You can get a lot done in three days in Copenhagen and also spend a lot of money.
The best thing about the city is that all the tourist attractions are within walking or cycling distance. So our relaxing city break turned into a full blown walking holiday. We arrived early on Wednesday and took the metro from the airport to the Kongens Nytorv and had the pleasure of walking along Nyhavn on our way to the Bedwood Hostel. The location of this hostel in unbeatable, in a small courtyard at the end of the famous stretch of coloured houses, three of which Hans Christian Anderson lived in. To climatise to the cold, we took a walk around the shops, mainly in search of much needed European adapters. Churros are on offer in a few shops around town with assorted toppings, and famous Danish hot dogs with Danish cucumber are also available from food vans on the streets, which are definitely worth a try. During our walk we found that one of the attractions we had been looking forward to visiting is actually closed at this time of year. Sadly, the Tivoli amusement park only has autumn, Christmas and summer opening periods and we managed to book a trip that avoids all three.
On the way back to the hostel we got our first taste of notoriously expensive Copenhagen as we fell into the tourist trap and grabbed dinner at what we thought would be an economical pub on the Nyhavn. Unfortunately, not even the cafes on this stretch could be described as economical. Desperately trying to hold on to my cash, I opted for a Greek salad at an extortionate 85 Danish Krone. Luckily for us, drinks at the hostel are more fairly priced so we returned to the cosy Bedwood for happy hour cocktails. A warm Irish coffee is recommended.
On Thursday, we got up early to grab breakfast at the hostel buffet which includes cereals, granola, bread, meat, cheese, tea and coffee. At 44 krone this wasn’t too bad, but to save money you can buy the same things at the nearby Aldi for much cheaper. We then rented bikes from the hostel for the day and cycled along the bay to see the little mermaid statue. Although our tour guide later referred to this as the most underwhelming tourist attraction in Copenhagen, I found it inspiring. Surrounded by coach loads of posing tourists, the mermaid sits on a rock just meters from the shore, looking out over a crowded industrialised harbour. Something about her pensive stare makes you see the city differently. On the way back we cycled through an old colonial style village reminiscent of times gone by.
We managed to find our way through the city centre on our bikes to make the 11am free tour which runs every day and, like all free walking tours, is a great introduction to the city. Our tour guide was called Cher and if you can find her electric blue hair, I’d recommend taking this tour with her. Some sites included in the tour are the Christiansborg palace, which we later climbed to the top of to see the view, the Queens house, parliament buildings and the oldest street in Copenhagen. Our afternoon was cut short by rain as we sat in a café with hot chocolates and had to make our way back through the rain on bikes. Luckily the rain then turned into snow, the much preferred cold weather option. Battling our way through a blizzard with a small umbrella and many layers of clothing, we eventually got to the Copenhagen food market which is on paper island, very close to the Nyhavn. This is a blessing when it comes to finding cheap food as everywhere else appeared to be too expensive for our budget. The market is in a giant warehouse which features open fireplaces and a wide choice of food, including Korean, Japanese and Mexican, so we could warm up whilst we ate. There’s also a selection of large bars and a DJ on the weekend so it makes a good night out as well as dinner venue.
On Friday, we woke up a little later and ventured back towards Paper Island for a coffee and pastry breakfast at The Corner 108. We had a magical walk through the snow which ended abruptly at Christiana. This recommended tourist destination appeared a little off to us as it’s really just a drug friendly community where you can buy bongs and other bong related items. I did enjoy the graffiti artwork on the buildings though. Later that day we found another market closer to Rosenborg castle where we got exceptional Danish pastries for lunch. This was followed by another snowy walk around the botanical gardens and castle gardens which looked stunning in the sun. To finish a chilly day out we jumped on a boat tour on the way back to the hostel which took about an hour and gave us some more interesting information about the city. These tours depart from Nyhavn regularly and are around 85 krone (£9.88). After dinner, we visited the Ofelia light instillation on the bay next to the hostel, which was absolutely beautiful.
Saturday was our last day in the city so we visited the Statens for Kunst national gallery and went to the Japanomania exhibition. This gave some great insights into the influence of Japanese culture in Europe and had some great artwork and artefacts. We spent most of the day in this gallery looking at the different collections, of which the Danish artwork section is very extensive. We walked back through Rosenborg palace gardens towards the hostel to appreciate the beauty of it again and had time for homemade pizza at the hostel before our flight.