My flight landed in Copenhagen at 13:00 and my flight to Germany wasn’t scheduled to leave until 20:10. This gave me 7 hours to attempt some sightseeing in a new city. I wasn’t sure it would be enough time to do anything so I used my resources.
Last year while at the Wiesn (Oktoberfest) we met some very nice gentlemen from Denmark and became connected on social media. I reached out to Morten and asked how close to the city the airport is located and if it’s worth the effort to leave the airport with a layover of 7 hours. His response: 7 hours is more than enough time for an adventure. Morton not only gave me tips on what to visit during my time in the city, he sent me a word document with step by step directions on how to navigate from the airport to the metro into the city. His itinerary was a step by step personal tour guide that included maps and information about each site. I couldn’t believe my luck when I read over the details.
I originally wasn’t sure I’d have the energy to explore a new city after working three nights in a row and heading straight to LAX thus staying awake for 28 hours. However, I did manage to sleep 5 hours on the flight so by the time we landed I was ready to see what Copenhagen had to offer.
I had researched ahead if there was a luggage drop off or place to leave my backpack/luggage while exploring. There are lockers located just outside Terminal 2 in the parking garage labeled 3. The locker is huge and would have easily fit 4-5 Osprey Porter 46L backpacks. You have the option to pay for 4 hours or 24 hours. Then you’re given a combination number to use when you return to open the locker.
Morton’s directions and descriptions were easy to follow. They started off by stating that when you get into the main area of the airport you’ll be in a large hall. If you walk towards the escalators located 100 meters ahead of you you’ll find the entrance to the Metro (subway) and you can purchase tickets before going up the escalators. The line to get a ticket was long but went very fast and there are attendants to help you purchase your ticket at the automated machines. They will also give you a small map of the metro system which came in handy because I like to count how many stops until the destination. Don’t confuse the metro with the trains. I saw some signs for trains but the attendant pointed towards the escalators for the metro and there is only one so hop on board and get off at your stop.
I timed the ride from the airport to city center and it’s about 12 minutes-very quick. My stop was Kongens Nytorv. Once you exit the metro and come up to the street Morton’s directions said the old theatre would be there in front of you but I had trouble figuring out which building it was because there was a lot of construction happening and some pathways were roped off. Morton’s itinerary had me going to Nyhavn Street as my first stop but I got a little lost even with his maps (not his fault, I’m just really bad with directions). So I turned on my cell data and plugged in google maps. I was one block away.
I could have stayed at Nyhavn street and watch people walk down the canal all day long. I was very tempted to sit down at one of the outdoor restaurants for a beer or cocktail and enjoy some seafood with the sun shining on the water and boats. But I knew if I did, I wouldn’t get to see any of the other awesome sights Morton had picked out for me. I made do with taking many obligatory photos of the colorful buildings which line the canal walkways and photos of the boats in the water. There were tons of canal boats offering tours and it reminded me a lot of the canal tour we did in Amsterdam. I was tempted to take one of these tours but then I remembered we all fell asleep on the Amsterdam tour and decided to keep walking.
Morton’s directions instructed me to walk all the way to the end of the harbor (yea!!) and then go left to see the new theatre. The new theatre is different than the buildings by the metro where the old theatre is located. This building looks very modern and has advertisements for Othello. It’s right on the water with a gorgeous view and I loved the wooden parts of the building. I also stoped to look out at the harbor. I should probably mention that everyone is either riding a bike or walking. I didn’t see too many cars. Not as many bicycles as Amsterdam but definitely close and bikes have their own lanes with stop/go lights (do NOT walk in these lanes or risk getting run over!). I also saw so many families out riding. There were these bikes where instead of handlebars it’s more like a stroller handle and in front of the bike is a wheelbarrow looking bucket to put children to ride along. Similar to what we see back home with the kids behind the bike but this was opposite with kids in front. I saw so many babies and families in fun Danish strollers. It was evident to me that the people of Copenhagen love to spend time outdoors.
After the new theatre I was instructed by Morton’s directions to walk along the water towards the Amalie Haven. The best way to describe this is by calling it a city park. It’s a giant garden in the middle of the city right by the water. There I found lots of benches to sit down and look at the garden, fountains and a variety of green bushes and trees. I noticed that some of the landscaping was cut into square shapes, very geometrical. It reminded me of the gardens in Versailles with the trees all cut to the exact height. There’s a huge fountain in the center of the Haven and if you look behind it you can see the royal palace and then behind you is the harbor. Morton said the Haven was a gift to the Royal family from the people of Denmark. I loved that they put it right outside the Royal Palace for everyone to enjoy.
