“Surprise comes from defying expectations”
Before we officially declared 2020 as the “darkest year of our time”, we were fortunate enough to tick off one of our bucketlist destinations – Iceland. While we were completely occupied with planning the perfect Iceland trip Travel to Iceland – all you need to know, little did we know the best surprise was waiting for us at Copenhagen which was our 2-day stopover enroute Iceland.
Here is the list of 10 amazing things to do in Copenhagen that made the place extra special for us.
The door to Europe opened for every Indian in 1995 when “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” hit the box office. Those dreamy roads, picturesque country side, trains running through lush green valleys; we bet every Indian has virtually traveled Europe through the eyes of Shahrukh and Kajol.
Though it was not the most scenic Switzerland, when we stepped out of the Kongens Nytrov metro station, Europe happened to us in reality. That square, disciplined pedestrians, dedicated lanes for cycles, gorgeous yellow buses, perfectly maintained lakes, completely silent cobblestoned alleys; the walk from metro station to our stay transported us to a new world. A world we had by then seen only in TVs, a city we absolutely loved at first sight (possibly the only time when love happened at first sight !!)
How can you not love a city with beautiful canals, amazing transport system, unique cycling culture and most importantly happy locals who always give that personal touch during interaction in any form.
Driver-less metros and never-ending tunnels
Talking about the many firsts in this city, driverless metro zipping through the tunnels experienced us augmented reality in reality. We suggest you to take the front seat and the moment the train goes underground you will feel that you are riding a time machine in an amusement park.
Along with widely spoken cycling culture which is unique to this city, unmanned metro network may not be unique to Copenhagen. But if you have not experienced it before, this is one of the best things to do in Copenhagen. And if you prefer to use explore a city by public transport, metro lines of Copenhagen can be your best companion.
The rustic and modern blend of architecture
Even if you are completely architecturally numb, you can’t miss the amazing amalgamation of historic and contemporary architecture in Denmark’s capital. From the royal palaces to fabled mermaid statue to the modernized library, this city is home to some of the amazing architectural feats.
Birthplace of world famous architects Bjarke Ingels, Arne Jacobsen, Henning Larsen and others; Copenhagen’s innovative architecture is not only beautiful but they have set standards for eco-friendly and sustainable design.
Using water, space, sustainability and light more often than not the contemporary designs in Copenhagen actually elevate the legacy of historical and royal buildings.
Exploring this architectural mastery is one of the must things to do in Copenhagen. However, the unique design of corner houses at the start of any lane left a lasting impact on us.
A library that blows your mind
A perfect example of old meets new, the Black diamond is the extended and modernized version of the famous royal Danish library. A seven story building with suspended balconies, right in the waterfront, Black Diamond is any knowledge seeker’s paradise.
The name justifies not only because of its square shape but when the sun shines at the perfect height over the canal, the reflection mirrored against the glass of this building creates a sparkling effect similar to diamond.
For the fact lovers, this library is the largest in the Nordic countries and serves as the national library of Denmark. The royal library of Denmark was founded in 1648 which holds printed Danish books since 1482. However, built in 1999, Black diamond stood as a testament of the feat of cultural renaissance achieved by Denmark.
This extremely awe-inspiring royal library also has a café where you can grab a cup of coffee and sit beside the canal to admire the beauty.
Exploring naval barracks at Nyboder
Nyboder (i.e. small new homes) are a series of yellow houses built by Christian IV around 1650s to accommodate rapidly growing Royal Danish Navy and their families. “Nyboder yellow” is a common phrase in Denmark to portray something yellow in colour.
Walking around the cobblestone streets of Nyboder in early morning and experiencing how far this country has come in terms of its culture and architecture can give you goosebumps.
You can also visit the St Paul’s church in this area.
Marching royal guards
Talking about the royal Danish times, there is something that is still constant in today’s modern Copenhagen is the reverence towards the Royal family.
Seeing the changing of Royal Danish guards at Amalienborg Palace (Queen’s palace) is one of the top things to do in Copenhagen.
