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Two Days in Copenhagen, Denmark

I moved to China in March 2016 to work as an ESL teacher in a private school. I love to travel to new and exciting places.

I loved visiting Copenhagen, Denmark, so this is an article that I've been excited to write for a while! The architecture in this city consists of many beautiful and historical buildings right alongside clean, crisp and modern designs. Canals wind around the city center, and there are lots of diverse and interesting places to visit.

Having spent a few years in Asia, it was a welcome treat for me to return to the delicious European foods I have missed, namely cheeses and granary bread.

The compact city center has loads of attractions to keep everyone entertained. Read on to find out a few of the fun things this city has to offer.

Note: Buying a Copenhagen Card allows visitors to use the subway system for free, enter a huge number of attractions without charge and to eat at restaurants for discounted prices. Most of the attractions are based pretty centrally, so it is a convenient and cheap way to see a lot of what the city has to offer for a heavily discounted price.

The brightly coloured houses of Nyhavn line the canal. This is where the famous, Hans Christian Andersen wrote his popular fairytales.

The brightly coloured houses of Nyhavn line the canal. This is where the famous, Hans Christian Andersen wrote his popular fairytales.

Getting Around the City

Walking between the attractions in the city center is pretty easy, but the city also has a convenient subway system for the places that are further afield. Copenhagen is very bike-friendly, with plenty of bike lanes and bike-share companies operating in the city center. Pick up a tourist map for help navigating the city.

Fun Things to Do in Copenhagen

  • Take a canal tour around the city center.
  • Ride a retro roller coaster at Tivoli Gardens.
  • Climb to the top of The Round Tower observatory.
  • Visit some of Copenhagen's museums.
  • See the views from the steeple of The Church of Our Saviour.
  • Watch the animals at Copenhagen Zoo.
  • See the strange exhibitions of Ripley's Believe It or Not!
  • Take a walk around Christianshavn island.
  • Have or something to eat or drink on the canal side at Nyhavn.

Take a Canal Tour

Canal tours run frequently throughout the day, with multi-lingual tour guides. The canal-side has points of interest running all along it and taking a tour is a fun and interesting way to find a grounding in the city. The tour gives information about the important landmarks along the waterside and can offer tourists an idea of what to see in the city. Different companies offer either an hour-long guided tour or a hop on hop off boat tour.

Note: The canals in Copenhagen are really clean. Partly due to a lovely environmentally-friendly idea which allows tourists to use kayaks rent-free if they are willing to collect rubbish from the water.

Ride a Retro Roller Coaster in Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is a retro theme park of around 150 years old and home to one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the world, still manually operated by a driver. Nowadays, the site contains well-maintained gardens with small aviaries and free-roaming peacocks, a theater, where popular gigs, shows and pantomimes are shown, restaurants, and many theme park attractions. The gardens are open throughout the day and into the evening. It is recommended to arrive in the late afternoon, to play on the rides during the day and wait for the night to fall to see the attractions and gardens lit at night.

Climb to the Top of the Round Tower

The Round Tower is situated right in the city center. It was built in the 17th century as an observatory. Nowadays, visitors can walk up the steep, circular interior (there aren't many steps, just a large, winding slope leading up). At the top of the observatory, there is a viewing area which gives some lovely views over the city. From here, tourists can pick out some of the most popular sites and buildings among the green copper roofs of Copenhagen.

Climb to the top of the Round Tower to see views over the city.

Climb to the top of the Round Tower to see views over the city.

See the Views From the Steeple of the Church of Our Saviour

The Church of Our Saviour is just on the edge of the Christianshavn area of Copenhagen. It is easily recognized by it's spiraling steeple and is one of the points of interest on the canal boat tour. Visitors can pay to climb this steeple, but it is best avoided by those afraid of heights! Initially, the climb begins inside the building, on steep, wooden staircases and worn, old ladders, eventually reaching an outer platform with city views. From here, those that are feeling brave can continue the climb up the wind-blasted metal steeple to the very tip of the spire. The spire is a helix shape which narrows towards the tip.

See the Strange Exhibitions of Ripley's Believe It or Not!

The Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum is a collection celebrating anything weird and wonderful. American-born LeRoy Robert Ripley traveled the world searching for things that his audience had never seen before, from gruesome shrunken heads to the world's tallest man. He wanted his audience to be able to experience the wackiness and wonder of the world.

Initially, the company started as a newspaper panel and grew to include a franchise of museums. This Copenhagen museum has been made with a sense of humor in mind and is a fun way to spend an hour or so among some of the world's weird and wonderful artifacts.

Take a Walk Through Christianshavn

Christianshavn is a small district of Copenhagen, made of a few artificial islands. The area is almost split in two. It was initially an independent merchants town, but was swallowed into Copenhagen as the city grew. Now, Christianshavn is an interesting area, because of it's two opposing styles. One part of this district is full of modern, well-designed architecture and the other part is home to Christianshavn's 'Freetown'.

Christianshavn's 'Freetown' is a community that began with a few squatters living in an old military barracks. It is now a controversial area, completely at odds to the rest of Copenhagen. Here, the walls are brightly hand-painted and people live in self-built huts and share vehicles. The whole area has a festival-feel, with market stalls, street art and bars. Cannabis is openly sold market-style from stalls covered in camouflage netting in the central street (illegally, but very openly).

'Wonderland'.  A sign and some graffiti in Christianshavn's Freetown area.

'Wonderland'. A sign and some graffiti in Christianshavn's Freetown area.

Have a Drink or a Bite to Eat on the Canalside at Nyhavn

The brightly colored houses running along the canal side of Nyhavn are a postcard-famous image of Copenhagen. This is where Hans Christian Andersen lived and wrote his famous poems and fairy tales. The canal side is a good place to sit outside a bar in warm weather at one of the numerous restaurants or to grab a quick bite to eat. It is very close to the city center so can easily be followed by another of the cities attractions or a big shopping trip. It is also one of the drop-offs for the tourist canal boats, so is a great place to hop onto a boat to another part of the city.

Visit Some of Copenhagen's Museums

Copenhagen is home to a large number of museums covering a wide range of interests. Grab yourself a Copenhagen card to save some money and allow access to all of the interesting museums in and around the city center.

Thanks for Reading

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this article, please check out some of my other travel-inspired writing or write a comment below; it's always great to hear feedback from others.

Copenhagen, Denmark

© 2018 Yasmin Crawford-Hunt

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