St. Paddy's Day in Copenhagen
If you have the luck to be in Copenhagen for the 17th of March, St. Patrick's Day, don't just sit at the hotel regretting, you didn't book the trip for Dublin. Even Copenhagen has a lot to offer for all the St. Paddy's fans out there.
Well, first of all, there is a huge stage at town hall square, where Irish music and dance is offered; as well as a big tent for Irish food and most importantly - beer. The programme started at 11am and went on until 18pm. Also, there is a parade that takes off at 17pm at the town hall square and ends there just 40 minutes later.
For those who love beer (and charity), a three-legged charity race is organised. The main aim is to pass all the participating Irish pubs located at the pedestrian street, pick up your stamp (and a free pint of Carlsberg) and get to the finish line as fast as possible. Participation costs are about 150 DKK. The registration starts at the same day, 11.30am whereas the race itself starts at 12.30pm at Axeltorv (next to Tivoli).
Agnes cupcakes - a delight!
Guys, if you have some time left, don't forget to visit Agnes Cupcakes. It is one of Copenhagen's first Cupcake bakery. And I know, we've had enough cupcakes, it's almost boring. But, Agnes' cupcakes are a delight. The cupcakes flavors as well as their names range from normal (Chocolate, Banana, etc.) to unusual (Red Velvet, Sea Salt chocolate, etc). So, there is something for everyone. In addition, the bakery offers beverages as "Cupshakes".
You can find Agnes cupcakes three times around the city centre. Just have a look at their website, maybe you'll be able to stop by.
ILLUM - high class shopping at the heart of Copenhagen
Of course, all the shopaholics out there should not be missed out. ILLUM is a high-class shopping centre in the heart of Copenhagen. You can find various stores like Armani, Burberry, Boss or Polo as well as small food sections, Holm's Bakery or the chocolate shop:
Simply Chocolate (highly recommended for gifts! The slogans on the packings are cute and funny and offer something for everyone!)
The marble church
If you go west from Amalienborg, you'll get to the Marble Church, also called the Frederik's Church.
For me, the most prominent feature of this baroque church was the dome, which is huge and very detailed.
In addition, I would absolutely recommend to "climb" the tower of this church (price 25 DKK for an adult). Again, the view is absolutely marvelous and you will be able to hear some fascinating facts about Copenhagen and the church itself by the guide who has lived his whole life in Copenhagen.
Beware: the staircase to get at the top is really really narrow, so it is not recommended for people who are sick or who don't have the nerves. Really, I almost panicked as we were stuck in there for some minutes as the crowd took that long to advance up the steep and narrow stairs!
Amalienborg - the royal residence
After following the royal guards and seeing the royal guard change, why not take a look at Amalienborg, the residence of the royal family?
From September to April Amalienborg Palace is the winter home of the Danish royal family. You can see, whether the queen is in the palace, if the flag is hoisted on the tower, otherwise the family is out at that time.
Amalienborg palace is situated on a big square with a statue of King Frederik the Fifth in the middle.
Changing of the guard ceremony at Christiansborg palace
It's obvious, our last day started with the most fun activity for families and friends: The Royal guard change!
The main task of the royal guards in Copenhagen is to protect Denmark's royalty, mainly Queen Margrethe II.
Every day at 11.30am sharp, the royal guard change ceremony starts. The guards do a little ceremony and then start off - they lead you through the main city until they arrive at Amalienborg at noon, where other guards are already waiting. There, you can see the actual guard change ceremony which is quite exciting and fun to observe. I actually liked the fact that many family members of the guards were there to cheer them and march with them all the way to the Amalienborg palace.
4 March 2013
Reliving fairy-tales at the H.C. Andersen house
Well, even though we didn't travel with kids, I was told that the H.C. Andersen Fairy Tale house is one of the best experiences for children.
You will get an insight into his life as well as his various fairy tales in a playful way with light effects and a three-lingual sound system in Danish, English and German.
Also, the museum offers original manuscripts and other appliances that were important to the author during his lifetime.
