3 days in Copenhagen’s city centre and its neighbourhoods

This is our fourth time in Europe and we are focusing on Scandinavia this time. I sort of forgot that our Greece trip last year is also considered Europe, but since we were mostly concentrated in Greece that time, and not a few different countries at once, I kept thinking this was our third.

It’s a huge journey from Australia to Europe. I hardly look forward to it, but long flights are something you have to deal with when you’re on an island in the southern hemisphere and you’re just generally far from where you want to visit! I never like to keep the feeling of a long haul flight in my mind. In fact, I forget how arduous it is by the time we have another one. Thankfully, we had business class on our side this time, since we were able to book flights with frequent flyer/credit card points well over a year ago. It made the sleeping part of the flight more comfortable, and I actually remembered compression socks this time.

An airplane meal of a square plate served with seared tuna and vegetables, and a round plate with sliced herb bread. A glass of wine and a glass of water is also on the table.
Seared tuna… yum 🤤
An airplane meal of a bowl of wonton noodle soup with minced meat and sliced green onions, served with chopped chilli sauce.
I was looking forward to this soup sooooo much—this is soon heng bak chor mee, a Singaporean pork noodle dish
A selfie of me and Nick sitting in adjacent business class seating on a plane, which has large, wide leather seats. A divider is between the two seats, and it has a panel with a remote control for the in-flight entertainment system.
Seat buddy!

After flying for 7 hours, laying over in Singapore for a couple of hours, and then flying for another 12 hours, we landed in Copenhagen at the wee hour of 7:00am. This always weirds me out, and always amuses me, and I love to tell people about this bizarre feeling of flying in the morning or midday, spending an entire day on a plane, and arriving super early the next morning. Ah, timezones. You funny thing, you. It never feels as fun the opposite way around, though, when you realise you lose an entire day in flying to Australia from somewhere like Europe or the US. 😅 I always disliked the joke about us being in the future, because we’re not—but when you travel, it sort of feels that way.

Since it was rather early, our hotel room wasn’t ready, but we had already planned to explore the town. We started with Nyhavn, by the waterfront, and it was extremely quiet. The sun was nice, and we soon realised it would be very humid during our stay. Considering rain was in the weather forecast and we had only been looking at the temperature, we were pretty surprised by the humidity making it feel so much warmer as we didn’t even think to look at that. My raincoat was serving me well by keeping me warm, too.

A small city waterfront with some boats in the water, and tall attached buildings on the waterfront. The buildings are of light blue, yellow, brown, and green colours, with rectangular tall windows.
The waterfront area of Nyhavn

We purchased LycaMobile SIM cards from a vending machine at the airport after passing through immigration. It was easy to set up but took a few minutes for it to connect. Once we connected to mobile networks, we purchased the Copenhagen Card on its phone app. The “Discover” card got us into most of the attractions we wanted to see and all the transport we needed to take. We bought a three-day pass, which we activated just before we jumped on the train from the airport. This meant that the 72 hours would expire just after we would be due to leave the city, so it would be perfect timing. The card gives free entrance to many attractions in Copenhagen, including some in the city of Helsingborg and in some other areas of Denmark. We didn’t have time to take a day trip elsewhere, but the card would be very worth it for covering the cost of travelling to well outside of Copenhagen itself. It was easy to activate on our phones, and you don’t need to “tap” the card, but you just need to be ready to show the card to an officer if asked. There are pretty hefty fines for not paying for public transport in Denmark.

The Copenhagen town square, on a cloudy day. The town hall with an arched doorway in the middle and symmetrical windows across its facade is the main building in the picture, with a clock tower attached to the left. There a fountain in the foreground and some people sitting around it.
The town square, otherwise known as Rådhuspladsen in Danish
A view over a lake, with very slight ripples in the water. A bridge going from left to right is in the distance, with the sides obscured by weeping willows and other trees. Shadows of the trees are cast on the water, and the sky is a little overcast.
A walk in Ørstedsparken
A plate of waffles with berries, syrup, and icing sugar dusted on top.
A waffle stop!

