Denmark: A Guide to Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark--Have you Ever been to Freetown Christiania?

By Monica Gray

The Moorish Palace in Tivoli.
The Moorish Palace in Tivoli.

Where

Denmark is one of the Scandinavian countries located in Northern Europe, between Norway and Sweden. Copenhagen is on the eastern coast of Denmark.

Why Go?

Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world. Although it is a small country, it harbors festivals, a healthy biking environment, large cities, six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the capital, Copenhagen.  The city has an exciting nightlife, two of the oldest amusement parks in the world, and a friendly atmosphere. It is not as popular of a tourist destination as other European countries, which makes the city very unique and a bit off the beaten path.

When to Go

Since Copenhagen is located in Northern Europe, the winter months can be brutal, with snow, wind, and a short window of daylight. However, in the summer, the country comes alive. The sun rises at 4 a.m. and sets at 9 p.m., and the temperature is never too hot. April through October are the best months to visit Copenhagen.

Getting There and Around

The major airport in Denmark is the Copenhagen Airport. It's located a short distance away from Copenhagen, and there are a number of metros, buses, and trains that frequently run from the airport to the center of Copenhagen.

There are a lot of airlines that fly to Copenhagen. SAS Airlines and Norwegian Airlines offer direct service to Copenhagen from the United States, while many others, such as American Airlines, Swiss Airlines, and US Airways offer flights with layovers. EasyJet is another budget airline company that leaves from Copenhagen and has routine flights throughout Europe.

Getting Around

Christiania
Christiana, in Copenhagen Denmark.

Copenhagen is known for a large majority of the population biking to work, to school, and the grocery store, even in the winter months

There are many places to rent bikes in Copenhagen, and it is a very simple process. Bikers have their own bike lanes and traffic lights, making it a very safe activity. There is also a non-profit organization called Copenhagen Free Bike Rental. The company collects broken bikes and replaces them with new parts, allowing people to rent them for a couple of days and make a donation if they wish.

Rent a bike Copenhagen, Tel: (+45) 32 12 50 50, rents out bikes for around $15 (USD) per day, and also offers bike tours of the city. København Cyklebørs , Tel: (+45) 3314 0717, rents out bikes for a day, week, or month. The monthly rate is around $122 (USD).

The metro and bus system are also very convenient, clean, and punctual. However, whenever you use the metro, bus, and train system, be aware of which “zone” you are traveling to, since prices differ. Depending on where you are in Copenhagen, the surrounding city area is divided into zones, starting with zone one, where you are located. It is easy to find a map online that shows the different zones and where they start and end.

Best Attraction

Polsevogn with pickles.
Polsevogn with pickles.

In the center of Copenhagen is Tivoli Gardens, a 21 acre amusement park that has everything from roller coasters, to concerts, to kiddie rides. The whole park has a colorful and inviting decor during the day that turns into a twinkling assortment of lights, music, and dance at night. Tivoli hosts a series of concerts throughout the year, including symphonies and choirs. Tivoli is hosting Elton John and Lady Gaga this summer 2015. Tivoli has three seasons; summer, Halloween, and Christmas. The summer season is open from April until September.

● Tivoli Gardens
◦ (+45) 3315 1001
◦ Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 Copenhagen, Denmark

For those who are more visual, the National Museum of Denmark, Denmark's largest cultural history museum, has displays of Danish and foreign culture dating back centuries. Exhibitions include Danish viking culture, religious displays during the Middle Ages, and displays through the 20th century. This museum also has free entry.
• National Museum of Denmark
◦ Tel: (+45) 3313 4411
◦ Ny Vestergade 10
1471 Copenhagen K, Denmark

Best Unusual Attraction

Freetown Christiania is a hippie-like community located in Copenhagen. They don't have to abide by the laws from Copenhagen city, which is why they are able to sell marijuana to interested customers. They sell various handmade trinkets and even sell their own brand of beer. No one is allowed to take pictures in the main area of Christiania, and no one is allowed to run. There are signs everywhere reminding people of this rule.

Unusual artwork, impressive sculptures, and chilled-outs bars are spread throughout this community, giving it a very unique appearance. It's a very common place to come and relax to escape the bustling Copenhagen city that lies right outside of its fences. There is a glistening lake near the back of Christiania where a lot of people can be found resting on blankets along the lake's edges.

Best Activity or Tour

The Canal Tour is an inexpensive way to see a lot of the tourist attractions in Copenhagen- and you're allowed to bring alcohol on board! For around $12 (USD), you will see the Little Mermaid, the Copenhagen Opera House, and Amalienborg Castle. The guide onboard also explains the history of some of the most famous sites in Copenhagen. This tour departs from Nyhavn or Gammel Strand, and is open from May until September. This is the perfect way to cross a lot of the most famous sites off of your list, especially if you're only in Copenhagen for a short amount of time.

If you're a big fan of beer, specifically Carlsberg, the local Carlsberg Brewery runs tours every Tuesday through Sunday. The tour is around $12 (USD) for adults and $9 (USD) for young adults. Those who go on the tour also receive two free Carlsburg beers or soft drinks after the tour. Not only will you see how the beer is made, but you will also see horses and the little sister of the Little Mermaid.
● Carlsberg Brewery
◦ Tel: (+45) 33 27 10 20
◦ Gamle Carlsberg Vej 11
1799 Copenhagen V

Pretty lights in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Pretty lights in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Best Alternative

From the Train Station, Malmö, Sweden, is about a 30 minute ride away. Another city, Lund, Sweden, is a forty minute ride, and is a charming ancient city, and home to Lund University, the Lund Cathedral and beautiful botanical gardens. The train passes through beautiful fields of yellow Rapeseed. This is the perfect day trip for those who want to experience another country. Both cities are small and easily walkable.

