I traveled to Denmark and Copenhagen at Christmas adnd also Greenland, an autonomous region belonging to the Kingdom of Denmark. Still, it would be my second time in a Scandinavian country. I had visited Iceland and to this day it is the most beautiful place where my eyes have settled. To do this, I prepared a travel plan to make the most of the time and thanks to official websites and blogs of other travelers, our trip turned out very well. With the experience of the trip, I learned many more things that I want to share with you. I hope you find it useful.
The trip in India was totally improvised and, before planning it, I had bought a ticket for Copenhagen in Denmark. I go from a sticky Indian heat to a dry cold glacier. As you can imagine, this trip was quite decaffeinated. Europe has thousands of things to see but now I am hooked on traveling to different cultures. The prices in Copenhagen seemed crazy to me.
Day 1 - Copenhagen
I arrived at Copenhagen airport in the morning and the truth is that it was a little bit colder than I expected. I left there with my little suitcase, took a car that I had rented and went towards the hostel. With my phone sim removed to avoid unwanted charges, but with the phone turned on I activated google maps. The host lived in an old red brick community building now divided into a lot of mini apartments. Upon entering, I felt that I had gotten into an Ikea catalog.
It has a very minimalist decoration, unvarnished flooring, a lot of white to give a sensation of light. As soon as we left the hotel we saw the rainbow and the truth is that it was a foretaste of the time that awaited us. We went to change money in a huge bank, which is in front of the tourist information office in the Vesterbrogade. I was immediately struck by the fact that the city was so flat and full of bikes.
I went through the list of places to see in Denmark and my host gave me some good advice. I started the day walking, going through some of the most tourist sites since the center of Copenhagen is quite small. The truth is that I already thought it was really charming and even more so because of the Christmas atmosphere that was breathed there.
The old center of the city has medieval style with spectacular buildings like Teatro Real. I fell in love completely with the beautiful district of Nyhavn, a promenade along the harbor with colorful houses. When I finished the boat trip I went to eat. It is a lively area, full of cafes and restaurants (possibly the most expensive) of tourists and people stationed in the canal drinking a cold local beer.But first we went to the Papirøen, located in the port, near the famous Noma, which is nothing else than an old port warehouse and destination of the Copenhagen Street Food, where about 40 stalls of world street food are accommodated. After a few beers we went out and we went to Christiania, which was not very far. We went through the famous porch that says something like we are leaving Christiania and entering the European Union.
We continue walking along the left margin of the channel until reaching the Baltic Sea. Enfrete, at about 200 meters continued the city, specifically the Christianshavn neighborhood. We access through a newly constructed pedestrian bridge. It is home to one of the major tourist attractions of the capital, which is none other than the free city of Christiania or the Copenhagen Opera.
The warehouses are in the shopping area (Stroget). I went back to the hotel walking through its pedestrian streets (Frederiksberggade, Østergade, Nygade, Vimmelskaftet and Amagertorv). I pass through Vor Frue Kirke (The Cathedral of Our Lady) and the Radhuspladsen from where the pedestrian streets emerge. After resting a bit in the hotel pool, in the afternoon I went on the car to visit the city. There was little traffic.
One feels very safe and quiet and many downtown streets are pedestrianized. Passing in front of Tivoli Gardens, I arrive immediately at the Town Hall Square. I move along Stroget Street to reach the Kongens Nytorv, where I see the Royal Theater. After a little bit of music we went for a walk around Stroget, the longest pedestrian street in the world. We entered the Lego store-museum. It's not as big as the one in New York, but it's also cool.
When I arrive in a new city I love asking for an opinion about the points of interest. In this case, the Tivoli Gardens came from the list. This amusement park, opened since 1843 is one of the oldest in the world. It is really a must visit in Copenhagen. In the afternoon I went to the Tivoli Gardens and entered the amusement park. Walking in the Tivoli, I think this amusement park at Christmas is more magical than at any other time of the year.
I found a Christmas theme park, with typical fair attractions such as trains, Ferris wheels, and roller coasters. It was a fairy-tale air with lots of families and children enjoying chocolate, hot wine, and waffles to fight against the cold. It was a really different place. We decided to find a place to eat.
We had a couple of restaurants close to Central Station, and we went there to the district of Kødbyen, in the district of Inner Vesterbro, an area of nightclubs. After hesitating between a couple of restaurants, we opted for one that was on the corner for its good local homemade food.
