#STOPOVERAT – Copenhagen. What to see in one day?
Visiting a European capital city (or any medium-big city in the world) in just one day.
Is it possible? Somehow. Is it worth it? Well…
I mean, it depends. If you’re planning an on the road trip and you decide to force yourself putting together many stops, I would say that one day in Amsterdam, driving, one day in Bruxelles, driving, one day in Paris, is not the best plan if you have just one week. Better establishing one, max two stages, but well-done. Otherwise they’re just check marks against a list.
However, it could happen to be obliged to a certain time frame, so better than nothing. Or that you feel the need to escape the routine but you can do it just for one day. Thus, if you live close to an airport, why not choosing to leave in the morning and coming back in the evening, having a glimpse of London, instead of spending the umpteenth sunday in Milan?
More often it could happen that you end up ina city because of a flight layover. Sometimes they last even 24 hours, giving you a precious occasion to visit a new place, even if it’s not your final destination.
In all of these cases, you need to optimise the available time and this new section #stopoverat aims at giving you sparks and advices for a one day itinerary.
WHAT WILL YOU FIND IN THIS POST?
- My suggestions to visit Copenhagen in one day;
- Snaps from a modest smartphone in a gloomy day;
- A bit of myself, because you know, I like talking.
#STOPOVER AT COPENHAGEN
i was living in Vilnius and booking tickets to come back to Italy for a wedding. What normal people do is to look for the most convenient and fastest way to go from a place to another. In this particular case:
What people with obvious problems (me) do: opening Vilnius and Kaunas airports websites. Making a list of all the destinations. Confronting this list with the ones of the destinations of the closest italian airports. Finding the perfect match. In this particular case:
Why? I wanted to take advantage of the time I had to discover another piece of world, maybe one of the most expensive pieces, that I couldn’t afford at the moment. The stopover flight would have costed the same as the direct one, so I didn’t think it twice.
ONE DAY IN COPENHAGEN – ITINERARY
Copenhagen is a tiny city if compared to bigger capitals as Rome or Madrid, thus visitin it in few days it’s not hard and, if you’re planning a longer journey you’d have time to visit the surrounding areas or to pop over to Sweden, which is very well connected.
Distances easily walkable or doable by bike, let me visit the most characteristic places of this clean city and fascinated me so much that I can’t wait to come back again.
But let’s go to the point. What in Copenhagen is wort a visit when you have short time?
Taking the metro at Copenhagen airport, you’ll easily reach the city centre, where you’ll find one of the symbols of the city: Nyhavn, that is the new harbour.
Despite the meaning of its name, this characteristic port represents an historical spot by now, where the only traffic is made by the touristic boats. Abandoned for years, indeed, it gained new life after a urban renewal hosting different types of locals and becoming one of the main attractions of the Danish capital.
Perfect as a starting point, for a refreshment or to take a picture worth a postcard 🙂
First part of the day: about ports, mermaids and royal palaces
To reach another of the most famous symbols of Copenhagen, the Little Mermaid, a thirty minutes walk would be enough. A walk that you could water down by visiting the fascinating monuments and buildings along the way.
Moving northern of the port, you’ll meet Amalienborg, the Danish royal family residence, made up by four identical buildings converging on a square, in the middle of which there’s a statue of King Friedrich V; and Amaliehaven, a small garden next to the royal residence, from which you could start run along the promenade that leads to the pier.
This area is named Langelinie and hosts several attractions like the Gefion Fountain, the biggest in Copenhagen, which represents the legend of Zelanda, the island on which the city rises; the Royal Pavilions, used by the crown to access the Royal Yacht; and her:
Do you know the Little Mermaid tale of Hans Christian Andersen? The melancholy of this character is prefectly given by this statue that unfortunately has been victim of acts of vandalism during the years. Many people feel disappointed by her contained dimensions, some other from the place that frames her. I don’t know your opinion, but when I saw that gloomy gaze, towards the harbour, sign of a long but constant waiting, it made me appreciate even more this piece of art, capable of reaching straight the heart.