Best Lodgings

Budget:
Generator Hostel website
◦ Tel: (+45) 7877 5400
◦ Email: copenhagen@generatorhostels.com

◦ This is a popular hostel for a reasonable price. It's conveniently located in the center of the city near Nyhavn. Large, spacious private rooms are around $73 (USD) a night, while shared rooms are around $22 (USD) a night.

Moderate:

Hotel Kong Arthur website
◦ Tel: (+45) 3345 7777
◦ Email: kongarthur@arthurhotels.dk
◦ Nørre Søgade 11
DK-1370 Copenhagen K, Denmark

◦ This hotel offers rooms with a unique Danish design, specific to that room. You can choose between single rooms, double rooms, and suites.

Tivoli Hotel website
◦ Tel: (+45) 4487 0000
◦ tivolihotel@arp-hansen.dk
◦ Arni Magnussons Gade 2
1577 Copenhagen V, Denmark

◦ This hotel is located inside Tivoli Gardens, and is on the cheaper side for hotel choices when staying in Copenhagen. Customers also get an entrance to the park included in their room price, which starts at around $125 (USD) a night.

Rapeseed fields from the train to Lund Sweden - Copy
Rapeseed fields from the train to Lund Sweden - Copy

Expensive:

● Radisson Blu Royal Hotel website
◦ Tel: (+45) 3342 6000
◦ Hammerichsgade 1, 1611 Copenhagen, Denmark
◦ This hotel is on the more expensive side compared to some hotels in Copenhagen, and serves a buffet breakfast every morning on the top floor of the hotel. Customers get to enjoy their breakfast with a 180 degree aerial view of Copenhagen. This hotel is located across the street from the Copenhagen train station and a short walk to Tivoli.

● Hotel D'Angleterre website
◦ Tel: +45 3312 0095
◦ 34, Kongens Nytorv
1050 Copenhagen K, Denmark
◦ Email: info@dangleterre.com

◦ This is a 300-year-old hotel, is located in the center of Copenhagen in close proximity to Strøget. This is one of the most luxurious hotels in Copenhagen, and is often preferred because of its vintage décor. Rates at this luxury hotel are more expensive than other hotels in Copenhagen, and prices increase if you wish to have breakfast included.

Best Eats

● Paludan Bogcafe website
◦ Tel: (+45) 3315 0675
◦ Fiolstræde 10, 1171, Copenhagen, Denmark

◦ The tables in this cafe are spaced between bookshelves with old, tethered books, so you feel as if you're eating in an antique library. It is located right on Strøget and has delicious coffee, burgers, and salads. The goat cheese burger is one of their most delicious dishes. The food and drink here are reasonably priced, and the food is served in very large portions. This cafe seating is first come, first served, so getting there during an off time will guarantee you the best chance of getting a table.

● Grillen Nørrebro website
◦ Tel: (+45) 3535 3569
◦ Nørrebrogade 13, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark

◦ This is a burger place in the Nørrebro section of Copenhagen. For around $10 (USD), you will be indulging in a large burger with fries- but remember, the Danes eat their burger with a fork and a knife, not with their hands! The restaurants in this section of Copenhagen are a lot cheaper than in the main center.

● Torvehallerne (Glass Market) website
◦ Tel: (+45) 7010 6070
◦ Frederiksborggade 21
1360 Copenhagen K, Denmark

◦ The Glass Market is a large, glass building with dozens of stalls that sell anything from cheese, wDragon boat lake daemonen roller coaster tivoli gardens copenhagen ine, chocolate, and Smørrebrod (The Danish “open-faced sandwich”). It's convenient if you're on the fence with what you want to eat.

Best Pigs and Shopping

● DØP Pølsevogn
◦ Tel: (+45) 30 20 40 25

◦ There are more pigs than people in Denmark, and their hotdogs abide by that statement. This shop serves delicious hotdogs, and topped with different sauces such as ketchup and mustard, Danish remoulade, pickles, onions, and crunchy fried onions, around $5 (USD). The pølsevogn is also sold on street vendors spread throughout Copenhagen.

Best Shopping

The main street in Copenhagen, Strøget, has a wide variety of designer clothing stores, jewelry stores, and souvenir shops. This street is lined with cobblestones and is filled with people walking around and the occasional street performers playing music or doing tricks. Here you will find the more expensive restaurants and clothing stores.

Best Happenings

The Danes celebrate their labor day every May 1st, with tons of drinking, live shows, and dancing, which takes place in Fælledparken, a large park in Copenhagen. Fælledparken is full of thousands of people celebrating this national holiday.

The celebration begins with speeches from politicians and concludes with live music and drinking. Stages are set up throughout the park, and various bands play instruments ranging from fiddles to drums. Local vendors set up food stands of pizza, burgers, Thai Food, and any cuisine in between.

Monica Gray

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Monica Gray is a blogger at Globe Trottica. She is a free spirit and a hippie, and is traveling the world to find the strange, the beautiful, and the ugly, and hopes to inspire you to do the same.

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