We ate roasted chickens with potatoes, stew of the day (which was nothing more than a breaded steak with caramelized red cabbage and potatoes). We also opted for the generous and tasty burgers, which we water with pints of local beers that we would try on more than one occasion. It did not cost very expensive. Anyway, we must remember that Copenhagen is among the 5 most expensive capitals in the world.
One of the big problems, when you travel alone, is that you need help to take photos. The advantage? You make friends right away. I saw a boy who, like me, was looking for someone to take a picture of him and we immediately became friends. We continue touring the whole area of the port together in search of the Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue). After about 45 minutes of walking all along the port of the Danish capital, we find it.
It is located in the Langelinie Park, in the Harbor Bay of Copenhagen, which flows into the Baltic Sea. The first time I approached the famous little mermaid was a failure. The tourists-paparazzi were harassing her with flashes without stopping but, who gets up early, God helps! In the second attempt, seeing her at dawn (together with a couple of Japanese) was a success.
More or less halfway, on our right, we find the majestic building of the Opera (the night lighting is spectacular). On our left is the residence of the Danish royal family, Amalienborg. Going around we found a Thai restaurant located in a very nice place at the foot of a canal. It was all very good but spicy.
The collection of this museum enchanted me. There are 10,000 works ranging from ancient art to the gems of Gauguin, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and my beloved Rodin. This building that collects the famous private brewer's collection is truly impressive inside as well as outside. The highlight was the beautiful winter garden that connects the two main buildings. It was a small oasis in an icy capital.
I had many expectations placed on Christiana, for its history but today I am afraid that it is very far from what it was. Still, it is a curious visit. I had heard about this independent community but, today, little remains of that free city, which had been a self-governed hippy commune. It has unfortunately become a neighborhood of squatter houses where it is easy to procure drugs.
A step away from there is the Church of Our Savior (Vor Frelsers Kirke). I decided to enter and climb their vertiginous exterior stairs that spiral around the length of its baroque capital. It is not suitable for claustrophobic and/or people with vertigo). Overcoming your fears will be worth it because the views from there to all of Copenhagen are spectacular.
At 5 o'clock in the afternoon the city was already dark! On the way back we did not even have a coin and the bus was so full that we could not get close to the little machine so we did not pay. I do not like to sneak in but it was impossible. We went to the train station and the reason that the bus was going to burst is that day was the Christmas parade.
So we saw Santa Claus and all his entourage, and also the lights on the pedestrian street. The parade continued until the Radhuspladsen or City Hall Square to light the tree. So after buying a couple of Christmas decorations we went back to the City Hall Square. We came to the double square of Gammeltorv and Nytorv, and from there to the beautiful Magstraede street.
We bought the best popcorn I've eaten in my life. There were many flavors, sweet, salty and even spicy. We chose some caramel candies that served me for dinner. We got off this time in Norreport and visited another Christmas market, that of Kultorvet. Wooden houses sell decorations and sweets, glögg and waffles, but also the typical and tasty Danish hot dogs. There is smell of cinnamon, chestnuts and churros. In that same square there are big stores with cheap and cool things for the house.
For dinner we enter a restaurant with decent food. We ordered salads buffet with garlic bread, nachos and burger, and desserts and beer. We returned to the hotel. The bar was very lively with concert and everything, but we were tired and we went to rest. Luckily in the rooms we could hear almost nothing.
Day 2 - Roskilde
We had breakfast in the hotel. There was a buffet that convinced us all. There were four types of bread, sausage, butter, jams, nutella, juices, coffee, tea, milk, cereals, fruit, yogurt and honey.
With a full stomach we took the car and went to Hillerod to visit the Frederiksborg Castle. It is worth visiting, as it is very beautiful, well preserved and the gardens are beautiful. We easily park the car on the street. After strolling through its gardens (if you want you can also take a boat trip on the lake), we ate on the terrace of a restaurant. After lunch, we went to Helsingor to see the Kronborg Castle, the stage of the Hamlet.
We visit some royal dependencies and the Maritime Museum. We did not go to see it, we only saw it from the outside. It is the place where Hamlet, the work of Shakespeare, happens. In this work, the castle of Kronborg has the denomination of Elsinore. I can perfectly understand the strategic importance of this place since from its windows I can see the sea and Sweden in the distance.