Langelinie is not just a touristic place, but an important shore for ships, beyond being a meeting point for the locals who spend their free time in Langelinie Park ( great for a snack in the nature) or among the outlets in the area.
Coming back to the city centre, Kastellet is a must-see. A pentagon shaped fortress (or star shaped if you’re a romantic one), among the best preserved in Northern Europe. A real small island where you can find, besides the typical red houses, a church and a wind mill.
Along the path to Nyhavn, if you like religious buildings, you’ll find the Sankt Ansgars Kirke and the Frederik’s Church , that for a matter of time I wasn’t able to internally visiting them, but that are worth to see even just from outside.
Second part of the day: a leap in the 70ies and a walk into Renaissance
Again in Nyhavn, I got back to the metro, direction Freetown Christiania (specifically from Kongens Nytorv you can either take line M1 direction Vestamager or line M2 direction Lufthavnen and get off atChristianshavn, that is the first stop).
I couldn’t have gone to Copenhagen and missed Christiania. A place so unique where time and space have their own almost irreal dimension.
Walking among Christiania streets is a feeling hard to explain: it looks like you’re living in a time that was told you but never experienced, like you’re ending up in your world and a different one at the same time (and no, not for what you’re currently thinking, dirty mind!)
I’d have too much to say, that I’d probably devote a whole post to it soon.
Now, let’s go back to the metro, opposite direction, getting off at Nørreport to spend the last part of the afternoon discovering a different area of the centre.
Few steps away there’s Kogens Have, that is the king’s garden: a huge park, the oldest and most visited of the city.
Inside, you’ll finde several buildings like the Rosenborg Barracks, home of the Royal Guards, the Commandant’s House, today a place for exhibitions, and one of the most evocative cafès of the Country, the Hercules Pavillion, that also hosts cultural events.
And naturally the Rosenborg Castle, once a royal residence and today a real museum where to admire the Royal Collections: the royal throne, the Crown Jewellery, the persian carpet used for the coronations and the artistic property of Danish Kings from XVII to XIX century. The castle is surrounded by a Renaissance garden, open during summer, where Crocus flowers bloom, with violet and lille shades.
Third part of the day: getting lost down town
Optimising the visit of a city when you have very short time means to get informed and plan everything in advance. I can go there in the morning to see this and that; in the afternoon I could reach this area to do this and that; in the evening I could have a drink here.
No time to waste.
After all, a provisional itinerary is necessary even for longer trips, even though you’re just planning it the first day in the hotel after a tiring flight.
However, there’s one thing I love allowing myself everywhere I go: random walking around. Without a precise destination and without consulting the map, unless I’ve just decided to stop wandering.
Discovering a welcoming and cozy café, entering a supermarket which sign suddenly showed up, admiring a wall painting that none of the travel guides would have ever reported.
Losing yourself in space could also mean loosing yourself in time, miss the plan for who knows how long: a luxury, when you’re in a place for just one day.
But it’s a thing I could never give up.
And don’t give it up too, believe me.
Fourth part of the day: about beer and excuses to come back
My day ends in my hostel in Nyhavn, where (ok, a little bit tired) I have dinner and a Carlsberg. Then I get to bed to continue that hardtofinish book.
At this point you’re probably asking yourself “Buuut, what about Tivoli Gardens?“
As the last stop of this itinerary I would have told you to spend the evening at this magical place full of lights.
But, I’m sorry, going to an amusement park alone, would have been too sad.
Thus, even without having experienced it my self, I suggest you to go.
And I suggest it to myself too for my next trip to Denmark, that I’m sure it will happen sooner or later.
P.s: In this post I would have added all the useful information to visit Denmark, no matter how much time do you have. But the post went so long, that I promise a new one is coming 😉
From Puglia (a Southern Italy wonderful region), born in 1991, 1.63 meters…short! Master in International Relations, I care about human rights and our wonderful planet. I love cooking, volleyball, the sea, winning board games. I hate talking about money, being interrupted when speaking, winter, a badly made Margarita, losing board games.