If Copenhagen is a destination you find yourself planning to visit as you take advantage of the best low airfare offers to Europe in 2015, then settle in for my The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings trilogy-style presentation. My version of Copenhagen is too big for one long post.
I saw more sights in Copenhagen this week on a solo 5-hour self-guided walking tour than I saw in five days last July staying in the city with my wife during the summer heat wave in Europe.
This is a long piece reflecting on walking around Copenhagen, Denmark earlier this week with my thoughts on the city sights, Copenhagen tourist culture and Denmark in general, after spending close to a week in Copenhagen in July 2015 combined with my visit this week.
Are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have
– Jimi Hendrix
Copenhagen and Scandinavia is ground ‘approaching zero’ for low priced tickets in USA-Europe airline route wars
Norwegian WOW factor on ticket prices to Europe
Copenhagen, Denmark is one of the most commonly low priced tickets for air travelers from California to Europe in 2015. The low cost carrier airlines like Norwegian Airlines and WOW Air have shaken up transatlantic travel to the greatest degree in a couple decades with their published sub-$300 round trip fares recurring throughout 2015 to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo and several other cities in Norway.
Norwegian Airlines competition has meant fares with the legacy carriers of American, Delta and United combine their scheduled flights on Europe routes with alliance partner flights like British Airways, Air France/KLM and Lufthansa/Swiss/SAS for fares in the $500 to $700 range to many Scandinavian airports in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Typical airfare available most of 2015 has been in the $400 to $700 range from LAX and SFO. Competitive fares are offered regularly from various USA airports operating with Norwegian and WOW service.
Norwegian flights operate out of Fort Lauderdale FLL and Orlando MCO, New York JFK, Boston BOS, Las Vegas LAS, Los Angeles LAX, and Oakland OAK. This competition from Norwegian Air for Europe means fares from legacy carriers are discounted to Scandinavian Airports from these cities with Miami MIA, San Francisco SFO and Washington Dulles IAD being the more common ticket price competitor to Fort Lauderdale, Oakland and Baltimore. Norwegian flies a nonstop LAX to London route at ticket prices legacy carrier airlines find hard to compete. Legacy carriers compete with low fares to Copenhagen CPH and Billund BLL Denmark, Stockholm ARN and Gothenburg GOT Sweden, Oslo OSL, Bergen BGO and several other airports in Norway. Scandinavia as a ticketed destination has offered the lowest airline ticket prices by far and more travel dates by far during 2015 than to any other airports in Europe.
WOW Airlines operates from Baltimore and Boston. WOW operates low cost Europe flights from BWI. Norwegian Air also flies from Baltimore BWI, but only Caribbean routes at this time. WOW Air also flies out of Toronto and Montreal. I believe Chicago is the next scheduled airport service for USA.
My Summer in Copenhagen
In May 2015 when planning out a summer trip for two weeks ticketed with arrival and departure from Copenhagen CPH, I was not sure if I would find the city interesting enough to stay two days. We stayed five nights in Copenhagen with three nights upon arrival from Boston on WOW Airlines, followed by a trip to London for eight nights and back to Copenhagen for two nights before flying back to Boston with WOW Airlines.
Kelley added Copenhagen as one of her top tier destinations. Anyplace where nearly everyone local speaks English is her favorite kind of destination. She freaks out over language barriers to communication. Kelley’s travel style is a slow pace of travel with a tendency to sleep in late mornings, eat meals on a regular schedule just like she were home, limited walking and perhaps plan to visit a local attraction, possibly even two places in a single day.
My travel style is quite different. I want to hit the streets walking and explore a place and see a wide range of places I can visit within the time frame I have to stay. I’ll walk until I am ready to drop and then walk five miles more. I eat when I feel the hunger gnawing at my belly and then find a market for some bread and fruit to hold me over until I buy a full market meal and eat dinner when I get back to the hotel, whatever hour that might be. I’ll stop by a local attraction and if it looks really interesting to me and I have the opportunity to visit at the moment, then I’ll hang around for what I can see. But, if the next tour is an hour away or the line for admission is an hour wait, then I’ll snap some exterior photos and tour the place virtually through internet research and online photos tourists have posted for the interior. Oftentimes I simply want to walk and walk and walk and let new visions stimulate me.
Copenhagen this week was my grand tour walking around the city for five hours with barely more than a few blocks overlap with any streets I walked on during our July trip over five days.
The rest of this piece covers Copenhagen Airport arrival, train transportation to Copenhagen city and walking to my hotel in the center of Copenhagen near the pedestrian shopping mall corridor in the heart of the city.
Two other pieces cover the sights and history of Copenhagen as seen on a five hour walking tour through the 17th century architecture and design of Copenhagen created during the reign of Christian IV and the biggest tourist sights along the waterfront from The Little Mermaid statue to Nyhavn Canal houses, restaurants and boat tours.
Part 2 – Copenhagen Get Your Mind Together then come on across (October 8, 2015)
Part 3 – Copenhagen on the waterfront (October 9, 0215)
Copenhagen Arrival at 12:15pm left all afternoon to walk
In Copenhagen, Denmark, arriving at 12:15pm meant I had about five hours touring Copenhagen between 2pm and 7pm before going back to my hotel room for a night’s sleep before my flights home to California the next morning.
Copenhagen this week was the grand tour walking around the city for five hours with barely more than a few blocks overlap with any streets I walked on during our July trip over five days.
