There is a calming charm to Copenhagen and for such a beautiful city, it’s not overly packed with tourists. This made it easy to explore the small city quickly because we didn’t waste any time in long lines. I was a bit surprised at how expensive everything in Copenhagen is, especially the food, but the beautiful attractions make it worth every penny.
When we arrived, we were obviously lost and a nice stranger approached us to ask if we needed help. We desperately did because there was no way we would’ve found our Airbnb without the kindness of a stranger. After wandering the city a bit with my sorority sister, we were able to get our trip started.
When we finally arrived at our Airbnb, we were starving and decided to check out a local pizza joint recommended by our host. This place is definitely not a tourist trap – their menu is in Danish and they also don’t take credit cards. Without being able to read the menu, we decided to play it safe and ordered the Hawaii pizza. They make the pizza when you order it! When the thin crust pizza comes out of the giant oven, the cheese is boiling. And as you can probably assume, it was delicious!
I was surprised by just how charming and unique an amusement park could be. It wasn’t very commercialized and even on a Saturday night, it wasn’t crowded with tourists. It was more like a small town with unique shops, lots of pricey restaurants, and strange animals appearing around every corner. I was taken aback when I saw the peacock with beautiful long feathers just roaming around the park!
The park is pretty small so we were able to explore it all in a short period of time. I didn’t check out the roller coasters (because I’m a wuss and they looked terrifying), but I did enjoy a very strange ballet, live music at the center of the park, a water show that would’ve been perfect for any rave, and very impressive fireworks that ended my night. I would definitely recommend Tivoli at night because it becomes even more magical when the lights turn on.
TIP: Tivoli only has fireworks on Saturday night so make sure to plan ahead!
Rosenborg Castle (Rosenborg Slot)
TIP: Make sure to bring your student ID for a discount (70 DKK versus 105 DKK).
The person who organized the interior of the castle has never heard of the phrase “less is more.” The castle was filled with an overwhelming number of portraits and objects. With the crowded placement, it felt like a really big storage unit. The poor lighting also made it hard to admire the paintings and the lack of information regarding the items made it less interesting.
With that said, there are a few things I found fascinating.
- The details on the ceilings were impressive, decorated with murals and carvings. The Danish Coat of Arms in the Long Hall (second floor) was my favorite.
- As a pageant girl, I couldn’t help but love the crowned jewels. It didn’t match up to those in London but it’s still lovely to see a part of history.
- The grounds surrounding the castle were beautiful and I found it more fun to be outside than in (and it was raining that day!).
Botanical Gardens (Botanisk Have)
I wish I spent more time wandering around the garden. It was so calm and peaceful. The Palm House was beautiful and the spiral staircases within made it even more special.
Unlike the rest of Copenhagen, Torvehallerne has a more modern vibe. It is two glass buildings that house over 60 food stands, selling things from coffee to fresh fish. It reminded me a lot of the Ferry Building in San Francisco. I would definitely recommend stopping by Laura’s Bakery for some samples – the bread is just amazing! We ate lunch at Sushi Lovers and it was delicious! We also checked out a friend’s recommendation, Hija de Sanchez, for some tacos. The tacos were good but nothing special.
The Round Tower (Rundetaarn)
The tower may not be very tall but it provides a beautiful view of the city. It costs 25 DKK to head up for a look. What I love about this tower is that they don’t have stairs, instead there is a spiral ramp to reach the viewing deck. There are additional rooms on the way up where you can look at art work and read about the building’s history. There is also a spot in the wall near the top of the tower where you can crawl through to find a hole in the ground that will give you a terrifying view.
When you get to the top, you get a beautiful 360-degree view of Copenhagen. You can even see Øresund Bridge and a bit of Sweden. There are also diagrams that tell you which building is what. The view was beautiful but it’s a bit shielded by the safety fences, thus making this spot my second favorite spot to view Copenhagen from above.
I was really looking forward to shopping on Strøget street. Sadly, it was Pentecost and all the shops were closed.
Even after asking a local and watching a video about Copenhagen, I still have no idea how to properly pronounce this famous landmark. It was unreal to finally see the colorful buildings in person. And for such a famous spot, there wasn’t a lot of people.
