day in Copenhagen. A 24-hour Copenhagen card allowed us free transportation all over the city and access to a lot of attractions in Copenhagen. The card cost us about $56 each.
One of the things we were able to do was a boat tour through the canals of Copenhagen. Since we’d had so much success with our Stockholm tour, we thought starting the day with a tour would be exciting. It was about 40 degrees in Copenhagen (at least ten degrees warmer than Stockholm), but it felt so much colder.
The boat tour was about 2 hours (an hour too long in our opinion) and the children on board were getting cranky. We couldn’t hear much of what the tour guide was saying, but tried to make the most of it…since we were basically trapped. The craziest thing was that when we were pretty far out on our boat tour, we saw a man and a woman getting into the water for a morning dip. They happily waved at us, probably aware that we were all gawking and thanking God for our jackets and mittens.
After the tour, we went to the top of The Round Tower. It is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe and as you may know by now, we love seeing cities from above.
It started to rain and the winds picked up while we were there, but the climb to the top was a breeze (it’s all a ramp except for a few stairs at the very top) and it was definitely worth doing. Without a Copenhagen card, admission would be less than $5.
Attractions in Copenhagen were all fairly close together. It was easy to walk from one thing to another quickly. Also, almost every single attraction had free wifi. After The Round Tower, we walked to The Rosenborg Castle where we got to walk through the different rooms and see the crown jewels.
I imagine it’s absolutely stunning in the summer. Copenhagen was surprisingly green despite the freezing wind and rain. We also visited the Amalienborg Palace, which was super regal and donned a church with gold detailing around a copper dome.
We made our way to Nyhavn, the thing you picture when you visualize Copenhagen. It’s the part of the city with the colorful houses and a history of sailors, ladies of pleasure, and pubs.
We were delighted to find that there was a Christmas market along the Nyhavn area. There was a charming booth selling glögg, stalls selling wool goods, aebleskivers, crepes, hot chocolate, cheese, and candles.
We tried aebleskivers and a nutella crepe, which were divine. P.S. The restaurant Toast in New Orleans, Louisiana has aebleskivers on their brunch menu and they’re close to the real thing.
The Swedes had “fika” and the Danes have “hygge” which is, “…used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cozy, charming or special.” Though we thought this would mean roaring fires and comfy restaurants, it really turned out to be happy surprises and little delights even though we didn’t have the comforts of our luggage.
Tivoli Gardens was a much anticipated attraction for us. Tivoli is an amusement park that gets all dressed up for both Christmas and Halloween. It was a treat to be able to see it with all the bells and whistles.
Tivoli is comprised of tons of (pricey) restaurants, a Christmas market, amusement rides, a garden, christmas lights, and shops. Hans Christian Andersen and Walt Disney both have visited Tivoli Gardens and found them absolutely enchanting. It was everything golden and glistening that we’d imagined. Though crowded, we didn’t feel overwhelmed.
We read this article about value restaurants in an effort to be more prepared for our dining experiences in Copenhagen. The only restaurant on that list that was open was Gorilla which was a pain in the ass to find without data and a reliance on Google maps. The food, though delicious, was a tiny portion and we weren’t super impressed with the whole experience. Maybe this was partly because we’d been rained on all day, got lost down a sketchy alley searching for the restaurant, and still didn’t have our luggage.
Copenhagen maintained the private and less touristy vibe we got while in Scandinavia. It’s unbelievably hip, an environmentally conscious city for biking, and has a soft spot for The Little Mermaid. If we had more time in Copenhagen, we’d have visited Christiania, eaten smørrebrød (an open-faced sandwich), and gone on a walking tour of the city to learn more about it. Copenhagen kept us busy and seems to have something for everyone, even kids.