We enjoyed a family city break in Copenhagen last weekend. This article aims to help other families make the most of their time in the Danish capital.
Copenhagen is a fabulous city break destination for families. The city is more compact than other major European city break destinations such as Paris, it is also very child friendly with many family attractions.
Several low-cost carriers fly direct from the UK to Copenhagen such as easyJet and as the flight time is only 1 hour 30 minutes it is feasible with even the most active of toddlers!
The locals are very friendly, they are after all known as the World’s happiest nation and they love kids! (We found the locals not overly gushy but certainly friendly with our boys during our weekend stay). The Dane’s love of children is evident by the stores we enjoyed in the shopping district – the flagship LEGO store, Scandinavia’s only Disney Store and a Hamleys toy shop! We were fortunate to visit as the Christmas Markets were opening up for their first weekend of the festive season.
The easiest way to get around the city is by bike and according to Visit Denmark, the country’s tourist board, it takes just 20 minutes to get from one side of the city to the other. (City bikes can be hired for short periods of time in a similar way to the Santandar cycle scheme in London).
Of course hopping on a bike with young children is not so easy however, if you do not wish to explore on foot along the beautiful cobblestoned medieval streets, the city has an extensive transportation network (train and metro) which are both easily accessible with push chairs.
We made the most of our family city break in Copenhagen by visiting the famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park which had just reopened its doors for the festive season and had been transformed into a magical Winter Wonderland. We cannot rate Tivoli Gardens highly enough. We arrived as the park opened at 11am and left after watching the Illumination Show and Christmas Lights Show at 7.30pm however we had still not experienced all that the park had to offer such as the Tivoli Aquarium. Click here for our full review of Tivoli Gardens and here for our tips for visiting Tivoli Gardens as a family.
To make the most of our second day in the city we made our way to Nyhavn (meaning New Harbour). A 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district. The pretty waterfront is lined with brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century bars, cafes and restaurants and is a popular spot in Copenhagen. From Nyhavn we picked up our passes for the hop-on-hop-off boat and bus sightseeing tour operated by Open Top Tours.
Unfortunately, we only had a day to use our passes which were valid for 48 hours however we did have time to thoroughly enjoy a leisurely cruise along the canals. We passed many of Copenhagen’s beautiful castles, old listed houses, and other sights of interest including Danish Architecture Centre (DAC), Christiansborg Palace, the Opera House, Experimentarium (the Science Centre) and of course Hans Christian Anderson’s, Little Mermaid statue.
During the boat tour we had the option to listen to an audio commentary (available in 11 languages) which although fascinating I sadly did not get to hear too much of as my youngest son found pulling the ear plugs out of my ears highly entertaining!
The bus and boat combination tour tickets allow users to hop on and off as much as they like and as I mentioned above are valid for 48 hours. The absolute beauty of the passes is that they allow you to sightsee at your own pace. For families therefore they are ideal. We had fully intended to stay on for the whole 1 hour 20 minute round trip tour however a few minutes prior to arriving back at Nyhavn, my youngest decided to have a meltdown and so we jumped off at the next stop (much I’m sure at the delight of all our fellow boaters!)
If we had more time (and baby had not been so grumpy!) we would have stopped for a spot of lunch and then jumped onboard one of the buses to experience sights such as Amalienborg Palace, Rosenborg Palace, Gammel Strand, Christianshavn, Christiania and Christiansborg Palace.
The bus and boat combo tickets cost 245 DKK (approx. £24) for adults, 125 DKK (approx £12) for children aged 6 – 11 and free for under fives. I can honestly say, from my experience of selling excursions in Scandinavia whilst working as Shore Excursions Manager for a major cruise line, that they offer great value for money. Many cruise excursions booked onboard would cost a similar amount for a two-hour tour and often the same boats will be used. (For those of you who may be visiting Copenhagen on a cruise ship you will be interested to know that a cruise ship shuttle is included in this price).
During our visit we stayed at Crown Plaza Copenhagen Towers. A contemporary hotel located a short seven shuttle drive from the airport and a short train/metro journey from the city. Although this business/conference hotel may not be the most obvious choice of hotel for families we can thoroughly recommend it.
Our king room with bed cot on the 24th floor was modern and spacious. The staff were friendly, helpful and very willing to go the extra mile to ensure we, and particularly our boys, were well cared for. We were particularly impressed with the newly opened bar area which was absolutely huge and uniquely decorated with hundreds of olive trees and plants.
We enjoyed breakfast on both mornings in the executive lounge which guests can pay extra to upgrade to. There was a tasty breakfast buffet which included typical breakfast dishes in addition to smoked salmon, Danish breads and pastries. We also ordered from the menu both mornings and started our day with traditional pancakes and omelettes.
There was a metro station and train station within a few minutes walk of the hotel (no noise could be heard from inside) both of which provided easy access into Copenhagen for 24 DKK (approx. £2.40 per adult each way, children under 12 travel for free).
I hope this article helps you to thoroughly enjoy your family city break in Copenhagen! Please do let me know if you have any questions, I would love to help if I can.
Disclosure – We were provided with complimentary hop-on-hop-off bus and boat tickets for the purpose of this review. We were also provided with a complimentary room upgrade and access into the executive lounge for our stay at Crown Plaza Copenhagen Towers. All opinions (and toddler meltdowns!) however are, as always, our own.
Copyright – Main feature image of Copenhagen canals Copenhagen Media Centre. All other images copyright Travel Loving Family