One of my favorite places to visit in Europe would have to be Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen has a magical quality to it that makes me yearn to visit this Danish gem. The city is bustling with tourists and locals, yet the energy level is still relaxed and laid back. The city of Copenhagen is upscale and metropolitan, but does not overshadow the history that Denmark holds. After reading about my latest trip to Copenhagen, I hope you will see why I am fascinated with this iconic city.
In May, I booked a room at Hotel Bethel in Nyhavn, or the New Port, the heart of the city on the canal for my girlfriend and I who were visiting Copenhagen before catching a Black Sea cruise. The hotel receptionist was helpful and our room was clean, spacious, and had tall ceilings with many windows for viewing the canal. Breakfast was included and was a full smorgasbord of treats. We had free WIFI and private bathrooms; a good value for the money.
The view of the magnificent old, colorful row houses lined up along the canal at Nyhavn (New Port) delighted us and proved to be a dream backdrop for our photographs; especially the Memorial Anchor. The canals of Copenhagen are lined with sailboats and are most picturesque; you will not want to miss taking a cruise of it. Comparatively speaking, this one is clean and does not have an odor. The boats lining the canal are mostly non-operational as they now serve as residences or restaurants. Nighttime is when the area around Nyhavn wakes up; the streets fill with pedestrians and the cafe-lined sidewalks are full of people laughing and drinking. Food is expensive so brace yourself but on a good note, is completely safe to stroll around this area late at night.
Amalienborg Castle was built around 1750 and is made up of four identical palaces with corresponding wings, arranged around an octagonal square, flanked by an equestrian statue of Frederick V. It is the official residence of the Danish King and Queen. The present ruler, Queen Margrethe II, is the second queen to ever have reigned over Denmark.
The Castle is guarded by the Royal Guard and we were lucky enough to see the changing of the guard one day at noon while we were wandering around. At that time, you can see the Royal Guard dressed in their royal regalia, including a savvy bearskin helmet. New troops parade through the streets from their barracks beside Rosenborg Castle, just a few kilometers away from Amalienborg, where Queen Margrethe lives with her husband, the Prince Consort Henrik.
We also took a tour of Frederiksborg Castle, built by King Christian in 1600 to be the summer residence of the royal family. Although it is the grander of the castles, part of the original structure was destroyed by a fire many years ago. My favorite part of the tour was visiting the Knight’s Hall, decorated with medieval weapons and animal heads.
While sightseeing, be sure to add Frederik’s Church (the church with the rounded light green dome), more popularly known as Marble Church, to your list. Due to the expense of the marble, it took over 100 years for the grand church to be completed. It was finally finished in 1894 after a generous donation and is decorated with paintings of the twelve Apostles. Another great tourist stop is the powerful Gefion Fountain, depicting Nike with four bulls. It is one of the most gorgeous fountains I have ever seen in person.
Copenhagen has its share of impressive castles, called slots in Danish, both in the city and countryside. My favorite would be 17th century Rosenborg Castle located in walking distance from the city centre. The turrets are impressive and remind you more of a movie setting than a residence. Taking the tour is a must and the cost is around $15 USD. The castle is filled with fine furnishings and admirable art. Even the crown jewels are on display including chalices, jewelry, crowns, and swords. The white and gold coronation throne is guarded by silver lions.
Hans Christian Andersen lived for many years at 18 Nyhavn. See his famous Little Mermaid statue in the harbor. You may be shocked when you see the size of it as it is very tiny, but magnificent regardless.
Last but not least, Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park designed from eras gone by that has rides including a ferris wheel, fun house, golden tower, dragon, and roller coaster. Their famous Star Flyer is the world’s tallest carousel, around 80 meters tall. Tivoli also features live performances, both dance and musical, a concert hall, and aquarium. It is a great place to walk around and people watch. At night Tivoli really shines! A Tivoli Fairytale is a nightly show that allows you to experience the works of Hans Christian Andersen. The Hard Rock Cafe sits at its entrance and other restaurants are scattered throughout. There is an admission to enter the park and each ride takes 1-4 tickets.
Copenhagen is a city that dreams are made of. Its charm and coziness will have you planning another trip even before you leave. I cannot wait to return to this magical city someday.