Right then. My lovely sister in law has demanded blog posts about Copenhagen. Who am I to deny her?
Today it is wet, windy and decidedly miserable outside. I spent most of yesterday running about doing jobs (apart from an excellent lunch with my mother), and today I am finally at home, being quiet and having free time. There are no more excuses not to blog.
Denmark was fabulous really.
We flew from Stansted airport, which took about an hour and fifteen minutes, which is about the length of time I can spend in a plane without getting bored to death, so that was pleasing in itself.
Usually, because we are travelling with children and millions of bags we tend to either hire a car or hop in a taxi at the airport. This time it was quite nice to re-live some of the travels of our youth and figure out how to use public transport. We were very impressed that all the automated ticket machines allowed you an English speaking screen option, and it was all pretty straight forward.
It turns out that there are several ways you can travel into the city: by train or by S train, or by the metro. We took a train into Copenhagen Central Station which is signposted Copenhagen H, should you ever need to find it. We then transferred onto an S train to take us the four stops to Nordhavn, the area our hotel was situated in. It takes about twenty minutes to get from the airport into the centre of the city by train.
I am not entirely sure what the difference between a train train and an S train is. I think the S trains are more like an overground metro system that links all the suburbs to the centre. I could be making that up. All you need to know is that they are clean, easy to navigate round/through and run about every five minutes or so. Perfect.
Our hotel was a two minute walk from the station.
The area we stayed in is near the docks where the cruise ships come in, and we could see the ships sailing in and out through the day, which was rather nice. The neighbourhood is largely residential, and very quiet, which we liked a lot. It was so easy to get into the centre of town and took ten minutes by train, so we didn’t feel we were missing out.
The place we stayed was called the Charlottehavn. Rather than have a room you book a flat, what they call a managed apartment. It’s the perfect place if you’re working in the city but actually live somewhere else, and judging from the feedback on Trip Advisor it gets used a lot by this kind of traveller, and also families who are moving to the city but need a base to stay in while they find a house/flat of their own.
There is a restaurant downstairs as well as a small shop area where you can buy snacks. You can also order room service if you don’t want to use the well equipped kitchen every flat comes with. There is a huge gym and pool should you wish to use it (we didn’t), and a massive conference room and break out meeting rooms downstairs. We were tempted to gate crash a conference for a free buffet, but resisted. There is a nursery/creche next door, and pretty much most things you would need, all under one roof. The concierge service was fantastic and the staff were incredibly helpful with everything we needed.
We had a big flat with a decent sized hall, bathroom with washing machine and drying rack, kitchen diner with a table that would comfortably sit eight, a good sized lounge and a reasonable sized double bedroom. There was masses of storage. We also had a balcony space that was big enough to sit out and eat dinner in should you want to.
The block our apartment was in is surrounded on three sides by more apartments which are part of the same complex, but which are proper flats for the every day residents of Copenhagen. There are beautifully landscaped gardens, with rills of water and fountains, and banks of vari-coloured glasses that wave like the sea. We loved the way the area was set out, and we loved that nobody shuts their curtains so we could stand on the balcony and have a good gawp at the lives of the Danes. Most pleasing to an inveterate curtain twitcher like me.
The apartment wasn’t particularly cheap, but we chose a larger space than we needed because we wanted a little more luxury, and if we took the children it would be possible for us all to use that space and still not feel too cramped. The sofa turned into a double bed, and you can hire extra beds for the space should you need it. It worked out at £200 per night, but we got a huge amount of square footage for that. Because of the nature of the apartments you pay separately at the end of your stay for your heating/hot water. It was unseasonably mild when we visited and so we didn’t bother with heating at all. I think we paid about an extra tenner for our hot water.
There are two good sized supermarkets within five minutes walk of the hotel if you want to feed yourselves, but ten minutes walk leads you to a street full of pubs/cafes and restaurants if you want to eat out.
As far as getting about goes, you can buy a tourist ticket which gives you travel on trains and buses and free entry to about eighty different museums/galleries. You buy them in time slots, 24 hours, 48 hours etc. It is worth figuring out at least loosely want you want to do before you buy this however. Lots of museums are shut on Mondays I believe, and some things are free to get into anyway, so do check you’ll be getting your money’s worth before you buy.
As expected, Copenhagen isn’t exactly cheap to visit. On the other hand it wasn’t as breath taxingly expensive as I had expected. At the time we visited you got about 9 Krone to the pound. A fancy cake, which is what is important to me, is about £3-4. I’ve paid that for splendid patisserie in London so my eyebrows didn’t raise too much.
We spent a lot of time walking while we were there. The city centre is crammed full of things to see and do, none of which really require you to use public transport unless you want to. There are things further afield which will need you to use buses or trains but it is not difficult to get around. Everyone speaks fantastic English, and everyone we met and dealt with were incredibly helpful.
The one thing we did find lacking was signage once you were wandering around. There are signposts but they tend to be fairly sporadic, and we recommend going to the Tourist Information Office about two minutes walk from the central station and picking up a map. You will need it.