Once a Viking fishing settlement, in today’s Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, you can still see a mixture of 1,000-year-old fragments of history and modern architecture. This cool Nordic city is full of wonderful spacious parks and green spaces and it is well known for sustainability. It is a youthful place and particularly kid-friendly.
PLACES TO VISIT
New Harbour or Nyhavn is quite opposite to its name, dating back to the 17th century. The ground floors of the tall painted houses are mostly bars and restaurants or coffee shops, where you can sit outside to watch the vivid city life.
Although shopping can be expensive in Strøget, visitors should walk through a long pedestrian street and one of the largest pedestrian malls in the world. They will probably enjoy the old speciality business and fashionable boutiques of younger generations.
Rosenborg Castle is a palace built at the beginning of the 16th century. You can see kings chambers there, but probably the most interesting is the 17th-century Venetian glass and Flora Danica dinnerware, among the best in the world.
Denmark’s Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Danish Parliament are located in Christiansborg Palace on the Islet of Slotsholmen. The lavish reception rooms are still used for formal events.
Visitors can get the best view of Copenhagen from the Church of our Saviour, a baroque building from the middle of the 18th century. If you dare, climb to the viewing platform up 400 steps but keep in mind that the last 150 are outside – you have to hold the ribbon of gold spiralling its way to the top of the church spire.
COPENHAGEN FOR FAMILIES
There is no doubt whether to visit Copenhagen with kids or not. Actually, this city seems to be made for kids. The first on the list of what to visit will be Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world.
What can be more attractive to children than the iconic bronze statue of Little Mermaid by Edvard Eriksen, showing the mermaid becoming human? Standing on the waterside at the Lanelinie promenade, it invites kids into Andersen’s fairy-tales, where it comes from.
Brightly colored 17th and early 18th century houses lined up the waterfront of Nyhavn Harbour are another settings for the Andersen’s fairy-tales and no children will resist walking there.
Can there a better break for you and your kids than in the Botanical Garden in the middle of Copenhagen with the numerous species, some of which 200 years-old? Over 13,000 plant species can be seen on 10 hectares under the splendid iron and glass structures that shelter them.
If Tivoli isn’t enough, you can take your kids to Bakken Amusement Park, the oldest amusement park in the world, in operation since 1583. A little nostalgic character still makes it worth traveling a few kilometres from Copenhagen.
You can also go to Copenhagen ZOO and a canal boat tour; water is always exciting.
Visit the Experimentarium. This science centre inspires children and evokes their curiosity.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
The National Museum or Nationalmuseet is a place to spend hours with a significant number of artefacts from Denmark’s past, the oldest one from 1400BC. Visitors should also go to the National Gallery of Denmark, and many others: The David Collection, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Thorvaldsens Museum, Statens Museum for Kunst, Designmuseum Denmark, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Charlottenborg Palace, the Workers Museum
If you plan well ahead, you can choose among different types of accommodation: luxury or cheaper hotels, hostels or Airbnb. There are family-friendly hotels where your children can stay at a reduced price.
WHAT TO EAT
Smørrebrød, butter and bread, seem to be the most famous Danish food. On the contrary, Danes can boast of cheese, cold-cuts, fish and seafood. Noma on Strandgade with two Michelin stars is number one, but there are a lot of other places to eat Nordic and international food. You can try Durum shawarma with chicken and lamb meat and falafel that come from Asia and also Pizza and Burgers. The traditional Danish food is Flæskesteg (roast pork baked with spices usually eaten for Christmas), Frikadeller (meatballs), Fiskefrikadeller (fishcake), Marinated or Pickled Herring and Salmon.
· To save your time and to make getting around the city easier, rent a bicycle with GPS in one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. Flat city streets and broad bicycle lanes will make riding a pleasure. For bikes with a baby seat, look at Baisikeli, Københavns Cykelbørs or Bicycle Innovation Lab, they customize bicycles.
· Use public transport. It is clean, convenient and free for kids. On buses and trains, there are reserved places for prams or pushchairs.
· The majority of restaurants offer children’s menus.
· You can get reduced prices for kids at museums, amusement parks and attractions.
· It is not common to tip in Denmark, but if you do, it will be appreciated.
· If you can’t wait to find a restaurant, get a Danish hot dog, med det hele, from the street stand.
TIME TO VISIT
Best time to visit Copenhagen is from March to May when prices are lower and the city isn’t crowded or between June and August in the warm weather and with opportunities to attend large-scale events.
DO’S AND DON’TS
Visiting Freetown of Christiania, a commune established in 1971 can sound challenging, but keep in mind that it is controversial. There, you can see barracks where artists designed their studios, organic shops, restaurants and music venues.
Visit a contemporary bar with indie space in one of the former industrial areas like Meatpacking District, that has been renewed lately.
There are a lot of places off the beaten track in Copenhagen. You should visit University Gardens and enjoy the vivid pathways among rose gardens and flower beds. You will see students and locals walking in the tranquil atmosphere through groves and across creeks.
Visit Østre Anlæg, lovely green hiding behind the Danish National Gallery. It is a peaceful place to get rest from crowded streets.
In the quiet eastern part of Copenhagen visitors can go to Kartoffelrækkerne, a 19th-century working-class district, with two-stories houses. Today it is a popular area to live.
Assistens Kirkegård is actually a cemetery, but it is also a park in Nørrebro, one of the most vibrant city areas. Different cultures, lovely greengrocers and ethnic restaurants meet there. Assistens Kirkegård is where philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and writer H.C. Andersen were buried.
Travelers can get to Copenhagen by train, bus, ferry, cruise ship or flight. They can get around the city by special train, metro and bus. The public transport network operates 24 hours a day. Copenhagen Airport CPH is easily reached as it is situated very close to the city centre.
On the whole, Copenhagen is one of the best places for families to visit. It is family-friendly and has a lot of amazing things that will keep kids’ attention busy all the time. It is also budget-friendly for family traveling as visitors can get a reduced price for the children.