As someone who goes to Europe often enough, not “all the time,” but often enough, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about traveling in Europe, it’s that flying straight to your destination is a wasted chance for adventure. This is something I’ve realized as someone who flies to Europe.
Even while time restraints, pricey connecting flights, et cetera (yes, I spelled it), and other factors may make layovers a hassle in many situations, there is still a certain allure to the idea of spending a few hours in an unfamiliar European metropolis while travelling to another location.
An longer stopover of three to eight hours may not only give you a taste for a new location but also save you money on round-trip travel costs. This is a really fantastic perk.
As I’ve said before, I like having prolonged layovers, and Copenhagen is one of the best spots to have a long layover.
Consequently, in order to assist you in making the most of your stopover in Copenhagen, I have compiled the following Comprehensive Guide to an Extended Layover in Copenhagen:
Get the Heck Out of the Airport
The moment you leave the airport, the first step toward having a full experience of Copenhagen is behind you. Copenhagen Airport, also known as Kastrup Airport, is conveniently located just 8 kilometres from the city centre.
A journey on the metro from the airport to Kongens Nytorv takes just fifteen minutes; it is an excellent starting point for seeing what the rest of Copenhagen has to offer.
While one-way tickets are significantly cheaper (DKK 37), they depend on zones and other things that you don’t really have the time to think about. A metro day pass that allows unrestricted usage costs DKK 80 ($12 US). Invest in a day ticket so you can get on and off the bus without any hassle.
The journey on the yellow line of the metro from the airport to Kongens Nytorv is a direct one that takes eight stations and is in no way difficult to understand.
I wholeheartedly endorse this mode of transportation due to the fact that the trains are spotless, operate often (every 4-6 minutes during peak hours) and have minimally acceptable wait periods (no more than 15-20 minutes throughout the night).
Taxis are another option, and the fare from the airport into town is around DKK 255, which is equivalent to $40 USD.
A helpful hint is to go to the front of the train so you can see the mesmerising pattern formed by the rail lines as they spread out before you in the enormous window.
However, before you get to the metro station at Terminal 3, you have to put away the bag that you are carrying on with you. Thankfully, the airport in Copenhagen has the necessary facilities for doing precisely that.
Store Your Bag in the Luggage Lockers at the Airport
Carrying a large bag is the quickest way to draw attention to yourself as a tourist. Your short window for touring in Copenhagen is going to be a lot more difficult since it is difficult to store, difficult to move about with, and adds a lot of stress.
It is highly recommended that you store your bag in one of the short-term storage lockers located at Terminal 3 and carry just the absolute necessities in your daypack.
You may discover the lockers by just looking around the inside of the parking garage; they are not hard to spot. When I arrived, there were still around a dozen vacant lockers of varying sizes available; hence, obtaining a free locker ought not to be too much of a challenge.
The lockers are available in three different sizes: small, big, and cargo storage (skis, instruments, etc.). The prices range from $4 to $72 a day, depending on the length of time rented:
- A small locker costs DKK 60 ($9 US) for 4 hours and DKK 80 for 24 hours.
- For a large locker, the cost is DKK 80 ($12 US) for 4 hours and DKK 100 ($14 US) for 24 hours.
- A ski or golf locker costs DKK 100 ($15 US) for four hours or DKK 120 ($25 US) for 24 hours
Because your belongings may be stored securely in these lockers at the airport for up to three days, even if your departure time is moved or you decide you’re having such a good time that you want to extend your trip, it won’t cost you very much extra to keep your bags protected.
Pack a Daypack for an Extended Layover in Copenhagen
Your choice of daypack will go a long way toward determining whether your prolonged stopover excursions are going to be fun or a source of discomfort. Literally.
Daypacks that are too cheap, that dig into your shoulders, that are made of flimsy fabric, and that are emblazoned with the name of the most recent place you visited scream “TOURIST!” Avoid experiencing the discomfort, the inconvenience, and the humiliation.
