Two Weeks in Copenhagen : Facts and Tips

by - 5:58 PM


Maybe you are like me - Scandinavia is one of your next destinations on your travel list, but you'd leave it for exploration after you'd travel across other countries and parts of the world. Typical places like England, Spain, Italy, France and so on. You shouldn't! Scandinavia is, in my humble opinion, one of the prettiest places, areas, in the world. 

I've experienced (together with my boyfriend Majko) only Denmark, but after our vacation and 2 weeks spent in this country, we can't wait to explore Finland, Norway and Sweden as well. This blog post is something like a summary of our memories and experiences in the beautiful city called Copenhagen or København, if you wish.

Let me tell you, if I could speak Danish, at least as I speak English, I'd move there in a heartbeat. And my boyfriend as well. This place is highly addictive and it's not called a city of the happiest people in the world, just because.. :) 


This post is really long, so grab your coffee or tea and get cozy.


FACTS & TIPS


YOU DON'T HAVE TO LEARN DANISH, ENGLISH IS ENOUGH

As I'm a language freak and I want to know at least some basics of every language out there, I've tried to learn some classic words. But you don't have to, if you are not feeling it. From the child to the senior (age 70), everyone speaks excellent English! Trust me, if they can see you are not very comfortable talking, like when buying groceries, they'd start speaking English immediately. I've heard it's because their TV channels do not translate and dabb movies into Danish language, but just use subtitles, so people are learning the language while watching movies. Let me know if that's true, Danish people!




DANISH PEOPLE ARE REALLY QUIET

When we first arrived at Kastrup Airport in Copenhagen around 9 AM, we caught ourselves whispering to each other. Like at the doctor's waiting room. And we were like - is it for real that people here are talking really quietly? And then we agreed. YES! They are not yelling at each other, while standing 1 feet from each other, as we do in our country. It was a great feeling. They really like their privacy and are willing to provide it for others among them.




THERE IS NO MUSIC IN SHOPS

I don't know how about your place where you live, but here in Slovakia it's so annoying. Walking down the street and every other shop has opened doors and music is so loud you can hear it 5 blocks away. It should work like some sort of marketing, to allure new customers to their shops, but eeeh..not working. But, be happy! This is NOT happening in Copenhagen, my dear, not here. It was such a relief to experience this kind of cultural behavior. You enter a grocery shop or a boutique and there is NO MUSIC AT ALL! It was so weird at first, but then we got used to it really fast.




DANISH PEOPLE AREN'T RUDE 

They just mind their business and expect it from you as well. It actually really worked for us because we don't like pushy and noisy people who pretend they are interested in our life, but actually they are not. People in Copenhagen just don't care until you ask them directly for help or anything. The same goes for cafes and markets and so on. They don't come to you asking if you need help - they will give you time.




BIKE IS THE BEST AND MOST EFFICIENT WAY OF TRAVELLING 

And this is absolutely true. Don't freak out when everywhere you look you see bikes! We had our bikes rented by our host (we stayed at the apartment we found via airbnb) and it was an amazing experience. There is 350 km of cycle paths and lanes which are raised from the road and really safe to cycle on. They have even their own traffic lights and the green starts around 5 seconds earlier than the one for the cars. There are "parking slots" for bike every few meters so you can park as nearest as possible to your final destination. But be aware! It's real traffic out there with the bikes. You should know the basic signs - when you turn left, use as a mark you left hand, when right, then the right hand and when you want to unexpectedly stop or turn somewhere right away, rise your left hand in a fist and next to your head. Always have your eyes open and watch out for pedestrians, other bikes and cars. It's not like cycling in the park. Citizens use it as a normal form of transportation. You can see children, dogs, young people, business people in their suits and old people on their bikes too, commuting to work and home or to one of the cute cafes in the city. If you don't have a bike, you can rent it in one of the rental shops. Expect to pay 75kr for the day's rental and around 350kr for the week's. On the contrary, trains, metro and buses are really pricey. In Euros the basic ticket costs around 5 EUROS an one-way journey.