We head to Roskilde. We were in the Viking Ship Museum. We ate some delicious salmon sandwiches there in the museum restaurant. It's not very cheap but it was very tasty typical Danish food. In the afternoon we visit the Roskilde cathedral. It is large and very beautiful. Apparently, different musicians were rehearsing Christmas carols. So we were lucky to hear varied music, choirs of children and a girl who sang great accompanied by a guitarist. When we left we found some assistants of Santa Claus. It was the first time in my life that I saw a reindeer. With the emotion I almost missed the photo.
When we returned to Copenhagen we passed by the marble church (Marmorkirken), Frederiks Kirke. It is one of the best-known buildings in Copenhagen. The interior of Marmorkirken is very spectacular, mainly due to the shape of the building and the feeling that the dome produces from within. The restaurant is very close to the Rundetaarn or redona tower. We went up when it was already dusk. There was also a very cool photo exhibition next to the gift shop and we visited below the church to which the tower belongs.
Next, we went to the Kastellet. At that time, there are no longer as many tourists. We park well in Churchillparken, right at the southern entrance of Kastellet. It is an open site that does not have closing hours. Before entering we see the Gefion Fountain and the Church of Saint Alban (Saint Alban Kirke). It is one of the most beautiful churches.
And from there we went to the Christmas market of Hojbro Plads, where we repeated with the glogg, the hot wine and sausages. We went to see the market and fall in love with all the Christmas decor items. We were surprised to see churros, which together with the crepes and hot wine stalls seem to be the best of the street food stalls.
In the same square there were also street musicians that I want to think they played for pleasure in the street, because they did it wonderfully. In fact I think they won the same as those who charge entry because it was impossible not to stop for a while.
We said goodbye to our guide and that night we went to dinner at a pizzeria on the Nyhavn Canal. There were many people but we found a place to park. There almost everyone moves by bike. We continue to Church of the Holy Ghost and pass the small island where Christianborg Palace is located, reaching Kongens Nytorv. And from there we went back to the hotel where that night, we signed up for happy hour, and we had a good time playing Jenga.
Day 3 - MonWe decided to take it easy that after all we were on vacation. The bad thing is that with the few hours of light that there was (at half past three it was getting dark). Of course, it was always cloudy and the temperature was between -2 and 2 degrees. We had a leisurely breakfast.
We took the rental car and went to the Mon island. When we arrived, we left the things in the Bed and Breakfast that we had booked and we went to eat in Klintholm Havn, a small village on the coast. As it was a little late, around 5, we did not enter the Geocenter and decided to go directly to the beach. To go down to the cliff we have to go down many stairs, but I must say that the descent was longer than the return.
Mons Klint is a limestone cliff very white and at the foot there is a long pebble beach. It's a pebble beach and there are supposed to be fossils, but we did not find any to my frustration. We were struck by the fact that on this beach the sea has no waves or tides, and is like a raft. The upper part of the cliff also has a very beautiful landscape, because it is a beech forest.
I take photos of the sunset on this beach of the Baltic Sea, which is in an area where there are many holiday cottages. On the Mon island we begin to see farms with a thatched roof, small white churches and meadows with cows and sheep, a landscape that is repeated throughout Denmark.
At night we went to a beach near the B&B to have dinner. There were two good looking restaurants and we opted for a one that is in the harbor with a buffet that was very good. We could taste the typical food of Denmark like marinated herring, frikadeller (meatballs), fillets of battered fish, a kind of meatballs of fish and many types of salad. After dinner we went to the beautiful country house owned by a couple.
Day 4 - OdenseWe went from the Møn island towards Jutland, where we had booked a bungalow. For this trip, instead of crossing the Storeabelt bridge, we chose to cross the Lolland Falster islands and take a ferry. When going along main roads and motorway, we really did not see much of this area either. I do not know if it was very worthwhile to take this longer route.
The ferry lasts half an hour and is very comfortable. We park the car in it and there is a cafeteria to eat or drink something. We arrived in Svendborg and ate there a family pizza that was huge. From Svendborg, we cross the Funen island and arrive at Odense, the hometown of Hans Christian Andersen.
In Odense, we visited the museum and Hans Christian Andersen's birthplace. With an atrocious hunger we went in search of a Danish restaurant. As it was the weekend before Christmas it is bursting. So we went to a Greek one, but it would have been cheaper to buy a loaf of bread in the bakery and had eaten the same. We ate in an outdoor cafe. There is a restaurant behind the museum that has a free buffet that includes drinks but it was only until 2:00 PM and we did not arrive on time. In Odense, is also the zoo, the St. Canute's Cathedral but we did not have time to see anything else.