Spending a little more money on a daypack of higher quality can pay off in spades when it comes to the quality of the day hikes you embark on while travelling.
And if we’re being really honest with ourselves, the majority of our trips consist of simple day trips, right? Which means that your daypack gets utilised more than any other bag you possess.
Even in the summer, Copenhagen can be brisk. Keep a thin jacket in your daypack just in case the temperature drops below average. I wore mine up to the point when I rented a bike and began working up a sweat, but everytime I strolled near the river, I was thankful that I had it with me.
When navigating the twisting streets, little islands, and winding canals of Copenhagen, it is helpful to have a map of the city available on your phone. Every café offers internet, and it is useful to have a map of the city on your phone.
Charles Schwab Debit Card
Since Denmark is not part of the Eurozone, you may avoid paying the high costs associated with credit cards and withdraw cash using the debit card associated with your Charles Schwab checking account.
Don’t worry, at the end of the month, all of the costs associated with your international transactions will be refunded to you.
Walking is the best way to get about the city of Copenhagen. Rent a bike, stroll the city streets, or jump on and off public transportation – whichever you explore Copenhagen, you’ll pound a little pavement, so make sure you choose shoes that are comfy and up to the effort, such as boat shoes.
Again, the weather in Copenhagen may be chilly and wet, so unless it’s a really warm and sunny day, you should probably avoid wearing shorts.
Container for Water
Be sure to drink plenty of water!
Rent a Bike in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is a biker’s heaven. Because there are miles of bike routes that are well signposted and get a lot of use, bicycling in the middle of the city is not just efficient but also safe.
Riding about on a bike while acting as your own tour guide is the quickest way to take in the attractions of the city. Plus, you won’t waste any time until you start acting like a native.
You can acquire a bike via City Bike, which is a bike rental service, but if you ask me, the easiest way to get a bike in the city centre is to simply buy one of the many local bike shops. Renting it for the day will cost you about the same as a cup of coffee, but you’ll be driving about in luxury the entire time.
A Few Notes Regarding Cycling in the City of Copenhagen
Everyone Drives in Accordance with the Traffic Lights
The habit of disobeying traffic signals is particularly widespread among cyclists in the United States. For whatever reason, we mistakenly believe that the lights do not apply to us; yet, this could not be farther from the truth.
If you choose to disobey a red light and keep peddling in spite of it, you will be considered a typical tourist in Copenhagen. The traffic lights in Copenhagen are there for your protection. Do not put yourself in that position. Please join the others in patiently waiting in a queue!
Slow Bikes Always err on the right.
Although it may be tempting to ride beside your buddy, the bike lanes in Copenhagen were designed specifically for commuting, and many of the city’s inhabitants use them daily for that purpose.
If you go to a local bike store to rent a bicycle, the kind of bike you receive will most likely be a City Bike. These bikes typically have three low-power gears and a hefty frame.
Always keep to the right and do your best to follow the direction that traffic is moving in. Cyclists riding much faster bikes will want space to go through you on the left side of the road. If you keep out of their path, not only will you be safer, but everyone else will also benefit from the time you save.
Lock Your Wheels
When I ride a bike in Europe, particularly in towns that are hospitable to cyclists like Reykjavik or Copenhagen, I am reminded of how much I despise riding a bike in the United States.
Even if your bike has a heavy-duty Kryptonite chain on the frame and both wheels, you are not permitted to keep it outdoors overnight in the city of New York. There is no way that it will still be there in the morning.
In Copenhagen, you are not even required to link your bike to anything when you ride it. All of the bicycles are fitted with teeny-tiny back wheel locks that prevent would-be thieves from making off with your precious ride.
Even though the lock is roughly as sturdy as the locket that comes with the Hello Kitty Diary, it is still sufficient. It is not unusual to come across hundreds of bicycles that have been left practically undisturbed for hours or even days without being stolen.
