Don’t come to Copenhagen with a naive idea that Danes pay with Euro. They don’t. What’s more, their prices (in Danish krones) can’t be described as low, even if you’re used to live in a city like London. So better plan your budget carefully and don’t forget to exchange your cash.
Don’t be afraid to speak English when approaching locals. Chances are that whomever on street you ask for direction in English, you’re very likely to get a relevant answer. This applies pretty much on all nordic nations as they are generally very proficient in English (in comparison with other European countries)
Climb the city tower Rundetaarn, built in 17. century, and enjoy pleasant views of Copenhagen and Sweden in distance for just 25 Danish krones. A few metres under the top of Rundetaarn you can enjoy modern art or photography exhibition in a gallery. And if you still can have more, there is an observatory open to public every Tuesday and Wednesday evening!
Photo credits: Tiberio Frascari, flöschen
Get lost in Copenhagen’s pleasant parks, it’s absolutely worth it. I especially enjoyed Frederiksberg park where a combination of grassy fields, small lake and shadows of trees create oasis-like feeling. A perfect urban park experience!
Another place worth visiting is Kastellet (Citadel) – a star-shaped fortress (pentagram according to Wikipedia) where you can easily hide in the shadow of trees, take a selfie with an ancient mill in the background and explore a bit of Danish history. Andersen’s The Little Mermaid is just around the corner and Ben&Jerry’s is also nearby!
Photo Credit: Jeroen Mul
Photo Credit: Jeroen Mul
Don’t try go to Christiana with a plan of having only a beer. Alcohol is forbidden in Christiania, as well as taking photos or running around. According to Christiania’s residents it causes panic 🙂
Photo credit: Greg Emel
Photo credit: Eddie Codel
Go and see Nyhavn even though it’s always crammed with tourists. Postcard-like view of typical colourful houses (Andersen used to live in one of them back in time) is certainly worth it and it’s totally free! On the other hand, avoid restaurants that are around – you can have lunch better and cheaper in less touristy areas in Copenhagen.
Photo credit: Tiberio Frascari
Photo credit: Gert-Jan Mes
If you’re frightened of everything ‘dirty’ and red light districts tell you to turn away, rather be careful in Vesterbro, especially in the part called Istedgade. By locals it’s often described as ‘trendy’, ‘fashionable’ and ‘bohemian’ but numerous erotic shops and ladies coming to work after sunset will tell you what’s the main business here.
You can also see a person melting some substances over the fire around. Those moments Christiania really seems like a nice and cozy place. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you’re going to lose a limb or kidney there. Vesterbro is certainly worth a visit. Actually, we resided there during our visit in April 2013 and nothing bad happened. Sensitive ones can have an unpleasant feeling there, though.
Go to the Lego shop even if you don’t intend to buy anything. You’re in the country of Lego, after all!
And you don’t have to be the biggest Lego fan in the world to be enchanted with miniature world monuments and landmarks like London’s Tower Bridge or Copenhagen’s Nyhavn. You can even mix your own Lego characters there. This guy, with an ability to illuminate in darkness, came home with us.
Don’t even try to look for ‘Danish pastry’ in Copenhagen. It’s the same as with the ‘Vienna Coffee’ in Vienna – it probably just doesn’t exist for locals. Instead of mythical pastry buy a classic croissant – they make them damn good. Or a traditional sandwich called smorrebrod – this is the best way how to have breakfast like a local!
Photo credit: Luigi Anzivino
If you’re planning to stay at locals instead of booking a hotel (whether through AirBnB or Couchsurfing), better don’t dream about luxury shower experiences or long bathing evenings. Considering that Danes are the happiest nation in Europe, it’s kinda weird that they can live pretty well without a decent bathtub and they’re happy with just a showering hose, many times placed right above the toilet.
Photo credit: Jacob Bøtter
Pay a visit to Magasin du Nord even though you’re not on a shopping spree. Firstly, it’s a really beautiful building with history behind it (and built in 1894 in French neo Renaissance style). Secondly, there are several floors packed with eye-appealing goods (cosmetics and perfumes, garment, household goods, books…) that you expect from a good department store (maybe it’s because it’s owned by seasoned retailer Debenhams).
Photo credit: Mark Jensen
My last tip is to go and stroll around numerous canals, especially along the one that separates Slotsholmen island from the city around. During the evenings there is a small bar open on one bank which comes to live with people having a drink and live music. Entire scenery is unbeatable and I wish to experience it again – but on a summer evening next time!