We spent our first day exploring the city. The Round Tower gave us a nice view of Copenhagen, though as far as European cities go, I don’t think it was that magnificent of a view. The interesting part about the tower was the steep and flat floor inside that led to the top, with only a small set of stairs just at the very top. It made it somewhat easier to walk up and down, and although the venue isn’t completely accessible, we saw someone being pushed up in their wheelchair!

A view of the city of Copenhagen, showing roofs of red-brown and grey, and an old green tower with an antennae coming out from one of the roofs in the foreground. The sky is a bit cloudy.
The view from the top of the tower.
A small light coloured stone castle with light green turrets, at the end of a lush green lawn in a park. There are pathways leading up to the park and big green trees on either side of the lawn.
The King’s garden, showing Rosenborg Castle.
A park with many trees and neat, flat green grass, with some footpaths running through the park. It is a very sunny day and some people are walking.
I feel like it is always customary to walk around the parks and botanic gardens of a city. Or maybe I just love seeing green too much.
Peeled avocado on brown toast, served on a white plate. The toast has seeds in it, and the avocado is also topped with seeds. There is a glass of lemonade in the background.
It wasn’t hard to find avocado in Copenhagen.

Walking down shopping streets in Europe is always interesting to me because we don’t often have the same stores—or even the same items in stock, because of the opposite seasons—in Australia, so we spent some time looking at clothing stores we’d never been to. We killed some time in the Guinness World Records Museum, but it was rather underwhelming and not well maintained.

That evening we went to the well-known brewpub Warpigs, in the “meatpacking district” in the area of Vesterbro. We only checked out that area, which you could kind of tell was a meatpacking area because of the big parking area and industrial style of buildings. We would return to explore more of Vesterbro a couple days later.

The inside of a casual looking bar with a wooden appearance, with a handwritten white-on-blackboard menu behind the bar. Some people are queueing around the bar to make an order.
We didn’t order beer but they were definitely popular.
A silver tray lined with paper, with brisket beef, chicken, and some battered balls and pickles served on it.
Meat was sold by the pound/by weight, and I had to get pickles (which Nick duly ignored, as he isn’t a fan).

We dedicated the following day to exploring specific neighbourhoods outside of the central area that we were keen on exploring. We went to Nørrebro, supposedly a rather hip area of Copenhagen, and Østerbro, which was home to the biggest park in Copenhagen, Fælledparken.

A three-storey brick building with tall glass windows, showing a lot of graffiti, mostly text. A main message reads “Make racism history: Fight racism” in large, spaced out letters.
A building in Nørrebro with some bold graffiti
A small alleyway between two brick buildings, both of which have very colourful graffiti. In the foreground is a bicycle in a bicycle rack and a wooden sign propped up in the rack with the handwritten text “ingen hvndelufting tak!”.
The wooden sign means “no dog walking please!” in Danish

We started with a semi-fancy brunch at a place called Sidecar, that had tasty bottomless brunch of both hot and cold food. On the way there we took a walk through the Assistens Cemetery where famous author Hans Christian Andersen, was buried. There is a mermaid statue in town but we didn’t bother going out of our way to check it out, as to be honest, we weren’t that interested. 😅 Normalise not ticking off every tourist attraction wherever you travel! I think that we learned after our first Europe trip that we were really not that into some of the museums and galleries, and that just because something was well-known didn’t mean that it was worth our time (personally). There are also lots of tourist traps out there.

A tall brown headstone between two neatly trimmed hedges, behind a short black ornate fence. The headstone is in Danish and has the name Hans Christian Andersen, with birthdate 2 April 1805 and death date 4 August 1875.
The headstone of author Hans Christan Andersen, in the Assistens Cemetery
A top-down view of a plate with salami, olives, toast with potato, salmon, and cheese slices, alongside a napkin laid with a knife, fork, and spoon, set out on a wooden surface
Some cold food I got from the “bottomless”/unlimited cold breakfast buffet at Sidecar
A top-down view of scrambled eggs, bacon, a waffle, and granola with blueberries, served in separate plates and bowls and laid out on a wooden surface
Our selection of hot food

I was very keen on seeing Superkilen in Nørrebro after looking at extravagant photos of it. Photos can either not do a place justice, or be taken in a way that make them look more impressive. Thankfully, the photos really lived up to how the public park looked in real life. Bold and interesting.

