My in-laws were in town this weekend, visiting from England. They'd been here once before, so it was actually a little bit difficult to think of things to show them.
That may sound strange. European capital city, tons to do, right? Well, sort of.
Copenhagen is a lovely city, with plenty to see. But it doesn't have the spectacular sights that many other European capital cities have. The few sights that it does have can usually be seen within a day or two:
- The Little Mermaid statue (which most people are generally disappointed by for one reason or another. It's either too small, too large, too close to shore, surrounded by too many tourists, etc.), Probably best seen from one of the boat tours that leave from Nyhavn, as you can then also take in some of Copenhagen's interesting modern architecture (The opera house, the "black diamond" library, etc.)
- Nyhavn (meaning "new port" in Danish, this is a line of bars and restaurants lining the lovely port seen in the background of this blog); as I mentioned above, you can hop on a boat tour from here, or you can eat or have a beer at one of the cafes. In the warmer months, the locals bring their own beer and sit along the water, while the tourists generally sit in the (more expensive) cafes.
- Helsingør (better known to Shakespeare readers as Elsinore, or Hamlet's home town) can be reached by taking a quick train north. The castle there is lovely, and the town center is also quite nice.
- Christiania (Copenhagen's hippy commune); I actually haven't been yet. I have no good excuse other than that I've had other than that I've had other priorities, but my Danish teacher mentioned possibly taking us there for the final module 2 class, which is after we've had our test.
- Noma (foodies will recognize this as one of the best restaurants in the world, with prices and a reservation wait list that reflect this); this is another place that I have yet to see for myself. Maybe some day.
- Strøget, or The Walking Street; this is the shopping center in Copenhagen. Lots of stores (both local and international) and lots of restaurants and cafes. During the day, it's almost always packed with people. I prefer to walk it at dusk or after dark, when there's a little more room to breath.
- Tivoli; I almost forgot this one, which is silly considering I was just there last week. Tivoli is the 2nd oldest amusement park in the world, opened in 1843. Wikipedia tells me that the oldest is also here in Denmark, but Tivoli is the one to see. When I was there last week, they were just setting it up for the Christmas season, and it was really nice. Christmas decor is so much more tasteful here in Denmark than it tends to be in the US.
Like any capital city, Copenhagen has lovely art museums, and like most European cities it also has its palaces and castles that are worth a look. And I'm sure there are plenty of sights that I've missed. But these are the top few, in my mind.
When it comes right down to it, though, Copenhagen's culture of "hyggelig," or coziness, makes it more of a nice place to settle down and live, rather than an exciting city to spend a week-long holiday.
It doesn't help that it's an extremely expensive city, making shopping and eating out every day a bit of a financial burden.