My visit to Copenhagen came about rather quickly and unexpectedly, so I didn’t have the normal planning and research completed before starting the trip. Plus, I was quite jetlagged when I arrived and found myself a bit out of sorts and unsure what to do in the city. When I got off the train the first day, I really had no game plan. I truthfully didn’t even know what I wanted to do.
So I decided to just start walking and see where the city would take me. I wandered the sidewalks of the old town area a bit and finally found myself in Nyhavn, where the famous colorful houses line the streets along the canal.
One of the most recognizable places in Copenhagen, Nyhavn was once home to writer Hans Christian Anderson and painter H.G.F. Holms.
As I approached the area, I came upon the Memorial Anchor, which stands in honor to the 1,600 Danish sailors who lost their lives in World War II.
There are many shops and restaurants along the canal, some more touristy than others. But just walking along and seeing the sights on a beautiful sunny day was the perfect way to start the trip!
Netto Baadene Boat Tour
Cost: Boat Tour $6
Along the canal, you’ll notice blue and white open-air boats filled with tourists. These are the Netto Boats! Their guided tours last one hour and take you through the canals and harbor. It’s a beautiful way to see the city from another perspective, as you’ll pass by such sites as The Little Mermaid Statue, Amalienborg Palace, Our Saviour’s Church, the National Museum, Christiansborg Palace, and many others. I really enjoyed it and would recommend taking the tour.
While on the boat tour, I caught sight of The Standard, a beautiful building that used to be the old ferry terminal and now houses various restaurants. It was a short walk from Nyhavn, so after the boat docked I decided to go there for lunch and to do some writing while looking out over the beautiful canal. Oh, and check out the little Danish gnome statue I found along the way!
NOTE: According to Yelp, Haven Bar itself was a pop-up restaurant that is now closed, unfortunately, but there were other restaurants & bars in the same building, so I would still recommend checking it out!
Haven Bar: Burger, fries, cocktail $26
One of the first public museums in Denmark, Thorvaldsen’s Museum opened in 1848 to exhibit the work of Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), including his sculptures, drawings, sketches, and reliefs. His art and the building itself are quite beautiful.
The architect of the museum, Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll was actually a friend and colleague of Thorvaldsen’s. The archeological excavations of ancient cities like Pompeii inspired his design of the museum.
I was struck by both the beauty of his work and of the building itself while I walked thru. I especially enjoyed the afternoon sunlight streaming thru some of the rooms and seeing how it encased his work in different shadows and light.
Sculpture Garden Park (Glyptoteket Museum)
On my way back to the hotel, I found this adorable park area where I took a moment to just sit and enjoy the view. Turns out, it was the sculpture garden behind the Glyptoteket Museum and across the street from Tivoli Gardens, so I could hear the music and sounds of the amusement park while I enjoyed the flowers and art in the garden.
Cost: Metro Ride $2 (one way)
The next day, I wanted to visit the Langelinie Pier area that was on the opposite side of the city from where I was, so decided to take the metro there and walk my way back throughout the day. I found the Copenhagen Metro system easy enough to use, and convenient to where I wanted to go.
Langelinie Pier, Park, and Promenade
Here, you will find another iconic site for Copenhagen, the statue of The Little Mermaid. Since 1913 she has sat and watched over the harbor. While some claim she’s a bit of a disappointment – too small, too many crowds – I found her to be quite beautiful and with a little patience was able to take some photos without any of the other tourists in the photo.
There is actually a whole lot more to the area than I realized. Along the promenade, in addition to the Little Mermaid, you will also see many other statues and flower gardens. One of my favorites was the “Søfartsmonumentet” (I’ve also seen it referred to as the Angel of Peace), a Maritime Monument to honor the Merchant Navy seamen who died in the First World War.
Towards the end of the path, I came upon the Gefion Fountain and the beautiful Anglican Church, St. Alban’s. It all makes for a very picturesque walk along Copenhagen’s waterfront.
As I walked the grounds around St. Alban’s Church, I turned a corner and found the entrance to the Kastellet Fortress. While it does still house some military activity, the area now seems to serve mainly as a public park and historic site.
I entered from the King’s Gate on the south side. Inside I walked amongst the Commander’s House, Rows (or Barracks), and Storehouses.
Up a slight hill from the buildings below, is a green space area with walking paths, replica cannons, and a windmill. Apparently still a working mill, it was originally intended to ensure a supply of flour for the fortified city in the event of a siege.
Cost: Entrance to Museum, $15 / FREE on Tuesdays!
After visiting the gorgeous garden the day before, I wanted to make sure to visit the Glyptoteket Museum today. I’m a big fan of Edgar Degas’ works and they had a beautiful exhibit of his sculpture on the top floor, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was also struck by this sculpture by J.A. Jerichau called Little Girl with a Dead Bird. I was so struck by how sad she seemed, and how much emotion was depicted in this sculpture.
Of course, I visited the Sculpture Garden again. One of their main pieces is of Rodin’s The Thinker. (As some readers may remember, Rodin is another favorite of mine and I enjoy seeking out his work while visiting various cities, as I did at the Rodin Museum during my visit to Philadelphia.)
For not having a specific plan in mind, I still managed to find many things to enjoy during my short stay in Copenhagen. And, of course, learned of so many more that I want to do the next time I visit!
My itinerary and budget for my visit to Copenhagen:
My budget has been translated to USD, based on my final credit card charge or a google conversion where I paid in cash.
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