Weekend in Copenhagen
Its often been said that Copenhagen was built by its people, for its people. And as you walk the city's streets you can see the deep connection the locals have with their city.
We decided to end our Europe trip in Copenhagen and step foot in Scandinavia for the first time. I've always wanted to venture to northern Europe and see why Scandinavians are always ranked as some of the happiest people in the world.
And its very easy to see why.
Copenhagen is beautifully laid out with a unique architectural style that is a design lovers dream. Every corner I turned I was amazed at all the color and details covering the buildings. Copenhagen is truly beautiful.
What I loved about Copenhagen
Copenhagen has quickly landed itself on my top 5 favorite cities and as soon as we got home, I was looking at plane tickets to return later this year. The city pulled at my heart strings and I can't wait to come back. A few things I loved about the Copenhagen are:
The people - They are weirdly nice, impeccably dressed, beautiful and very posh. I felt so drab when we were sightseeing as these stunning women, dressed to a T, came whizzing past us on a bike. They make everything look so flawless. Based on that, I want to move to Copenhagen hoping I can learn this ease of style and happiness... and hopefully grow a few inches while I'm at it.
The architecture - I couldn't take enough pictures of the colorful buildings while in Copenhagen. Every district has its own personality and I was intrigued at how bright Scandinavian architecture is.
The pastries - "My name is Crystal and I am addicted to carbs." No joke. The pastry and bread shops are some of my favorite things about traveling throughout Europe and Copenhagen did not disappoint. They are pretty to look at and delicious to eat!
The antique shops - Design is a way of life and a passion for the Danish people and the shopping in Copenhagen reflects that. Everywhere you turn there are dozens of shops that sell vintage Danish furniture, antique clothes and art where you can pop in and find some hidden treasures.
Where to stay
There is no other way to say it other than Copenhagen is expensive. So expensive it landed itself as number 9 on the list of most expensive cities in the world. But don't let that deter you from visiting. There are a number of ways to cut costs and picking the right accommodation will definitely help.
We opted to stay at an Airbnb because that was the most cost efficient option for our family. The apartment we rented was located in the trendy neighborhood of Vesterbro which had some excellent restaurants and shops. It was about a 20-25 minute walk to most attractions but I believe walking through a new city lets you get your bearings and you are able to experience more of what the locals do. Check out Airbnb's 30 best neighborhoods in Copenhagen to find your perfect place to stay!
The farther from the city center you stay the prices will of course be cheaper. Copenhagen is a walkable city and with 36% of locals commuting to work by bicycle, check out one of the multiple bike rentals to get around town. It will make you feel more like a local and is a fun way to see the city.
What we saw
Since we only had about a day and a half (not enough time to really see and enjoy Copenhagen) we unfortunately weren't able to see all the sights we wanted. So, we put on our walking shoes and trekked through the city to see as much as we possibly could.
One of the most famous districts of Copenhagen is Nyhavn, and for good reason. Its picturesque and quintessential Danish. This waterfront district was constructed along the canals in 1670 and was a busy commercial port packed with pubs and sailors.
When you visit today, you still see the original houses and their vibrant colors reflecting against the canal. It was a perfectly sunny day when we walked around Nyhavn and we enjoyed snapping dozens of shots of the street. Even though its a touristy area, Nyhavn is a must see when you are in Copenhagen.
Sit at one of the nice restaurants along the canal, grab a beer and people watch. Unfortunately nap time arrived for Milena and we weren't able to enjoy a cold one with a fussy toddler, but maybe on our next visit! I'm sure it would've been a perfectly Danish way to spend an afternoon!
Copenhagen has hundreds of quaint streets with stunning architecture but one you must see is the famous Magstraede. It is the second oldest street in Copenhagen dating back to 1520s and amazingly, still has its original cobblestone.
As you walk along the narrow road, brightly colored homes tower around you can almost feel lost in time. Magstraede is often pretty quiet which is perfect for enjoying the design of the homes and daydreaming of times in the past. Its near the National Museum and a quick walk to other attractions so make sure you stop by to see this beautiful piece of Copenhagen's history.
Our family isn't big on shopping so we tend to steer clear of famous shopping areas when we travel. However, Strøget is in the heart of the city and as you walk along the street you can spot several of Copenhagen's most famous sights like the Church of Our Lady, the Stork Fountain, and Helligåndskirken to name a few.
We enjoyed the sunny walk and grabbed a quick snack before heading to Nyhavn but if are wanting to go on a shopping spree, this is the place to be. Strøget is one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe and spans 1.1 km long.
The Round Tower
The great thing about walking through a new city is all the unexpected sights you stumble upon, and the Round Tower was one for us.
We stopped by a grocery store on our way back to our Airbnb and I saw this old tower peaking over the other buildings. Curious, we made a detour and ended up at the foot of the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.
Built in the 17th century, the Round Tower is still used by amateur astronomers and visitors can walk up the spiral walkway to the top (268.5 meters long). There you can see some pretty views of the old part of Copenhagen.
As a history buff, I love castles. Knowing infamous kings and queens stepped foot in these architectural masterpieces can give me goosebumps. Its spectacular and I am almost positive I will never get tired of touring castles.
As our last day in Copenhagen came to an end, we decided to make the 35 minute walk to the Rosenborg Castle which holds Denmark's crown jewels. This castle was built by one of the most famous Scandinavian Kings, Christin IV, in the early 17th century and is set in the King's Garden.
Since we arrived in the evening, Rosenborg Castle was closed so we walked around the gardens and enjoyed the beautiful design of the castle. Milena, like always, was such a champ during our trip and had fallen asleep on our walk... which is just another castle she has missed from naptime.
It only took us a quick 30 minute train ride over the famous Oresund bridge and we arrived in Malmö, Sweden. Our afternoon in Sweden was filled with parks, white wine and a beautiful view of the Baltic Sea. Check out my post on our day trip to Malmö!
There are plenty more sights to see if you are visiting Copenhagen that we couldn't fit into our short time span. VisitCopenhagen has a great website detailing all the attractions in the city and its surrounding areas.