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  • Writer's pictureMarie Williams

1 Fun-filled Day in Copenhagen, Denmark!


Nyhavn

Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, is a charming cosmopolitan city with many culturally appealing sites to visit, unique and delicious foods to eat, and a beautiful and serene place to unwind. Plan to tour this charming town that is easy to explore and a pleasure to visit.


Denmark is located in Northern Europe and is part of Scandinavia, which also includes Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Denmark is comprised of 1,419 islands, with only 78 of them being inhabited. The capital, Copenhagen, is situated on the islands Zealand and Amager. Copenhagen is near the Øresund, a strait of water that connects the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, and separates Denmark from Sweden. Danish is the national language, however, many Danes speak English as a second language, which is very beneficial for us English speakers.


Map of Denmark from World Atlas

Copenhagen was the last stop on our 2023 Grand Tour of Europe, and I was super excited to sightsee this Scandinavian country. There are daily nonstop flights from Copenhagen to Chicago, which made this city the perfect place to explore before departing for home.



We flew from Munich, Germany to Copenhagen for a mere $80, one-way, and a 1.5 hour long flight. After having a celebratory Carlsberg beer at the airport (brewed in Copenhagen), we visited an ATM at the airport to get some Danish Kroner. The currency for Denmark is the Krone and $10 is equal to 107 DKK (Kroner), so it can seem like you are spending a lot of money in Denmark although you actually are not. Like many cities in Europe, cash is preferred over credit or debit cards, therefore obtaining some money in the local currency is always beneficial. Whatever cash you do not use, you can convert to USD at the airport before departing.


Where to Stay


Upon our arrival to Copenhagen Airport, we were greeted by a shuttle bus that drove us to our hotel (complimentary with our hotel), which is located 5 short minutes away. Our hotel, Scandic CPH Strandpark was a modern, and delightful hotel to call home for our short visit. I normally choose to stay in older hotels with a more rustic appeal, however, what this hotel lacked in old world charm, it made up for it with its magnificent views of the Øresund (a strait connecting the Baltic Sea and the North Sea and separates Denmark from Sweden), modern amenities and close proximity to the airport. And, the hotel included a delightful and amazing breakfast buffet with local delicacies. One item, called Pålægschokolade (chocolate to put on bread), which are thin slices of chocolate that are used to put on top of bread, and are similar to the chocolate spreads used in many other countries, were on the smorgasbord and somehow many Pålægschokolade found their way on my plate. Other tasty local foods served were Danish pastries, breads, cheeses and meats and much more.



Visit Nyhavn


On our first day in Copenhagen, we wanted to explore the historic and colorful area called Nyhavn. Nyhavn is located in the heart of Copenhagen and just a short metro ride from our hotel. To get there, we simply mapped out our journey on Google Maps and set out for a day of exploring. To begin, we walked a short ten minutes from our hotel to the Kastrup Metro Station. At the metro station we purchased a zone 1 ticket at the kiosk located on the platform. The tickets are simple to buy and the kiosk provides information in many languages. (If you plan on staying for a while and are visiting many tourist attractions check out the Copenhagen Card for visitors). We hopped on the metro near our hotel, Kastrup, and headed towards old town, and ten minutes later we disembarked at the Kongens Nytorv (The King's New Square) station, which is only a 9 minute walk from Nyhavn.



Copenhagen Metro (black arrow is route to Nyhavn from hotel by the airport)

While walking towards Nyhavn, you will walk through The King's New Square, which is in the heart of the city center. The square was built in the 17th century and is home to the 17th century equestrian statue of Christian V, the first anointed king that resided at Frederiksborg Castle.


Kongens Nytorv - or 'The King's New Square'

Take a Boat Tour


Just past the square you will gaze upon the colorful and stunning Nyhavn. Nyhavn (New Harbor) is a 17th century waterfront canal lined with many historical townhouses, bars and restaurants. Strolling this scenic canal is dreamy. For a great tour of the city and canals, we purchased tickets for a one hour canal boat tour in Nyhavn at Stromma Boat Tours. No need to purchase tickets in advance.




