Abbey and I arrived in Copenhagen around 7pm after our flight from Iceland. To our surprise there was no passport control or customs to go through. So we grabbed our bags and headed for the metro. Our first stop was Generator Hostel to drop off our bags. We would be staying in this hostel for three nights before moving to an AirBnB for the last two nights. We purchased two metro tickets at a kiosk for 75 Danish Krone (DKK), or about 12 USD. That was a little pricey compared to prices we were used to with “The T” in Boston, but it was well worth it because of how clean, prompt, quiet, and quick the Copenhagen metro was. We were surprised that there was no gate to scan your ticket. You just walked directly up to the rails with no barriers. We figured that someone would come by to check our tickets once we were onboard but that never happened. This would continue to be a mystery to us for the duration of our time in Copenhagen. We took the metro a fair amount and not once were we asked to show our tickets. Our best guess is that the metro just uses the honor system and trusts people to not take advantage of free rides.
After our short metro ride we arrived a few blocks away from the hostel. Luckily the weather was calm so our walk was easy (especially compared to our walk to the hostel in Reykjavik). After checking in we headed to our 8-bed mixed dorm room. We were glad to see that two showers and a toilet were part of the dorm room. Abbey took the top bunk and I took the bottom. Underneath the beds were lockers where we could store our belongings. Once settled in, we headed out to find some dinner. We settled on “simpleRAW”, a vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurant close to the hostel. We intended to split an appetizer of spicy edamame and a vegan burger, but through some miscommunication we both ended up with our own vegan burgers. Luckily we were both hungry from a day of traveling and almost finished both burgers. This, however, would end up being our most expensive meal in Copenhagen at over 300DKK. After seeing the bill we decided we needed to find cheaper places to eat and ensure we split dishes. We then made our way back to the hostel to retire for the night.
The following morning we woke up and had some mediocre coffee at the hostel’s bar/restaurant before going to a free walking tour of Copenhagen. We arrived at the walking tour a few minutes late but were still able to join the group. The tour lasted three hours (11:00-14:00) and took us all around the historic areas of Copenhagen. For being free (you should still tip your guide) it was a great tour and gave us ideas of where we wanted to spend our time while int he city. Following the tour we grabbed some pizza for a late lunch and joined another free walking tour at 15:00. This tour was different because it focused on Christianhavn, a unique neighborhood south of the city center. This tour only lasted 90 minutes, and we were glad because it had gotten much colder. The tour was very informative and dropped us off at the entrance to Freetown Christiania.
If you have never heard of Christiania, then the best way to describe it would be “Copenhagen’s Little Amsterdam”. It is a small area of Christianhavn and only about 1000 people live there. The residence of Christiania do not consider themselves to be part of Copenhagen, Denmark, or the EU. The have declared themselves as an independent, anarchist, socialist state, and for the most part, the Danish government lets them operate as such. Upon entering Christiania you can tell that it is different from the rest of Copenhagen. The roads are not paved and there are virtually no cars. The houses look more like shacks and graffiti is rampant. We took a quick stroll around the neighborhood and even went down the infamous “Pusher Street”, where marijuana and hash is sold openly at small booths. All of this may make Christiania sound like a rough and unsafe place, but everyone we met was very nice and we never felt unsafe during our short time there. However, the cold weather drove us out of Christiania and back towards the hostel. We grabbed a cheap sandwich for dinner on the way home. Once back at the hostel we bought 36-hour Copnehagen cards from reception. These card get you into many of the city’s top attractions and give you access to free public transit. After planning out which attractions we wanted to see, we went to sleep.
