24 Hours in Copenhagen
I was sitting next to a Danish girl during a tour to Sintra near Lisbon and told her that i was going to Copenhagen the next morning. With a surprised look on her face, she said “Why Copenhagen?” Slightly taken back by the response, I said “Why not?!” When I think of Denmark, A couple of things come to my mind such as Noma (one of the best restaurants in the world), happiest country in the world, the Danish girl and the little mermaid. But Copenhagen is much more than all of that. The word “Copenhagen” itself means Chapman’s haven or Merchants harbor.
My flight landed in Copenhagen around 2pm in the afternoon and I had my flight back home the next day at 5pm. With limited time, I quickly picked up my bags and took the metro to Nyhavn where my hostel was located. There is only one metro line, which takes only 10 to 15 minutes, costs about 5$ and is very convenient. The local currency there is Danish Krones. Walking along the cobbled streets, I could see a mix of old Viking influences along with modern, urban architecture. The city was buzzing alive with locals and tourists; some enjoying their meal, some riding their bicycles, some taking photographs and some just people watching. Most people speak English in the city.
I checked in to my hostel, left my luggage, put on my comfortable shoes and set out to explore. I figured the quickest way to explore and see the most amount of the city would be to take the hop on hop off bus. Copenhagen is also known for its bicycles along with Amsterdam and probably has the most number of bicycles and bicycle friendly lanes in the city. A bus and boat pass cost me about 40$ and was well worth it (the pass is valid for 72 hours). We passed by the famous little mermaid statue where lots of tourists were taking pictures, the Gefion fountain with the Norse goddess, Gefjun and her four son that she turned into oxen and also the old, yellow Nyboder houses of Copenhagen that were once the naval barracks. I also passed by numerous palaces, castles, museums and gardens with some amazing art installations on the way.
After getting off at one of the stops near downtown, I headed towards Strøget, one of Europe’s first major pedestrian boulevards. Due to time, I did not get to visit Tivoli Gardens which is a famous amusement park in Copenhagen. By pure coincidence, it happens that the Copenhagen Jazz festival was going on during my visit. I grabbed a beer and sat down at one of the benches along with the locals to listen to live jazz music being played along the streets of Strøget. It was truly a memorable experience. I headed back towards Nyhavn just in time to catch the sunset. I’d say it is undoubtedly the best place in the city at sunset to take a picture of the many wooden ships alongside the brightly colored townhouses. Nyhavn was once the red light district in Copenhagen, but now is one of the main tourist attractions in the city with lots of bars, cafes and restaurants. The famous author, Hans Christen Andersen also reportedly lived in one of these houses.
I then crossed the bridge into Paper Island to witness the Copenhagen street food scene. This place is a must visit for everyone coming to the city. There is no better way to relax with a drink in one hand and a meal in the other and watch the sun go down than this. The array of foods from different parts of the world and the aroma from each one of them was amazing. I have not been to any place quite like it before. I finished my meal, again with jazz music in the background and headed back to my hostel for a good night’s sleep.
The next morning, I woke up early to take some more pictures of Nyhavn sans tourists. I then headed over to get brunch at Union Kitchen. The brunch there was one of the best I’ve ever had. Everything was extremely fresh and tasted delicious. With a full belly, I then sauntered off to do the boat/canal tour which came highly recommended. It was a relaxing way to see the city and also gives you a different perspective. The tour itself costs only 40 DKK but came included with my hop on hop off ticket. The tour lasted for an hour and then I hopped off to visit Christiania, which was initially illegally occupied by homeless people in the city but then was allowed by the government as a social experiment. I was truly surprised as this sort of thing would never happen where I live but was interesting and enlightening to observe.
I had to head back to catch my flight back home but not before stopping to eat a waffle ice cream for lunch. With these amazing memories, I sadly had to leave for the airport but also truly enjoyed my short stay in Copenhagen and wished I had stayed longer. I was a bit disappointed that I could also not experience the local cuisine, but alas there’s always a next time. Although a bit expensive, I would definitely recommend visiting this wonderful city.