This past Memorial Day weekend (the last weekend in May in the U.S.) I decided to spend it solo in Copenhagen, Denmark. There was a fairly good deal from SAS Airlines. For a non-stop direct flight from Newark airport, roundtrip airfare was just under $700 USD. On top of that, the flight schedule was great--I flew out on a Wednesday at around 5:30 pm and arrived in Copenhagen at 7:15 am. My flight home was the following Monday at 6:35 pm, arriving back in Newark airport at 9 pm. This allowed me 5 full days to spend there. I usually never fly out of Newark but now that Uber offers ride sharing, it's actually affordable to get to. Through rideshare, my Uber fare was $38, and I did not have to pay extra for toll! JFK is so much more expensive.
Copenhagen is an excellent place to spend a few days on your own, or with someone else. There is SO MUCH TO DO THERE. I did not anticipate this. I was not bored for one second, and I was generally out and about the whole entire day, getting back at midnight almost every day. Sometimes when I travel alone, of course you wish you had someone to talk to or share the experience with, but I was really glad not to have anyone to cater to or organize my plans with. There were so many restaurants I wanted to try and places I wanted to tour, and I know I tend to be a bit overbearing in wanting to do everything and see everything so I was a bit relieved to go at whatever pace I wanted.
What I Love About Copenhagen
- As I mentioned before, there is so much for everyone--whether you're a foodie, love art, history, nature, shopping, activities. I can't imagine anyone getting bored here unless you care nothing for beauty or culture.
- It's very easy to navigate and super clean! In fact, Copenhagen reminded me of a European version of Japan. If you've ever been to Japan, you'll know what I mean. Public transit is very easy to follow and public restrooms were so well kept. I was surprised at how many public restrooms were easily accessible and some had attendants who made sure they were kept clean and safe. Being a New Yorker, this is pretty much a luxury I'm not used to.
- There is a plethora of different neighborhoods and areas. I definitely did not see it all but many places had their own charm and character.
- Highlights for me was visiting Kronborg castle (which inspired Shakespeare's Hamlet), the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, taking a boat tour on the canal, Paper Island, and exploring the parks.
- It's really expensive to eat out.
- Food for me was a hit or miss. For the most part, you can tell their ingredients are local and fresh but I think Scandinavian food tends to have some pickly taste to it that I'm not a fan of. So certain meals/dishes I didn't enjoy much due to this flavor, but I did find some places that I thought were good.
- Hotels are also really expensive. Definitely try to do Air Bnb! I stayed in the Norreboro area which was great, it was easy to get anywhere else in the city (especially to the airport). The lovely couple who rent out the guest room are friendly and the place is just as described online.
Overall Impressions & Tips
- Five days is enough to see everything and squeeze in a day trip. See my itinerary below for suggestions.
- Go in May or June, when the weather is warm, many sunshine hours, and before it's peak tourist season.
- Get a 24 hour metro card for at least a couple of days--especially for the day you arrive, so you can use it on the train to the city from the airport. It's worth it if you just use it at least 3-4x to get around the city, and it works on the water taxis on the canal. All you need to do is show it to the bus/water taxi driver and whoever might be checking on the train (and they do check!). I definitely got tired from walking around so much and getting on the bus was a relief at times. I bought a 24 hour metro card pass for the day trip to Kronborg and Louisiana as well, this is a slightly different pass (I think you pick you want it for all zones, Copenhagen is just zones 1-3).
- If you choose to do a day trip while you're here, do it on a Sunday, when most shops are closed anyway. I went to Kronborg and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art on a Sunday. They are both on the same train route and you can easily see both in a single day.
- Sweden is super close! I didn't get to go, but the nearest city is about an hour away by train. Bring your passport if you decide to visit.
My 5 Day Itinerary
The Quick Version:
- Day 1: Landed at around 7 am. Got into the Air Bnb by 9 am. Walked around Christiania, Paper Island, Opera House, Nyhavn market, took a canal tour, dinner at Amass.
- Day 2: Breakfast at Torvehallerne Market (many food vendors here), visited Rosenborg Castle, saw the changing of the guard at noon at Amalienborg Palace (where the Danish royal family lives), went to the top of the tower at Christiansborg Palace (free, panoramic views of the city), went to Tivoli Gardens, had a drink at a great cocktail place called Curfew, and had dinner at Radio.
- Day 3: Lunch at Fiskebar, shopping around Strøget street, dinner on Paper Island.
- Day 4: Visited Kronborg Castle and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Dinner at Oysters & Grill.
- Day 5: Last minute shopping and lunch at Grod, snack at Joe and the Juice. Left for the airport at 3:30 pm.
I will expand more in upcoming posts!