Copenhagen: Hygge, Hipster bars and a Disappointing Statue
Living in Oslo means that Copenhagen is a relatively nearby Scandinavian sister city – one that often gets discussed around here for its cosmopolitan nature, wind chill factor and love for cycling. It offers the cool simplicity of the Nordics mixed with the urban vibe of most European capitals, making it a ‘best of both worlds’ setting. Here are some interesting bits about the city and what you can do there:
1. Take the walking tour: This is a city best discovered on foot. There are free walking tours that happen everyday in the city, irrespective of the weather. They take you around the city’s landmarks and fill you up with anecdotes, stories and history over about four hours. A great way to get some perspective and orient yourself!
2. Jump onto a cycle: Just do it (as they say, when in Rome…) This is one city that loves to cycle and has over 350 kilometres of cycle paths criss-crossing it. Cyclists own the avenues even in the depths of winter. In fact, you will see hordes of them cycling to work in the morning, or with their kids for fun in the evenings. It doesn’t matter where you go, just cycle.
3. Stop by at Nyhavn: Visiting Copenhagen and not dropping by here should be illegal – Nyhavn is simply gorgeous! You will recognise it from posters and ads. It has 17-century wooden houses lining the canal, painted in the most vibrant colours. It’s a great place to get some food and drink, some ice cream and sunshine or just a photograph. Fun fact: Hans Christian Anderson lived in Nyhavn where he wrote The Princess and the Pea and other famous fairy tales.
4. The Little Mermaid Statue: Speaking of the fabulous Mr. Anderson, this legacy lives on all over Copenhagen. While the statue itself is very underwhelming (apparently It was voted as the second most disappointed statue in Europe by tourists) it’s still an interesting tribute to a great storyteller.
5. Tivoli Gardens: Located in the centre of the city, this amusement park draws in people from all over Europe (I have friends who travel especially to Copenhagen from Oslo to visit Tivoli). Tivoli Gardens was opened in 1843 and has kept its old-world charm while still adding new and modern amusement park rides. They have some of the most heart pounding thrill rides we've ever seen! Make sure to go at night to see the gardens lit up with lanterns and light shows. During the winter, the entire place converts into a breath-taking winter wonderland.
6. Take a canal tour: There are numerous canal tours that run across Copenhagen and Nyhavn is their starting point. An interesting and unique way of discovering the city! As the story goes, Danish King Christian IV was a fan of Holland and wanted to model the city after Amsterdam. He created channels to have the look and feel of Amsterdam and also used it to protect the naval fleet.
7. Experience Hygge: Denmark consistently ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world, The Danish concept of hygge has become something of a fad all around the world, translating as “cosy” but not quite entirely. It is idea of warmth, friendliness, intimacy and leisure together all rolled into one. Experience this notion of hygge in one of the city’s lovely cafes, drinking coffee and reading a book, or just relaxing in a park with your special people with a Danish in hand. Take time to slow down, appreciate life and enjoy the moment.
8. Experience Free Christiania: A part of Copenhagen that claims to live on its own rules and regulation (with 900 inhabitants), Christiania is cool and chic. The hipster vibe is unmissable. There are scores of great places to eat, fantastic bars (don’t miss the hipster cocktails), hear live music and shop for artsy stuff. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you will especially love this place for its food options.
9. Birds-eye view: Sign off with a crazy (free) view of Copenhagen at Vor Frelsers Kirke from the spire atop the church. It’s quite a view, overlooking Christianshavn and central Copenhagen. Interesting fact: the spire runs counter-clockwise, which is quite unconventional.
Photo credits: Creative Commons
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