I’ve finally had some time to take in exactly what happened on Wednesday, and now I’ve managed to get my head around it, here’s a quick blog post telling you what I did when I visited Copenhagen in Denmark for one day only.
So my friend Roger, who I went travelling with last year, dropped me a message a few days ago which began: “I know this is crazy, and you can say no, but…” and naturally, I immediately wanted to say yes, because the best plans always start with that kind of phrase. He suggested we get some cheap flights and fly to a random city and back within 24 hours. Always up for a challenge, I said yes. We decided on Copenhagen as it was one of the cheapest options, plus we knew it was fairly small, so we thought we could get round it in a day. He picked me up from my house at 3am and after getting a flight bright and early at 6.30am, we were in Copenhagen with no idea what we were doing. Crazy.
The first thing we noticed when we were on the train going into the city centre (which only took about 10 minutes) was how, well, clean the city was. Far tidier than London and even Berlin, there didn’t seem to be much litter and very few buildings appeared to be in disrepair. The first thing we did when we got off the train was head to the local town hall, right by the station, to have a look at their pretty courtyard. We then wandered down a main street of shops as one of our priorities was to try real Danish pastries, which were absolutely delicious (as expected).
After getting slightly lost and asking for directions, we finally made it to Nyhavn, or New Harbour, which is pretty much the most famous place for sightseeing in Copenhagen. The sun was out which made it look especially beautiful, and we couldn’t resist taking a canal tour past all the colourful houses and out into the harbour. This actually was an excellent idea as the main landmarks were pointed out to us by a guide, so Roger and I could decide what we wanted to look at in more detail and also work out where everything was. One of the highlights of the canal cruise was seeing the Black Diamond library – a building placed on the waterfront which is angled so when the sun shines on the water, the water glitters incredibly along the side of the building. Getting under bridges in the canal boat was ridiculous, too. The tunnels are so narrow!
Next up, we had been told by the guide that a particular spiral tower was excellent for great aerial views of the city, so we decided to go up it. And wow – although the views were absolutely incredible and so worth it for the photos, the steep steps were exhausting to climb up. As you had to climb up the final spiral outside in the fresh air too, the height did make me slightly wobbly! After taking in the views for a while we decided it was time for lunch, and headed back down. We wanted to keep lunch fairly cheap, so sadly we were forced to skip the expensive places on the waterfront and instead went to grab some much needed carbs from a local cafe.
After the quick food break we headed over to Frederik’s Church, which looked extremely impressive from the waterfront, and we weren’t disappointed. To get to it we had to walk across a huge courtyard surrounded by the Amalienborg Palaces, which were more like big mansions armed with guards (similar to those outside Buckingham Palace), with a statue of King Frederick V on a horse in the centre of it. The palaces were certainly more downplayed than the likes of Buckingham Palace – no railings, and far fewer guards and tourists!
After looking inside the church, we walked over to the Langelinie Promenade to have a look at Copenhagen’s most famous statue: the Little Mermaid. It is based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen and we could tell it was definitely the thing all the tourists went to visit, as the place was packed. It was actually much smaller than we had imagined, but great to see nonetheless. Afterwards we explored the area around Langelinie – discovering a beautiful little village, church and then a windmill behind it all, which made for a great rest stop.
Sadly after that, our day was coming to an end and we had to start thinking about going back to catch our flight home. So on our long walk back to the station we stopped off to check out Rosenborg Castle, which was located in the centre of a beautiful park with a rose garden next to it. Fully exhausted after walking such a long way (and up so many steps!) we jumped on our train which took us back to the airport. The journey home was very tiring but I arrived back in my house by midnight.
Overall? Trying to tackle a city in a day is extremely tiring, but so so worth it if you have the time. As you don’t have to pay for a hotel (as well as booking last-minute flights) you save a lot of money, and with limited time too, you pack much more into one day than you normally would. You have to choose the right place, too – Copenhagen is a pretty small city so you can get round it quickly without having to get public transport, but you would struggle with somewhere like Berlin, for example. But seriously, if you’re feeling adventurous, give it a go. It’s certainly a day I’ll never forget!