Me, Georgie, an Asian woman with short dark hair, standing and smiling in a quiet cobblestone street. Tall, old buildings line the sides of the street, and some cars are parked on the sides. I am wearing a black t-shirt, red wide legged pants, and a blue raincoat with a striped lining. I am also wearing sunglasses.
European streets with old buildings make for nice photos when you want to be the subject! This is Jægersborggade in Nørrebro
A concrete area with almost parallel white lines, going from the camera to further away, leading up to a small concrete mound. A woman appears to be running up the mound. Some spiky trees are in the background.
This hill is a little steeper than it looks.
The same concrete area as in the previous photo, but showing much more of the park. The painted white lines create a pattern like a topographic map as they wave slightly and are not completely straight. Some old city buildings are at the edges of the park.
Me, Georgie, wearing the same outfit with the blue jacket and red pants, standing on a small hill of concrete from earlier pictures, smiling and showing the two-finger peace sign. It is quite cloudy in the sky.

We didn’t spend a lot of time relaxing in Fælledparken, as we were just enjoying walking through the greenery and looking around, but every time I see large green spaces on my travels, I can imagine how much the locals would enjoy it. At least I’m the kind of person who enjoys those spaces back at home! 🌳

The Danish Design Museum was included in our Copenhagen card and it looked like it was interesting based on the photos, so we stopped by there before returning to our hotel for a break. It was a lot bigger than we expected, and we spent much longer there than expected, too. We didn’t realise until we walked through it that it wasn’t just Danish-focused but it was about the evolution and use of design in humans’ lives in general. I was particularly enthralled by the temporary special exhibition upon entry, which showcased some art and interactive art that explored mental health and mental well-being.

A large glass cabinet with dozens and dozens of small glass bottles, some clear, some dark, and one odd red one. All the bottles have printed labels on them which are illegible at a distance.
One of the mental health related artworks that had me fascinated for minutes—this is by Aepenton
A close-up of the little bottles in the cabinet from the previous photo, displaying labels “stimuli addiction”, “stone walling”, “stress killer”, “strong character”, “under carpet sweeping”, “unhealed trauma”, “unifier”, and “uncertainty coping”.
“Stone walling” and “Unhealed trauma” were ones I could relate to…
Another close-up of the little bottles, displaying labels “reciprocated empathy”, “red-flag ignoring”, “reflection”, “serenity”, “sensory overload prevention”, “shame liberating sharing”, silent treatment”, “support”, “sustainable choices”, “symptom removing”, and “synergy”.
“Sensory overload prevention” really spoke to me in this one.

There was a rudimentary gym in our hotel so we had a quick workout in the afternoon. This is our only trip we’ve taken since travelling together that we have really considered maintaining a workout routine on a trip. After a handful of three-to-four week trips without access to a gym with weights, we would come back home always feeling like we had to catch up on our strength again. But we sought out some gyms in the places we are travelling this time, so that we can work out at least twice or three times a week.

In the evening we visited Tivoli, an old theme park with all the hallmarks of a traditional amusement park, but obviously still very popular. We ate at a restaurant there (it was OK) and enjoyed being amongst the crowds and seeing people enjoy themselves. We decided not to go on any rides, but I convinced Nick to play the whack-a-mole game with me because I feel like it’s one of the less “scammy” games that aren’t purely based on luck—and I actually like it. I got many more points than Nick and ended up getting enough points to get a prize. I didn’t correctly look at the amount the prize token was, so I just got a shitty little squashy stress ball with a face on it, but the woman gave me the change so I traded it in for a small plushie doughnut. Hilarious. If you use the Copenhagen card you can get free entry into Tivoli, and walk around and enjoy everything, but you will need to pay for a rides ticket and any games you want to play.

An amusement park at night, showing a man-made pond with a lit-up Asian style pagoda and a rollercoaster with multiple loops beyond the pond.
It came alive at night, especially with the lights
A large arch entrance to an amusement park, in art-deco style with rows of small lights highlighting some parts of the arch. The name “Tivoli” is displayed at the top of the arch.
The entrance to Tivoli.

