Incentives for your escape from the wheel.
Copenhagen is …wonderful! Windy, often cloudy and pricy – but lot of atmosphere. Small streets, little boutiques, great shopping, insane amount of bicycles and hardly any buildings higher than 6 floors make this place a cosy (hygge) nest. And yes – it is located in Scandinavia and therefore will just pull the notes out of your pocket, but there’s a way around. Details you find below.
Unlike other capitals the number of ho(s)tels is limited. Especially the budget ones. Fortunately the centrally located Generator Hostel opened in 2010. They offer double rooms / bathroom for around DKK 420. The hostel is a 3 mins walk from Kongens Nytorv’s Metro station which means it doesn’t take you more than 25 mins from your door to the airport. Hotel Fox (non-budget) is another option. It is 5 mins walk from Copenhagen Central Station and Tivoli. DKK 1.200 and up for a night in one of their uniquely designed double rooms could be worth it. All rooms have been decorated by different artists.
Airport – downtown: The fastest way to the city is by Metro and takes only 20 mins to Kongens Nytorv. If your hotel is placed in Vesterbro – the other end of “Strøget”, the longest pedestrian street in Europe – you are better off by taking the train. Either way you will have to wait between 15 and 40 mins for your suitcase so use the time and buy a 2-zone-klippekort (10-ride-ticket) for approx. DKK 150 in the baggage claim hall at the airport. You wont have a queue like at the ticket counter outside. 1 clip = 2 zones = 1 person = 1 hour validity. 3 zones for your airport-city ride – so you need to clip 2x. Getting caught without a valid ticket results in handing over DKK 600 and could destroy your holiday mood. (If you dare: The ticket inspectors wear a black jacket with a red “M” embroided – 2-3 at a time – and they mostly enter the Metro in different doors.) The klippekort can also be used for trains, busses and public boats.
Taxi: …is expensive. It only makes sense if you are really tired of arranging bus rides or if you are 4 persons to share the costs. The trips within the city shouldn’t cost you more than DKK 200 (taxi-meter).
Metro: The 2002 (and ongoing) constructed driverless rapid transit system is one of the best we ever experienced. It is reliable, fast, light, nicely designed and comes in 2-7 mins intervals. There are 2 lines and line M2 is the more relevant one for you as it heads for Copenhagen airport. They are currently turning the city into a construction area as the commune is extending the Metro network.
Bike: Everyone cycles except of tourists but if you are lucky you will discover a public bike placed somewhere in a back road. Compared to other cities cycling is quite a challenge as the lanes can be overwhelming crowded. Your enemy are not just the cars but also the bikes next to you. Caution! In 2014 the city introduced white bikes with a touch screen you can rent for DKK 70 / week. You just need to enter your credit card details – and the menu is also available in English.
Boat (guided tour): Definitely the most peaceful and relaxing transportation of them all. The trip takes around one hour and is guided in English, German, Danish and if you are fortunate in Spanish or French. There are two companies running these mainly identical trips. The more expensive one arrangend by DFDS (70 DKK/person) is located at the beginning of Nyhavn. Netto-Bådene (40 DKK/person) is the other agent which leaves from the right waterside of Nyhavn. No matter for which you decide, you will see The Little Mermaid (from behind), The Royal Opera House, Vor Frelsers Church, canals, stock exchange, The Royal Library (Black Diamond), etc… Ask for the 20% group reduction if you are more than 14 persons. If you couldn’t care less about a guide and you just want to spend some time on the water being the only one with a camera then the harbour bus (Havnebus) line 991 & 992 leaves from the left end of Nyhavn. It requires one 2-zone-clip on your klippekort. Don’t forget to bring a sixpack of Carlsberg or a bottle of wine with you. There is a little store on the left side of Lille Strandstræde (coming from Nyhavn) which sells booze and snacks.
Nyhavn: A sunny day and you want to inhale some Danish atmosphere? Instead of sitting down in one of the rip-off cafés in Nyhavn just step 6 meters to the side and chill out on the wooden scantling (if you find one of the rare vacant gaps in between all the Copenhageners). The restaurants started to sell 1-liter-cans for take away. Make sure to have something to drink while you enjoy observing the crowd passing by.
