Copenhagen: tips to keep in mind
January 1, 1970
by Natassja De Mattos
It was a last minute crazy decision. I was in The Netherlands and a friend of mine was in Sweden, so we just pointed a city in the map that was kind of half way from where we were. That’s how luckily we ended up in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Just a few days before deciding this trip I’d saw Copenhagen, an independent film from 2014. When I watch it I thought it wasn’t a good film at all but then when I had my ticket to Copenhagen it came to my head and I remembered all the places it shows. I watched it again, this time taking notes and appreciating it much more. So, my first recommendation is: if you’re going to Copenhagen you should watch this film like if it was a travel guide. I will come back to this film again later (a few times).
Because we didn’t plan it in advance I had no idea about prices or neighbourhoods but I was supposed to book a place to stay for both of us. I don’t remember exactly why I choose the hostel we stayed in, but I can surely imagine it was because it was the cheapest I could arrange with that short notice. That’s why is totally worth to say that I highly recommend the Bedwood Hostel in Copenhagen (beautiful big house with very nice people, a safe storage for your things, is clean and it have a cool common area where you can eat, have a drink and just chill out with other travellers).
The hostel is in Nyhavn, a street and canal surrounded by beautiful houses, boats and full of cafés and restaurants. But even more important is that it’s walking distance from lots of the most interesting things to do in the city.
If you walk through Nyhavn southeast direction you’ll cross the Inderhavnbroen (inder-havn-broen = inner-harbor-bridge), you keep walking straight till Prinsessegade and go right. Out of nowhere in the middle of this perfect, neat and clean city you’ll arrive to your first finding: Christiania, better known as Freetown Christiania. This is an autonomous little district that is self-declared anarchist. You’ll know the moment you are there because there is a big gate that says Christiania on it at the entrance and after you cross it you’ll feel that you’ve left Copenhagen and got into a kind of hippie full of freedom city. It seems to be surrounded only by squats full of street art in their walls. Usually there is a market inside and various places with food, art and music. There are pubs where you can have a drink and some days there is live music and dancing parties. The place is also self-declared against hard drugs but is “green friendly”… You’ll see. Is a very good option to have a walk by day, to chill out anytime and also to party at nighttime.
The King’s Gardens (Kong’s Have) and surroundings
The Kongens Have is a big beautiful park to walk around, chill out or lay in the grass. You can also visit or just stare at the Rosenborg palace there.
In front of the gardens there are two places I loved. One of them is located in the corner southeast and is called Posterland. Is a big store full of old and new posters all sizes and themes.
The other one is located in the same street (Gothersgade) right in front of the park, is the Danish Film Institute, that’s also a cinema, a shop and a museum.
I’m a huge Lars Von Trier (Danish director) fan so I was excited about going to his mother land and I spent the whole journey reading about the depression trilogy (Three films by Lars Von Trier: Antichsrist, Melancholia and Nymphomaniac). So when I saw the sign: Det Danske Filminstitut, of course I got in immediately and I ended up in front of a showcase with every audiovisual production ever made by Lars Von Trier. There I learned every film, documentary and series I was missing to watch everything he ever made.
In the opposite corner there is a nightclub called Culture Box. I knew about it because of the film (Copenhagen, 2014). By the end of it (no spoiler) the main characters goes there and I remember thinking it was such a cool place playing great electronic music. That’s why one night my friend and me were just wandering around the city and wondering what to do next and Culture Box popped in my head. It wasn’t easy to find because is a little hidden door but it definitely worth the search. As I saw in the film: cool place and very good music.
Meatpacking district and Tivoli
Travelling is a lot about eating for me so one of the few things I asked before heading to Copenhagen was where to have dinner. Somebody told me to visit the meatpacking district and we went to see what was it about. Well it was great food, great drinks, great ambience and so on. Is not the better place to have dinner if you are low budget, but definitely everyone should go to have a drink at least. The evening we went it was kind of cold but that wasn’t a problem. We seated at Gorilla Restaurant and the staff handled warm blankets to us.
That same day after dinner we took a walk back home. We passed by Tivoli, a huge amusement park and gardens very well known as one of the main highlights of Copenhagen. We didn’t go in but we stared it at night and it was amazingly beautiful, full of lights and colours.
In the film the characters go into the park and one of them says that’s for kids… Yes it is like any amusement park but if I ever go again to Copenhagen (sure I will) I’ll definitely go to Tivoli and jump into a roller coaster or whatever to check out Sweden form there!
The Little Mermaid (Den lille havfrue) and surroundings
The little mermaid statue is another of the main highlights of the city. Actually there was where I saw more tourists in my whole stay in Copenhagen. The beautiful bronze statue is very small so there was a line to take pictures of it and a lot of tourists posing at it. Despite the tourists and lines it’s worth to see. It’s an icon since 1913 made after the famous fairy tale with the same name by the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen.
Den lille havfrue
Near the little mermaid are the Lagelinie Park and the Kastellet, a military fortress in star shape. Both are very beautiful and perfect for a walk by the water or surrounded by green areas. If you go in spring there are lots of gorgeous tulips.
As I already said, for me travelling and eating goes together. In the Lagelinie Park there’s a very cool place called Toldboden. I highly recommend stopping there for a long and delicious brunch (of course we did).
Planning during brunch at Toldboden
Botanical Garden (Botanisk Have) and SMK
The botanical garden of Copenhagen was my favourite park and outside landscape. You just go and see it! It’s very beautiful and it speaks for itself. I ended up there by mistake and I was so thankful.
Very close to the garden is the Danish National Gallery (Statens Museum for Kunst SMK) and I highly recommend visiting it if you’re looking for some arte appreciation. Is huge. You can spend there half a day or even more and when I was there the exhibitions where very interesting and from all over the world. Is not the best regarding museums in Copenhagen but is one of the good ones.
In the film, the main character goes there looking for his grandparent. When I went to Copenhagen I wasn’t looking especially for anything but I did lots of findings. So grab a backpack, buy some Danish crowns (they are quite expensive…) and go find whatever you’re looking for!