My weekend trip to a random Scandinavian country.
Long ago, being a teenager who watched loads of rally racing, I was fascinated by how rally racers performed the scandinavian flick. Of course, I tried it and failed miserably 😂. However, I did a bit of research on this, only to discover that the word Scandinavian referred to a sub region in Europe. This was bit disappointing to the boy racer in me.
Ever since this came to my knowledge, I have always wanted to visit a Scandinavian country (a.k.a) a ramdumb reason to travel.
First week of the new year 2020, I was chatting with a friend who visited Copenhagen few months ago, it did sound interesting and caught my interest. I started checking flights and accommodation, I found a good deal and ended up booking it (Ryanair ✌️). I made the bookings on a Sunday evening for the following Friday, which left me with just 4 working days to plan the trip. A quick plan- was to spend 3 days and 3 nights in Copenhagen, Denmark and to visit tourist attractions in and around the city.
Day 1, Friday. Dublin 4 pm.
Its technically night 1 of my trip, I finished work a bit early and left to the airport at 4 pm. I booked a taxi in advance, as I was waiting for the taxi to show up, I got a cancellation message from the driver, within seconds I also receive a message stating that I got a free upgrade to an executive taxi, a black Merc S class shows up at the door 😎 a total random thing to happen. But, a great start to the trip. Reached the airport boarded the flight and arrived in Copenhagen airport at 9 pm.
The Copenhagen airport was bigger than I expected, I found my way to the tourist point and purchased the Copenhagen card, this gave me access to over 80 attractions and unlimited use of city transport for next 3 days. Exited the airport and boarded the bus to reach the city. The bus was simply stunning, clean and systematic, it took about 20 mins to reach the city centre, en route got the first glimpse of the city, the Christmas lights were still on making it a beautiful sight.
I reached my stay for the night, I have to admit, I got really lucky with this place, it was this huge building in the city centre with over 18 floors facing the Tivoli gardens. Possibly the best place to stay in Copenhagen. I checked in and reached my room on the 14th floor to an amazing view through the window. It was yet another total random thing to happen. Now about the hostel, it’s called – Danhostel Copenhagen city. It’s a 5-star hostel, in my opinion it’s more of a hotel, extremely clean with great facilities. I dropped my bag got some food and went out for a nosy walk around, took some pictures figured out location of bus stops and metros, I was out and about for an hour, it started freezing, I got back to the room and hit the bed.
Day 2, Saturday. Copenhagen 7 am.
I woke up to an amazing view through the window in the room.
Freshened up and checked the timings of the places I planned to visit and found out most of the places either open late or close early, since it was winter around 10am – 4pm was the ideal visiting time. This was a big challenge to me as I planned to visit as many places as possible in 3 days. Furthermore, Copenhagen is a big city, the commute from one place to other does take a fair bit of time. Nevertheless, I did manage to see a good bit.
The list of places I managed to visit are as follows:
- ARKEN Museum of Modern Art
- Design Museum Denmark
- Medical Museum (Museion)
- Frederik’s Church
- Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
- Canal Walk
- Copenhagen Zoo
- Storm P. Museum
- The Round Tower
- Rosenborg Castle
- The Natural History Museum of Denmark
- The National Gallery of Denmark
- Magasin Du Nord
- Guinness World Records Museum
- The Mystic Exploratory
- House of Amber
- Charlottenborg Palace
- Christiansborg Palace
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not
- The Little Mermaid
- Canal – Ferry Cruise
- Danish Architecture Centre/ BLOX
- National Aquarium Denmark
Similar to my Amsterdam blog, below are few pictures of all the places I visited and my thoughts on them.
Day 2 was technically my first day in Copenhagen, the hostel had a great café, I grabbed coffee before heading out. Since I was up and about earlier than I expected, I decided to start the day with the longest commute and work my way back to the city. I have to mention the city centre looked way more beautiful in day light. A short stroll brought me to the train station, I boarded the train towards Ishøj, the journey was about 20 minutes moving away from the city, beautiful landscapes views en route. Further, I also had to take a short bus ride to reach my first destination.