The following day we did a bit more walking and exploring, coming back to Vesterbro for breakfast/brunch. It was here that I was enthralled by the combination of peaches and cheese, something I have spotted a couple of times in our Scandinavian travels.

A sheet of paper with the printed title “Brunch” and a variety of cafe menu items and descriptions, with a pencil sitting alongside it. There is also a space for a name in the top right.
A cute and somewhat personalised way to order your food.
A table laid out with numerous breakfast dishes, including bacon, scrambled eggs, avocado, peaches and cheese, and two cups of coffee, one black and one with milk.
A seemingly packed brunch, but it’s really that all the dishes are separately served.
A view down an underground pedestrian tunnel, during the daytime, with mostly white walls but colourful graffiti. Light makes its way through a skylight that is not visible in the photo. A ceiling light also lights up the tunnel.
A graffiti tunnel on the way to BaneGaarden
An open garden area with the ground consisting of wooden chips. There are wooden benches and seating for eating food and drinks. The area is quiet with very few people.
There wasn’t much happening at BaneGaarden, but we had a look anyway. It might be more poppin’ in the evening.
A selfie of me and Nick, taken on an angle while walking on a footpath. I am wearing a striped colourful top and round sunglasses, and Nick is wearing a dark blue bomber jacket and pants over a dark green top. He is wearing blue sunglasses and holding a black water bottle. I have a wide grin while he has a slight smile.

After more walking, we stopped by a food hall just to get a beverage as it was a warm day. Then we walked to Freetown Christiania, a mostly non-governed area that has a small population and a “pusher street” where people sell marijuana—although it is illegal. Tourists are welcome but photos are not allowed in the “pusher street”. Photos were allowed generally, but it’s recommended not to take photos of people as they may not like it.

A giant detailed wood-etched creature in front of a building, with a face with big eyes and its legs crossed in a seating position. On the building is graffiti artwork reading “Wonderland: the world is in our hands”.
A detailed wooden sculpture
A building painted in many different colours, with the sign “Christiania art gallery” displayed above the door. Some paintings are in front of the building, as well as a large sign with a camera icon and a red cross through it.
Art gallery in Christiania

Our next stop was CopenHill (also known as Amager Bakke), which we visited on foot. It was a bit of a long walk and my legs were tired! I was looking forward to catching the bus after. The waste management plant doubles as a recreational space too, with skiing and snowboarding, a hiking trail, and an outdoor rock climbing wall on one side of the building. We weren’t intending on participating in any of the activities (it’s also been a while since I’ve rock climbed), so we just took the elevator up to the top and walked the stairs all the way down after checking out the view. The steps were nice and large and easy to step down. We saw a couple of people skiing and snowboarding down the grassy terrain, which was covered in a special sort of mesh. I don’t know much about skiing and snowboarding but I assume it was to create some kind of traction. Nick asked, “Do you think it gets covered in snow in the winter?” I definitely assumed so—it would be perfect!

A path of steps leading downwards, at the side of a waste management plant building with a tessellating steel appearance on the side, with smoke coming out of the top. A green grassy slope is between the path and the building.
The green slope is just part of the skiing slope that starts right at the top.

That evening it actually started to rain very heavily, but we were glad it kept away for most of our stay in Copenhagen. For dinner we went to a pretty fancy Asian fusion restaurant called Sticks’n’sushi, which was not far from where we were staying. Nick made a comment part way during our trip, “I bet at some point you’re going to say you’re so sick of everything and that you feel like Asian food”. He’s not wrong—I do this on virtually every trip. I just love a lot of Asian cuisine, OK. 🥲

An assortment of six Japanese inspired dishes with raw fish and rice, set out on a dark wooden table.

I did feel like I was craving some fish, though! It was a nice way to end our stay in Copenhagen. I think that although we didn’t explore much outside of the city and could have seen more of Denmark, we had a solid few days where I feel like we saw enough of the city and its neighbourhoods. If you think I’m wrong, let me know. 😉

Other posts about this Scandinavian trip:

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