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One of our stops on our spring trip to Europe was Copenhagen. Less than an hour flight from Sweden, it’s the perfect addition to your itinerary. When I first booked the SAS kids fly free deal, CPH was my intended destination. However fares were double that of Stockholm so we ended up spending the majority of the trip there. And I’m so glad it turned out that way! While CPH was nice, it’s not a place I would return to and 3.5 days was more than enough for us.
When you arrive into the city, be sure to purchase your Copenhagen Card at the airport so you can start using it right away on the train into the city. I purchased the 72 hour one for around $110 USD and we got more than our money’s worth! We saw a lot of attractions and used a lot of public transportation in the time we were there.
Some things to note if traveling here with kids:
-In many places, the sidewalks are super tiny, rocky cobble stone. Not fun for an umbrella stroller!
-Many places don’t allow strollers inside and have designated stroller parking outside. Keep this in mind and bring a carrier with you if you have a non-mobile child.
-Cabs will not transport your unrestrained younger child, you will need a car seat. They have seats that turn into boosters for older kids. Uber doesn’t exist in this city as of the time this post was written.
-You can find diapers, baby food (pouches and jars) and pretty much everything else you will need for your baby. No need to pack it all!
-Just like Stockholm, credit cards are readily accepted here. The only cash we used was for the hot dog street vendors since many did not take credit cards. Aside from that, we used cc the entire time.
The CPH airport has several play areas scattered throughout various gates/terminals. Nothing exciting but better than nothing! There’s a bigger play area somewhere in the airport too, but it wasn’t in our terminal. They also have these strollers to use while in the airport.
There is also a lounge which you can use for free with the Priority Pass that came with your Chase Sapphire Reserve. It’s a small lounge, but since we had an early flight and no time for breakfast, it was great to get some food and a couple of water bottles for the plane.
You are going to be relying on lots of public transportation, particularly buses, here! From the airport, you can take a train (13 minute ride) into Copenhagen Central Station. It’s the cheapest option as cabs will cost you much, much more! Uber is sadly no longer allowed in the city so if you don’t use the trains/buses, you’re forced to use taxis and pay very high fares. The Copenhagen Card gives you access to all public transportation during the time it’s valid, making it easy and not having to worry about purchasing tickets. Keep in mind though, buses are super slow and some destinations were 15 or more stops, making it a slow trek! We used cabs a few times and they all had these built in booster seats, which was awesome and safe for Milana to sit in. They will not transport kids without car seats so if your child is too young for the booster, they won’t get a ride unless you bring your own seat.
Uber is no longer available in Copenhagen, which was a bummer because sometimes you just want to wander randomly and not have to worry about finding your way back to a train station/bus/cab. Hopefully they’ll be back in the near future!
We also walked a lot! Miles and miles of walking and exploring different areas of the city. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as the sidewalks are uneven with lots of cobblestone. Definitely not umbrella stroller friendly!
We stayed at the Copenhagen Marriott, which was awesome! I booked with points because the rates here are outrageous! It was a lot of points but I wasn’t about to pay over $300/night when we could have a free room! Because of my status, we got upgraded to the executive level which gave us lounge access. The lounge had free breakfast, free dinner, dessert hour and snacks/drinks available all day. In a city like CPH where everything is super expensive, this saved us a lot on snacks/drinks and even some meals. If you have a child like mine that likes to snack all day, this was perfect since we could go down whenever we wanted. Our room was nothing spectacular, one king bed but we did have a view of Tivoli!
THINGS TO DO
We had 3 full days and a 72 hour Copenhagen Card, and we did not waste any time exploring! On our first day, we arrived mid-afternoon and took a short cab ride to Nyhavn to see the popular colorful buildings. Milana loved exploring this area and we came back quite a few times!
It’s not a visit to Copenhagen without visiting one of the world’s oldest theme parks, Tivoli Gardens! If you’re a Disney fan, you may recognize some rides and attractions as Walt Disney is said to have gotten lots of ideas for Disney parks by visiting Tivoli. The Copenhagen Card gives you free admission, however be aware that you will still need to pay for rides (they have unlimited wristbands if you want to ride everything). There are green machines throughout the park where you can purchase ride tickets, most take 1-3 tickets. There’s a nice playground inside Tivoli as well, where you can relax and the kids can run around and play.
Another super fun place and free with the CPH Card is the Experimentarium. It’s a little farther away from other attractions, but if you are near bus 1A, it will take you to about a block from the entrance. This is the closest thing to a children’s museum here, and all the activities are science based. Milana loved this place and we spent a few hours here on a snowy afternoon (yes, it snowed in late March!).
