Picture Perfect Copenhagen
I can’t get enough of Copenhagen. My list of favorite cities always gets shuffled around the more I travel, but currently, Copenhagen is definitely in my top three. I’ve already gushed about all of the reasons I’m so taken with this city, but I still haven’t gotten our short time there out of my system. What can I say? I’m smitten.
Jave and I agree that some summer in the (hopefully) near future, we’re going to return and spend a few months there which would give us a chance to explore more of Denmark and other countries like Sweden and Norway which are high on our list. Plus, a summertime visit will give us a different perspective of the city since we were there during the onset of spring which, although it wasn’t snowing, reminded me of some of the cold Chicago winters I endured when I lived there.
While I still have a few more posts to share with you highlighting more places to see and things to do in Copenhagen, I realized that I also have a lot of pictures of the city that I haven’t yet shared. These pictures reflect some of my priceless memories from cold, cozy, and colorful Copenhagen.
Our first night in Copenhagen, we took the train from the airport instead of hopping on the metro to the city center. Needless to say, we got really lost and ended up here at the Hellerup station. Thankfully, the locals in Copenhagen are some of the most friendly urbanites I’ve ever met, and they were quick to get us back on track in the right direction. I was really surprised by all of the graffiti that we saw on the outskirts of the city center since Copenhagen is lauded for being so neat and pretty. It was actually refreshing to see Copenhagen’s grittier side and to know that even one of the happiest places in the world is plagued with graffiti.
Our first morning in the city, we left our hostel early to check out the Botanical Garden at the University of Copenhagen before grabbing breakfast at Torvehallerne and meeting up with our walking tour group. As we strolled down Gothersgade en route to the garden, we began to see bicyclists pop out onto this normally busy street as they went about their morning routines. Copenhagen seems to be a rather quiet place as far as cities go, and early in the morning, it’s all the more quiet.
I love this picture of Kongens Have (King’s Garden) because I like the look of the leafless trees lining the pathway. While most people were bundled up, we did come across a few guys wearing short-sleeved shirts without the slightest shiver. True Vikings, I suppose.
Although we didn’t get a chance to venture inside of the Rosenborg Castle to view the Crown Jewels and the Danish Crown Regalia, we were able to catch the start of the Vagtparade, or the Changing of the Royal Life Guards ceremony, which departs from Rosenborg Castle each day at 11:30am.
No matter how many bicycle parking areas we came across in Copenhagen, I was always amazed by the sheer number of bikes. Copenhagen is a relatively compact city, and the roads are in good condition. With everyone riding their bikes, it’s no wonder that we didn’t see a single obese person during our stay.
On the occasions when locals need to travel further distances throughout the city, Copenhagen’s public transportation runs like clockwork. And the metro stations – wow! Have you ever seen one this clean?
Copenhagen oozes charm – from its colorful architecture and Mercedes Benz taxi cabs to things as simple as its red postal boxes. I mean, really.
Tivoli Gardens is the world’s second oldest amusement park as it opened its gates in 1843. Unfortunately, given the season, Tivoli was closed during our time in Copenhagen (all the more reason to return in warmer weather). Although the park features roller coasters and other rides, people flock to Tivoli for its dining options and to people watch as well.
So maybe Copenhagen’s small streets and alleys aren’t quite as charming as some of those you’ll find in certain French cities and towns, but I could spend hours walking down scenic streets like these all the same. Even in the cold, Copenhagen’s colors pop and give the city a certain life and vibrancy.
This statue of Absalon, the warrior bishop who aided in Denmark’s expansion, is located at Højbro Plads, a public square in the heart of the city. Absalon is credited with building the first fortification which became modern day Copenhagen.
Meaning “New Harbor”, Nyhavn is a canal-side entertainment district that’s dotted with colorful townhouses, restaurants, and bars that date back to the 17th and early 18th centuries. The harbor was built during the rule of King Christian V, and it was dug by Swedish POWs from the Dano-Swedish War. Nyhavn provides access from the sea to Kongens Nytorv (King’s Square) which is the old inner city where ships docked with cargo and fish. While Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen, lived in the area for many years, it was once a gritty area known for beer, sailors, and prostitutes. Today, Nyhavn seems to be grit-free and all charm as it’s definitely one of the most picturesque parts of Copenhagen.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to visit the borough of Christianshavn during our short time in Copenhagen. Christianshavn is where Copenhagen’s infamous autonomous community of Freetown Christiania is located, but it’s also where the Church of Our Saviour resides. Fortunately, not too far from Nyhavn, we were able to see the church’s signature corkscrew spire that features an external staircase from which visitors can enjoy extensive views of Copenhagen.
Located on its own island is Denmark’s national opera house, the Copenhagen Opera House. We enjoyed our fair share of opera houses while in Budapest and Paris, but the next time we’re in Copenhagen, I’d love to catch a performance at the Copenhagen Opera House.
From the courtyard of Amalienborg Palace, the Danish royal family’s winter home, we had a sublime view of Frederik’s Church (aka, The Marble Church) which is known for its rococo architecture. The church, along with Amalienborg and the various embassies nearby, really gives Copenhagen’s Frederiksstaden district a regal feel.
During our second entry into Denmark via CPH, while waiting for the metro to our hostel, we witnessed this gorgeous sunset that filled Copenhagen’s sky with bursts of yellows, oranges, purples, and pinks. Jave was fortunate to capture this scene with his iPhone, but it really doesn’t do the sunset justice. Still, it’s a vivid way to remember picture perfect Copenhagen.