We reach the campsite, which is on a beach in the Vejle fjord.
The truth is that the beach disappointed us a little, because it is made of stones and does not have waves either. The fjord is quite narrow, so we can see the other shore and more than the sea it seems that we are in a swamp. This time we did not find any fossils, although we did see a lot of jellyfish, some dead out of the water and many inside. We must also say that it was quite cold.
Day 5 - Aarhus
We went to visit Arhus, the capital of Jutland. In the morning we visit the Marselisborg Castle, the summer residence of the Danish monarchs. We could see it because they were not there. It is worth visiting, not for the building, but for the gardens and orchards and the beautiful site in which it is located. Admission is free.
After a walk, we went to the center of the city. We visited the Cathedral of San Clemente and took a walk through the pedestrian streets of the Latin Quarter. We ate at a cafe/bar in front of the Magasin store, which had roast chickens and shrimp sandwiches. It was all very tasty.
In the afternoon we went to see Den Gamle By (the old city) which is on the outskirts of Aarhus. It is an open museum organized as an old town formed by historical buildings of Denmark brought from cities and towns throughout Denmark. We loved the place. It looks like a little village from a story. It has a river that crosses it and also horse carts.
There are houses where people lived completely furnished and with people dressed in the old fashioned way. Others are businesses like a carpentry shop or a house where they made coffins and others are old shops. There is a bar to be able to drink something and also eat smorrebrod, as we did. We also had some hot wines (glogg) that warmed our body and soul and some typical sweets that were like little round donuts and with little grace.
From here we went to Ebeltoft which is a coastal town, quite touristy, with beach and many small shops. We arrived a little late and as it about to close we did not enter. From here we went to visit the Sletterhage lighthouse. Like all the lighthouses, it is in a quite charming place, surrounded by a beach of stones, once more, in which we took a nice walk. Lifting the stones we found enough crabs and also enough starfish, of different sizes and colors.
On the way to Billund, we stopped in a beautiful village, Silkeborg. Here we stopped for an ice cream on the shores of Silkeborg Langso, a lake that divides the city. Right there is the stop of the steamboats that moves through the lake. We arrived in time to catch one at 6:30 pm which made a wonderful tour of 1h 30 min. We had not anticipated it and we loved it.
We reach Billund which is located on the Jutland peninsula, separated by the Strait of the Small Belt from Funen Island. There we stayed at the hotel. Billund is a small town where all activity is centered around the Lego factories. There is not much to visit. We got to dinner in Billund, in a pizzeria. It was very cheap and it was not bad.
Day 6 - Billund
We try to find the beaches of Esbjerg, but we did not get it. So we went back where we took a tour to see the Lego factories and we went to see the reception of the Lego Hotel with the store where we chop with another box.
We head to Legoland. We take the tickets in advance on the internet since it is cheaper and we do not have to wait for the queues at the entrance. We took it out in Copenhagen because we wanted to make sure of the weather. We print them at the hotel because we have to take them printed.
There is an area called Miniland with the Lego reconstruction of several cities, also an area with Star Wars scenes and many attractions are decorated with Lego figures. There is also a Polar Zone with penguins and the Atlantis area is an aquarium in which fish live together with the figures and ships of Lego Atlantis. Here lives Crabzilla, a kind of giant crab. We tried not to waste time to see everything.
We ate in one of the many restaurants there and for dessert, we have a super ice cream with 4 balls. To ride there are many queues. The last hour was spent in the lego store where we came out with 4 boxes (we are fanatics of lego).
On the way back, we saw a sign that indicated Jelling and I had read that in this town there were some stones with runes, in which the name of Denmark appears for the first time and we decided to approach. The stones really are not worth much and the center that is next door was closed, but the town is very idyllic.
At the entrance there is a small lake, with its cows on the shore and there was a kind of Viking ship inside. The whole town is very well kept, super clean, with its small church and the cemetery around. The stones are in this cemetery.
We went back exhausted to the hotel. We walked to the restaurant and had dinner there. It is the liveliest thing in the area. Apart from a small shopping center with shops and restaurants, it has a water park and belongs to a resort. We had dinner with American food that was very rich.
