Updated: Oct 19
In June, 2017 I went on my first ever solo trip.. to Iceland and Denmark. I wish had more time to spend in Copenhagen but this trip was going to be all about the magical landscapes of Iceland.
Nevertheless, I was still determined to make the most of my quick layover in Copenhagen. One of my former colleagues was Danish, so she had wonderful suggestions as well.
If you have been following me for a while, you know I’m not big on cities but this place was special for so many reasons. Maybe because it was my first solo trip or maybe because it's the first time I saw sun shine at 11 p.m. in the evening (thank you, midnight sun).. or maybe it was just the energy and vibe of this place. Either way, since then this has been one of my all time favorite cities.
P.S. If you remember from my Iceland post, I lost all of my photos from the camera so all I have are few images from my phone.
Places you can't miss:
Little Mermaid Statue
Street shopping street - street food and cute streets
Christianshavn City Hall Square (Radhuspladsen)
Tivoli Gardens Norrebro district Kodyen
Best time to visit
I went in the summer - the days were long and absolutely mind blowing. It was my first time experiencing the midnight sun and boy, what fun it was. I recommend going in June. This was the ONE place I did not mind the crowds. It was part of the charm.
Flights and Visa
I flew Qatar airways from Dubai. You already know I love this airlines. Schengen Visa needed to enter Denmark
Danish is the official language but most people are fluent in English as well.. at least in the capital.
Travel and Medical Insurance, Currency
Highly recommended. Medical insurance is mandatory when you apply for a Schengen Visa.
Where I stayed
I decided to stay at the Generator Hostel. Neat bathrooms and (tiny) shared rooms. I knew I wasn't going to spend a lot of time inside so this was alright for me.. the biggest selling point for me was the location. It's literally 5 minutes from the train station and Nyhavn. The breakfast options were generous and fresh.
Cost and getting around
Since I mostly stayed in the city, I walked the entire day. It was easy and convenient. Like most places in Europe, you can also bike around. The train stations are super conveniently located. I used the train to get to the hostel from the airport (and back).
Had no issues with safety. Definitely one of the safest destinations for solo travel.
There were a lot of vegan and vegetarian options at the Seven Eleven and in most restaurants. I tried the local vegan hot dog.. topped with a whole bunch of delicious danish things.
What to pack
Summers are long, so if you are looking to get some sleep, pack an eye mask. A light jacket for the morning and evening. Good walking shoes (you will be doing a lot of it)
Itinerary: All set to explore the former cultural capital of Europe.
My first stop was Nyhavn. I wanted to beat the crowd, so I went around 8 and had an hour until the crowds started pouring in. I just loved this place.. a stretch of canal and pedestrian street which was both stunning and buzzing. I went here on a bright sunny day in June and the place was overrun with people around noon; just being merry and carefree.
Pro tip: I decided to do the 45 minute boat cruise that morning. It's one of the best things to do if you are short on time. The ride will take you on a guided tour through the city’s splendid canals... where you can see the many historical and modern structures that make this city unique like the opera house and palaces.
I had the chance to soak in the splendid morning sun and note down all the prime attractions that I can walk down to later. On the tour, we also learnt about the history of the country and the significance of the different buildings. Oh you will also get to see the infamous "Little Mermaid Statue" (and all the tourists)!
After the cruise, I got back to the harbor and started walking past the bridge to cross over on to the PAPER ISLAND with all the street eats and cool hip cafes.
After being left back at the canal, I started walking towards the beautiful Amalienborg Palace, the royal palace where the royal family still reside. If you visit around noon, you can also see the changing of the royal guard. Don't forget to take a walk to Frederik’s Church (around the corner from the Palace).
Time for lunch. I walked my way over to the Stroget street - a street famous for food trucks and cute boutique shops. You can walk along the street for hours and stop for ice cream, coffee or just mindless window shopping.
Kept walking down the street then took a small detour to reach the Round Tower. This observatory tower is said to be the oldest functioning tower in Europe. There is an entrance fees to go up here (but it's worth it). After going up a short, winding path, you will reach the top of the tower where you will be treated to panoramic views of the city from up here..
Other places I visited - the King’s Garden. Rosenborg Castle. Our Savior’s Church. Christiansborg Palace (house or parliament).
My last stop was Christhavn aka the free town of Christiana. I was not allowed to click photos here.. if you have time, head to the Tivoli gardens for dinner.
For my first solo trip I picked two countries. One of them was Copenhagen, Denmark. The decision was real simple. The touristy places are easy to walk to, the architecture is both charming and colorful, there are tons of museums and pretty palaces. People are real friendly and most importantly, you will feel safe everywhere you go.
This was also easily one of the happiest countries I have been to. The colorful houses, the jazz music playing on the quayside... all you want to do is sit and relax for hours enjoying your coffee on a summer morning.
Never been solo? I strongly urge you to consider Copenhagen. I can't wait to discover more of this place some day..
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To explore more European destinations, be sure to check out other blogs for additional insights.