Whilst Copenhagen has a reputation for being pricey, a mini-break can pack a punch and not leave you feeling short-changed on the fun front. Cheap flights from regional airports make it a hip hop over the North Sea to the International Airport which also serves Malmo (over “The Bridge”).
We arrived in the evening and found that a surprisingly driverless train from the airport delivers you to the heart of the city, (we stopped at The Forum). A towering well of stainless steel escalators worthy of a Sci-Fi film lifted us up and out to the 2A bus (cash or a virtual carnet on your Smartphone). It’s a twenty minute journey to the Danhostel at Bellahoj. The International Youth Hostel is starkly Scandi cool from the seamless grey flooring to the fold down bunk beds in the family rooms.
First full day – walking, swimming and sight-seeing. A boat ride is the best introduction to the salty heart of the city. Brightly painted Nyhavn 17 is one of the oldest parts of Copenhagen and it is from there that different companies offer Multilingual tours of the canals and harbours of the city. The highlight is a view you just can’t get from the land: an eyeful of the pert little backside of the world-famous Little Mermaid.
It’s back to Nyhavn-Haven for quick stroll across the shiny new Kissing Bridge to the ultra-hip street food market at Broens Gadekokken. Be warned (foodie alert)! You may have to share a pew with yawnsome millennials raving about the exquisite concoction of flavours in each mouthful. Admittedly, they are right. It’s not quite fast food. Art takes time but all orders are made fresh to order from specials. Don’t forget your debit card as this is a strictly cash-free environment: yet another sign that you have arrived in the future.
On a hot summer’s day it’s a relief to slip into the fresh Baltic waters of the Harbour near the boathouse off Strandgade. Don’t worry about looking eccentric, you’ll be sharing it with the effortlessly glowing, pretty young city dwellers. This city isn’t just for tourists.
Everywhere you go there will be bikes. Mostly cruising along at the same speed as the rest of the traffic sitting back on step though city bikes. Classy cyclists of Copenhagen take full advantage of the dedicated cycle lanes on range of cycles adapted for every need. Got two toddlers? Stick them in a box on the front. You don’t need lycra (you won’t see any either) and you’ll be going the same pace as (fit looking) sixty year old locals. For the record, the bikes went at the same speed as our bus back to the hostel.
Day Two – all day at Tivoli
For the highlight of your trip you couldn’t do better than a day in Tivoli Gardens. To make the most of the entry price, (rides an optional extra) plan to stay all day. It is like a box of delights and there’s something for everyone. Firstly, for the kids, the rickety Red Mountain rollercoaster… building up to the thrilling rush of The Dragon (with upside-down bits). If you have a head for heights, you will get to see most of the city whilst spinning at speed (if you can control your breathing and fight the rising butterflies). Stay late for the lights, shops, bars and restaurants.
Final day and home…Shopping in Copenhagen is a product-design lover’s paradise. The Danes are big on quality and minimalistic cool. And glass and candles. There’s a Danish version of Harrods at Kongens Nytorv: head to the Food Hall in the basement and have a “Danish” pastry, (obviously, they don’t call them this). The High Street will have some familiar names so your challenge is to look for stuff you can’t get in the UK. Sostrene Grenes shows you how the stylists do it on a budget and there’s a tube at the top of the shop (a series of room sets) for kids to exit by.
The Rundetarn is also located in the central shopping distance and well worth the small entry fee. I found an amazing craft market up by the University with goodies made by artisans from all over Scandinvia.
We saw a ballet for free nearby from Amaliehaven (site of the Royal Palaces) on a newly built floating stage and final fling in Nyhavn was well worthwhile. Danish ice cream is not to be missed. There’s a range of flavours and can you pay by card or deposit your cash in a swanky note and change machine (for hygiene reasons). It is a smooth and swift transfer back to the airport and a hop back home. Lagom.
All rights reserved Ruth McIntosh 16/09/2018