Copenhagen is a long way from anywhere! This is Viking Country… Scandinavia!
How to get to Copenhagen
Our departure point was Amsterdam, which is one of the closest European cities to Copenhagen. However the bus trip to Copenhagen is a whopping 15 hours. Flixbus tickets are only about 50 Euros on GoEuro.com, however we couldn’t cope with 15 hours on a bus. Fortunately we picked up some cheap flights on Norwegian Air using Skyscanner.com, which worked out only slightly more expensive than bus tickets. Our final cost was around 80 Euros each including luggage.
Leaving Copenhagen Airport
Copenhagen Airport was one of our least enjoyable airports in Europe. We found the simple task of catching a train to the city extremely difficult. English instructions were non existent, information desks were nowhere to be seen, and the only staff we found sent us around in circles. Self serve ticket machines were plentiful but proved difficult to navigate, and queues were 15 minutes long to access the vending machines.
It took us about 1.5 hours to exit the airport and finally board a city bound train. If you are going to Copenhagen Airport, do yourself a favour and research exactly how to purchase tickets to get to your next stop. You’ll be glad you did.
- If you are going to Copenhagen Central Station, its local name is Kobenhavn H.
- If you are going to Copenhagen Central Station, don’t catch the Metro. Instead catch the Airport Train operated by DSB (Danish Public Transport Corporation). For more information check the DSB website.
- If you are going to Narreport Station, catch the Copenhagen Metro.
Where to Stay in Copenhagen
Copenhagen was equal with Amsterdam as our most expensive accommodation in Europe. We chose the Star Hotel because it was conveniently located next to the Central Train Station. This turned out to be a great choice for budget accommodation.
On our first night we also learnt how expensive dining can be. A simple Thai meal at a local restaurant set us back about 75 Euros for 3 people. Whilst you can find some reasonable priced take away dining options, restaurants can easily break the budget.
Getting Around Copenhagen
Most of our time in Copenhagen was spent on foot. This is because most of the main attractions were within 30-40 minute from our hotel. It is a fascinating city to walk around in with amazing Architecture everywhere you look. I’d call it a foot friendly city.
Because we were located near the Central Train Station we also caught some trains. We found the DSB train system difficult to navigate in Copenhagen Central Station. Ticketing machines are difficult to understand, and the cost to use the trains is quite expensive compared to other European cities. We quickly learnt to prefer walking wherever possible.
9 Awesome Things to Do in Copenhagen
Shopping in the City Centre
Fact: Strojet, the main shopping street in Copenhagen is 1.1km long, and one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe.
The city centre of Copenhagen is a shopping paradise, so long as you are not looking for bargains. The atmosphere is buzzing, the layout is historic and interesting, and there are loads of interesting shops to check out. We also found quite a few public squares with live music and entertainment. Strojet the pedestrian street is a tourist attraction in itself.
If souvenirs are your thing then fear not – there are countless souvenir shops dotted all along Strojet.
Denmark is the original birthplace of Lego. It stands to reason that our favorite shop was the Lego shop. Prices were fairly consistent with what you would pay for Lego elsewhere. There are some great Lego large sculptures on display, and the variety of Lego in the store is astonishing.
Also in the Lego Store is a mix’n’match section where kids can make up their own Lego figures to purchase from thousands of combinations. There’s also a ‘Pick and Build’ section where you choose your own bricks from a huge rack. You will never hear the end of it if you neglect to take you Lego fan/kids to the Copenhagen Lego Store!
— Oliver Berger (@OliverBerger) October 2, 2017
Castle Island & Christianborg Palace
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Castles in Europe. I’ve been known to dedicate whole days to castle tours, like Heidelberg Castle, Karlstejn Castle and Eltz Castle. So I was very excited when I saw Castle Island on the map in Copenhagen, also called Slotsholmen.