MUSEUMS ARE CLOSED ON MONDAYS

Museums are a great way to kill time when raining and also to explore danish culture. Most of them are free for people under the age of 25 or students. The National Museum is free for everyone regardless your age. The sad fact is they are closed on Mondays! We didn't know that as we planned to visit National Museum on one rainy Monday. So we came and went away disappointed. So, plan something different on your Monday in Copenhagen.




STOP YOUR LOW-SUGAR DIET AND GET SOME DANISH PASTRIES

This is an order! You can visit one of the local coffee chains, Lagkagehuset, which according to my danish language skill, can be translated as a "cake house". And believe me,  it lives to its name! You enter the cafe and the best smell in the world will rins in your nose. Then you'll see a mountain of cakes, cookies, pastries, pizza slices and other goodies. You can get a great coffee with it too. Don't forget to get a line number at the entrance!And to the question if it's fresh, you can see behind the glass wall for yourself, women preparing the dough for the pastries. So, yeah, it's fresh. Prepare to spend some money on it, two coffees and two little cakes will cost you around 15 EUROS, which was a little bit of a shock to our Slovak standards, but then we got used to it and visited it almost daily. So many options to try :P

Typical danish pastries and coffee

PREPARE TO ORDER AND PAY AT THE BAR 

Maybe it's the way how it works all around the world but Slovakia, but it was a new way for us. You should order at the bar, wait for it, pay for it and then you can sit whenever you'd like, how long you'd like. The service is used more for like cleaning the tables than picking up orders. This it not how it goes at normal restaurants, this is just at bars, cocktail places and most of the cafes we visited.


PAY WITH YOUR BANK CREDIT CARD EVERYWHERE, IF YOU HAVE A PIN CODE 

This was quite new for us. We paid literally almost everywhere with our bank cards. It was really fast and easy. From groceries to Paper Island StreetFood! The only place when they prefer cash was at the church tower and since we didn't have any cash on us we left, haha.
It's a great way to track your expenses throughout the whole vacancy. The only way how to pay with your card is if you have a pincode with it as well. If you not, rather use cash. The best way to exchange money is right away at the airport and then you can use any kind of ATM.

Danish coins. Yes, they look like doughnuts

TRY TYPICAL DANISH HOTDOGS 

Don't leave the country without tasting their hotdogs, pølse!
You can get them literally around every corner in their kiosks, for around 5 EUROS (35-40kr) but it's worthy. It contents : special bread, sausage, ketchup, mustard, remoulade (special yellow sauce they use on almost everything), fried onion, fresh onion and pickles. That's right. But the combination is great! I, as a vegetarian since birth, have tried it and must admit -  was really delicious! (sorry, mom.) Oh, and these kiosks are exception when it comes to paying. They accept only cash. 



VISIT STREET FOOD ISLAND. YES, ISLAND!

PapirØen, as it's called, is a tiny island, near the downtown. It's a local place for everyone, citizens and also tourists to enjoy variety of food from food trucks and kiosks with high quality food, drinks and coffee. You can try food specialties from Italian, through Indian, American, Mexican or any other type of cuisine you can think of.
Once it's used to be a warehouse with paper for ships, now it's the most hype place in town.

You can also find here the true national danish hit- Smørrebrød! It can be called as "open face sandwich" and the combination of words is something like bread and butter. And that's it. You can buy if from approx. 5 EUROS per piece. There are many types you can choose from. The base is a rye bread - I got one with butter, cooked potatoes, savour cream and chive, and of course, fried onions - they like to put it in many of their special meals.

Again, you can park your bike to the nearest place possible. If there's nice weather, local people use to grab a deckchair while enjoying the view with a glass of beer, lemonade or a food plate, talking to their friends.

Smørrebrød




Fish'n'chips and the view


Heavy rain and sunset. Really proud of this shot!






EVEN IF IT'S RAINY AND COLD WEATHER, DANISH PEOPLE LOVE WATER

One day was really really cold weather and it was pouring rain all day long. And while going on the bridge we saw some teenagers jumping into the cold water in the docks. We were like "wtf", but they looked like they had the best time ever. They even had towels and swimsuits on. Awesome.