The tour was fun and included multi-lingual headsets that provided an educational, relaxing and informative cruise through the picturesque canals and historic harborfront landmarks of Copenhagen. You will pass by the 300 year old naval base of Copenhagen, Holmen, the iconic Little Mermaid statue, Amalienborg Palace and the prominent Church of our Savior with its beautiful twisted spires.


Nyhavn

Rosenborg Castle

Stroll around Rosenborg Castle and King's Garden


Next on our agenda was a visit to Rosenborg Castle and the beautiful King's Garden. Just a short 15 minute walk from Nyhavn, Rosenborg Castle was built from 1606-1634 and houses the Danish crown jewels and royal crowns. Purchase tickets in advance on their website or at the castle. Tickets run around 140 DKK or $13 per person.


We did not have enough time to tour the inside of the castle, however, we strolled though the King's Garden and viewed the historic castle from the outside, which was charming and relaxing.


The King's Garden is a picturesque spot to take a leisurely stroll through the tree lined walkways and rose gardens. If resting is more your style, sit a spell on the luscious garden lawn or one of the many benches situated throughout the gardens.



Restaurant Schønnemann

Lunch at Restaurant Schønnemann


We worked up an appetite after wandering through the magnificent gardens and began our 8 minute walk towards Restaurant Schønnemann for a greatly anticipated lunch. Restaurant Schønnemann has been serving traditional Danish herring, schnapps, and smørrebrød since 1877. Smørrebrød is a traditional food in Denmark and is basically an open faced sandwich on rye bread with various toppings, such as pickled herring, egg or shrimp. As one of Copenhagen's oldest eateries, and only open for lunch, reservations are required and can be made on their website. Visiting this iconic restaurant was a must and it did not disappoint. The old world atmosphere, combined with the popular smørrebrød served in an elegant style, made for an unforgettable meal.



For starters, we opted to try their famous Marinated Herring, which is served with onions, capers, curry salad and a soft-boiled egg. The herring tasted very fresh and paired well with the accompanying ingredients . Next, we tried the Classic Potato sandwich with bacon, onion and mayonnaise. This sandwich was a delicious twist on a classic BLT, but with potato. We wanted to share a couple more smørrebrød, so we ordered the Farmers Favorite, which comes with a cured ham from free range pigs with an omelette and grated Danish cheese. Superb! And finally we ate the Greenland Shrimps in Pyramid, which is freshly peeled Greenland shrimps with white and red mayonnaise, dill, and lemon. The pyramid presentation looked too pretty to eat, but we managed to devour this delicacy in a matter of minutes. At least we got a picture of it first!


In addition, Restaurant Schønnemann offers 40 different beers and 140 unique schnapps and aquavits (a distilled spirit that is produced in Scandinavia) to serve with their traditional smørrebrød. My advice is, when in Denmark, eat and drink like the Danish! Our waiter highly recommended an aquavit that would enhance the flavors of seafood, and suggested that we try this traditional spirit with our Greenland Shrimps sandwich. While I am not a drink aficionado, the strong, herbaceous drink did enhance the flavors of our seafood sandwich. In all, we thoroughly enjoyed our traditional Danish lunch in a quaint, old-world setting. If you are wanting to enjoy some time honored foods of Denmark, look no further than Restaurant Schønnemann in downtown Copenhagen. This establishment is very popular with locals and tourists, so remember to make reservations.


Copenhagen City Bike Tour

Copenhagen City Highlights Bike Tour


To finish off our day in Copenhagen, we booked a unique and fun bike tour through Viator. This 1.5 hour trek began in central Copenhagen, which is only a short 15 minute walk from Restaurant Schønnemann. The journey covered many of the city's most popular landmarks, such as, Christiania, The Little Mermaid, Nyhavn, and Rosenborg Castle by traveling just like the locals do. After all, Copenhagen is the world's best bike city with its amazing cycling infrastructure. Bicycling through the city allowed us to see many of the sights quickly and easily. Had we not ridden a bike we would not have had time to see many of the sights further from the city center, such as The Little Mermaid.



