Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital and most populous city, has been described as the gateway to Scandinavia. Indeed, this beautiful city is a perfect place to start exploring the Scandinavian countries. Copenhagen’s modern Danish architecture combined with some of the most interesting old town scenery in Europe is a perfect destination for photographers and tourist alike.
Cruising the canals, gazing at the unique architecture, wandering through the palace, or just enjoying the wonderful seafood on your Nyhavn old-town walk are just a few of the things that must be on your to do list.
Arriving at the Copenhagen Airport via direct flight from the US, my wife and I began our adventure with a short train ride to Kobenhavn H, the main train station in the heart of the city. Although our hotel was 2 km away, we decided to walk to get a better feel for the city. We always travel very light so we can walk and take in the sights more often. . . even when rolling our luggage on city streets. Our first 30 minute walk was most delightful.
Like most major cities in Europe, getting around to sightsee is easy. Hop on Hop off buses, boats, bikes, and commuter trains are all available. There’s certainly no need to have a car in Copenhagen. City planners did an outstanding job accommodating bicyclist with elevated paths and special lanes all over the city. If you are a walking, make sure you stay out of the bike lanes.
After a brief tour of the modern architecture around our hotel, we jumped on the nearby commuter train and headed to Nyhavn. Established in the 1670’s as a sailors’ quarter, and although packed with tourists, it is a beautiful old-town to explore. With its trendy cafes, and restaurants surrounding a little harbor filled with vintage boats, Nyhavn is a perfect place for lunch or dinner.
There’s probably not a better way to get an overview of a city than a Hop on Hop off bus. Although bus travel is not our preferred method of transportation, we commonly enjoy spending a few hours on the Hop on Hop off bus at most major cities we visit. It’s an easy way to get a quick orientation with on-going recorded commentary providing history of each of the sights you pass by or hop off to explore. The famous The Little Mermaid statue, a tribute to the Hans Christian Andersen best-known story, was the highlight of our Copenhagen Bus Tour.
Our next stop was Rosenborg Castle. The finely furnished Castle houses the Danish crown jewels and 500 years of royal knickknacks. Although the old palace interior is a bit dark, and not as impressive as some European palaces we’ve visited, the gardens of King Christian IV were finely manicured and beautiful. We loved the time we spent in the gardens.
Another way to immerse yourself in the Danish lifestyle of Copenhagen is to jump on a Canal Boat Tour. You feel like you are getting a back-door tour of the city, with expert commentary about the sights on display. The short 2-hour tour was worthwhile and quite long enough.
A tourist in Copenhagen can certainly not leave until they have visited Christiania. A squatter’s village establish in 1971 on an abandoned military barracks is a “free” city where idealists, hippies, and even a few potheads live. This unique section of town just a 10-minute walk from the Danish Parliament Building. “Pusher Street”, named for the sale of soft drugs, is Christiania’s main drag (no pun intended). Get beyond the main street, and you will find hippie villas, peaceful lanes, tea houses, unique shops, and alternative housing. Unfortunately, as you might expect, photography is not an accepted pastime in Christiania, so it is best to leave your camera in your backpack while touring the area.
Copenhagen is a beautiful city to explore and photograph. It is certainly one of the most picturesque cities my wife and I have ever visited, and we would certainly like to return. If your travels lead you to this part of the world, make sure you spend a few days in Copenhagen.
Wherever your travels take you, may only remarkable memories and photos always be yours.