Castle Island centrally located in the harbour of Copenhagen and easy to walk to. We did go and check out the castles there, however they were not the medieval castles with knights and armour that I’m such a fan of. The Castle Island version is more like Royal Palaces and Parliamentary type buildings. Be sure to take the free tour up to the top of the tower of Christanborg Palace for stunning views of Copenhagen.
Rundetaarn – The Round Tower
Just a few minutes walk from Castle Island is the Round Tower. This is remarkable medieval style tower which is cheap to enter and fun to climb. It has a spiral path most of the way up to the top, and has marvellous views over Copenhagen from the top.
— Anshar Photography (@anshar) December 4, 2017
Facts: There’s a house dating back to 1681 in the famous Nyhavn waterfront and canal district – No.9. Hans Christian Andersen once lived in No.20.
The Nyhavn canal must be one of the most photographed locations on the planet. I have seen it countless times in all manner of travel magazine, as well as all over Instagram. And with good reason, this place is probably one of the most photogenic urban landscapes on the planet.
You can easily spend several hours here as one side is lined with bars and cafes. You will find plenty of places for a quiet ale, or a noisy one. Anything from live music bars to ice creameries, with all sorts of dining and entertainment options in between.
Nyhavn Canal Cruise
No trip to Nyhavn is complete without a canal cruise. There is a terminal with a ticketing booth with several different cruise options. We purchased our tickets on the cheaper Canal Tours Grand Tour of Copenhagen, which cost roughly 11 Euros each for a 1 hour cruise along the canals. Here you can see Copenhagen from a completely different watery angle. It’s also an easy way to see the famous mermaid statue.
Copenhaven Botanical Gardens
We love nature, and we love Botanical Gardens. Copenhagen has one of the prettiest Botanical Gardens we’ve encountered, especially because we visited in Autumn with plenty of bright orange an yellow trees offering some spectacular Autumn scenery. There’s also a large Conservatorium with a hot and humid tropical palm garden, and free entry.
Opposite the Botanical Garden is the famous Rosenborg Castle. This is a great place just to hang out for an hour or two. Be sure to take some time to admire the stunning royal gardens. You can also pay for an internal tour of the castle.
Kronborg Castle (The Real Hamlet’s Castle)
If you want to step up the authenticity a little, why not take a 1 hour trip up the coast to see the real ‘Hamlet’s Castle’. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and well worth the visit. There is also plenty to see in this little coastal town. It’s quite easy to access via the train network, or you could opt for an organised tour.
Note: You can also book an awesome organised tour to Kronborg Castle by clicking HERE.
Caugh the sunset at Frederiksborg Castle not too long ago, and I’m considering catching the sunrise at Kronborg Castle this weekend, provided the weather holds #justcastlethings https://t.co/m01zYRxWhl pic.twitter.com/5BB6qdn2I3
— Dennis Skyum (@skyum) November 23, 2017
Day Trip to Sweden
Although Copenhagen has so much to see and do, we figured that since it is so close to Copenhagenn then a visit to Sweden is a must. In fact, it’s a simple matter of catching a train from Central Station across the border. You will undergo a passport check along the way aboard the train but nothing too difficult. We opted for Lund, which we found to be a much more interesting place to visit than Malmo.
How Long Should You Spend in Copenhagen?
Let me start by saying that there this city is loaded chock full of historic sites. Our 5 days seemed way too short to absorb it all. It really depends on your budget because Copenhagen is such an expensive place to visit. I do recommend 5 to 7 days if you want to really find out what Copenhagen is all about. You should also factor in a day trip to Sweden, and another to another part of Denmark like Kronborg Castle.
Denmark is one of the happiest cities on Earth. Vikings live here. Scandinavia begins here. Your European adventure deserves just a little piece of Denmark, don’t you think?
More on Copenhagen
Stay tuned for some more blogs about Copenhagen including…
- Copenhagen Nyhavn
- Train from Copenhagen Airport to Copenhagen Central Station
- Copenhagen to Malmo Train
- Rosenborg Castle Copenhagen
- Day Trip to Malmo and Lund