We had originally planned to go to Copenhagen over Memorial Day in 2019, but we had been on a plane every weekend for something crazy like 15 weekends since the start of the year. When the alarm went off to head for the airport that morning we both decided we needed the rest more than the trip. Not too long after that I learned that I got the job here in Germany and we would be moving, so our travel slowed down a lot. In fact, I think when we finally did get to Copenhagen in January of 2020 it was the first time I'd been on a plane since we moved. I would have gotten my butt to the airport that morning if I'd had any inkling we'd be forced to hunker down over the next year and longer because of the pandemic. It's another great example of why we should do things when we can because we might never have the chance again.
Copenhagen is in some ways very similar to the other Scandinavian countries. Things are modern, clean, many people speak excellent English and it's expensive. It has many unique things as well. It's not where you would expect the world's third oldest amusement park, but Tivoli is right in the middle of town and is just that. There is also a very trendy food and market scene. The buildings, décor and food just look cool. Smørrebrød, which are open faced sandwiches with a lot of different toppings, were really popular. Not many people think about it but for some reason, Scandinavian countries have great hot dogs. A lowly 7-11 hot dog in Stockholm is better than any I ever had back in the states. In Copenhagen, they took a bun with a hole through it, shot mustard in the hole, then slid a hotdog inside. You could eat it without the mess and they were so good. They also had some very nice markets called Torvehallerne. These places had an impressive amount of fresh produce, food stalls and coffee counters. We came upon one by accident, went in and warmed up walking around with some coffee. They are also great places to grab a bite to eat. Reffen street had places to eat created from shipping containers that were very unique as well.
Copenhagen was very walkable. We took the train from the airport to the stop nearest our hotel and never had to use a taxi or Uber during the whole trip. Also, bicycles are everywhere. They only city that comes to mind where I've seen more was Amsterdam. This surprised me a little as I guess I was expecting Denmark in January to be too snowy and bitter cold for bicycles, but the weather was nice while we were there. Together, the walkability and weather made it very easy to explore, even in winter.
Like most people, we had seen pictures of Nyland, so we were keen to see it in person and it didn't disappoint. We saw it in the daytime but came back at night and I definitely recommend doing that. There are a lot of nice restaurants and bars along the canal and there's a reason it's one of the places most synonymous with Copenhagen. It's near a lot of other attractions so it's easy to get to. There will be plenty of tourists around but you won't want to miss it. Take the time to make the very short walk to view the impressive opera house and the light display from Ofelia Plads at night as well. It is beautiful.
Something else to see in Copenhagen is the Kastellet area. It's a star shaped citadel and it's completely unique from anything I've seen before. There are still some empty military barracks and even some windmills in the area, but now it's mostly a very pretty park and people were out and about enjoying it. St. Alban's church is there and is a nice view from across the water from a war memorial. The famous Little Mermaid Statue is right across the road from the Kastellet as well. We had heard someone had vandalized it and removed the head in very un-Danish fashion shortly before our trip, but it had been repaired by the time we went. People left flowers on the rocks in front of her but I couldn't tell you why.
There is a famous community in Copenhagen called Freetown Christiana, which in essence is an independent commune created by squatters in a former military area. At one time Danish law was not really enforced there, especially laws regarding drug use, but these days that's not really the case. Oddly, photography is still discouraged there. We did walk by it but decided to skip going in on this trip so we could see things that were more interesting to us.
Copenhagen was a fun and very cool place to visit. I enjoyed going in the winter and highly recommend it. The weather was much better than I would have guessed and the people were out and about living their lives just like any other time. We didn't get to see everything we wanted to and we were so busy we only stayed at our hotel room long enough to sleep and shower, then it was off again. I hope we can return sometime in the spring or summer to see how it differs.... and maybe get another hot dog.