So, the fairy tale house is an exciting experience for all age groups! In fact, the little ones won't be able to stop talking about this adventure!
Monday - Thursday, Sunday 10:00 - 18:00 01/10/2013 - 30/12/2013
Friday, Saturday 10:00 - 20:00 01/10/2013 - 30/12/2013
Children under 10 years: 43 DKK
Children under 15 years: 68 DKK
Adults: 85 DKK
Hard Rock Cafe Copenhagen
Yes, I know. The Hard Rock Café - total cliché, isn't it? Still, the Hard Rock Café in Copenhagen offers a great atmosphere. Again, it is not a place you should visit with kids as it is loud, noisy and not very child-friendly.
However, it is perfect to have some drinks and burgers with friends. I know, the waiting hours are unbelievable, so it would be best to book the seats in advance (which is possible online or over the phone). I know the prices are rather expensive, and some might say that the price-performance-ratio is not the best.
But as I already said, I love the burgers, the atmosphere, the music and in addition the people, who are all very nice and helpful. So, maybe you'd just like to drop in.
Vor Frelser Kirke
Vor Frelser Kirke or the Church of Our Saviour, is one of the main tourist attractions in Copenhagen, also situated in Christianshavn. The bells are played every hour from 8am to midnight.
If you participated in the Canal Tour, you already saw the twisted tower of the Church, which is one of my favorite photo objects.
One of the most interesting facts is that this area of Copenhagen, Christianshavn, was originally an ocean bed. Therefore it was quite hard to build a church. Secondly, the ground plot of the church is a cross, which I think is fascinating. In addition, you'll have an awesome view over Copenhagen and the sea around if you walk up to the top of the tower.
The inside of the (Protestant) Church is wonderfully built and really peaceful. It is the perfect place to sit and have a quiet moment, and therefore one of my favorite spots in Copenhagen.
Christiania - the free city
Christiania is a free city in the district of Christianshavn, where the locals have their own rules. For example, you are not allowed to take photos, to run or to be on the cell phone. In addition, it is fairly easy to get some soft drugs. Every day, some locals offer a guided tour through the area. There are some restaurants and bio-shops and also a small souvenir shop.
This is one of the places, you shouldn't visit if you are with kids. Even though every guide recommends this area, it isn't one of my favorites. In winter, the area seems dull and dreary, it was cold and windy. Still, if you want to see something different, this is the right place for you. And it is recommended to really follow the rules, as the area is somewhat dangerous.
St. Alban's Anglican Church
After visiting The little Mermaid you can stroll back (maybe through Churchill Park) to the city centre while seeing different other monuments.
One of the most interesting monuments, we literally stumbled upon is the St. Alban's Anglican Church. As we visited this church to see the architecture inside (which is wonderful Victorian by the way), we came across one of the events, the church organizes: a flee market. In addition to the various sponsored clothes, shoes and toys, the volunteers also prepared some cakes and offered coffee and tea - for a good cause.
On the Homepage you can see the next events that are organized by the church itself.
The little Mermaid
A long way off the city centre you can find the most photographed model of Copenhagen. The little mermaid is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince.
The statue was a gift from Carl Jacobson (a brewer) to the city.
Honestly, there is not that much I can say about this statue. It is just one of the things you should see in Copenhagen. But something that is much more amusing and interesting than the statue, are the dozens of people who try to get a photo with her or of her without anybody else being on the picture.
Canal Tours Copenhagen
If time is scarce this is definitely the best way to see the most of Copenhagen. The tour costs 75 DKK and starts at Nyhavn, but has 2 other stops, where you can get on and off the boat to take photos or just visit some less-known spots. The best part was the guide who was really nice and funny and gave us some insider tips as well as historical details. He actually seemed as he was enjoying the tour himself which is quite unusual considering that he's doing does it many times a day.
The stops are Christiansborg Slot - Nationalbanken - Operaen - Den Lille Havfrue (The little Mermaid) - Amalienborg Slot - Amaliehaven - Christianshavn - Vor Frelsers Kirke - Den Sorte Diamant - Nationalmuseet - Gammel Strand.