The ceremony takes place daily with the guard leaving Rosenborg Castle at 11:30 am to arrive at Amalienborg Palace for the ceremony at 12:00 pm
When the Queen is in residence the guard is accompanied by the Royal Guards music band.
Even if you miss the changing of guard’s event, it is quite thrilling to see Royal Danish Guards marching in front of those huge palaces
The Royal Guards on today’s date serves as an active infantry unit, that assigns soldiers to combat zones around the globe, as well as the royal family’s guard. Royal Guards are deployed at Denmark’s biggest castles such as Amalienborg Palace, Kastellet , Rosenborg Castle and the Fredensborg Palace.
The interesting fact is nowadays along with military soldiers a lot of civilians also volunteer for the role of Royal Danish Guards after a 3-month training.
Can any place be more colorful than Nyhavn
Nyhavn or the “new harbor” is one of the most touristy and photographed location of entire Copenhagen. And it deserved to be so. A place carrying long heritage of salty history of a port exploited by sailors in the past, Nyhavn was a deserted after world war II till 1970s.
However, today’s Nyhavn is clean, colourful, lively and a perfect place to stroll, chill and enjoy time beside the canal. The bustling restaurants, souvenir shops, crowded pathways and old colorful building have made this one of the landmark things to do in Copenhagen.
The memorial anchor at the end of Nyhavn, serves as the monument remembering more than 1700 officers and sailors of who sacrificed their lives during world war II.
#TEE Tip: Plan to visit this place at least twice, once in early morning and once in the evening. First is to beat the crowd and second is to witness the amazing reflection of lights in the canal.
Visit to free town of Christania – one of the most interesting things to do in Copenhagen
Christania, a piece of “heaven”, well for sure if you want to get “high”. A free town in the heart of Copenhagen, run by its own law and self-governance. A place where you get the best quality of marijuana in the entire Europe (yes, keeping Amsterdam in mind).
Even if you don’t smoke, it is a perfect place to explore, check out the graffiti walls, the old naval base structures and the party mood of this place.
Christania is a place where dealers’ sell weed openly and even if you have heard numerous incidents of crimes in this city within city place, let us assure you, this place is completely safe if you remember not to run and don’t take photos.
A walk in the shopping street
When in Copenhagen, one of the best thing to do is take a walk in Strøget. A place commonly known as walking street, can be the perfect place to shop and check out food.
Spans more than 1 km, it is one of the largest car free shopping stretch in Europe. You can find all high profile stores as well as economic stores here.
#TEE Tip: Take a slow, relaxed walk here to enjoy the vibe, listen to the street musicians and pick up a bench to relax. And don’t miss visiting the Lego store.
Make your taste buds happy : absolute must things to do in Copenhagen
How can we end our things to do in Copenhagen list without telling you about the amazing
food of this part of Europe.
Though we have tried quite a few food restaurants (obviously not Noma. It was beyond our pocket); we cansuggest you absolutely not to miss two places
Juno: Undoubtedly the best bakery, with amazing aroma that makes your wait (yes there is queue always) all the more teasing. However, once you have a bite of their famous cardamom bun or anything else, your taste buds will keep thanking you for the rest of your life
Dalle Valle: If you like a real good spread of buffet at a pocket friendly price, this has to be in your list of things to do in Copenhagen. Trust us when we say, we had the best dinner buffet of our life at around 100DKK (INR 1000 around) per person. Denmark is a costly place and getting the quality and variety of the food Dalle Valle buffet was a steal deal for us.
Though there are numerous other things to do in Copenhagen, however we chose to list down our favorite ten. Few other noteworthy mentions could be Tivoli gardens – one of world’s oldest operating amusement park, Little mermaid – Face of Copenhagen’s tourism industry, Rosenborg Castle – an architectural marvel from the 1600s and the round tower – an architectural marvel again giving a birds eye view of the city. Put down your city map and head to explore this beautiful city of Copenhagen.