Copenhagen travel guide: Scandi city break from Liverpool
With flights to Copenhagen now taking off twice a week from Liverpool John Lennon Airport, here’s why a trip to the uber cool Danish capital makes for a splendid summer break.
Words by Lawrence Saunders
A refreshing Danish dip
Summer temperatures in Copenhagen might only average 17°C but its surrounding waters are surprisingly clement and more than suitable for bathing.
Kastrup Sea Bath is an outdoor swimming facility located 15 minutes’ drive from the city centre in the Øresund strait.
Affectionately known as ‘The Snail’ by locals, the unique conch-shaped structure is made from African Azobe wood which is supposedly tougher than steel.
Free to use, this enchanting construct sits at the end of a long pier and includes changing rooms, showers, lockers and two diving boards.
Back in the heart of the city, the harbour bath at Islands Brygge attracts locals and tourists alike as the mercury rises.
There are five pools in all with a 16ft diving podium offering pluckier bathers a more stimulating way to enter the water, which is checked every day for quality.
Prefer to stay dry? You’ll find a lawn in front of the harbour where there’s plenty of room for sunbathing, picnics, ball games and the rest.
As the capital of a country synonymous with pastries, it’s probably no surprise to learn that Copenhagen has more than its fair share of brilliant bakeries.
Sankt Peders Bageri in the Latin Quarter is famed for its sticky cinnamon buns which it shifts an incredible 4,000 of every Wednesday.
You can have your onsdagssnegle or ‘Wednesday snail’ topped with decadent frosting or extra sugar at this Danish institution which dates all the way back to 1652.
For a more contemporary spot, head to Holm in the sprawling ILLUM department store and grab a fastelavnsboller (traditional sweet roll).
Wherever you end up, don’t forget to try a tebirke – the traditional poppy seed-crusted pastry with a smooth, sweet filling which is best accompanied by a mug of tea.
As it’s considered one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities, more than half of Copenhagen’s residents cycle every day.
The Danish capital is criss-crossed by over 350km of cycle paths and lanes, meaning getting about on two wheels is a breeze.
Bycyklen, the public bicycle sharing scheme, is well established and its intelligent electric bikes are available at hundreds of stations across the city.
Every bike has its own touchscreen tablet, which can be used for navigation, payment and guidance to points of interest.
And if you plan on making the most of the culture the city has to offer, it’s worth considering a Copenhagen Card.
This little bit of plastic will get you into more than 80 top attractions and also includes unlimited travel on public transport to boot. Cards are purchased and made active for between 24 hours (399 DKK for an adult) and 120 hours (989 DKK).
From Disneyland to land of the free
From rollercoasters and restaurants to live music and theatre, you certainly won’t be stuck for things to do at Tivoli Gardens.
Founded in 1843, the amusement park and pleasure garden was a regular haunt of fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen, and also Walt Disney’s inspiration for the original Disneyland.
Europe’s fifth most visited theme park is particularly picturesque during the summertime when its magnificent gardens are in full bloom.
If flourishing flora isn’t your thing, how about checking out Tom Jones, Lauryn Hill or Jason Derulo who are all performing as part of Tivoli’s ‘Friday’s Rock’ series during July and August.
Just a short bus journey from the family-friendly fun of Tivoli lies one of Copenhagen’s most popular, if controversial, tourist destinations.
Housing around 1,000 people, Freetown Christiania is a small commune founded in 1971 when squatters cut a hole in a fence and occupied a former military barracks.
A society within a society, Christiania has its own music venues, self-built houses, cafés, restaurants and art galleries to enjoy.
Despite its anarchist roots, there are some rules in Christiania – these include not taking photographs of locals without their permission and no running!
Like many capitals in Western Europe, Copenhagen can be an expensive place to visit so saving a couple of krone on your room and board mightn’t be the worst idea.
The Wakeup Copenhagen chain has three modern hotels which offer simple yet stylish lodgings handily situated close to some of the city’s biggest attractions.
Wakeup Copenhagen on Carsten Niebuhrs Gade is walking distance from Tivoli Gardens, Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square), Strøget shopping street and Copenhagen Harbour.
Summer prices start from around £60 per night.
If you fancy more unorthodox digs and money is no object then take a look at THEKRANE – a former coal crane turned one-room hotel in the Nordhavn neighbourhood.
A two-night stay costs around £2,155 but for that you do get your own concierge, breakfast, bicycles, spa access and even a BMW to explore the city.
Mad & Drikke in the Meatpacking District
Three places to eat, drink and be merry in Copenhagen’s hippest borough.
Warpigs combines BBQ, beer and metal music in a butchers-turned-brewpub.
Everything is supersized at this place – from the huge cuts of meat which are cooked for between 12-14 hours to the gigantic smokers which can flavour up to two tonnes of the stuff every day.
The beer selection isn’t exactly limited either with 22 regularly updated choices all made fresh at Warpigs’ in-house brewery.
• Warpigs, Flæsketorvet 25, 1711 København
Originally starting life in Iceland, Tommi’s Burger Joint meshes perfectly with the Meatpacking District’s trashy yet trendy vibe.
You won’t find a raft of burger options at this tiny eatery but what you will find is fresh, tasty and extremely well priced for Copenhagen.
Prices start at 69 DKK (about £8) for a classic wheat bun filled with a juicy patty and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard.
• Tommi’s Burger Joint, Høkerboderne 21-23, 1712 København
Opened by two Icelandic girls inside a former slaughterhouse, party bar Jolene is a hipster paradise.
Go for a good time and a DJ line-up stacked with top Danish talent – and yes, it is named after the Dolly Parton track.
Turfed out of its original home following complaints from neighbours, you’ll find this riotous venue located in the heart of the district.