Copenhagen is a cultural and geographic gateway between mainland Europe and Scandinavia. The city is celebrated and recognized for many things: its architecture, high standards of living, an enviable cultural tradition, shopping, museums and parks. There is plenty to fill the days and weeks of a winter break.
It will be cold! This is an obvious but essential point. If you are feeling the cold it will put a dampener on your sightseeing – so wrap up warm.
Flights to Copenhagen are well served by numerous carriers, including low-cost airlines, and Kastrup Airport is modern and highly rated. Flights to Copenhagen from London are available from many major airports; the low cost airline EasyJet runs services from Stansted. The proximity of the Scandinavian countries to one another means you can easily visit one or more of the capitals in a single trip.
If you want to start your Scandinavian tour in Sweden’s capital, then international flights to Stockholm are, again, readily available and transport links between Stockholm and Copenhagen are well established. There are direct flights between the two cities or you can travel by bus, train or car. It’s easily doable in a day – although, of course, flying will be quicker.
Or you can start your tour in Oslo. Oslo Airport, Gardermoen is the second largest airport in Scandinavia, servicing the largest airlines in Norway and around thirty international airlines, making it accessible from almost any location. Travel times between Oslo and Copenhagen are comparable to those between Stockholm and Copenhagen, and travel links encompass direct flights, train, bus and car.
There are many things to do in Copenhagen. The city contains a host of stunning landmarks; perhaps the place to start is Rundetårn, or round tower, situated right in the middle of the city. It has an observation platform at the top, allowing you to scout out your next stop. This might very well be the Church of our Saviour, a spectacular baroque church with a staircase that winds around the outside of the spire.
After landmarks you may be in the mood for something a little more adrenaline-filled. Copenhagen is home to two of the world’s oldest amusement parks, each with a distinctly different vibe. Bakken is the oldest, located in the beautiful surroundings of a beech forest.
Shopping is a major attraction in Copenhagen. Strøget is one of the largest pedestrian shopping centres in the world. In winter you will miss the flea markets but the narrow quarter of streets surrounding Strøget has many smaller boutique stores, a mix of traditional, centuries-old concerns with modern, trendy outlets.
Stockholm has as much to offer the visitor as Copenhagen. If museums are your thing you should try the Vasa Museum, which displays the wreck of the Vasa, a ship which sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. The wreck is almost fully intact, a rarity for ships of this period. Come early to avoid the queues.
A great way to see Stockholm is by boat. Under the bridges of Stockholm departs from the Grand Hotel, which is opposite the Royal Castle. You will pass under 15 bridges and through two locks on this tour.
This is just a smattering of the activities these cities offer. Whether you are looking for cuisine or clubs, both Copenhagen and Stockholm generate a great night-life. Certainly don’t leave Denmark without trying a pølsevogn, or “sausage wagon”, and grabbing a hot dog with a huge variety of toppings.
The Scandinavian capitals are accessible, filled with attraction, and stunning in the winter – don’t write them off for your winter break.