walking-canal-copenhagen

Visiting Copenhagen: What to See and Do in the Fairytale City

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One of my favorite European cities is Copenhagen, Denmark, a city of fairytale proportions. The canals are stunning and history unparalleled.

(UPDATED ON April 1, 2020) One of my favorite placesĀ in Europe is visiting 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 by this iconic city.

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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 before our Black Sea cruise. The hotel receptionist helped us with check-in and got us all settled in.

Our room was clean, spacious, and had tall ceilings with huge windows that viewed the canal. We had a private bathroom and free Wifi. A breakfast buffet of foods and beverages were included in the hotel rate, which was a good value for the money when visiting Copenhagen. 

hotel Bethel Copenhagen room and breakfast
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The Infamous Canals

The view from our room, of the magnificent 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 are 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.

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The boats that lined the canal were mostly non-operational and now served as residences or restaurants. Nighttime is when Nyhavn awakens; the streets and cafe-lined sidewalks fill with pedestrians, laughing and drinking. Food is expensive, so brace yourself.  On a positive note, it is entirely safe to stroll around late at night.

Keep your eyes open for Michelangelo’s David Statue as you wander around Copenhagen.

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michelangelos-david-statue

Royalty at Its Finest

Amalienborg Castle was built around 1750 and is the official residence of the Danish King and Queen. Queen Margrethe II, the present ruler who lives in the castle with her husband, Prince Consort Henrik, is the second queen ever to have reigned over Denmark. Amalienborg is made up of four identical palaces with corresponding wings, arranged around an octagonal square, flanked by an equestrian statue of Frederick V. 

The Royal Guard guarded the castle. Jo and I were lucky and caught the changing of the guard one day at noon as we wandered around town. We saw the Royal Guard dressed in their royal regalia, including a spiffy bearskin helmet. New troops paraded through the streets from their barracks beside Rosenborg Castle, just a few kilometers away from Amalienborg. 

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Copenhagen is Rich with History

Jo and I took a tour of Frederiksborg Castle, the summer residence of the royal family. Frederiksborg built by King Christian in 1600, and though the grander of the castles, a fire destroyed part of the original structure many years ago. My favorite part  was a visit to Knight’s Hall, adorned by medieval weapons and animal heads.

frederiks-church

Be sure to add Frederik’s Church (with the rounded light green dome) to your sightseeing list. It is more popularly known as the Marble Church. Due to the expense of the marble, it took over 100 years for the grand church to be finished, but in 1894, after a generous donation, it was complete. Marble Church is decorated with paintings of the 12 Apostles.

Another must-see tourist stop is Gefion Fountain. Nike, riding four bulls, is depicted in this stunning fountain. 

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Gefion Fountain was one of the prettiest sights in Copenhagen.


Copenhagen has its share of impressive castles, called slots in Danish, both in the city and countryside. My favorite was the 17th century Rosenborg Castle, located within walking distance of the city center. The turrets were impressive and picturesque, reminding me more of a movie set than a residence.

Taking the tour is a must and costs under USD 20 (ages 17 and under are free). Rosenborg Castle is filled with elegant furnishings, beautiful china, and admirable art. Even the crown jewels (chalices, crowns, swords) are on display. Breathtaking silver lions guard the white and gold coronation throne.

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Famous Authors and Amusements

Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark’s beloved author, lived for many years at 18 Nyhavn. You can see his famous Little Mermaid statue in the harbor but may be shocked at its size. The Little Mermaid is tiny, but great none-the-less.

You can also visit one fo the first amusement parks in the world: Tivoli Gardens. This park, designed to the likes of eras gone by, has fun rides such as a Ferris wheel, fun house, Golden Tower, roller coasters, and Star Flyer, an 80-meter tall carousel.

Tivoli also has live performances, dances,  musicals, a concert hall, and an aquarium. It is a great place to walk around and people watch. At night, Tivoli really shines! Try to see “A Tivoli Fairytale,” a nightly show that allows the audience to experience the works of Hans Christian Andersen.

The Hard Rock Cafe sits at the entrance of Tivoli, and other eateries are scattered throughout the park, which does require an admission to visit. Rides are additional. 

Tivoli Gardens rides and concerts

Copenhagen, My Fairytale City

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.

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Melody Pittman wandering around Copenhagen
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Full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark in Copenhagen.
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Wherever I May Roam visiting Copenhagen Denmark .
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Stunning statues in Copenhagen.

Check out more of our European cruise port posts:

St. Petersburg, Russia

Passau, Germany

Histria and Constanta, Romania

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