After a great visit to Legoland, Lego House, and Givskund Zoo we continued our Denmark travels in the capital city of Copenhagen. The city is packed with great attractions and we had some difficulty narrowing down the list of places to visit during our three days there.
Read on to find out what we saw, tips for saving money while visiting Copenhagen, and what we’d do differently next time.
We arrived in Copenhagen fairly late in the afternoon. We purchased Copenhagen Cards at our hostel (more on that later) and took the metro to Gammel Strand where we caught a boat operated by Canal Tours Copenhagen. A guide called out the main attractions as we passed through the canals and under many low bridges.
The wedge-shaped silver building in the background is a waste to energy plant called Amager Bakke. This building is notable for the interesting architecture as well as the fact that the roof will serve as a year-round artificial ski slope (unfortunately the slope had not yet opened when we visited). Even more bizarre is the design of the smokestack, which will puff rings of steam rather than a constant exhaust stream. This place seems like what would happen if Willy Wonka designed a power plant.
Perhaps the best science museum we have ever visited, the Experimentarium was a real highlight of our visit to Copenhagen. The museum is expansive, with four floors of exhibits for people of all ages.
Almost all of the exhibits were hands-on and everything was explained in both Danish and English. We had only intended to spend a few hours at the museum but we ended up staying most of the day because the kids (as well as the adults) were enjoying it so much.
Elsewhere in the museum there were exhibits on energy, music, physics and more. There were activities for visitors of all ages and the hands-on activities were well done and all of them were working (which is usually not the case at these kinds of museums).
The second oldest operating amusement park in the world, Tivoli Gardens is a fun getaway in the middle of Copenhagen. We enjoyed strolling through the gardens and seeing various buildings in different architectural styles.
Annette and the kids were brave enough to take a trip on “The Roller Coaster,” a ride that celebrated its 100th birthday four years ago. A brake man rides along with each train of cars to control the speed of the ride.
Entrance to the park is free for Copenhagen Card. Tickets for the rides are 30 DKK each and each ride costs between one and three tickets. Alternatively, it is possible to purchase a pass for unlimited rides for 230 DKK.
National Aquarium (Den Blå Planet)
Denmark’s National Aquarium opened in its current modern building in 2013 and is the largest aquarium in northern Europe. The museum is divided into five main sections featuring different ecosystems.
The aquarium exhibits have a strong focus on education. The kids learned about choosing sustainable seafood, different types of ecosystems, and more. There was also a touch tank where they got to feel starfish and other sea animals.
Outside the museum there’s a play area for the kids as well as a snack bar with a great view of the water towards Malmö.
The National Museum
We spent most of our time in the National Museum of Denmark in the Children’s museum area on the first floor. Here, the kids got to see what a Danish classroom looked like 100 years ago, feel the weight of metal armor, and sit in a fishing boat.
Christiansborg Royal Stables
The Christiansborg Palace was closed on the day we visited but we did enjoy touring the Royal Stables and seeing the carriages that have carried Danish Royalty through the ages.
Guinness World of Records
This is one we probably wouldn’t have visited except for the fact that it was free for us to enter using the Copenhagen Card. The museum is as kitschy as one might expect but the kids were amused enough to make our short visit worthwhile.
The museum features several life-sized models of the tallest person to have lived.
During our stay we purchased two 72 hour Copenhagen Cards and this turned out to be a real money-saver. The card covers almost all of the major attractions around Copenhagen as well as public transportation.
The Copenhagen Card website has a handy calculator where you can select the attractions you plan to visit to determine if the card will result in a savings. We paid the equivalent of 186 Euros for our passes which was 408 Euros less than we would have paid for what we visited. Even excluding the attractions we wouldn’t have visited if we didn’t have the card, we still would have saved 256 Euros.
The Copenhagen Card is an especially good deal for families because kids under 10 get the card benefits for free when traveling with an adult using the card, even at attractions that charge for kids.
During our visit to Copenhagen we stayed at the Danhostel Copenhagen Amager. The hostel is about 3 miles from central Copenhagen so getting to the main sights required a bus or metro ride. This was a minor inconvenience for us given the cost difference of this hostel compared to staying at a hostel downtown, especially since we were traveling by car and parking was free at the Danhostel Amager.
We found the hostel to be clean and the staff were friendly and helpful. The kitchen facilities were adequate, although they had a somewhat unusual policy of requiring a deposit in order to use dishes and cutlery.
We greatly enjoyed our visit to Copenhagen. Our main mistake was not giving ourselves more time in this great city. There were several other attractions that we wanted to visit but we weren’t able to fit them into our schedule. On the upside, this gives us a great reason to return! Next time we’d budget at least five days to explore the city.
Next time – on to Norway!