One of my favorite places to visit in Europe is Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen has a magical quality to it that makes me yearn to visit this Danish gem. The city was bustling with tourists and locals, yet the energy level was still relaxed and laid back. The city of Copenhagen was upscale and metropolitan, but didn’t 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.
Nyhavn, the New Port of Copenhagen
I booked a room at Hotel Bethel in Nyhavn, or the New Port, on the canal for my girlfriend, Jo, and I, who were visiting Copenhagen prior to our Black Sea cruise. The hotel receptionist helped us with checkin and the hotel was inviting. Our room was clean, spacious, and had tall ceilings with huge windows that viewed the canal. Breakfast was a smorgasbord of foods and beverages and was included in the hotel rate. We had free Wi-Fi and private bathrooms; a good value for the money.
The Infamous Canals
The view of the magnificent and old, colorful row houses lined up along the canal at Nyhavn (New Port) delighted us. It proved to be a dream backdrop for our photographs; especially the Memorial Anchor. Copenhagen’s canals were lined with the most picturesque sailboats. The stunning view never got old. Comparatively speaking, this canal was clean and did not have an odor such as Amsterdam.
The boats that lined the canal were mostly non-operational and now served as residences or restaurants. Nighttime is when the Nyhavn area awakes; streets filled with pedestrians and cafe-lined sidewalks were full of people laughing and drinking. Food was expensive so brace yourself. On a positive note, it was completely safe to stroll around late at night.
Royalty at its Finest
Amalienborg Castle was built around 1750. It was made up of four identical palaces with corresponding wings, arranged around an octagonal square, flanked by an equestrian statue of Frederick V. It is also the official residence of the Danish King and Queen. Queen Margrethe II, the present ruler, was the second queen to ever have reigned over Denmark.
The Royal Guard guarded the castle. Jo and I were lucky and caught the changing of the guard one day at noon while we wandered around town. At that time, we saw the Royal Guard dressed in their royal regalia, which included a savvy bearskin helmet. New troops paraded through the streets from their barracks beside Rosenborg Castle, just a few kilometers away from Amalienborg. This was where Queen Margrethe resided with her husband, the Prince Consort Henrik.
Copenhagen is Rich with History
Jo and I also took a tour of Frederiksborg Castle, the summer residence of the royal family. Frederiksborg Castle was build in 1600 by King Christian. Although it was the grander of the castles, a fire destroyed part of the original structure many years ago. My favorite part of the tour was our visit to the Knight’s Hall, decorated with medieval weapons and animal heads.
Be sure to add Frederik’s Church (with the rounded light green dome) to your sightseeing list. It was more popularly known as Marble Church. 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. The church was decorated with paintings of the 12 Apostles. Another great tourist stop was the powerful Gefion Fountain, which depicted Nike riding 4 bulls. It was one of the most gorgeous fountains I had ever seen in person.
Copenhagen had its share of impressive castles, called slots in Danish, both in the city and countryside. My favorite was the 17th century Rosenborg Castle located in walking distance from the city centre. The turrets were impressive and reminded me more of a movie setting than a residence. Taking the tour was a must and the cost was around $15 USD. The castle was filled with fine furnishings and admirable art. Even the crown jewels were on display including chalices, jewelry, crowns, and swords. Silver lions guarded the white and golf coronation throne.
Famous for Authors and Amusements
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, an amusement park designed from eras gone by, contained fun rides that included 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 featured live performances, dance and musical, a concert hall, and aquarium. It was a great place to walk around and people watch. At night, Tivoli really shined! A Tivoli Fairytale was a nightly show that allowed the audience to experience the works of Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark’s beloved author. The Hard Rock Cafe sat at the parks entrance and other eateries were scattered throughout. There was an admission to enter the park and each ride took 1-4 tickets.
Copenhagen, My Fairytale City
Copenhagen was a city that dreams were 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.