Fairy tales, roller coasters and Danish design

Denmark (18-24 August) was exciting as our second new country on this trip after Slovenia. Like Slovenia, I had pretty high expectations after hearing so many wonderful things about Copenhagen but happily, once again, we were not disappointed. The only unfortunate factor was that of cost – we seem to be visiting countries in order of increasing expense! It was mainly food and drink that were pricey… I have to admit we did end up relying on hotdogs more than once for cheap eats in Denmark.

Odense

Odense (oh-den-seh) is the third largest city in Denmark but the centre is quite compact. It’s full of cute cobblestone streets lined with colourful houses and lovely to wander – Hans Jensens Stræde and Nedergade are two good examples. Pedestrian-only Vestergade is mostly full of shops and (somewhat pricey) restaurants but it’s also nice to explore, particularly the smaller streets that branch off from it.

The river that cuts through Odense runs all the way north to the Odense Fjord. You can walk or cycle along the path that follows it or even hire a canoe. (Unfortunately you can’t canoe continuously all the way – there are certain sections where you’d need to lift and carry the canoe up to a part where you could continue on by water.)

The best thing we did in  Odense was spend half a day at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum rediscovering the fables of our childhood and developing a newfound respect for the man that wrote them. If you have more time and are so inclined there are several other museums you can also visit in Odense.

Colourful houses, Odense

Legoland

It’s not geographically on the way from Odense to Copenhagen but we did do it as a day trip between the two. You can’t catch a train straight to Legoland, you need to take a train to a nearish train station and then a bus. The staff at the Odense train station were very helpful when we were buying our tickets and the tickets even come with little itineraries that list all the details for each leg of the journey.

I’ve not been to any other Legolands so I couldn’t tell you how this one compares, but I can tell you we had an awful lot of fun. :) Miniland is full of incredibly impressive recreations of famous cities and landmarks from around the world and the rides are fun, but probably a bit tame for big thrill-seekers.

Mount Rushmore, Legoland

Copenhagen

Copenhagen was awesome! We stayed at another brilliant Airbnb property and had a fantastic time exploring the city. My 10 favourite things to do in Copenhagen:

  1. Ride around town with Bike Mike. A great introductory overview of all the main sights with a good amount of riding in between the info stops.
  2. Marvel at the Danish Design Centre. There was a particularly impressive exhibition on when we were there called Hello Materials which was all about innovative industrial design and advances (both actual and potential) in many facets of design, including packaging and clothing.
  3. Visit the Design Museum Denmark. We couldn’t get enough of design-related shops and museums in Copenhagen. This one is more focused on interior and fashion design.
  4. Do some serious window shopping at Illums Bolighus. We spent several hours there!
  5. Spend a day at Tivoli Gardens. It’s one of the most enjoyable theme parks I’ve ever been to. We went in the early afternoon and stayed until closing (around 10 or 11pm). If you like rides it’s definitely worth forking out for a multi-ride ticket – it starts saving you money after only 3 main rides.
  6. Take some postcard-worthy photos at Nyhavn.
  7. Have smørrebrød for lunch. We were very impressed with Slotskælderen hos Gitte Kik. Two per person is plenty – you’ve been warned!
  8. Eat real Danish pastries. Lagkagehuset is a decent chain that also does delicious filled rolls which are good value. If you want to blend in with the locals, reserve pastry eating for the morning.
  9. Climb all the way to the top of Vor Frelsers Kirke spire.
  10. Nerd it up at Faraos Cigarer. This comic store is so big it spills into at least 3 different shops: the main one is for comics, graphic novels and manga (many of which are in English); another is dedicated to table top games; and the third is quite an impressive costume shop (mainly RPG-themed) including clothes, make up, wigs, ears and weapons.

Copenhagen from Vor Frelsers Kirke

[more photos]

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5 thoughts on “Fairy tales, roller coasters and Danish design

  1. Copenhagen has been on my to-go lost forever! Good to know that it’s a great place (and Odense & Legoland too). Did you see the Mermaid? Pastry only in the morning?? What do the Danish have with their tea?

    • Ah, it’s so close for you too! You have to go. :)

      We saw the Mermaid on the cycling tour and I’m kind of glad we didn’t need to seek it out on our own because it suffers a little from the Mona Lisa syndrome – big reputation, not quite as exciting in real life. The Gefion Fountain we saw shortly after the Mermaid was much more impressive!

      I had pastries for lunch so I failed at being an authentic Dane. ;)

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