Let’s be honest, the first thing that comes into your mind when you think about Copenhagen is the Little Mermaid. Sure it is the most visited statue in Copenhagen, but this city has definitely more to offer.
In the 3 days that we spent in the Danish capital city, I really fell in love with the city. Founded in the 10th century, Copenhagen had originally been a fishing village but became already in the 15th century the capital city of Denmark.
So let’s talk about all the things that made me fall in love with this Nordic city.
Let’s start with the most famous: the Little Mermaid is called “Den lille Havfrue” in Danish and is absolutely the most visited tourist attraction in Denmark. The bronze statue representing a mermaid sitting on a stone was originally commissioned by Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of Carlsberg beer.
When you have seen the Little Mermaid only on pictures on the internet, I think the real impression is a little disappointing. The statue is only half a meter high and sitting just in front of a sort of a path along the sea.
I have to admit that I was a little bit naive by visiting the most iconic statue in Copenhagen around noon. Only by arriving to the place we saw tons of busses and people crowded around the fence of the path. Approaching that crowd, we could take a look on the Little Mermaid but it was just so full of people that we immediately veer away from the statue. People were just going crazy about taking picture of and with the poor mermaid. Even though it was clearly written that you should not climb on the monument, some people literally stepped with their feet into the water to be so close to the Mermaid.
As I don’t like much crowded places, we decided to come back early in the next morning to have some time alone with the mermaid. And so we did. We arrived there by 7 am and I can tell you, we were completely alone with the statue. We spent almost half an hour totally alone by the Little Mermaid. It was just so relaxing just sitting there and examine the Little Mermaid and asking you why it is so a tourist attraction.
So yes, here you can really say that the early bird catches the worm. Never go and visit the mermaid around noon or in the afternoon. Be sure to be very early if you want to really enjoy this attraction.
Nyhavn is my absolute favorite spot in Copenhagen. It means “New Harbour” and is a waterfront from the 17th century. Nowadays it is an entertainment district with a lot of bars and restaurants.
Along the northern side, there are a lot of colorful houses and as it is also the sunnier side, these houses always looks so pretty in the sun. It is also on that side where all the restaurants are located.
When you are walking along the water in Nyhavn, it gives you really calmness. You really feel the Danish lifestyle. Even if everyone will recommend you not to eat in the main spots in a city, I really recommend you to eat in one of the restaurants in Nyhavn, especially in summertimes on the outside.
This is really one of my favourite spots in Copenhagen, so be sure to visit it more than once.
Kastell von Kopenhagen
This citadel is near the Little Mermaid and as we were deterred by the crowds of people near the mermaid, we decided to visit this old fortress. It is one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. The fortress is constructed in the form of a pentagram and it had bastions at all of its corners.
There are several buildings inside the fortress, namely a church, windmill and a lot of military houses. Today, it is still used for military use. Unfortunately, the day we visited the Kastell, there was a funeral, so there were militaries everywhere.
It was really cool to walk upon the pentagram and also to visit it inside. There is also a Memorial wall on the inside with all the names of the fallen soldiers of Denmark.
Be sure to spend some time in the old fortress of Copenhagen.
St. Alban’s Church & Gefion fountain
The Alban’s Church is also often called the English church. It is an Anglican church built from 1885 to 1887 for the English congregation in Copenhagen.
Beside the church itself, the St. Alban’s church is located in a beautiful park at the end of Amaliegade. It is very peaceful to just walk around in that park.
Next to the church and also in that park, there is a large fountain called Gefion Fountain. It is located on the harbor in front of Copenhagen. The fountain itself consists of a large group of animal figures who are driven by the Norse goddess Gefjon. The Gefion Fountain is the largest monument in Copenhagen and also used as a wishing well.
The fountain was donated by the Carlsberg Foundations to the city of Copenhagen for the brewery’s 50-year anniversary.
Be sure to talk a walk in this beautiful park with the St. Alban’s church and the Gefion Fountain.
The Round Tower or Rundetaarn in Danish is a tower located in the center of Copenhagen. It was built in the 17th century as an astronomical observatory. Today it is mostly known for its equestrian staircase, which is a 7,5 turn helical corridor that leads to the top and also for its amazing view over Copenhagen.