In light of this, make it a habit to always ensure that the back wheel is locked before you dismount. The last thing you want to do is shell out money for a bicycle that has been misplaced or stolen.
The City is Extremely Diminished in Size
In only a few short hours, I was able to go everywhere on the bicycle that I had hired. When you’re on a bike, you can reach everything within 15 minutes, including the statue of the Little Mermaid, Christiania, and the food stalls on PapirHallen. Just acquire one.
Copenhagen Must See Sites
This waterfront sector is teeming with touristic restaurants and bars, as well as, of course, boats and ships that are rather lovely.
You may take an open-top canal tour boat here for DKK 245 (about $37 in American currency), or you can simply wander the docks looking for the ideal Instagram image to make your pals envy with the hashtag #layoverlife.
This hippy enclave is a jewel, although an unpolished one, and it should be recognised as such. Do anything you wish to do is the guiding principle of this free living community, which can be found on the island in the form of a half moon to the east of the city centre.
Christiania is the place to go if you want to experience some of the most environmentally conscious attractions that Copenhagen has to offer.
Despite the abundance of cafes and bakeries, you should not take your camera out while you are in these establishments. There is a zero-tolerance policy about photography.
Get whatever it is that you’re craving to refresh you, and then make your way to the rear of the island to take in the breathtaking views of the city and the port. In return for some bread, geese, swans, and ducks may choose to join you if you’re fortunate enough to get their attention.
The Princess and the Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue)
This famous monument of a mermaid, which honours Hans Christian Andersen’s ageless story about a mermaid who is caught between two worlds, has become somewhat of a controversial tourist magnet in recent years.
Danish protestors and vandals have been responsible for the theft, decapitation, and defacing of the monument on several occasions; hence, the most current version is a duplicate of the first statue.
In addition, the monument seems much smaller in reality than it does in photographs seen online, and it is not located in the centre of the bay as shown in those images; rather, it is just a short distance away from a section of dock frequented by tourists.
You have been forewarned; there is a possibility that it may be disappointing. On the other hand, getting to the monument is a pleasant, speedy ride that is well worth the effort for a selfie. You may want to bypass this unfortunate heroine in favour of one of the other locations if you’re in a hurry.
The relics of a fortified military mansion that formerly commanded the port in days gone by may be seen on this star-shaped island that is located close to the harbour (and the statue of the Little Mermaid).
If you are heading to the Statue of the Little Mermaid anyhow, Kastellet is a terrific place to explore on your bike since it has an enormous dirt mound wall, a large windmill, and excellent views of the city. If you want to learn more about Kastellet, go here.
Food Sold on the Sidewalks on Paper Island
In spite of the fact that Copenhagen’s architecture, history, monuments, and sculptures are all fascinating, spending a stopover there is most memorable for the city’s delicious street cuisine.
Keep in mind that this isn’t going to be your average day vacation; you’re about to board an aircraft again, along with all of the bad food that’s sold on aeroplanes at exorbitant prices.
At the enormous street food warehouse on Paper Island (PapirHallen), you can refuel in comfort and in elegance.
Traditional Danish food, such as sausages, coffee, and a few bars thrown in for good measure may be found side-by-side with artisanal specialties such as Korean barbecue and organic grass-fed burgers.
On the way to Rome, I stuffed myself with burgers and spent the next four hours contentedly full on the ride there.
A helpful hint: pay with cash. A cash machine may be found inside the storage facility.
When life gives you layovers, you may as well make the most of them. The Danish capital of Copenhagen is a major transportation hub in Europe, serving as a gateway to dozens of destinations around the continent.
Take advantage of the low cost of the flights, and if you have a short stopover in Copenhagen, you may include some sightseeing into your trip day. You’ll be pleased you did
- Eat some of the street food that’s available in PapirHallen.
- Rent a Bike
- You Should Drop Your Bag Off at the Airport and Ride the Metro Instead
- Introduce yourself to the Freetown Christian community.