Dad: “Want to go on a city break to Copenhagen this year?” Me:”Hells yeah!”
My Dad and I try to make a habit of going on a city break together every year (his treat, of course!), and while a busy work life can often get in the way, we have had a few successful trips over the years.
Father-daughter time is important, although for some it may seem a little alien and uncomfortable. Not for me. My Dad often calls me his best friend and while we can butt heads on occasion, he is a pretty great travel buddy and one I know I will always have. Plus, his nickname from his Navy days is ‘Teenage Doyle’, so really, I’m the parent in this relationship! (haha Sorry, Dad!)
Our most recent city break together was to Copenhagen, the cosmopolitan capital of Denmark. A new region for us both, Scandinavia is known for being pretty pricey, and it’s no lie. But it’s totally worth it every penny.
Here’s how we spent our 72 hours in cultured Copenhagen…
The first 24
After a short, easy flight into Københavns airport, and an equally easily and fuss-free train ride into the city centre, we’d arrived. Our main goal? Get a Danish pastry, of course! And that we did. Not just any old pastry though, probably the most well-known – a snegl (snail), a spiral cake packed full of cinnamon and butter, and topped with icing sugar. Read: very delicious and very bad for your waistline.
Next stop: the hotel. We stayed at the Palace Hotel in the city centre, next to the Rådhushaven (city hall). While it was a great central location, I think Copenhagen has so much going on and is so easy to navigate that you could pretty much stay anywhere, within reason, and it will be a good location.
Checked in and raring to go, we wandered down the road to the National Museum, where the tales of Vikings are told from Prehistory through to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period, and where royal coins and medals, and bog bodies and bones lay side-by-side. Our brains bursting with new knowledge, we took a time out and headed for a light lunch in preparation for what was to come.
It was time for something I’d excitedly signed us up for a month before the trip, but was now actually somewhat dreading. A running tour of the city. A 12k (!) running tour of the city, to be precise. A run that would end up being the furthest distance I’d ever run and would leave me feeling knackered (obviously), but enlightened (surpisingly) and, well, fit and healthy (bonus). Who knew running could give you so much!?
Luckily, because we’d booked a later afternoon/early evening slot, it was just myself, Dad and our tour guide, Troels. After beginning with a nice, gentle jog towards our first stop, I was feeling light, breezy and comfortable. But, then my uber competitive and fitness-freak of a father picked up the pace, and I, his just as competitive daughter, ran as hard and as fast as I could while I slowly died inside.
Troels, who didn’t even break a sweat on his impressivley fat-free body, led us down to all the big places of interest – Christiansborg Palace, the Royal Danish Theatre, the Naitonal library (otherwise known as the Black Diamond), the world-famous, colourful Nyhavn, the Opera house, Amalienborg Palace, Kastellet (a star-shaped 17th Century fortress), and Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic Little Mermaid. This was all while giving Troels filled our ears with facts, tips and tricks in-between my progressively loud panting.
Despite wanting to stop and sit at every opportunity, I eventually ran past the pain and enjoyed one of the best sightseeing trips I’ve ever done and what I now think is one of the best ways to see a city. I even had enough energy to take a selfie with a less-than-impressed palace guard.
Ok, so it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but whether it’s by running, walking, or biking, the sights listed above are pretty much Copenhagen’s main sights and so are not to be missed.
48 hours in
Today, we decided the 12k running tour just wasn’t enough exercise, so we rented bikes. The city does offer a free rent-a-bike scheme – all you have to do is donate however much you want to keep the NGO running and be there to pick it up and drop it off again. We couldn’t make the pick-up time, so we rented two from our hotel.
Costing just 150DKK (about £15), the pretty town bikes were ours for the next 24 hours. I’m not going to lie, it took a while to get used to – anyone who’s ridden a town bike will understand why – but once I learned that I could brake without actually pulling the brakes (a great invention and one perfect for city riding), I was off and there was no stopping me or my exploring.
We cycled along to Christiansborg Palace and through colourful Nyhavn, following the water’s edge past to Amalienborg Palace, and then around to Rosenborg Castle.
We finished the day off with a 398-step climb up Church of our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke), you know, for some more exercise! Standing at 90m, a trip up the baroque-style church is not for the faint hearted, but is was well worth it for the 360-view of everything from old Christiansborg Palace to the nearby, newly developed offshore windfarm.
The last 24
We spent our last day in the city strolling around the cobbled streets, doing a spot of shopping and returned to the National Museum to round-off our knowledge of the impressively historical but cosmopolitan city of Copenhagen. Conclusion = the Danish capital is awesome!
Where to drink
Have you visited Copenhagen or other areas in Scandinavia? Did you find it expensive? And do you travel with your Dad? Tell me about your experiences below!