Laura and I flew directly from Brussels to Copenhagen for the second leg of our European adventure. Bike shops and baby strollers replaced chocolate shops and waffle stands. When I asked Laura why she selected Copenhagen she explained she wanted to see the world’s happiest nation for herself. After all, Denmark has been voted one of the happiest countries on earth according to Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
After some research I learned that Denmark ranks high on gender equality, benefits, work-life balance, income, and overall standard of living: all happiness-inducing factors. Just observing the Danish people for a few days I noticed subtle differences compared to Americans and the British. Danes appear content and more laid back. Maybe it’s because they exercise more given nine out of ten adults own a bike. Moms were accompanied by their significant other pushing baby strollers since Danish parents enjoy the most generous parental leave benefits in the world. This Huffington Post article does a great job summarizing why Denmark is smiling so much more than other countries.
Sights & Activities
Our favorite sight to see was Nyhavn, a former 17th century fishing village with many historical wooden ships. Fun fact: it was home to Danish author Hans Christian Andersen for 18 years. As you can see, it makes an excellent photo background. From here we took a canal cruise with Netto Boats that gave a great tour by water of the city.
We also saw The Little Mermaid statue inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of the same name.
On our last morning we walked to the Rosenborg Castle, a renaissance castle built as a country summerhouse in 1606 and inhabited by the royal family until 1720. We had beautiful sunny weather to close out our trip too.
We also took the train to Malmo, Sweden which was about 35 minutes across the bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden. We wandered around Malmo for a few hours and the took the train back in the afternoon. On our first day, the weather was rainy so we toured Denmark’s National Museum which is free AND has wifi, basically a traveler’s oasis.
- Coffee: 25-35 DKK = $5
- Lunch for two: 200 DKK = $36
- Beer: 45 DKK = $8
- 24 Hour City Pass: 80 DKK = $15
To Do Next Time:
Know Before You Go:
- Denmark’s currency is the Danish Krone. $1 USD = 5.5 DKK as of today.
- Check out the different public transportation ticket prices for tourists. We bought the 24 hour pass which was just right.
- Take the train from the airport to the Central Train Station in ~15 min, but stamp your ticket before boarding or you’ll get a fine. We had a close call with the ticket agent for forgetting this step!
- We took advantage of the storage lockers at the Central Train Station since we arrived early in the day before we could check into our AirBnB spot.
- If you’re flying out of Copenhagen, give yourself at least 2 hours at the airport. Security was extra detailed and there are multiple checks before you can reach your gate.
Copenhagen was a success, and I think we both felt incredibly happy during our time there. Maybe there is some truth in that high happiness ranking.