Always one to take advantage of bank holidays to tag on to annual leave days, I of course had to head somewhere new over the Christmas/New Year break. The first stop was Copenhagen from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day making the most of my favourite time of year in a brand new (and gorgeous) country. Trying to pack as much as we could into three days, while making sure we still got to appreciate the Christmas season, I decided on this Three Day Guide to Copenhagen.
Walk to The Little Mermaid
Try The Traditional Smørrebrød
Our first day of course, had to constitute of seeing those ever-photographed and colourful river houses of Nyhavn. After finding our adorable and chic air bnb we set off bundled up in half of our suitcase to walk to the centre of town and along the famous strip. And despite some frozen fingertips (from taking far too many photos from every angle) the view did not disappoint.
The Christmas markets were still raring and the festive trimmings made the street even more picturesque. Mulled wine (with extra whiskey shot!) and nutella crepes with the lot were definitely needed to ward us off until dinner.
If you are travelling over Christmas, we did find that there were less tourists – especially on Christmas Day – making for wandering the streets and getting in to restaurants and attractions all the more better! However, we were limited with the restaurants we could choose from as many bars and restaurants close over this time. Tip: we found that restaurants along Nyhavn & in the Tivoli gardens were mostly open.
From Nyhavn, it is only a short walk along the river to visit the little bronze statue of The Little Mermaid. It has been said to be quite underwhelming (and I’ll admit that) however, it is one of those sights that you kind of have to see if you’re making the trip to Copenhagen. Along the walk, you can stop in and see Princess Mary (our own Aussie Princess) at the Amalienburg Palace, which is home to the Danish royal family.
After visiting Mary and the kids and relived our Disney days, we head back to Nyhavn and chose one of the restaurants along the water for dinner. Make sure to try the traditional smørrebrød (open sandwiches) or some of the Cod dishes made fresh from the Baltic Sea.
Crepe’s & Glogg
We woke up to a classic-ly overcast December day and decided to navigate the metro to the centre of town and head straight to the Tivoli Gardens.
Trying to describe the Tivoli is a challenge, but here I go. To me, it is a cross between a carnival, a theme park, european Christmas markets in London, and Chinatown. Every corner is something strange or different and you can walk around for a few hours and still have missed an alleyway or a shop.
We spent most of the day here and it was one of the biggest highlights of my Christmas/New Year trip. It’s strangeness was like nothing I’d seen and it was like stepping on to a movie set – and on Christmas morning, we had it nearly all to ourselves!
After wandering the the Tivoli Gardens for a majority of our Christmas, we were focussed on one thing – finding nutella crepes and ‘Glogg’ (mulled wine).
Free Town Christiana
Street Food or ‘Best Restaurant in the World’
Free Town Christiana is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood in the centre of Copenhagen, which acts as a self-governing and self-sustaining society. It has it’s own rules (no photography allowed after a certain point, among others) and cannabis is used (and offered) shall we say… freely. Cannabis is not ‘legal’ however, the authorities generally look the other way.
I would really recommend having a good wander around the little self proclaimed town just to see the complete contrast between it and the rest of Copenhagen. Graffiti and bits and pieces are scattered all around the community creating an odd sort of beauty like I’ve never seen.
They also do some amazing vegetarian and vegan food. The falafel, bars and wonderfully weird-ness all need to be seen to be believed.
Not far from Christiana is one of the world’d top 50 ‘best restaurants in the world’, Noma. If you’ve got some (or a lot) of spare dosh and feel like treating yourself (and booked about a year in advance), head to Noma to dine like Danish royalty. We, on the other hand, headed to the water to indulge in some (slightly cheaper) street food stalls at Copenhagen Street Food.
Finally, at the end of our trip we headed to the Rosenburg castle. As an Australian who has greatly been deprived of castles growing up, I have to throw in at least one on every trip… preferably one with an actual real life moat and castle gates.