Day 7 - Ribe
Today we visited Kolding, an ancient city of royalty that offers many historical sites. We visit the beautifully restored ruins of Koldinghus Castle. From the castle, there are beautiful views of the Kolding Fjord. We then go south of Kolding to see Christiansfeld, the best preserved old town of Moravia in northern Europe. There is the Church of the brotherhood of Moravia. We ate there after taking a nice walk and seeing its shops.
In the afternoon we went to Ribe. It is the oldest city in Denmark. It is the city that I liked most of all we have visited so far. We took the bicycles and went to see Ribe, where we walked through the streets of the oldest city in Denmark.
Located in a flat and swampy area, with marvelously well-preserved houses, streets, and monasteries from the medieval period. The city is also home to the fantastic Museet Ribes Vikinger. We climb to the top of the Commoner's Tower inside the impressive Ribe cathedral, and thus enjoy the breathtaking views of the old town and its surroundings.
We go to the Mandø island for the possibility of seeing seals. The Mandø island, together with Romø and Fanø are part of the Wadden Sea National Park. We accessed from a place close to Ribe by a small road that can only be reached at low tide. In less than an hour we arrived at the island, which is very bucolic, with its sheep, cows, a mill.
When we crossed the sand and arrived near the shore, we got off and we realized that those species of stones that we saw in the distance were really seals and there were hundreds. So as not to scare them, they do not let us get closer than 50 meters. So we cannot see the seals up close and we can see that some of them enter the water. They come out, and they crawl.
The guide found a small nugget of amber that he gave us. When we returned to the village, I had just time to eat the picnic we had in a fantastic place, overlooking the sandbar and the mill. This was our last full day in Denmark, so we returned from Jutland to Zealand to stay the last night closer to the airport.
We cross to the Zealand island where Copenhagen is. We cross to the Fiona island by the bridge of the Great Belt. It is the greater of the three marine narrows that connect the Kattegat Strait with the Baltic Sea. It is a little expensive, but we save a lot of roads. On the island, there are many more places to visit but we did not have time.
From here we went to Gilleleje, where we had booked the last night in a B&B. Gilleleje is a fishing village and has a harbor with many fishing boats and mountains of nets. There are several specialized fish restaurants and in particular we dined in one, which was very good. On the outside it is like a red prefabricated house, but inside it is very nice and well decorated. We had a craft beer.
Day 8 - Greenland
For breakfast, my hosts filled me with marinated herring, cold meats, fruits, and yogurt. It was a delight. We went back to Copenhagen and as it was early to go to the airport, we thought of going to see a movie in IMAX or 3D. Then we saw a movie in 3D.
After lunch, we leave to catch the plane. We arrived at the airport and we finished our trip where we started it. We are very tired but it has been worth it. The beginning of my trip to Greenland originates from Copenhagen. The trip really begins when we take the plane in Copenhagen to Narsarsuaq. At the boarding gate it is very easy to distinguish between the Danes, the Inuits (Eskimos, but they do not like to be called that because they usually take it as a derogatory way of calling them) and the rest.
Once on the plane, in front of us sits an older man who lives near the border area with Switzerland and who goes there to serve as a doctor. After about four hours of flight we are approaching Greenland. The doctor who has already made the trip several times tells us to look through the window, but unfortunately the sky is cloudy and cannot be seen from above.
Nor can we see Iceland well when we pass over. If I had already seen it on the internet bad weather was waiting for us in Greenland. Even so, as we go down, and cross the dense white clouds, we begin to see the snow of the mountain peaks. It is amazing how the white of the clouds blends with the white of the snow.
And slowly, we go through all the clouds and begin to distinguish the mountains, the icebergs, and the water of the sea with a rich blue color. No doubt the trip is worth it just for the views from the plane when landing. The arrival in Greenland on the flight is impressive, with our noses stuck to the window, like little children in front of a showcase of goodies.
We enjoyed the view of the fjords, the sea ice, the mountains and the sea full of icebergs, all of a vivid color and that was cloudy and the sun was not visible. We notice that the plane takes off the landing gear but, while I only see water and more water, are we going to land in the water? There is the airstrip of Narsarsuaq airport. I did not know it but they told me that it is one of the most dangerous.
Apparently the runway is very short, but the pilots are very experienced and descend without problems on the track, and not on the water as I began to fear. I had not left the plane and only the view from it encouraged me to consider the trip as satisfied. It is an impressive sight.
Denmark was for me a step forward and a great experience. Not only is it a beautiful country, with nice people it has full of places impossible to forget.