For some, Scandinavia can seem the opposite of what offers an ideal holiday. Cold weather, hard-to-grasp languages and meatballs on every corner certainly differ from a sunny Mediterranean beach holiday, but as with Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital for example, there is much to enjoy in Europe’s northern reaches.
At under 2 hours’ flight time from Luton Airport it’s ideal to consider Copenhagen for a short, 3 day trip across the North Sea and even more so with the price of some of Easyjet’s early morning flights. Descending into the city, it’s easy to determine the capital’s location on the border with Sweden as aircraft pass by the Øresund Bridge, famous for the setting of the 2011 TV series The Bridge and for being the only physical link between the two nations. On arrival, the airport’s Metro connection with the rest of the city provides easy access to accommodation, in this instance the Adina Apartment Hotel only 5 minutes’ walk from Østerport Station to the north. Here, a sense of Copenhagen’s maritime importance can be appreciated, with ferry terminals offering travel to Oslo, cargo ports in motion at Nordhavn and HDMS Peder Skram, a retired Danish Naval Vessel sat across the short body of water to the east.
As with in any other location, the apart-hotel setup allows for a self catering twist in what is essentially a 4-star hotel. Adina hosts a full bar and restaurant, gym, swimming pool and bike hire in a quiet, newly redeveloped area of docklands and can cater for those looking for mod-con luxury as well as for travellers wishing to satisfy themselves on a budget.
From here, the majority of Copenhagen’s attractions can seem some distance away. Certainly for those wanting to take in Nyhavn, the postcard picture of the city or the historical monuments of Rundetaarn (The Round Tower) and Rådhus (City Hall) the Metro can be the better option, especially if weather is inclement. Unlike some European cities, the spread of Copenhagen and indeed its Metro make for more of a reliance on public transport and increasingly on bicycles too. All three of these tourist draws are worth the journey however, with the Rundetaarn particularly worth the seldom-seen step-less climb to the top, resulting in breath-taking views across the city. At only DKK 25 for adult admission, the Rundetaarn is also one of Copenhagen’s cheaper attractions.
Even further afield southwest of the city lies the hugely entertaining Visit Carlsberg ‘ExBeerience’, home to one of Denmark’s most famous exports. Entry gains access to a flood of historical and cultural insight behind the lager as well as the Danish people and local industry. In addition, the tasting sessions offer a unique way of experiencing how today’s Carlsberg stemmed from the original Jacobsen Dark Lager, first made in 1854. Finally the tour ends with a complimentary pint on the top-floor bar as well as lunch if so desired at an extra cost. The whole process is probably best enjoyed as a group, can take a number of hours and can be fun for first-time beer tasters and ale aficionados.
Shopping, eating and generally taking in the Danish vibe can be done near Højbro Plads in the centre of the city. The old streets and buildings see cafés and restaurants line the canal side, offering everything from continental breakfasts, to indulgent cake and coffee. It is near here also that those looking for childhood nostalgia can see what the native LEGO Store offers in the 21st Century, with the flagship brand shop open 10am – 6pm.
The famous Little Mermaid Statue “Den lille Havfrue” is located back toward the Adina Hotel to the north and is ideally situated only a few minute’s walk from there. Here it is common to see coaches of tourists at the pull-in point, waiting their turn for the perfect photograph but again bad weather can also see the area relatively deserted. Rosenberg Castle, lying nearby off of the main thoroughfare Øster Voldgade, is also worth a visit to learn much about Denmark’s Royal history.
The beauty of Europe’s variety of cities lie in their ability to offer a different setting in everyday urban environments. Understanding the culture, hearing the locals and absorbing the vibes are what places like Copenhagen allow for best and to do so through such insightful attractions makes the cold, wet weather and incomprehensible tongue, all the less important. Copenhagen can be a perfect introduction to Scandinavia and one that only makes you curious as to what lies even further north.
Written by Joseph Rogers.