No 1. ARKEN Museum of Modern Art
It’s a museum for contemporary art. I found it very interesting, great exhibition and wonderful views all around, was totally worth the visit.
No 2. Design Museum Denmark
Exhibits the Danish design legacy and the roots of inspiration for the designers, great location, historic building, wonderful garden. The evolution in design of chairs was fantastic.
No 3. Medical Museum
All about history of medicine in Denmark, the body parts exhibition was brilliant. Certainly not a place for faint-hearted. It was well worth the visit.
No 4. Frederik’s Church
Its also known as Marble church. It was not on my schedule. However, I saw it from a distance and was curious to go see it, turned out to be a Beautiful church with great architecture in and out.
No 5. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
A full-on art and sculpture museum, apparently all the items on display belongs to the founder’s son of Carlsberg breweries. Most of the sculptures were missing a nose, arm, penis or some random part of the body. They decided to not repair them as it would take away the originality. Historical place with loads to see and a beautiful indoor garden.
No 6. Canal Walk
It was almost 5pm and most of the places were closing down, I decided to see the lights by the canals and check out the main shopping streets around the town centre. The boats by the canal were decorated with lights giving the canal a wholesome view. I came across a bridge with hundreds of love locks, deep down I know I am not romantic, however seeing these locks was indeed a beautiful sight 💖. I was told by the locals that its more or so the tourists than Danish couples who use the locks to express their love.
I grabbed some food and drinks on my way back to the room, freshened up did some planning for tomorrow and called it a day.
Day 3, Sunday. Copenhagen 8 am.
Got up at 8, a quick shower and breakfast to start the day. I met a traveller, who told me that she made a mistake by visiting the zoo in the evening, as all the animals were moved to shelter. Hence, I decided to visit the zoo asap. Also turns out the planetarium opens early and was just on the way to the zoo. The weather was not great, still I stuck to my plan and kept going like a man on a mission 😉
No 7. Copenhagen Planetarium
It’s called the Tycho Brahe Planetarium, named after the astronomer Tycho Brahe. Its way smaller than it looks, with regular stuff, nothing exciting !
No 8. Copenhagen Zoo
A quick bus ride from the planetarium brought me to the Zoo, I was told its one of the oldest zoos in Europe. A very compact and fairly clean place with decent set of animals. As it was just past Christmas, loads of Christmas trees and lights were still hanging around.
No 9. Storm P. Museum
I like cartoon, this museum dedicated to the life of Robert Storm Petersen caught my interest. A very small, cosy and interesting museum with loads of his work on display.
No 10. The Round Tower
It was built as an astronomical observatory in the 17th century. Took me about 25 minutes to reach the top, however the view was well worth the climb 👌. The telescope used for observation is still preserved and displayed to the public.
No 11. Rosenborg Castle
A full-on Danish style castle, built as a summer home 😱. All the levels were open for viewing, its huge inside. From the wine cellar to the throne everything screams Dutch architecture. I lost myself in there and thoroughly enjoyed every bit of that castle.
No 12. Natural History Museum Denmark
This museum was full of fossils, preserved animals, plants, butterflies and rocks from various part of the world. Loads to too see. Nothing grabbed my interest though.
No 13. National Gallery of Denmark
Statens Museum for Kunst is the Danish name. A huge museum and research centre for arts, with a collection that dates from 14th century. Took me ages to walk from one end to the other. Nevertheless, the collection was extraordinary and from what I heard the extension overlooking the garden was done recently, making the whole building look like a big glass house from inside.
No 14. Magasin Du Nord
I had this on my list based on the recommendation of a local person I spoke with. I was told it’s a traditional store in Copenhagen. So, in my head I was expecting something totally different than what I saw. It turned out to be a normal shopping centre 😑. Indeed, the building was traditional, however inside it was filled with modern luxury brands.
