Many people avoid visiting the Nordic countries for various reasons, such as weather, high prices and no super-famous attractions. However, once you visit a Scandinavian country, you will be surprised by its beauty, culture and the locals’ kindness. I first discovered the Scandinavian beauty in Stockholm last year and totally fell in love with that city. Denmark is the second Nordic country that I visited and I’ll try to convince you to put Copenhagen on your list. Why?
1. Happiest people in the world
It seems that the Danes have found the recipe for happiness. They are considered the happiest nation is the world and there are a few reasons why they got this title. The first one would be hygge, a Danish concept that would translate into a pleasant, intimate, friendly atmosphere. Hyggelige is, for example, a meeting with friends around a candlelit table, with a good coffee and a delicious cinnamon roll on a rainy day. That’s exactly how we experienced hygge in Copenhagen, in the coffee shop Espresso House in the city center. I totally recommend it for the best cinnamon rolls!
2. 560.000 bicycles
That’s the total number of bikes in Copenhagen – can you imagine?! 9 out of 10 Danes own a bike, while only 4 out of 10 Danes own a car. People use the bike in all types of weather and at all times of day: for pleasure, commuting, shopping, family travel. The extensive networks of bike lanes and bike highways and the drivers’ attention make it easy. You can find rental places over the city. We booked the bicycles from our hostel and paid 100 crowns (15 Euros) for 6 hours. It was the highlight of our trip in Copenhagen and luckily, we had nice weather, after a cold rainy day.
3. Architecture and design
Denmark is the birthplace of some of the most famous modern architects. There’s no wonder that the country’s capital city is ripe with astounding architectural buildings, both historic and contemporary. The famous architect Bjarge Ingels (BIG) came in the spotlight when he built a new district in the city, Orestad. He is considered one of the most talented and innovative architects in the world. Some of his popular buildings can be seen in Orestad, Copenhagen. These are Mountain Dwellings and 8 Tallet.
The Black Diamond Library, situated in the city center, is a must-do while in Denmark. If you have enough time, go check the Royal Opera and Theater as well.
Black Diamond Library
Showroom for Scandinavian furniture
4. Boat tour from Nyhavn
Fishing has been playing an important role in the Danish economy. Nyhavn, the New Port, takes us back in time to its humble, fishing village origin, but it also shows us how cosmopolitan Copenhagen currently is. From a fishing village, Nyhavn has turned into a lively area, with restaurants and terraces that make you want to enjoy a Smorrebrod (a traditional sandwich) on the terrace, and then go on a boat tour through the city. Somehow, we took the cheapest boat tour, but couldn’t notice any difference between ours and the rest. It was really nice to tour the city via water, especially when you’re from a city where this is not possible. More than this, the boat tour gave us a new, wonderful perspective on the city and its rich history. It was during the tour that I learned about the famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen living in a cottage in Nyhavn for a few years.
5. Hans Christian Andersen
The fairy tales of H. C. Andersen, e.g. The Ugly Ducking, The Snow Queen, The Little Mermaid, still bring joy to all the children in the world. His legacy is enormous for the universal literature. You can see Andersen’s statue in the city center and one of the city’s symbol is the Little Mermaid, probably his most famous character.
Left: H.C. Andersen’s statue. Right: Little Mermaid
6. Danish monarchy
The Danish monarchy is the oldest continuing line in the world. Queen Margrethe II’s heritage can be traced back more than a thousand years to a king believed to be born around year 900. She currently lives with her family in the Amalienborg Palace, in the city center. Margrethe is famous for being a very modern monarch. She worked as a translator for French, Swedish, English and German and is a renowned painter.
Rosenborg castle – the summer residence of the royal family
7. Christiana, the free district
Christiania is a former military base that sat abandoned for many years. In 1971, a group of hippies broke down the barricades and moved in. Nowadays, approximately 900 people live in the area, comprising a community that has its own rules and regulations completely independent of the Danish government. You can walk trough the neighborhood for 10 minutes and you’ll notice that the atmosphere is very different than the rest of Copenhagen’s. People call it the “green district” and it’s forbidden to take pictures after a point – not so hard to guess the reason.
7. Meatpacking district
Originally home to Copenhagen meat industry businesses, “Kødbyen” is now one of Copenhagen’s hot spots. It was completely revitalized and turned into a cool, creative place with galleries, nightlife and restaurants. We stopped at the Warpigs restaurant and had a traditional Danish, oh pardon, American dinner with pulled pork, mac and cheese, pickles and beer. Don’t forget to try the local beers – Tuborg and Carlsberg!
Left: Halifax restaurant. Right : Warpigs
9. Longest shopping street in Europe
Put your comfy shoes on and…3,2,1, start shopping! Stroget street is the longest shopping street in Europe. If you’ll walk along, you’ll find local shops, famous brands, a Lego store – a famous Danish brand – and the Water Tower (Rundeturn) that offers amazing views!
Rundeturn on the left
10. Green spots
There are so many great spots in Copenhagen that you can look for a new one every day. I loved the Rosenborg park and the Kasteller fortress, close to the Little Mermaid. If we had had more time, I would have loved to visit the Botanical Garden. Tivoli Amusement Park is nice to see, especially if you visit the city during summer.
We booked a private room for four at the Urban House Copenhagen. It is close to the train station and a 10-min walk to the city center. They have a nice restaurant, a common area with kitchen, tables, a room with games, TV, storage room. We paid 50 euro / person / 2 nights.
Copenhaga văzută de sus
Biblioteca Diamantul Negru