The Little Mermaid (Den lille Havfrue)
Upon arriving in Copenhagen, you will see this statue everywhere – on magnets, postcards, keychains, you name it! It is a Copenhagen icon and many tourists come to take a picture of it. From Nyhavn, we took a canal tour and saw the mermaid statue from behind. Though it wasn’t a proper view, it was good enough for me!
TIP: Skip the canal tours from Nyhavn, there’s not much to see from the water.
I personally love sweets and this spot was a favorite of mine. When you’re in Copenhagen, you have to eat the churros! Unlike the ones in America, these are more like crispy fries drenched in chocolate and caramel – an amazing combination of flavor and texture! We also tried the waffle stick which wasn’t quite as good as the churros. They also sell gelato in freshly made cones (there’s a guy in the shop that makes them) and it was delicious as well.
The Tower, Christiansborg Palace (Taarnet)
The Tower at Christiansborg Palace is the highest tower in Copenhagen but it didn’t provide the best view of the city, mainly because it’s not an open viewing area. The tower is shaped like a square and on each side, there’s only an opening (like a big window) to take in the view. The tower is free to visit. When you arrive, you will see an impaled polar bear. The statue was put into place to show the impact of global warming and how it is absolutely unbearable (preach).
Church of Our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke)
I was really excited to visit this church because you can climb an external winding staircase to reach the top of the tower. And the experience was exhilarating!
Before reaching the external staircase, you climb wooden stairs within the church. It was a bit eerie as you pass by broken angel statues in strangely lit areas. The external staircase is much easier to walk up but the strong winds we encountered made it a bit terrifying. The view from the staircase is incredible! The gold railings (there for safety) don’t obstruct your view and it’s the best way to see Copenhagen from above. As you reach the top, the staircase gets more and more narrow. At one point, I couldn’t see what was around the corner so it seemed as if the staircase would suddenly end and I would fall (this is not for the faint of heart). Though it may be a bit scary, the views are beautiful and I would absolutely go back up the staircase again.
TIP: Sit on the external staircase and enjoy the view once you reach the tip of the tower.
This spot ranks low on TripAdvisor because there are often different opinions surrounding this area. Being a Berkeley graduate, hippie areas don’t really phase me. It was interesting to see people openly buying weed from stands. There is an area termed Nemoland where you can sit, drink, and enjoy good music. We participated in the atmosphere by drinking Carlsberg and Christiania beer. (Pictures aren’t allowed… oops)
After such a delicious sushi lunch, we wanted more sushi from Copenhagen. We went to Karma Sushi which had 4 stars on Yelp. It didn’t deserve 4 stars – it was expensive and the sushi wasn’t very good. I was quite disappointed and found my sushi cravings unsatisfied.
(Back to) Torvehallerne
For our last few hours at Copenhagen, we decided to head back to Torvehallerne for some delicious food. We bought bread from Laura’s Bakery (feel free to skip the Marzipan) and ordered more sushi from Sushi Lovers. Clearly, I loved the food at Torvehallerne and would highly recommend it.
And with that, it was time to head back to the airport. It was a beautiful city and now that I’ve seen the main tourist spots, I would love to head back to take in the city and wander like a local.
Top Tourist Spots: Tivoli Gardens, Church of our Saviour
For Next Time: Strøget
Must Eat Snack: Churros from Rajissimo
What to Skip: Canal Tour, Karma Sushi
The Other Necessities
I stayed at an Airbnb. Our hosts, Jeanette and her son, were wonderful. Jeanette provided very detailed instructions to her place but sadly, Airbnb and a lack of knowledge about Danish addresses led us astray. However, the location was very convenient, just a quick 10 minute walk to the metro and there are many bus stops around. The room itself was a bit old but it added to the Copenhagen charm. I was surprised that there was only one bathroom for the whole house but I never ran into issues with other guests. A bonus was that her son made a Guide to Copenhagen and shared it with us which allowed us to check out the local pizza spot.
I recommend buying the 24 hour ticket for the metro and bus. It is only 80 DKK and you can use it for unlimited rides within 24 hours. The metro came frequently and was very clean and efficient, more so than most major cities. There’s an honor system on metros when it comes to tickets, but they did check our tickets once.
Once we were in the city center, we just walked everywhere. Everything was about a 10-15 minute walk from each other so it made it easy to quickly explore the city.