Cruise passengers to Copenhagen will want to see the very best this enchanting Scandinavian city has to offer, but they might be challenged by a tight time schedule and a base a little north of the downtown area. With a little planning, though, cruise guests can fit in a surprisingly large amount of sightseeing in just one half-day visit to Copenhagen.
Depending on which port your ship docks at, your base for your time in Copenhagen will be either Langelinie, a 15-minute walk from both Kongens Nytorv and Østerport Station, or a little further north at the Freeport Terminal, a 10-minute walk from Nordhavn 'S-Toget' train station.
Cruise terminal Langelinie Quay also offers opportunities for relaxation — Photo courtesy of Cees van Roeden
Head south to the Little Mermaid and Esplanaden, with the lovely green spaces of Kastellet and Churchillparken. As you move into downtown, the pleasant seafront walk will take you through the small park area of Amaliehaven, a modern addition to the 18th-century rococo complex of Amalienborg palaces that, with its fountains and Japanese cherry trees, is especially pleasant on a warm summer's day. With the green-domed Marble Church as its backdrop, this makes a great photo op. Below it, the quayside street of Nyhavn is generally lined with tourists, but remains one of Copenhagen's most pleasant pit stops.
You can't do everything in half a day, so it's up to you whether you want to check out the department stores of Europe's longest pedestrian street Strøget; explore the narrow streets of the Latin quarter, one of Copenhagen's oldest neighborhoods, filled with fascinating little boutiques and coffee shops; or simply take a seat outside a Nyhavn fish restaurant and watch the boats bobbing on the canal.
A sightseeing bus or canal tour will make sightseeing less exhausting and help fit those must-see attractions into a tight schedule. Whether you choose to see Copenhagen from the water or on dry land, both options allow the opportunity to hop on and hop off as many times as you wish on one ticket.
Kongens Have park, with Rosenborg Slot in the background — Photo courtesy of Cees van Roeden
In search of castles? Rosenborg Slot, with Denmark's crown jewels on display in its basement, is not far from the downtown area, while Copenhagen's traditional power base, Christiansborg, is just over the canal from Gammel Strand.
Once echoing with the noise of the shipbuilding trade, Copenhagen's revitalized waterfront is now dotted with cultural landmarks, including the Royal Danish Playhouse and the Opera House. New walkways, cycle paths and footbridges enable residents as well as visitors to move from Islands Brygge to Kalvebod Brygge easily, with more bridges over the inner harbor still under construction.
Over the water from Kastellet at Refshaleoen (the yellow public harbor bus 992 makes regular departures from Nyhavn), newly-opened Amass Restaurant has some of the hottest tables in town.