During our bike tour, we were also able to visit Amalienborg, the King's winter residence. There are four palaces surrounding a courtyard in which an equestrian statue (circa 1753) of Frederik V (founder of Amalienborg and Frederiksstaden) stands. If you arrive around noon you can witness the changing of the Royal Life Guards, dressed in full regalia.


There is so much more to see and do in Copenhagen, check out Visit Copenhagen's website for more details on places to visit, such as the Copenhagen Zoo, SMK the National Art Gallery of Denmark, or Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world.


To get back to our hotel for our evening plans, we walked 6 minutes back to the metro station, Kongens Nytorv. We purchased tickets at the kiosk for a one way trip back to Kastrup station, and trekked the last ten minutes to our hotel.


Øresund Bridge

Visit Malmö, Sweden


While at our hotel we discovered a very close bridge called the Øresund Bridge. At night we could see the lights crossing the strait like a beacon guiding us to another place. Little did we know, but it led to another country, Sweden! This bridge, which is a railway/bridge across the Ørsund strait, leads you from Copenhagen, Denmark to Malmö, Sweden within a scant 35 minutes! Therefore, we decided to spend a few hours in another country.


View from our hotel with the Øresund Bridge in the distance.

After freshening up at our hotel, we once again walked to the Kastrup metro station, purchased a metro ticket to the Copenhagen Airport, and within 5 minutes we were at the airport. From here, we purchased tickets at the DSB ticket kiosk and then followed the signs to the train station just a few short feet away.




Door in Copenhagen Airport that leads to train station going to Malmö

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Read all about our quick trip to Malmö here. We were able to visit Lilla Torg, a cobblestone square filled with quaint restaurants, bars and cafes, Saint Peter's Church, a 14th century Gothic church, Stortorget, a 16th century historic market square, and much more.


Late Night Cocktails at Hotel



Upon our return to our hotel, the Scandic CPH Strandpark, we decided to visit the SEANERY Skybar for a late night drink. The skybar is a fun and cool looking bar to hang out, unwind and relax after a long day of sightseeing.



One of the many docks along the Øresund

Walk Along the Øresund


After a restful night and another morning indulging in the super amazing breakfast buffet, we took a morning walk from our hotel along the Øresund Strait.


I found a wonderful place to walk to, called Kastrup Søbad, which is a small beach with a lake bath, and was only a 25 minute walk away, so we set out for a mid morning stroll.


Walking directions to Kastrup Søbad from Scandic CPH Strandpark

Behind Scandic CPH Strandpark, we began our trek on the walking path that borders the picturesque waterfront. Along this route you will enjoy panoramic views of boat-filled harbors.


Walk past the well known National Aquarium Denmark, or if you have time, stop in for a visit and see hammerhead sharks, sea otters, stingrays and much more. Continuing on, you will stroll by one of the largest marinas in Copenhagen, Kastrup Marina. We loved exploring the beautiful piers while viewing the countless sailboats. Just around the corner from the marina you will see Kastrup Søbad in the distance. This delightful little beach is free to visit and has a bath house with changing rooms and lockers. But the main feature is the unique pool enclosure called "The Snail". Shaped like a conch, this circular enclosure enables bathers to relax, sunbathe, or take a dive off the three meter or five meter diving platform. We walked along the sandy beach and touched the Øresund Strait/Baltic Sea while watching people playing in the water and on the Snail.


After taking in the scenic views, we turned around, and headed back to the hotel to pack for our journey home.


Kastrup Søbad


With mixed emotions, we packed our bags and took the shuttle to the Copenhagen Airport. After a short time in customs, we were at our gate ready to head back home. Our two week adventure became wonderful memories that I relive everyday! Visiting Denmark in Scandinavia was remarkable and I can't wait to explore more of this northern subregion of Europe.


With a little effort, you can plan out your trip of a lifetime and visit the European countries you have always wanted to see and experience. By utilizing guidebooks (my personal favorites are from Rick Steves), Google, and bloggers such as myself, you can easily book and plan your adventure for a fraction of the cost travel agents would charge.


For me, I can't wait for my next journey and believe me, I've already started planning it!!!!

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