The next morning we went for a run around the historic district surrounding our hostel. After the run and getting ready for the day we began to make use of our Copenhagen Cards by going to a few attractions (Abbey will detail our experiences with the Copenhagen Cards in a later post). We stopped for some delicious ramen for lunch and after seeing some attractions made our way to Christiania once again. I wanted to see what the neighborhood was like during the day and spend a bit more time there to experience how unique the place is. We went to a small coffee shop in Christiania where Abbey enjoyed what she described as one of the best soy lattes she has ever had before. Meanwhile, I sipped on an espresso and enjoyed watching the people of Christiania enter and leave the coffee shop. After finishing our drinks we left Christiania and made our way towards the hostel. Unfortunately, we were not able to get many photos of Christiania because taking pictures is frowned upon there (especially on Pusher Street).
When we got back to the hostel we went to the lounge bar and had a happy hour drink and searched for somewhere to eat dinner. We decided on a Chinese buffet in Norrebro, a neighborhood in north Copenhagen. It was a pretty long walk so we grabbed a miniature bottle of wine from Aldi to (legally) drink along the way. At the buffet we had amazing food with a large selection of alternative meat products. This was my favorite meal while in Copenhagen, and it wasn’t that expensive (135 DKK/each). After eating we went back to the hostel so we could pack up and be ready to go to the AirBnB in the morning.
The next morning we grabbed our bags, checked out of the hostel, and took a short metro ride to the AirBnB in south Copenhagen. The location was much more residential are quiet than the hostel. However, both Abbey and I welcomed this as we had just spent three nights sharing a room with other travelers. We didn’t stay long at the AirBnB before heading back into central Copenhagen and touring some more attractions. After we had made use of our Copenhagen Cards for the day we ate dinner at Riz Raz, another buffet in central Copenhagen. It wasn’t quite as good as the first buffet, but still very tasty and 36 DKK cheaper. After dinner we were exhausted from walking around Copenhagen for three days straight, so we decided to head back to the AirBnB, watch Netflix, and go to sleep. Prior to heading back we picked up some groceries so we could eat cheaply for some meals.
The next day we had originally planned to take a train eastbound to Roskilde in order to see some new attractions with our Copenhagen Cards. However, upon waking up we realized how tired we still were from the past few days and decided sleeping in would benefit us more in the long run. So we went back to sleep until 11:00. We then made lunch from our groceries and headed to Copenhagen Central Station to activate our Eurail passes. These passes would let us take an unlimited amount fo train rides around Europe for the next three months. I was able to activate my pass, but Abbey had some trouble because we didn’t realize we needed our passports for activation and hers was back at the AirBnB. So we went back to the AirBnB to grab the passport and then returned to the train station where Abbey was able to activate her pass this time.
After the Eurail endeavor it was mid-afternoon, so we decided to just grab a small snack and coffee from a cafe. We spent a couple of hours at the cafe and used the time to figure out which train we would be taking out of Copenhagen. We then went to a pub in central Copenhagen to watch the Liverpool v. Manchester City match. The place we went to was a Liverpool supporters pub and of course I was cheering for Manchester City. Unfortunately Liverpool won and I had to endure the constant cheering for the pub. After the match we had planned to go to dinner at a cozy Italian restaurant we had passed earlier that day. We didn’t think we would need reservations because it was a Sunday night during the winter. However, it turned out they were full and unable to seat us. Luckily we found a burger place close by where we split a falafel burger and nachos. This wasn’t exactly an authentic danish meal, but it delicious nonetheless. Following dinner we returned to the AirBnB and packed up most of our stuff to prepare for departure the next day. We woke up early the next day and made our way to Copenhagen Central Station for our 7:35 train out of Denmark.
I purposefully went into this trip with low expectations of each city. I didn’t want to build up ideas of how I may feel about a city or area and wind up disappointed. So far, albeit, we have only been to two cities thus far, I have been very impressed. I really enjoyed walking around Copenhagen’s small streets in complete wonderment of the colorful buildings and the numerous bikers. Despite it being overcast the entire time we were there, I didn’t mind. Sure, I would like to visit again in the summer, but the overcast weather and everyone bustling around in their coats made the city feel cozy.