HYGGE IS A REAL THING

Hygge is the perfect word to describe danish mentality. This word expresses the outings and happenings of 2 and more people, in Copenhagen (I expect also in Denmark, maybe even in the whole Scandinavia). 
While driving through the city on your bike or while walking, you can see people everywhere, enjoying their lunch breaks, dinners, small friendly gatherings etc, outside. People in Copenhagen love outdoors and they enjoy it whenever they can.
Don't be surprised if you find ready salads and lunch boxes in every market more than in your country. They love to just grab it and sit in the docksides or on benches near the sea while talking. Their most favourite is a pizza in the box and a beer. Local people prefer a lot of beer cans and some finger food more than sitting in a restaurant. They just love it. The first day we got there we visited a park, totally exhausted and it was full of people. They had picnics with a bottle of wine on ice and blankets (it's perfectly legal to drink outside, in Denmark). It was amazing!

When we hygge






THERE ARE PARKS ON EVERY CORNER

This is true. It is amazing! And they are huge and look beautiful!

King's gardens

COPENHAGEN IS PEOPLE-FRIENDLY CITY
As you walk by the city, you can sit on a bench almost every 5 meters, and next to every bench is a trash can. In my city it's something unimaginable!!! 
There are bike stations everywhere and people are really friendly. I got in a bike accident once and the biker was really nice to me, reassuring I'm okay and he left after he could see I'm not injured. 
You can hangout everywhere you'd like. It's amazing! 

WEATHER IS CHANGING EVERY HOUR

Always carry around something warm or waterproof with you. Just in case. 

METRO CARS ARE ON AUTO-PILOT

Don't be scared while seeing arriving metro without a pilot! It's automatic and you can sit in the very front, with the best view.



THERE ARE 7-ELEVEN SUPERMARKETS LITERALLY ON EVERY CORNER

I don't know why is that. But it's not a bad thing, and you get used to it after-all. 

THERE ARE MANY MANY THINGS TO SEE IN AND AROUND COPENHAGEN

If you are more for entertainment while on vacation, make sure you pay a visit to the oldest and most famous amusement park, called Tivoli Gardens. The entry fee is around 15 EUROS per person and if you want to ride on some of the attractions, you have to pay extra. But don't you worry - you get a map with all the details and checkpoints with ATMs for the tickets - and of course, you can pay with your card. 

Tivoli Attractions




Tivoli Garden Entrance


Also you can get to all of the amazing parts of CPH on your bike. If you end up on Paper Island (Street Food Island) in Christianhavn, go little bit further and visit Christiania - "the free town". It's an independent small city within the city. There are some cute tiny fishermen houses near the lake and shops and services. There is also a main square with all of types of gift shops, but be aware - most of them are marijuana type of presents and designs. There are some parts of this city where is strictly forbidden to shoot with your camera or phone. There are kiosks with masked salesmen, selling weed and hashish. 



If you want to relax, make sure to find some time for their beautiful beach - Amager Strandpark. It's beautiful long beach, full of attractions (if you come in warmer months) and a beautiful view. Again, people tend to visit it for "hygge" or family gatherings on Sunday, walking their dogs. 
To prove how Copenhagen is people-friendly, people of the city wanted this kind of place, so they've CREATED THE BEACH! Yes, they moved the shore for about 2 km and created special routes for bikers and people on rollerblades and runners. You can find a bench or a trash can every few meters (common people, really?:D). There are many entrances with steps for passionate swimmers, it looks like you're entering a pool. We've been there at the beginning of September and people actually jumped to the water. Danish people!
The level of water is not too high, so it's great also for the families with children. 







Also if you are all into that viking thing, I highly recommend visiting a beautiful village called Roskilde. It has one of the best Viking ship museums, with five original repaired viking ships and interactive workshops, where you can try every step of ship-making. And for the extra fee you can paddle on one of the viking ship replicas and it's amazing! 








And that's probably it. I could write about our Copenhagen experience two more pages, but I think the best is to experience it all by yourself. I'm dying to visit other countries in Scandinavia, but right know I'm living on budget because, let me tell you - Denmark is a little bit pricey for an average Europe citizen. And by that I mean Central Europe - Slovakia, haha.  

If you have any further questions or comments feel free to ask me. You can follow me on my other social media channels and ask me there, if you'd like. 
Please, if you want to use this post on your website or my photos, ask me first and we can discuss it. Thank you! 

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