Ok, this post is a little misleading…I can’t tell you how to visit Denmark in only one day, and quite frankly, I don’t know that you would want to cram everything this beautiful country has to offer into a single day trip. That being said, there are those rare opportunities to travel through a country, but when you are also limited on time. This happened for me, when I went to visit my friend in Sweden. I flew in and out through Copenhagen, and took the opportunity to explore many of the “must-sees” of the city in only one day. We also spent a second day at Tivoli Gardens, but that will be saved for another post!
My friend and I came into Copenhagen, Denmark on a short train ride from Sweden. We arrived at the gorgeous Central Station:
Our hotel was only three blocks away from the station, so we dropped off our bags and went on our way for the day. We walked past Central Station again and made our way past nearby Tivoli Gardens. For those of you who don’t know (including myself at the time), Tivoli is a very famous and popular amusement park and “pleasure garden”. That’s what wikipedia chooses to call it, at least. I would just call it beautiful landscaping, but tomato-tomahto I guess. The entrance is marked by a huge gate:
We made our way to City Hall Square, which marks the entrance of Strøget, the largest pedestrian-only shopping area in Europe. City Hall Square is literally what it claims to be, and is usually the host to many events and celebrations throughout the year. On the day we visited, it was Turkish Heritage Day and the square was filled with Turkish music, food, dancing, etc…it was fabulous!
We made our way to Strøget, where neither of us had money to do much shopping. We had a lot of fun just strolling through, however.
It was here that I noticed that most of the people around me were speaking Russian! I heard some Danish, some English, but the overwhelming number of people around us were speaking Russian…I’m not sure why that is, but it was very noticable. In fact, I later realized that we were the only tourists in our small hotel who did not speak Russian! Anyway, back to Strøget, while we didn’t do a lot of shopping, we did have a chance to stop at many of the cafes in the area:
Cool Food StandDrinking Tuborg (A Danish Beer)
Danish Bakery Food
It’s an Italian Ice named after me! Actually, it’s the Danish word for “Strawberries”
We took a detour away from Strøget to browse the city area some more…ok, I lied, we got lost trying to find the metro station; Nonetheless, we came upon some really neat old buildings on our way. I’d highly recommend getting lost in this city if you have an hour or so:
St. Peter’s- Medieval Church
Rundetårn- 17th Century Observatory
Copenhagen University Buildings
National Cathedral of Denmark
In case you haven’t noticed yet, Copenhagen has fascinating architecture. I honestly wanted to take a picture of every building we saw. It doesn’t fit any particular “style”, but that’s what makes it so interesting. There is everything from medieval to modern and it’s all blended together.
Eventually we found our way to the Metro and headed out to see the famous “Little Mermaid” statue in Østerbro. In Denmark, she’s called “Den Lille Havfrue”, which is what you will see on all of the tourist trinkets and souvenirs. She is a pretty lengthy walk to get to, but the scenery around is well worth the trip. As we got off at the metro stop Østerport Station, we made our way past the Kastellet, which is a star shaped fortress. From the outside, we thought we were walking past a really beautiful park:
Once we got around to the front, we realized that this was a fort:
Immediately to the right of the fortress is picturesque St. Alban’s church:
And immediately along the footpath next to the church is Gefion Fountain:
FINALLY, we made it to “Den Lille Havfrue”…Disney and H.C. Andersen lovers rejoice! This is a statue that sits on top of a rock overlooking the harbor. It is also an iconic symbol of Copenhagen. People complain that the statue is somewhat disappointing because it is smaller than they expected. And this is certainly no statue of liberty. But who ever said it was? I actually really enjoyed visiting this statue because not only is it sitting right on the shore, but you can walk right up to it. No ropes, no fences…it sits there as part of the scenery as if it wasn’t a huge tourist attraction:
To give you some perspective on size…
At this point in the afternoon, we were totally spent from the heat (yes, Denmark gets really humid!) and the shin splints we’d acquired from all of the excessive walking we had done this week. From the metro station, we took ourselves straight back to Central Station and passed out as soon as we reached our hotel.
Cooling off with a refreshing Coca-Cola
Walking back to the metro
Waiting for the metro to come
**I should mention, by the way, that the metro system is very easy to navigate. While the stops are in Danish, the metro itself is a very organized system and the maps are easy to read. It’s color coded like the London Underground, and has larger “connection” stops between the different lines. Japanese tourists who don’t know the alphabet were still able to find their way around, so you have no excuse to feel helpless here. The one “complaint” that I do have about the metro, however, is that the stops are very scattered. This means that you will most likely have to walk quite a ways to get to your destination. For us, the farthest we had to walk from one stop was about a mile each way.