Copenhagen Guide: Fairy Tale Trail
Memories of Copenhagen fill me with such hygge thoughts. If you’re all still rusty with your Danish, that means cosiness and for Danes, it is one of the highest states of being which humans should aspire to. A city known for its Michelin Stars, eco-friendly ways and insanely cool, but-not-trying-to-be-cool vibes, Denmark’s capital laid back lifestyles will leave you wanting to uncover their secrets.
The birthplace of wonder and our childhood fairy tales, you can walk the footsteps of Hans Christian Anderson and imagine the inspiration he took for many of his famous stories. Driven by the picturesque surroundings and stunning architecture it’s little wonder that Copenhagen was voted as the happiest city in the world. A population who love to bare-all, added to having a harbour that is clean enough to swim in (I know right!) will do that to you.
In the 3 days I spent in Copenhagen, we got lost in the city, spent hours hot-chocolate drinking and people watching, saw the lamest statue around, broke into Hans room and was transported to our own little fairy tale world and I want to share where to go to star in your own little tale.
Where to go in Copenhagen
Rosenborg Castle & Rose Garden
Rosenborg Castle was built as a summer house (lucky royals) and designed with breath taking rose gardens which now attracts 2.5 million tourists and locals a year. A popular peaceful retreat in the summer months just walking the grounds you can get a sense of the what the regal danish life used to be. I have also been told that the roses in bloom are stunning, but as usual in my traditional ‘not-very-planned-for-anything’ ways, I completely missed the flowering season.
Christianborg Palace is not only impressive due to hosting three supreme powers within its premises; the executive, the legislative and the judicial power but also because palace has burnt down twice (because someone left some logs around) and was still rebuilt into an immense Palace. By sheer coincidence we also came at the same time as the Lord of The Rings tour was hosted in the museum next door which pleased my girlfriend immensely…me not so much.
Christianborg Palace also hosts a tower (just behind the bronzed horseman) which offer incredible 360 degree views, 160 m over the skyline of Copenhagen where if you gaze far enough, you can have a peek into Oresund Bridge and the border of Sweden. Neat eh?
The Tower is completely free and if you want to bypass the queue you can book to visit the Tarnet restaurant. An extra tip would be to head up in time to experience the exquisite sunset over the city.
Church of our Saviour Copenhagen
Amalienborg is the home of the Royal Danish family, this area is certainly a lot more low key than what United Kingdoms royal family is used to. No big safety perimeters, no closed gates. Very welcoming! To go with the fairy tale that is Copenhagen, the love story between Prince Frederick of Denmark and Mary a local girl from Sydney is one for the ages. When the two met Mary had no idea he was a prince but through regular secret escapes to Australia, Prince Frederick courted Mary to marry her and are living happily ever after with four beautiful children. A real prince charming.
Frederick Church aka Marble Church
Copenhagen Opera House
The picture that anyone who has ever traveled recognizes. One of the local jaunts and past residence of Hans Christian Anderson, these distinct colourful house fronts, as happy as it looks was a previous neighbourhood notorious for beers, sailors and prostitution, which may (or may not be) the reason that Hans lived here for 18 years.
Little Mermaid Statue
Also known as the most disappointing tourist attraction in the world, The Little Mermaid still gets millions of visitors each year at her resting place at Langelinie promenade. It is some distance away from Copenhagen’s centre and I can’t say that you will be taken aback but the journey to visit the popular fairy tale character is beautiful along the harbour.
I met some travellers and read blogs which thought Tivoli Gardens looked tacky, however I guarantee those same travellers never took the time to venture inside. Tivoli Gardens is your very own wonderland, was one of the inspirations for Walt Disney to create Disney Land and that man was a pure genius. Under the crisp evening Tivoli Gardens glitters the night sky with wondrous light shows and creates a real fairy tale world to be transported into.
Seriously ignore all the naysayers. Pay the £10 quid entry fee and have the time of your LIFE.
Hans Christian Andersons Hotel
To complete the journey that inspired this popular story-teller, it’s best to go to the humble beginnings where you can still visit (with some luck and perseverance) his room where he stayed in 1838 at Hotel du Nord on the corner of Vingaardsstræde and Kongens Nytorv. It has now been converted into the Magasin du Nord department store, however I can confirm that the rumours of his room still being there to be true. On the 3rd floor of the store to the very left hand side is a fire exit where a door sits apart from the stairs. To the very front of you there is an official looking conference room and on the door to your right is the bleak contrast of where Hans Anderson wiled his days away thinking of awesome stories.
I won’t show you the picture as it will ruin the magic of searching for the area but this low-key activity will put the spirit of adventure in you!
What were your favourite parts of Copenhagen? Which fairy tale do you wish you were in? Is Tivoli really THAT tacky (the right answer is no)? Would love to hear from you!
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
― Albert Einstein
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