When it comes to weekend breaks, Copenhagen, my friends, is the one. It’s easy to get to, big enough to keep you entertained for a day or two and small enough so that you won’t come home feeling like you’ve missed out on anything. So, when the grind of the 9-5 gets all too much for you and you find yourself wanting to fling yourself out of your office window, hop on a flight and give those itchy feet of yours some respite! One word of warning though, doing Copenhagen on a budget is tricky, but by no means impossible. Use you feet rather than public transport and try (this is the tricky part) not to spend every penny to your name on pastries. Although if you I completely understand. You might also want to consider avoiding the Tivoli Gardens, which, despite being pretty fun, are sure to leave your wallet a quivering mess by the end of it. Here is my comprehensive list of everything you can do for cheap in 24 hours in everyone’s favourite fariytale city.
Rosenborg Castle Gardens
Start your day with a pleasant stroll through one of the most beautiful gardens in Copenhagen. Entry is free and the whole area is full of delicious greenery pumping out nice clean air with which you can fill your wilting city lungs. The castle costs to enter but given that we are on a tight schedule it’s better just to take it in from the outside and use your imagination as to the treasures that lie within.
Undoubtedly the best street in Copenhagen if you removed all of the tourists and their cameras (although at the moment we are one of them, but we’re much less annoying right?) A row of dazzling multi-coloured houses lines the waterfront with just enough boats to add to the charm of the harbour but not so many that it feels crowded. There are also a number of restaurant and cafés that you are going to have to try to avoid because they are for people who have money (AKA not us). Wander up and down the street here and snap a few sneaky photos before we move on.
Basically the main tourist attraction in Copenhagen. The legend that was Hans Christian Andersen is here forever immortalised in the form of a statue of one of his most well known and best loved characters. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the tale of the Little Mermaid, and I’m talking the actual book here, not the tame Disney remake, let me give you a brief summary. Mermaid girl meets human boy and falls in love after saving him from drowning, mermaid then makes dodgy deal with Sea Witch who offers her legs in exchange for her voice. She also won’t get a human soul unless he marries her and if he marries someone else she will turn to sea foam Sounds pretty much like the Disney film right? Wait for it. It gets a whole lot darker. The second part of the deal is that the Mermaid becomes and incredible dancer once she has legs BUT every step she takes will feel like walking on broken glass. She then becomes best friends with the Prince and dances for him all the time even though it hurts like hell. Eventually, the prince’s mother insists he marry the princess nextdoor and after initially refusing he then agrees. The night of the wedding her sisters appear at the party boat they are all on with a knife saying if she stabs the prince and scatters his blood then she can return as a mermaid. Mermaid/human hybrid girl refuses and then dies and turns to sea foam. Possibly one of the darkest and saddest stories of all time utterly lacking in a happily ever after. No wonder Copenhagen wants to remind everyone of it.
After the emotional whirlwind that is the Little Mermaid, it’s time to blow off some steam be wandering through a fortress. Obviously. Kastellet mainly functions nowadays as a place for locals Danes to go for a run or walk their dog but there was a time, back in the day when it was a pretty impressive military hub. They still have some old buildings and a windmill and stuff, which are all worth taking in and, as the pièce de resistance you might say, the whole things is enclosed by a star shaped moat. Stylish and practical.
So this little commune is what makes Copenhagen a bit of a dark horse. You’re wandering around the city admiring the rich history and culture that exudes from every street corner and then all of a sudden you wind up in a graffiti-ridden wasteland which looks like an abandoned fairground. The buildings are dilapidated fringe the border of what is commonly known as the ‘Green Light District’. In case you haven’t worked out what that means, it’s an entire street in this weird autonomous region that sells everything from hash to skunk to regular pot. The smell of weed hits you like a brick to the face the moment you arrive. So if you’re ready to chill out for a bit after your busy day, now is the time.
Did you really think I would write you out an itinerary and NOT include somewhere to get some artery-cloggingly delicious food? This burger place is right next to Christiania and is guaranteed to rid you of your munchies. The menu offers a lot more than just your classic bacon cheeseburger. Prepare yourself for a taste festival featuring the likes of goat’s cheese and curly fries. But the best thing about this place? It is actually affordable. You’re welcome and enjoy.