Right across the street from Tivoli and near the Central Station is the Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale House. It shares an entrance with Ripley’s, which has prominent signage so just look for that! Admission is free, and if you wish to explore Ripley’s, you’ll get a 25% discount so we ended up doing both. The HC house has versions of his stories you can listen to while walking from room to room.
Ripley’s had lots of interesting exhibits, as they do all over the world. Perfect for a rainy or cold day!
While researching things to do in CPH, I came across sidewalk trampolines. I showed Milana some photos and videos and it quickly became the top thing she had to see! Keep in mind that if you ask your hotel concierge or a taxi driver, they will look at you like you are crazy as not a single local we asked knew how to locate them. I almost gave up until I found a blogger from the US who posted photos with a hotel in the background. Let me save you lots of time-look for the Copenhagen Strand hotel and walk across the street, the trampolines are there! Super short walk from Nyhavn but not very straightforward if you don’t know what you are looking for. This was a huge hit, we came back two days in a row!
Milana really wanted to see a castle on this trip and just one stop on the train from the central station was Rosenberg Castle. The admission to the castle is free with the CPH card and the grounds are beautiful to wander around. If you only do one castle, make this one it! Close to the city center and great for families with young kids.
If your kids are into sea life, the Denmark Aquarium is free with the CPH card and a great place to explore on chilly or rainy days. The easiest way to get here is using the Metro, it takes you about and 8 minute walk away from entrance.
Milana is obsessed with Maileg mice so when I told her they are from Denmark, she was very excited! All the kid stores here have them, huge displays with so many mice and accessories! She chose 2 big ones and 2 baby ones as well as a few accessories.
Being from SoCal where our “winters” rarely get below 65, snow is a huge deal! Milana really wanted to see snow fall from the sky but I wasn’t sure if that was going to happen. She’s been to snowy places many times, but has only seen snow actually fall a few times in her life. Much to her delight, it snowed for a little bit on a day we were here and she was loving it!
Copenhagen has lots of playgrounds too, however they don’t seem to be as nice as the ones in Sweden. One that stuck out was Brumleby, which has crooked houses to play in. Keep in mind, this isn’t really a public playground but rather a small play structure inside a community of town houses, most likely intended for residents. Super fun to play in though!
If you’re heading to Copenhagen during the warmer months, here’s a great list of things you can do with your kids during summer in Copenhagen.
Now let me preface this by saying we travel for food and love to eat. We had some great meals in Stockholm before coming to CPH and expected the same here. But it was pretty disappointing! Not just food wise, but also super expensive. If I’m going to pay $50 for a meal, I expect it to be good. We didn’t eat out as much as I planned as a result and instead just ate breakfast and dinner at the hotel. Our next destination after here was Poland and I assure you, we ate lots and lots of yummy food there!
One of the places we did go to was Vesuvio. This was a random find in the middle of a snow storm on a holiday, where the majority of other restaurants were closed. It’s an Italian restaurant near Tivoli and ok, nothing spectacular. Milana did love the rigatoni with 4 different cheeses, so that’s all that counts! They had different types of bruchettas but they were all pretty flavorless.
I wanted to try fish cakes while here so we found a place in Nyhavn that had them. They were actually really good and Milana ate most of them herself. We also ordered what they called meatballs but were more like these beef cutlets my mom used to make when I was growing up in Poland. If you’re looking for true meatballs, this will disappoint you. We liked it though! And we had onion soup, which was ok, very little flavor.
The best meal we had out was at Bistro Royal. It was a beef stew, with 3 kinds of onions and a fried egg on top. Milana loved this dish, it was super flavorful and probably the best meal we had here. And the fries were awesome too!
You will see hot dog vendors on the street selling all kinds of hot dogs, frankfurters, sausages, etc. Milana was obsessed with them and ate one every day! She’s not really a hot dog fan but for some reason really loved the ones here. They stuff it into a freshly baked bun, not one from a package, and it was the perfect midday snack!
For dessert one night, Milana wanted waffles which wasn’t hard to find! There are several places in Nyhavn that sell freshly baked liege waffles so if one is full, keep on walking and there will be another on the next corner.
As you can see, 3 full days in Copenhagen is more than enough. You can see and do so much in that time. All the activities were done in a 72 hour span, since that’s when our CPH card was valid. While we had a great time exploring the city, it’s definitely not a place I would return to!