The capital city of Denmark bids a cold yet cosy experience. To all those who wish to venture north in winter, DW’s Eesha Kheny shares an account of her winter weekend in Copenhagen.
My weekend started on an adventurous note with a drive from Malmö to Copenhagen by crossing the Øresund bridge- an engineering marvel connecting the two countries by rail and road.
I was bowled over with fascination when the water level around me rose as my car followed the road into a tunnel under the sea. Minutes later, I arrived in Copenhagen with no fixed itinerary or plan. All I wanted was to have a good time and maybe understand the meaning of the trendy word ‘Hygge’: A Danish word for well-being achieved through the gratification of life’s simple pleasures. Keeping this in mind, I headed to the number one attraction in the city for guaranteed enjoyment: Tivoli Gardens.
Winter season in Tivoli
On entering the doors of Tivoli, I left all thoughts of roads, cars and the rest of the city behind. Before me lay a snow clad winter wonderland. The atmosphere was festive and the air fragrant. Following my nose, I treated myself to delicious hot cocoa and cake at one of the quaint cafes overlooking the park.
Taking a moments respite from the freezing weather, I witnessed gigantic reindeers towering over park visitors who were posing for photographs in wooden sleighs underneath. As I continued walking through the gardens, I came across various interesting attractions. One of my favourites was a massive white marble castle complete with a rotating duck carousel. There was also an oriental themed section of the park with dragon rollercoasters, strings of traditional paper lamps and a vast selection of food. Along with this, there were rides and balloons as well as other multi cuisine restaurants filled with visitors enjoying their winter break.
I spent a few hours soaking in the eternal magic of Tivoli gardens - which first opened their doors way back in 1843- and experiencing the contagious happiness that envelopes people during this season. After making a complete circle of the park, I said goodbye to the ornamented trees and made my way to the second most popular attraction of Copenhagen: The Statue of the Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid and the Citadel
I paid a visit to the harbour of the city to see the world’s most famous mermaid. Sitting on a rock since 1913, this statue is an iconic symbol of Copenhagen and Denmark. I spent fifteen minutes observing the statue, taking selfies and photographs only to fail in sharing the enthusiasm of my fellow travellers about the statue. Although I was fascinated by its history considering the numerous cases of political vandalism that have taken place against the statute over the years.
After this quick visit, I followed the road signs to the nearby Citadel- a well-preserved star fortress which interestingly does looks like a defined star on the maps. I made my way past rows of red buildings which lay deserted and empty, rejected by their lack of importance. It was an eerie experience for me to peek into windows knowing they were used as prisons in the past. The Citadel is also home to the last functional windmill of Copenhagen making it a unique vintage styled photo opportunity. I walked along the entire length the Citadel- which now serves as a public park as well- to this point for that well-deserved photograph.
Vibrant waterfront of Nyhavn
Leaving the best for the last, I spent many hours of leisure in the postcard perfect 17th century waterfront called Nyhavn. I sat along the quayside at a cosy café, drinking wine and watching boats full of tourists sail by. When the sun went down, the evening grew cold and yet the mood was merry.
I walked through the market lined with local shops glowing brightly under the hanging lights. Amongst these are also some nice restaurants which Nyhavn is home to. I opted for a local bistro serving fresh oysters, rustic European dishes and beautiful wines. Over a satisfying slow-paced dinner I had the sudden realisation that this is exactly what Hygge is meant to be: Comfort and warmth in a tranquil surrounding with a feeling of contentment along with good food, friends and family. Smiling at the impact Copenhagen had on me just in one winter weekend, I wonder what insights a warm summer weekend here will bring.