Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
How long: 5 days total
Generally when we visit a new city, Miles and I like to pick a different neighborhood each day to wander around. So for our third day in Copenhagen, we decided to go to Christianshavn because it looked so cute from our boat tour the day before.
We walked to the neighborhood from our apartment and were so glad we did. During our stroll we happened upon many gorgeous buildings and parks, especially on Slotsholmen.
Christianshavn is also the neighborhood of Christiania–the independent, hippie commune within Copenhagen. This place is wild, and unfortunately doesn’t allow photos within its walls. It’s most well known for “pusher street”–where drug pushers make it easy to pick up your green of choice. While they have their own laws forbidding weapons, hard drugs, etc, I don’t think I would have felt too comfortable there without Miles. BUT–when we first entered I was pretty captivated by the innovative designs we saw–there were chairs fashioned out of old bicycle parts, fascinating artwork and statues. From more research online it seemed like really cool architecture can be found throughout the area–we just didn’t explore enough. If you feel comfortable, I think it’d be worth poking around off the main “green light district” area.
The following day could have been better–the weather the entire trip was very off and on, but on that day it rained quite a bit. Plus, Miles and I had both developed some sort of illness so we were feeling sluggish. I had been eager to explore Nørrebro, a neighborhood more out of the way that I’d heard would be filled with cute secondhand shops and cafes. There were quite a few streets with tons of “antik” shops–but they weren’t exactly what I was expecting! They were literally filled to the brim, so much so that you could hardly walk around inside them.. so it wasn’t too much of a success.
In Copenhagen, you should really bike… everyone does it.. everyone told us to do it. But lo and behold we ignored this advice for the first several days. I was nervous I’d miss something if I was whisking by on a bike and not strolling around like we normally do! We really came to regret this later on when our feet were ruined from all the walking, though. So, don’t be crazy like us– rent a good bike!
We decided to do the city bike program on our last day there. Oh man. Those bikes weigh seriously 20+ lbs! It was hard to maneuver and also had a motor so if you did pedal you just zoomed along–and of course my feet didn’t touch the ground when we had to stop at a light.. troubles of a short gal. Anyway, I’m glad we experienced the bike culture but that was definitely not how I’d encourage anyone else to go about it. There are affordable bike rentals all over the place.
On our final day, we went to the Danish Design Museum and back to Nyhavn–I felt like I hadn’t gotten enough of it the first time around. Even though it’s officially the most touristy area, we still found it a peaceful way to spend the afternoon. Nothing felt very packed in Copenhagen…especially compared to NYC! So we had lunch there before going on to Tivoli.
smørrebrød – the local specialty — open-faced sandwiches on Danish rye bread
Tivoli is the amusement park within the city center–right next to the central train station. It might seem strange to go there, especially for someone like me who has never been in to amusement parks–but I found it magical. It was not crowded, the grounds are beautiful, and the buildings and rides are so charming. We loved strolling through it, and, of course, stopping for a drink on the pirate ship 🙂
We were really sad to leave Copenhagen. It was so, so peaceful. The Danes were very friendly to us and only seemed impatient once, when I was blocking all of traffic on the damn city bike! That vibe changed a bit once we went on to our next destination: Stockholm. More on that soon!
IN A NUTSHELL…
Eat: LêLê – a Vietnamese place in Vesterbro. We loved the food AND our waiter! He was a Parisian who moved to Copenhagen 12 years earlier and loves it SO much. Plus he couldn’t stop raving about America–we rarely get that reaction 🙂
Drink: at a kitschy place in Tivoli
Do: Check out Christiania