So if you have been following me on Instagram then you have probably realised that I was recently in Copenhagen, Denmark! This was my first time in the city and I have to say…I can’t wait to go back and explore some more! What a wonderful place. Before flying out I had bought myself the 48 hour Copenhagen Card – a tourist pass which opened the doors of something like 80 attractions as well as transport. Of course, I was going to make sure that I got my money’s worth because I am such an intense traveller who goes out from dawn to dusk and hits attraction after attraction, but I realise that is not everybody’s travel style and that you might need to sit down and do a little planning to see if the pass is worth it for you.
To give you a brief overview of my first experience of Copenhagen, I thought I would share with you what I got up to in my two days in the city…
I kickstarted my day with a walk to Den Lille Havfrue…or the Little Mermaid statue for the English speakers amongst us! I started here because, being a statue, it can be accessed at any time while a lot of the attractions didn’t open until at least 10am (winter travel problems). I’m really glad that I did as well, because I arrived just before the first of the tourist buses meaning that I was able to get my photos before too many people arrived – when I passed later in the day, around lunch time, there must have been around 100 people gathered around her and jostling for a photo – quite a lot for a cold, wet January day! I can only imagine how busy it gets in the summer.
After some wandering around the green space that surrounds the statue, I made my way to the train station to head back into the city – I thought it was a 10 minute journey only to realise after relaxing that it was only one stop and took about a minute, oops! Once back in the centre I made my way to Rundetaarn, also known as The Round Tower. It is actually a lot of fun to climb…round and round and round you go! I wasn’t prepared for the narrow staircase at the top though, and I’m really quite glad that nobody else was convinced by the signs that said you could have people going up and down at the same time! From the top you feel like you can see right across the city, even on a drizzly day like the one I was having so I can only imagine how impressive the views are on a sunny day!
After I had finished outside I went for a look around the art exhibition which was in the hall about halfway up the tower, then stopped in the cafe (very loose definition – it’s some seats and the chance to buy a biscuit and a hot drink from a self-service machine) for a cookie and some water while I planned my next move.
Since it was so close I decided to make my next stop the Canal Tour – something I had been told that I absolutely COULD NOT miss – since it appeared to be just down the road. I had just missed a boat so I went for a stroll along the canal while I waited for the next one and then hopped on board when it arrived. We tootled along the canal taking in all the sights and the stories behind them for an hour before it was time to disembark. Definitely recommend (sitting outside in the rain is a little more debatable though – there is a large covered bit!)
From there I popped into Seven Eleven for a slice of lukewarm pepperoni pizza to heat me up while I looked for my next attraction. I opted for Christiansborg Palace because it was A) about time I did something indoors to give my body a chance to heat up and dry out and B) basically just across the road.
Christiansborg Palace is an interesting one, because rather than just being one big museum with lots of sections it is a lot of little museums. I was able to see three of the museums before closing time on Saturday – Ruins Under The Castle, Royal Reception Rooms and The Royal Kitchens. The Ruins were an interesting look into the history of the palace and indeed how royalty and government have worked in Copenhagen for a few centuries. I cannot recommend the Royal Reception Rooms enough – they are absolutely stunning and of everything that I saw at the palace were definitely the most worthwhile for visiting. The Royal Kitchens (which also houses the flower room) were pretty interesting to see as they have examples of menus and table plans from high-profile visits to the palace.
With most things closing up at 4pm (or even before) I decided to make my way towards the one thing I knew was open into the evening – Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.
I have visited the London Ripley’s more than once – it’s one of my favourite attractions – so you can bet I was quite excited when I saw there was one in Copenhagen and that its opening times worked well with my schedule! What followed was…a bit underwhelming, to be honest. It has a lot of the same exhibits as the London one and is in fact much less interactive. Still good to see, just not quite what I was expecting.
Since I had the Copenhagen Card, I was also granted access to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum which is attached to Ripley’s. Now…one of my friends had ‘warned’ me that it was definitely not what you would expect, but I have to say that I was still totally unprepared. It started out how I would expect – the life story of one of the greatest fairytale writers of all time – then it descended into a series of storytelling sets. It’s kind of difficult to explain – it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I was expecting from a museum.
Then it was time to head back to the hostel for some snacks, chill and planning for my second day!
My original plan for Sunday was quite simple – Tivoli Gardens, then everything else. That was, until I realised that Tivoli was closed during my visit to let them change from their Christmas set up to their winter set up. I had to completely re-think my plans!
What I decided to do was follow my heart…and that led my through a park to a bus stop to go to Copenhagen Zoo. There were polar bears (okay, there is just one polar bear apparently but still, MY FAVOURITE ANIMAL) so of course I was going. Even with half of the Zoo closed off for building work there was still loads to see and I ended up spending a lot longer here than I had originally anticipated. Something that I did notice however was that everybody else in the Zoo was a family (or parent or grandparent) with young children and I got quite a lot of strange looks, presumably for being their by myself without a small child (or they all thought I had left my small child in the tiger enclosure or something). Oh, and there are chickens just strutting about like they own the place.
Now, from here I thought I would just head next door to the Museum Of Frederiksberg Palace. As it turns out, the museum I was looking for is at Frederiksborg Castle, not Frederiksberg Palace…sure I’m not the first person to make that mistake!
So instead I headed back in to Christiansborg Palace to try and see the museums that I hadn’t had time to see the day before – namely Theatre Court Museum and The Royal Stables. The Theatre Museum was right up my street, and lets you wander around the old theatre and learn about it’s history as well as some of the history of entertainment in Denmark. You can go up on stage and see the old costumes and scenery, you can wander through the auditorium and find out about the kind of people who would have attended. The Stables on the otherhand, are kind of like the Royal Kitchens. Interesting enough (they are still active stables and you can see the horses!) but I’m not entirely sure if they are worthy of being a museum on their own.
Then it was time once again to head out into the world of mostly closed attractions, with today’s late opening coming from the Guinness World Records Museum. I don’t know if it was just my mood or if it was actually the museum, but I enjoyed this one so much more than Ripley’s. There was a lot more interactive aspects and even if a lot of the exhibits were the same it just seemed to be a lot more fun. Highly recommend, especially if you’re travelling with kids at that awkward age of being too old for everything but not quite teenagers – I think they’d love this.
This one was also a bit of a two-for, as I was given a token to enter The Mystic Exploritorium once I had finished in the museum since I had the Copenhagen Card. As far as unexpected things in Copenhagen – I think this one takes the crown! I hadn’t looked too much into the exploritorium before going because it had only been on my maybe list, but it definitely was not what I would expect from something called Mystic Exploritorium. Basically, it’s like an interactive haunted house. Kind of. I don’t really know how to explain this one either!
I then headed back to the hostel, but before getting comfortable for the night I took advantage of a special offer for what was lurking in the basement – a Magic Ice Bar! Very similar to the one my brother and I visited in Oslo, Magic Ice Copenhagen only opened in the summer of 2018, and as it happened I got the whole bar to myself (I later found out that I missed out on happy hour by about 20 minutes, oops!). The ice art was beautiful and all related to the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen. Highly recommend a visit if you’re in the city!
Have you ever been to Copenhagen? Did you get to see the infamous Tivoli Gardens? Let me know what you think of the city in the comments!