The tower is a part of the Trinitatis Complex which served the scholars as a university chapel, the Trinitatis Church but also with an academic library.
Nowadays the Round Tower is mainly a touristic attraction for amazing views over Copenhagen. It is also a public astronomical observatory and a historical monument.
Beside the fascinating view over the whole city of Copenhagen, the way to get up is also very funny. There are no stairs, but only a steep way up there. Once you’re up, you can take another few steps to have a look into the astronomical observatory.
I can only advise to go and visit this unique tower and have a look at the whole city.
The Frederik’s Church is better known as the Marble Church because of its rococo architecture. The Frederik’s church has the largest church dome in Scandinavia with a span of 31 meters. Probably the architect took his inspiration from the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
If you think that it looks already amazing from the outside, be sure to enter this beautiful church and have a look from the inside.
This is the home of the Royal family of Denmark. Amalienborg was originally built for four noble families and so it has four identical classical palace facades. As Christiansborg Palace burned in 1794, the royal family bought the palaces and moved in.
The palaces are guarded day and night by the Royal Life Guards. They are dressed very similar to the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army. They are changing every two hours.
I think the Guards are mostly occupied by chasing away the tourists which come to close to the Palast.
Christiania, also called Freetown Christiania, is a self proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood in Copenhagen. It has almost 850 residents and is object to a lot of controversy.
Christiania was created in 1971 in a squatted military area and it covers 34 hectares. Until 2004, the cannabis trade was tolerated, but since 2004 there are a lot of conflicts regarding the measures for normalising the legal status of the community.
Once you enter Christiania, you immediately recognise all the barracks and ramparts of the former military area. You get the feeling like you’re in another world. The buildings are not so well maintained. Being the town of a hippie movement, a squatter movement and anarchism, Christiania is not as the rest of Copenhagen.
At the gate of Christiania you’ll find a sign mentioning some rules that you have to follow in that Freetown. I have to admit that I didn’t fell very well in Christiania. For everyone who knows the TV show “Drugs INC” or “Drogen im Visier” in German, the drug dealers in Christiania looks exactly the same with their face almost completely covered and masked. Personally I don’t like it when I don’t see other peoples faces. When you’re walking through the city you can buy drugs on every corner and that’s also the reason why the people are covering their faces. Even if they sell it in Christiania doesn’t mean that it is legal in Copenhagen. Let’s say it is tolerated there. It is a better way to have control over the drug scene because it is all located in one area and is not so obviously in the real city center.
But everyone who is visiting Copenhagen have to do a quick stop in Christiania because it is really unique.
Copenhagen Street Food
If you don’t know what and where to eat in Copenhagen, you have to go to the Copenhagen Street Food. The halls are located on the Paper Island, which you can reach by walking over the bridge Inderhavnsbroen. It is located near to Nyhavn and also to Christiania.
There are 39 food stalls and food trucks. You will find food from all over the world cooked almost in front of your eyes.
If you want to visit it for lunch time, be sure to be on time, because there is a lot of rush. I really enjoyed eating there. You’ll get small portions, so you can try several meals.
The Carlsberg Group is a Danish brewing company, which was founded in 1847 by Jacob Christian Jacobsen. Their flagship brand is Carlsberg beer, but they also own Tuborg, Kronenbourg, Grimbergen and also more than 500 local beers.
On the place where the first Carlsberg Brewery was located is today a visitors center where you can get every information of the Carlsberg beer and group. It is a very cool opportunity for everyone who loves beer. You see how the whole Carlsberg group grew from the very first beginning to what it is today.
Beside the brewery aspect, the visitor center also hosts one of the largest beer bottle collections in the world and you can taste very different and special beers.
So if you are really into this beer world, I can only recommend a visit to the Carlsberg visitor center in Copenhagen.
Day trip to Malmö (Sweden)
When you’re in Copenhagen and you want to do a quick visit to Sweden, Malmö is the perfect place. You only need 30 minutes with the car, but there is certainly also a train or bus which will drive you there.
Malmö has a lot to offer. You can either spend your day in the shopping mall, stay at the beach or visit the old town of Malmö.
If you want to know more about this beautiful and Swedish city, have a look at my upcoming post about Malmö.
So all in one, I really fell in love with Copenhagen. It is a really beautiful city with a lot of charm and it has a lot to offer for their visitors.