Nyhavn - loveliest spot in Copenhagen
Nyhavn, Copenhagen's old haven, might not be the typical photo-spot. Still it is one of my favourite places, as you can see the charming colorful houses that are significant for Northern Europe.
Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center
Honestly, we didn't know about the Nikolaj Art Center until we were in there. It is located in the Nikolaj Church at Nikolaj Plads. First we just wanted to see how the church looks inside, but already at the entry we realized this wasn't an ordinary church as there were brochures and art books about experimental art everywhere.
As I found out later, the entry price the entry price is between 10 and 20 DKK. We got lucky, and could go inside for free as it was the first day of a new exhibition. The exhibition we visited was an interactive experiment, so especially children were excited to participate - the exhibitions at Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center are proof that art can be fun and exciting!
The most interesting part is that the entry into the art center is free every Wednesday for everyone.
Also, there are free guided tours through the art center every Saturday at 14 o'clock.
Shawarma at Shawarma Grill House
While following the Strøget street, you'll come across many different food stalls and (known) fast food restaurants. You can either go for a burger at McDonalds, have some famous Smørrebrød (national dish) in the different Cafés or (and this is, what I recommend) get yourself a Shawarma at Shawarma Grill House at the end of Strøget, Frederiksberggade. It is an inconspicuous little restaurant, where you can either take away, sit at the bar or take your Shawarma upstairs, to the second floor (which is the most comfortable). If you are able to get yourself a window seat, you can watch other pedestrians, tourists as well as locals shopping or just strolling along the street.
Strøget - the Pedestrian Street
The first day, you should head for Strøget, the Pedestrian Street of Copenhagen. Most of the sights are situated there, so while shopping, you can see many monuments, as well as the most popular shops. If you start at the town-hall area, you can find shops like H&M, Vero Moda or Zara. Continue down the street and find the more high-class brands like Hermés, Louis Vuitton or Prada.
City Hall Square
The City Hall Square (called Rådhuspladsen) is one of the most lively places in Copenhagen as there are different events like open air exhibitions, concerts or even an open air cinema in summer. Therefore you should definitely visit City Hall Square and if you are lucky you can witness one of those main events.
Scandic Hotel Copenhagen
When we stayed at Copenhagen, we spent our nights at the Scandic Hotel situated right opposite of the planetarium with a view over the water. The hotel was about 5 minutes away from Tivoli Gardens, the city centre, (in the other direction) the supermarket and various restaurants (Chinese and Turkish).
The price is about 144 DKK person/night in March, which would be about 20€ person/night. (Source: www.scandichotels.com)
The hotel itself had a welcoming touch, but was very modern inside, so if you prefer antique buildings I wouldn't recommend a stay). Also, it offered a restaurant (suitable breakfast buffet) and the staff was helpful and polite. For the playful, there is an iPad and a foosball table in the lobby, and a bar for relaxing evenings.
I would definitely come again, as I loved the modern touch. It should be mentioned though, that there was no minibar in the rooms as they care about the ecological footstep. But there was a ice cube machine in the hallway.
Getting around Copenhagen
Transportation in Copenhagen is not really an issue, as you can get around by foot easily. Most of the tips in this box are situated in the heart of Copenhagen, the city centre - called Indre By. Others, like The little Mermaid, can be reached by metro or bus.
However, the ticket system in Copenhagen is somehow tricky. There are various zones, so you have to buy tickets for the zones you need Zone tickets cost between DKK 24 (for 2 zones; valid one hour and half) and DKK 108 (for 9 zones; valid 2 hours). During this time you can use your ticket in the metro, bus, train and harbor bus as often as you want, as long as you do not pass through more zones than your ticket allows.
Usually 2 Zones are absolutely enough to get around the city centre, if you want to see some other parts of Copenhagen, you should buy more zones.
In addition, you can buy 24-hour-tickets for all zones (130DKK, adult) or an 24-hours-city pass for zones 1-4 (DKK 75). The latter would also include the airport.