No 15. Guinness World Records
I couldn’t visit Guinness records in Amsterdam and wanted to quickly check it out, I didn’t spend much time there, was pretty much in and out in few minutes.
No 16. The Mystic Exploratory
This was part of the Guinness records, filled with creepy stuff, that are supposed to be scary, I found them really funny.
No 17. House of Amber
Small and stylish museum for amber jewellery and its history. In fairness, the jeweller and display articles were well crafted and beautiful.
No 18. Charlottenborg Palace
From what I understood, someone very important used to live there. Now its an institution for contemporary art. There were 2 exhibitions when I visited, one was about relaxing the mind and the other was all about what’s wrong with the world, both were equally interesting.
No 19. Christiansborg Palace
Now this is what I would call a Palace, the premises also houses the Danish Parliament, The Prime minister’s office and the supreme court of Denmark. There were 9 areas of the palace open for public viewing.
I started from the outside, visiting The Royal stables which had loads of horses and cabins, then had a quick look at the theatre museum and the tower house. Then entering the palace through The Royal Reception Rooms, I have never seen anything like that before, visitors had to use shoe covers to enter this part of the palace, that’s how clean it was, with breath taking interior design filled with marbles, ivory and expensive metals. I then visited the Royal Kitchen and just stood there for a while, imagining living there. 😅
No 20. Ripley’s Believe It or Not
On my way back, I dropped into Ripley’s, for a quick look around. It had the same stuff as they show online.
No 21. The Little Mermaid
It was about 5.30 and all the indoor places were closing down. I had some time to kill and visited the most talked about Little Mermaid. Took me a while to reach there. It was a nice little park by the beach. However, the industries in the background killed the whole scene making it an unpleasant sight.
I was on the hunt for a good spot for dinner and one thing I noticed in Copenhagen was, many restaurants served buffet and almost all kinds of cuisine was available. I grabbed some food and drink, headed back to the room and retired for the day.
Day 4, Monday. Copenhagen 10 am.
I was a bit tired and slept in for a while. Later freshened up, grabbed coffee and checked out of the room. Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit Tivoli as it was closed for renovation. Also, my flights were early, which left me with only 5-6 hours to spare. I didn’t rush and decided to have a relaxed day.
No 22. Canal Ferry Cruise
I did some shopping, got few souvenirs and boarded the canal ferry cruise. Lucky the sun was out, making the cruise worthwhile. The captain of the ferry was very informative and funny. The cruise covered a good bit around the city and also brought us to the Little mermaid. It was a different view for me this time and the mermaid did look better in daylight.
No 23. Danish Architecture Centre/ BLOX
A great spot for urban architecture, I was inspired by a few lovely designs. Hoping to use them at some point. The place had a wonderful roof top café, I sat down for a while enjoying the view of the city sipping through a cup of latte.
No 24. National Aquarium Denmark
I saved the aquarium till then end as it was very close to the airport. Its Northern Europe’s largest aqua centre housing huge sea life aquariums. I accidentally made it on time for sea otters feeding show, I had never seen an otter before, I was quite stunned by how they behave, the keeper said they are very smart, and their fur was one of a kind. Yet another must-see place in Copenhagen.
I took the last bus ride of the trip to the Airport bringing another short and awesome trip to an end.
My thoughts on Denmark are very clear. It’s by far the cleanest place I have visited. The public transport is possibly the best value for money. Everyone I spoke with knew English. The city’s design and infrastructure is phenomenal. Online payment was available almost everywhere. I did not face any problems of any sort.However, I found the visiting time for tourist attractions to be short. Everything is slightly expensive, specially drinks be it hot or cold it is way more expensive than Dublin.
To conclude, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and I will for sure visit Denmark again !
Hav det godt, farvel ! (take care, bye -Danish)