Indiguide: Copenhagen

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The ultimate eco city – and of course the home of LEGO – it’s easy to see why Copenhagen has been voted one of the happiest cities in Europe. The Danish capital is surprisingly clean and spacious, with Danes embracing a ‘hygge’ lifestyle (the definition will make you smile). With Sweden a mere 5 miles away via the majestic Oresund Bridge, Copenhagen is also an excellent hub for Scandinavian exploration.

Getting there

A short 1.5 hour trip, Ryanair and Easyjet regularly have return flights to from London Luton to Copenhagen for under £25. Avoid flights from the East Midlands and Birmingham as these can add up into the hundreds.

Copenhagen airport is modern and hassle free. It has a metro station inside the airport with trains that depart every 2-5 minutes to the city centre (Kongens Nytorv). The metro takes around 10 minutes and costs £2.40. Alternatively, the 5A bus runs every 10 minutes from the airport and takes around 30 minutes to get to the city centre. Taxis are very expensive (£25+) and completely unnecessary due to the excellent transportation links.

An Interrail Denmark pass starts at £73 and would allow you to visit other Danish cities such as Aarhus (2017 European Capital of Culture) and Billund (the original Legoland).

Places to stay

Wake Up Copenhagen Borgergade: Located in the city centre, this budget hotel is in the perfect location for shopping and site seeing. It offers minimalist, modern rooms that can be upgraded to give extra space or panoramic views (aptly named Wake Up Heaven).

AC Bella Sky Hotel: A striking building with floor to ceiling windows in every room. A manageable 20 minute journey into the city centre equals lower room prices. The metro station is a 2 minute walk away from the hotel and trains run every 5 minutes so it offers easy access to the heart of Copenhagen. Shuttle buses to/from the airport run every 30 minutes and cost less than £2.

A cheaper alternative may be to stay in Malmo and take a day trip to Copenhagen.

Places to eat

Sit down meals are very expensive in Copenhagen, but there are plenty of other alternatives more suitable to a student budget. Paper Island is dominated by a street food market that caters for all sorts of international palates. Food can be enjoyed inside the market or out on the city’s harbour. Lunch can be broken up with a visit to the interactive science centre, Experimenatrium City.

In mainland Copenhagen, bakeries (bageri) can be sniffed out by following the delicious waft of Danish pastry. Try Meyers Bageri for a cinnamon bun on-the-go or a Danish scone.

Things to see

Excellent transport links makes Copenhagen very accessible, but this can soon add up. It is a relatively small capital but prepare to do some walking to keep costs down.

1. Rundetaarn (The Round Tower)

Located just off the main shopping street, Europe’s oldest functioning observatory offers spectacular views across Copenhagen. It’s an easy climb to the top- a spiral ramp (built for horses) is a welcome substitute for steps. At 25DKK, Rundetaarn is definitely well worth the visit.

copenhagen

2. Nyhavn (aka the colourful houses)

Denmark is notorious for its quirky design, and Nyhavn is no exception. The canal is lined with brightly coloured buildings that are extremely photogenic. Best seen in the day, this iconic spot is free to visit and only a 5 minute walk from the city centre. Avoid the tourist trap restaurants in the evening- grab a box of chocolate-smothered-sugar-coated churros instead!

3. Botanical Garden

Scandinavia is hardly a tropical paradise, but the University’s Botanical Gardens could have you thinking you’d stumbled upon an oasis. The central glasshouse contains giant mango and banana trees and a spiral staircase brings you level with the top of the canopy. Simulated rainfall recreates the rainforest environment so cover up your cameras.

4. Malmo

Hop over the border and tick another country off the map. Malmo, the third largest Swedish city, can be reached by a 30 minute train from Copenhagen airport and costs around £10 (special deals are available for students).

Malmo has some interesting architecture- from the old St Petri’s Church to the modern Turning Torso. Visit Malmo Museer before 5pm and explore Malmo castle, a Swedish submarine and a piranha feeding frenzy!

What not to see – the Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is the icon of Copenhagen, a tribute to the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. But, after a 30 minute walk from the city centre, you are met with a statue that is barely visible for the crowds of people flocking around. I don’t understand why the Little Mermaid is so popular – you would get more entertainment from people watching the other tourists, in my opinion. Avoid.

Nightlife

No 2am finishers here (ahem, Klute), parties keep going until the early hours of the morning. Head to Kassen for cheap drinks, made even better by Friday’s happy hour(s). Ideal Bar is like our very own Lloyds- bar by day, club by night, but also hosts small concerts several times a month. THIRST Thursday’s at Bakken Kbh offers a midweek release in the old slaughtering halls of the Meat Packing District. Whatever floats your boat I guess. Expect prices that rival London at £7 a drink.

Cost

On the higher end of the price scale, an average meal will set you back £9-12.  A typical 3 night stay could cost you £400.

Illustration: Mariam Hyat, photograph:

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