I kept walking down the harbor and kept finding all these nooks and crannies of stairs or benches the city has built in to sit down and eat a snack or take in the view. I saw many locals sitting by the water or talking with friends. I also saw tons of people walking their dogs and since I found myself missing my dog I had to stop and ask if I could pet every single one. The people of Copanhagen are extremely kind. I didn’t get the usual “why is this lady hovering over my dog” looks, but instead people were excited to talk about their dog or share the type of breed and name.
Across the harbor from the Amalie Haven is the Danish Opera which is 15 years old and according to Morton is famous in Denmark.
I looped around at the end of the Harbor to see the Royal Palace. I was really looking forward to this part because I like that Rom-Com “The Prince and Me” and was curious to see if the palace looked like it did in the movie. It looked even better in person. There are Danish soldiers walking outside one of the buildings. I wasn’t sure what was allowed and if we can walk near the buildings. There were no sign posted that said no photos or to stay away from a certain section. I snuck in a few photos. Morton said the way to tell if the Royal Family is at home is to look for a flag on top of the main buildings. If there are 4 flags it means they are home. Sadly, only one flag was out so it looks like I missed the Royal Family.
At this point I was really starting to get exhausted. Staying awake for so long with little sleep was catching up with me. I didn’t feel jet lagged though. I think Morton’s itinerary was perfect because it involved walking outdoors with fresh air and nature so I felt my body adjusting to the time. I knew I needed to wrap up the tour soon or I would fall asleep under a tree and miss my next flight.
The next part of the tour took me to this gorgeous fountain. It was at the edge of a city park. This park was even bigger than Amalie Haven and I wished I had more energy to explore it. I sat at the fountain for awhile and then I took photos of this gorgeous English Church. There were more benches along the church and by the water so I sat there and ate a protein bar while the church bells started ringing. I found myself adding Copanhagen to my wish list of cities I’d love to live in.
As I started to make my way back towards the metro I kept looking back at that English church and seeing more of the park beyond the church.
One of the last stops on Morton’s tour was another church. This one is pretty famous in Denmark and is called Frederik’s Church. I was having trouble with the directions for this one and I was too tired (and hungry) to seek it out. So I just started wandering down a street that looked to be in the general direction towards the metro. I popped into a grocery store for a quick snack. I love going to grocery stores in other countries. I wander the aisles pretending I’m going to make dinner and imagining what I would buy. I also like to look at the drinks and yogurts. They’re always much taster (and with less sugar) than what we have back home. I found a tasty protein and berry drink and grabbed some Dutch gummies. A man in line tapped me on the shoulder and started speaking to me in Dutch. I had to apologize because I had no idea what he was saying. He then proceeded to tell me in English that he was late to catch a boat and was wondering if he could go ahead of me in line. I let him in front of me and couldn’t help but smile at the fact that I was blending in enough to look like a local. And I was once again impressed by another country and culture that knows so many different languages. I overheard a lot of Dutch and English today but also something else. Maybe Norwegian? I love languages. I keep saying I want to learn a third language but haven’t made the commitment to pick one and learn it. One day…
The clerk at the grocery store told me if I kept walking down the street I would get to the metro. As I was walking I saw these lovely courtyards tucked behind small alleys. It’s hard to describe. Almost like a driveway but they’re businesses. So you walk into a courtyard before getting to the front of the store. I couldn’t help but walk into a few of them. I passed a few museums which looked interesting and then I found the church on Morton’s list!
I walked inside and sat down to stare up at the ceiling. The alter had these vibrant blue lights shining on a giant cross and the murals on the ceiling were amazing pieces of art.
Just down the street was the metro station I came from. I checked my watch and still had about 45 minutes before I had to head back to the airport so I stopped on Nyhavn street and found one of those restaurants on the canal that I had been eyeing earlier. I sat down and had the tastiest lobster soup with bread and a delicious Danish beer (who knew Dutch beer was so tasty?!).
My metro ride back to the airport was 15 minutes including the time it took to purchase a return ticket. I grabbed my backpack from the locker and sat down to speak with Super Nel and Bolt (my dog) via FaceTime. I went on and on about my adventure until my husband said “So we’re going to Denmark next year?” I said yes.
As I sit at the gate waiting to board my flight, I’m looking at the photos from my short time in this colorful city and I find I have enough energy to write up this blog post. I told my friend Hung I wasn’t going to be blogging because it’s a short Eurotrip and it gets exhausting. But when you have such a wonderful adventure in a short time you really want to share it with everyone. I hope you enjoyed the story and the photos and do yourself a favor and book a trip to Copanhagen.
Special thanks to Morton for his personal tour guide advice and maps. To think that the reason I had such an exceptional time on this adventure is because last year we sat (squished?) at a table with him shouting “Prost!” and enjoying the festival surrounded by people from around the world. Funny how travel introduces you to people you might never meet otherwise. I only hope I can return the favor if visits San Diego.