Copenhagen, Denmark, is crisscrossed by a number of canals, so a boat tour is a great way to see the city. // © 2014 Ty Stange
Feature image (above): Located in the middle of Copenhagen is Tivoli Gardens, one of the world’s oldest amusement parks. // © 2014 Ty Stange
There are lots of good reasons to visit Copenhagen in the fall. The weather is comfortable, most of the tourists are gone and you can get into many of the best restaurants without waiting for days or even weeks. The hotels have also reduced their rates.
Here are five things to do in Copenhagen when the autumn season comes around.
Bike Around the City
Copenhagen is amazingly compact, with an efficient and clean public transportation system, be it bus, train or Metro. Now the city is going green, and bicycles are leading the way. Most hotels will let guests use their bikes at no charge, and the city has a program where you can borrow a bike for a deposit of a 20 kroner coin (about $3). When you return your bike to one of the city-owned bike stalls, you get your money back. About 35 percent of Copenhagen residents get around by bicycle, and the city aims to make it 50 percent by 2020.
Take a Canal Boat Tour
Denmark is a country that stretches over several islands, and Copenhagen is on the island closest to Sweden. It’s also a city crisscrossed by canals. Travel agent Carol Arklind of Cadence Travel in San Diego suggests that first-time visitors take a canal boat tour to get a unique overview of the city. “It’s not a city with a spectacular skyline like Paris or New York,” Arklind said. “It’s a city that’s best seen from the ground up.”
The canal boat tours leave from the Nyhavn, which is where Hans Christian Andersen lived. It is now a cobblestoned street with upscale bars and restaurants.
Sample Nordic Cuisine
Copenhagen has become a popular destination for dedicated foodies, due in no small part to Noma, which once again was designated the best restaurant in the world on the 2014 San Pellegrino list of the world’s 50 best restaurants.
There is another reason for the boom in Nordic cuisine, according to Hilton Smith a travel agent with the TravelStore in Los Angeles. “The food is simple, fresh and elegantly prepared,” he said. “If you’re having a fish, it looks like a fish.” Of course, for lunch, you can’t go wrong with the traditional smorrebrod, a flatbread sandwich with sliced meats or fish and cheeses on top and garnished with dill.
Visit Tivoli and the Little Mermaid
When you go to New York, you visit the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, two must-see attractions. The same applies to Tivoli Gardens and The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement part in the world, sits smack in the middle of Copenhagen. While Tivoli has the usual rides and fun booths, it also boasts some first-class restaurants. The Little Mermaid, an iconic bronze statue in the city’s harbor, attracts busloads of tourists in the busy summer months. Some even stand in the water to get a better view and take selfies with the mermaid in the background. It’s likely to be a little less congested around the mermaid in the fall.
Explore Kronborg Castle
Shakespeare reportedly used Kronborg Castle as the model for the castle in “Hamlet.” Today, you can take a train 45 minutes north of Copenhagen and see it for yourself. It’s located in the small town of Helsinger (Elsinore), high on a bluff that looks out over the water facing Sweden. In the past, Danish kings collected taxes from ships passing by. Today, costumed actors will read portions of Hamlet to groups of visitors and explain what scenes might have taken place in each room of the castle. Nearby is the newly opened Maritime Museum. Designed by celebrity architect Bjarke Ingels, the museum was designed to look like a ship’s hull below ground level in an old dry-dock.