Christiania: Take the Metro from Kongens Nytorv towards Lufthavnen (line M2) or Vestamager (line M1) and get off at Christianshavn. Grab a pastry at Lagkagehuset and walk 5 mins towards the autonomic community Christiania. You will most likely pass Vor Frelsers Church which you can climb up to the top to gain a great panoramic view on the city. Arriving in Christiania stroll down Pusher Street (hide your camera!), buy some happy cigarettes, don’t get caught, have a beer in Nemoland and enjoy the beautiful view on the lakes just behind the hill.
Amager Strand: If you are lucky you might catch one of the 7 real summer (25 degrees) days in Copenhagen. The Danes became resistant to cold weather and wind so don’t take the outdoor activities and hang-outs in the park as a hint to proper temperatures. Amager Strand is a 10-mins ride from Kongens Nytorv (direction Lufthavnen – M2). Get off either at Øresund or Amager Strand and walk down to the beach. It is always windy and it makes sense to bring clothes and some food and drinks. A supermarket just opened next to Øresund station. BBQ is allowed on the beach so you can take your high end Weber Smokey Joe along or buy a one-way-grill in the supermarket.
Spending some quality time in the juice of the city but don’t want to spend a fortune on beer? Drop in at The Moose in Sværtegade 5 – Expect a lot of smoke in the back room, graffiti-covered walls, weird barkeepers and – if you are too late – a bunch of talkative drunks. Gothersgade (off Kongens Nytorv) has numbers of bars primarily popular with teens and twens. If you are more in the mood for a real club head Studiestræde straight to TS BAR. They usually have a guest list and it is very hard to spot the venue as there are no signs on the door. A bunch of good DJs hit the turn tables and heat the basement. In case your hotel is on the westend of “Strøget” you should go to Kødbyen (Copenhagens meatpacking district) which is located in Vesterbro. A bit Berlin style atmosphere offers Karriere Bar – the first place which offered food, drinks and DJs. Nicely designed by various Danish artists you might get lost in their toilet maze featuring 10 doors (and actually only 4 toilets). Bakken is the spot for the budget crowd. Beer is served in cans and by midnight this place is transformed to an organized mess. KB III – “The perfect combination of big room vibes, laid-back atmosphere and artistic freedom” and KB18 could be your choice for some underground club scene. Halvandet is the only real “beach club” and opens its doors end of April. It is hard to get out there. You can either take the regular bus and a 20 min walk or the harbour bus from Nyhavn, which will stop there some time 2013 – The route has not been confirmed yet.
If you are fortunate being in town during the Distortion festival there is no need to look out for bars before 10:00 p.m. “Celebrating street life and modern party culture” with 166+ DJs at 166+ locations in the middle of the city, this festival usually takes place 5 days (Wed-Sun) between May and June from 04:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. – for the exact timetable click here. Copenhagen city is divided into districts. The crowd used to party in Nørrebro, Vesterbro and the center – depending on the day. Due to a lot of urin, beer cans or simply distortion, the event in the center has been cancelled. From now on only Nørrebro and Vesterbro play a part in this event. It used to be for free but most likely they will charge a complimentary amount of DKK 100 for cleaning up your mess.
As far as your weekday evening entertainment program is concerned forget Copenhagen during winter months. Once the tempertures go up the town is “packed” – especially on the weekends. People then tend to even spend their nights outside due to a permanent lack of sun from October to March. So to be sure choose a month without an “r” in the name.
Visit Café Victor in the Kongens Nytorv area for a drink between 11:00 p.m. and 01:00 a.m. (Thu – Sat). The guests who had formal dinners finally let go and mix with the late night drop ins. Busiest night is Friday. In case you planned ahead a reservation at Noma, the world’s best restaurant, would be appropriate 3 months before. The 20-course-meal starts at DKK 2.050 per person. Your extra bucks are history by now.
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