A business trip to Copenhagen came up so we used the opportunity to get the taste of Scandinavia.
Free walking tours are quite popular these days so decided to try one. They depart at specific hours from the City Hall Square and last ~3 hours (I used Sandeman’s). They take you through the landmarks around the center, telling you history of the city, facts, and generals tips/suggestions for the rest of your trip. Yes, they are free but they work for tips so at least tip them with the equivalent of a beer or coffee.
Below some of the things I learned and places we visited.
Historical Copenhagen, some curious facts.
- Originally it was a Viking fishing village. They would sail out on spring to other lands, kill and steal, returning home in autumn rich ready to spend the winter home.
- They suffered two big fires. The first one in 1728, which lasted for three days and burn down half of the city center!! The second one in 1795, which burn down one-third of the city center.
- They are also known as a city of spires since they were not allowed to build buildings higher than six floors so they would just add a tall spire. The tallest tower is 106 m and is the City Hall.
- The current City Hall is the 6th. The 5th building is still standing but is used as court and jail. Previous city halls were destroyed by the fires or war bombings.
- Nyhavn. This is the street of the typical Copenhagen postcard, characterized by the colorful houses and ships in the harbor. Back in the days, it used to be a very busy street/waterway, full of sailors, tattoo places and prostitutes. Today it is an obligatory stop for all visitors, departure point for boat tours, streets full of food stands, pricey bars and restaurants.
- Tivoli is an amusement park opened in August 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world! The first one is Bakken which, by the way, it’s also in Denmark!
- Statue of Hans Christian Andersen a Danish world famous fairy tale writer. Some of his most popular works are “The Little Mermaid“, “The Snow Queen“, “The Ugly Duckling, “Thumbelina“. His stories have been translated to several languages and inspired ballets and movies. The room where he spent his life has been kept as a mini-museum. It is located in the Magazin du Nord shopping center, access is permitted.
- The Little Mermaid bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen. Of course, inspired by Andersen’s fairy tale! She is a very visited attraction in Copenhagen (it’s equivalent to visiting Manneken Pis in Brussels).
- Statues underwater. This is a Danish tale called “Agnete and the Merman”. A group of bronze sculptures are underwater by the Højbro Bridge in front of the Christiansborg Palace.
- Magdræde: The oldest street in Copenhagen city center that luckily not affected by either of the fires. In the old days, this street was full of public toilets and prostitutes. Today is just another picturesque calm street in the center.
- Freetown Christiania: By far, my favorite neighborhood in Copenhagen. It used to be an abandoned military territory until the late 1600’s when a group of people started pushing the municipality to let them inhabit it. So it became an alternative neighborhood, a hippie village within Copenhagen. Rustic colorful homes, in the middle of nature in an uneven terrain, they live free, by their own rules. Street art is everywhere, kids playgrounds, eating and drinking places, and open air venues.
- The Rundetaarn (Round Tower) is a 17th-century tower that was originally built as an astronomical observatory. Great for a panoramic view of the city.
Other interesting buildings around Copenhagen
- Øresund Bridge is an 8-mile-long bridge that connects Copenhagen with Malmo, Sweden. Half of it is a bridge and the other half is an underwater tunnel.
- Malmo? Why not? Perfect for a day trip from Copenhagen just 50 minutes ride. We crossed to take the taste of Sweden!
Some other facts
- They have been on top 3 of the list of happiness Report, certainly, these metrics are not taken during their harsh cold winters! They also have a very high suicide rate.
- They enjoy free education and healthcare, however, they pay 60% of taxes.
- This place is not a budget destination. Be careful with the currency exchange, they use Danish Krone (DKK).
- Some worldwide known Danish brands are Lego, Carlsberg, and Maersk.
- The original LEGOLAND amusement park is in Denmark. Opened in 1968 next to the original Lego factory in Billund, DK.
- They also have a “cozy” word, that would be the equivalent to Gezellig in the Netherlands and this is “hygge” (hoo-ga). There is even a book about this way a well being.
Eating Copenhagen out
Copenhagen is famous for its new Nordic cuisine and is home of Noma restaurant, a many time first place winner in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. But… that’s to fancy for me, I went for the street food!
I liked you Copenhagen ❤ So much history around the well preserved characteristic infrastructure. Calm waterways, colorful houses, picturesque streets, parks and plazas. It is walkable, bikeable, or you can hop on a boat tour. Good food, good beer, nice markets. There is always something happening around for every interest.