My only regret after visiting Copenhagen was that I didn’t spend enough time in this cultured and vibrant city. A friend described Copenhagen as “bohemian chic” and once I saw the town with my own two eyes I could easily compare it to Amsterdam with its beautiful canals and expert bike infrastructure, which is quickly becoming the standard infrastructure that cities from all over the world look up to. I felt casual and carefree in Copenhagen. There were colorful buildings to gaze at, wide open expanses to lounge, and cobblestone streets at every turn to blissfully get lost. Copenhagen definitely has its charms and here are five of them worth seeing whether your trip is as short as mine was or if you are lucky enough to have a little more time to explore.
The Black Diamond
My cousin has spent months and months in Copenhagen and after all this time, the Royal Library, or the Black Diamond as it is known in Denmark, is her favorite destination so I knew I had to take a peek inside. The Black Diamond is encased in black marble and glass and tilts over the water so that what you see reflected onto the building are sparkles, hence it’s name. The inside shines just as well with rotating exhibitions and a photography museum. Students from the University of Copenhagen no doubt have a wonderful place to study and visitors without the worry of exams can read books for pleasure on the outside deck with a drink from the library cafe in hand.
Yes, it’s touristy but you have to do a canal tour, especially when the weather is sunny and warm. DFDS Canal Tours offer one hour tours that are worth the money. Instead of boarding at the busy Nyhavn dock, I boarded at Gammel Strand and loved the ride just as much. You ride past major attractions such as the Black Diamond and Opera House, the Little Mermaid, Christianhavn, Amalienborg Palace, and the National Museum while a tour guide explains the history and lesser known facts about the city. The tours leave up to four times an hour so you don’t have to plan your whole day around this one activity and can catch a boat when you please.
If you only have time to do one thing in Copenhagen, Kastellet would be my suggestion to you. I was mesmerized by this gorgeous public park which also houses the Danish Defense Ministry. I spent a couple hours here taking a walk up and down the hills and laying down on the grass to enjoy the sunshine. It is such a quiet and pristine setting that it is the perfect place to take a rest. The Little Mermaid statue is also nearby and probably the only place in this natural haven where you will see a crowd.
If you want to leave the city without really leaving the city, then you must visit Fredericksberg Have. This public park next to the Fredericksberg Palace is full of shady trees, winding paths, ponds complete with swans and ducks, and open expanses of green grass. Families and friends took strolls or sat down for picnics and couples laid out together sunbathing. Fredericksberg Have is right next to the Copenhagen Zoo so there is a free elephant viewpoint within the park too. You can take a long walk from downtown Copenhagen to Fredericksberg and for some sustenance along the way, Granola is a great breakfast or lunch spot.
Nyhavn is the oldest part of Copenhagen’s harbor and certainly the most picturesque. While I wouldn’t recommend having a meal at one of the many restaurants that line this harbor, it is the perfect spot to indulge in “hygge”, Denmark’s term for enjoying leisure time with family, friends, and drink. I sat on the edge of the harbor, sipping on coffee, gazing at the boats below me and the multitude of colored houses directly across from me all the while people watching both tourists and locals alike. It’s always nice to take a breather in a beautiful spot and appreciate how lucky you are to be somewhere special such as Nyhavn.