If you’re looking for a slightly different European destination, go to Copenhagen. It’s not usually on the top of American travelers’ list like Paris, but it’s a great place to spend a few days. Here are a few ideas about what you can do in Copenhagen.
Just an FYI — we’re a family of three, including a 7-year-old. So this post isn’t going to be about nightlife and stuff like that.
Spend A Day At Tivoli Gardens
It’s hard not to like a good roller coaster. Even better as a dad is watching your kid dive into a bunch of fun rides. Tivoli (pronounced Tee-OO-Lee) Gardens excels at both. It’s not a big theme park, but it has plenty to do. It’s also convenient, being plopped virtually in the middle of the city.
It’s not cheap — you pay an entrance fee and then have the option of a ride pass or paying per-ride. And different tides have different prices. It can get confusing.
Still, it’s well worth spending a day there. Your little person will definitely thank you. But prepare for changes in weather. Our day started off sunny, then ended up with a major rain and hail storm.
Channel “Norsemen” At The Viking Ship Museum
I’ve watched the Netflix series “Norsemen” way too many times. I had scenes from the show flashing through my head during my visit to the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, which is a small town a short train ride away from Copenhagen.
There’s a lot to do here, much of it hands-on. Sure, you can look at all the cool thousand-year-old Viking ships carefully preserved indoors. But you can also board replicas in the water, try on Viking clothes and take photos on a ship and even build your own mini-ships in an outdoor workshop.
The location was beautiful, perched right on the south shore of the Roskilde Fjord. It was also gray and drizzly, even in the summer. The museum is just in a perfect spot to make you think about what it was like to go sailing in a small boat in cold water.
Unfortunately, the museum has regular restrooms rather than a shitting log.
Just Go Walk, Run Or Ride Around The City
Going for a walk is always our first order of business. We arrived, dropped out stuff at the Tivoli Hotel (which is about a 10-15 minute walk away from Tivoli Gardens) and walked back toward the train station. From there, we roamed into the area northeast of Tivoli Gardens. We found a few streets closed to vehicle traffic, which was nice.
And we had no shortage of interesting locations to check out, from the Rundetaarn to a LEGO store. At some point in that area, you make a transition from the modern visiCopenhagen with all of its angular buildings to the old-school zone. There, you’ll see older architecture that has a very fairytale flavor to it.
If you’re into running rather than walking, it’s a mixed bag. Many areas have uneven paving that requires a bit more attention. But you also have great running weather and a generally pleasant vibe. There are also plenty of park areas that offer a better surface for runners.
Eating And Drinking In Copenhagen
In a lot of cases, we were eating on the go in Copenhagen. That kind of spontaneity doesn’t often make for memorable meals, but that’s on us. There’s plenty of great food in Copenhagen. Here are a few high points.
I honestly didn’t go to Copenhagen to eat Texas-style BBQ. But I definitely went to drink good beer. It just so happens that Warpigs Brewpub serves some excellent beers in addition to outstanding BBQ. They don’t drench it in sauce — if you want that, you have to do it yourself. Instead, the BBQ is all about rubbed-and-smokey goodness.
OK, about the beer. Here are some of Warpigs’ standouts, according to my Untappd notes:
Mosaic Mo’Problems: “Mosaic hops are one of my favorite varieties. In this case, the brew has distinct tones of pineapple. Not as earthy as some Mosaic beers, but still a delicious west coast IPA.” 5 stars.
Smoldering Holes: “Definitely for fans of the bourbon or whiskey. Barely carbonated, will ruin your tastebuds for the next beer (which I think is a good thing).” 4.5 stars
Accelerator: “Huge overtone of guava. Seriously one of the best beers I’ve had.” 5 stars
Prolog Coffee Bar
I drink way too much coffee when I travel because I have to try all the places that look good. In Prolog’s case, the looks match the quality of the coffee. A good sign — I heard the baristas debating their favorite roasts. These people take it seriously.
They serve a cappuccino exactly how I like it: no bubbles in the microfoam and ready to knock it back in one giant gulp. I didn’t find any other cappuccino in our admittedly short visit that was better than what Prolog served.
Some Mystery Pizza Place
After getting off the plane, taking a bus to the hotel and checking into the hotel, we were more than a little hungry. Apparently, it was an awkward hour for eating — not quite lunch, not quite dinner. So many places were closed.
We wandered until we found a place that looked like it could accommodate all of our tastebuds. I wish I’d written the name down, but I was too busy inhaling a pizza and providing the assist with my wife’s excellent charcuterie board. I used to be more meticulous about this sort of thing!
Bottom Line: Time In Copenhagen is Time Well Spent
Copenhagen might not be as popular with American travelers, and they’re missing out. It has plenty of history, no shortage of activities and a generally nice vibe. Kids will love Tivoli Gardens, and people of all ages should like the Viking Ship Museum.
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