Train from CPH Airport to Copenhagen Central Station
13 minutes and 36 DKK one-way
I arrived at Copenhagen Airport on Swiss Airlines from Geneva around 12:15pm. The airport in Copenhagen is a familiar looking place to me now after flying WOW Air Boston to Copenhagen and back last July, flying RyanAir Copenhagen to London Luton and back last July, flying British Airways from California to Copenhagen September 3 and flying Norwegian Airlines Copenhagen to Prague September 5 and now arriving back at CPH on October 5 meant this was my seventh trip through CPH airport in the past three months.
Once you pick up your bags and walk out the CPH Airport Customs door the train station platforms to Copenhagen Central Station or Malmo, Sweden are less than 100 meters away within an enclosed building space.
Velmommen til Københavns Lufthavn. Copenhagen is another example where the local language name is significantly different to the English name for the city.
A Spanish woman traveling with an American who had been on the flight from Geneva commented on the beauty of the dark hardwood floor in the CPH terminal. It is a pretty floor, but not the same flooring seen in the photo above.
There is always time I find to buy a train ticket at the automated machines by the baggage carousel before checked bags arrive. The ticket price is 36 DKK ($5.45 USD) one-way to the city. There is no discount for buying round trip tickets. You must have a PIN code for your credit card to complete the transaction. Keep this in mind when going to Europe, if you do not know or have a code for your credit card. I have finally learned my PIN codes after several years of struggling with credit card transactions in Europe.
Copenhagen Airport Kastrup art and bench design at rail station track.
Train to Sweden at CPH Kastrup stop displays signs for the train car with space for bicycles, wheelchairs, baby strollers and luggage. These cars have fold up seats facing sideways with wide flat space for holding bulky items. Most cars have regular train seating.
My Swiss Air flight arrived at 12:15pm. I was at the CPH Kastrup airport train platform with my bags at 12:45pm. The train to Copenhagen arrived at 12:54, departed at 12:55 and after a 13 minute ride, I was standing on Track 1 platform of Copenhagen Central Station at 13:08.
Copenhagen by Design
Copenhagen has cool design. The city is the economic powerhouse of Scandinavia, ranked near the top of the list globally for standard of living, social mobility, social equity, quality of life and happiness. By most people’s standards, happiness is probably considered a subjective, unquantifiable data point. By whatever standards are used to measure happiness, the Danish people tend to come out at or near the top compared to people in countries around the world.
Choice Hotels Ascend Collection Skt. Petri was my hotel destination. I stayed at this same hotel in July, so I knew the general direction to walk to the hotel about one mile away from the train station. In my bag was the detailed map of the city from Copenhagen Tourist Information I picked up in July. I walked right by the Tourist Info center again, about 200 meters to the left from the train station main entrance, across the street from Tivoli Garden main entrance. I did not need the map to find my hotel. I arrived at the hotel at 13:27, so it was less than one mile to walk. Google Maps shows the distance at 1.3 km on the left most side route I walked to avoid the usually busy main pedestrian shopping thoroughfare marked with a dotted line on Google Maps.
Apparently, I walk at the speed or a little faster than a Google walker. I stopped to take photos in Copenhagen train station and a photo of this amusing sign outside a Copenhagen restaurant-bar and reached the hotel at 13:27, within two minutes of the Google Maps walking time.
“Did you know that 2 to 3 glasses of wine per day can reduce your risk of giving a shit.” Just substitute beer for wine in this phrase and that sums up much of my self-medicating existence for confronting societal ills or an afternoon touring a city. On this day the beer came in the evening after my long walk across Copenhagen.
Studiestrade as a Copenhagen downtown street looks rather grimy in my photo. This is a a parallel street with mixed-use residential and small businesses a couple of streets off the glitzy designer shop pedestrian mall famous in downtown Copenhagen.
The glam side of Copenhagen seen at Storkespringvandet, ‘Stork Fountain’, a couple of short blocks from Skt. Petri Hotel.
I assume Studiestrade is a very safe neighborhood in the city center. Copenhagen University is at the end of the street. Copenhagen is one of those places where you will see a woman riding her bicycle alone through the city streets at 3am going to wherever she needs to be.
The city street Studiestrade looks nicer photographed in the opposite direction from the Greasy Spoon Diner. Sidewalk dining is common in the summer months around Copenhagen, even on very narrow sidewalks.
Outside the Greasy Spoon Diner on Studiestrade, Copenhagen.
Skt. Petri Hotel is named for nearby Saint Peter’s Church, much of the church dating from the mid-15th century and the oldest building in central Copenhagen. The church was one of four Copenhagen parishes from the Middle Ages, first mentioned in 1304, however, the church site is believed to initially date from around 1200. In 1585 the church was presented to the German-speaking people of Copenhagen by Frederick II. Sankt Petri Kirke was taken over by the state in 1994 due to the small parish’s financial inability to maintain the historic site. The state financed major restoration and reconstruction of the property. Wikipedia English link – St. Peter’s Church Copenhagen.
Sankt Petri Kirke Copenhagen. The bell tower spire dates from 1757.
Hotel Skt. Petri Copenhagen, Nordic Choice Hotels Ascend Collection
I’ll write up a comprehensive hotel review of Hotel Skt. Petri Copenhagen in a separate post. This is a cool hotel and far from what you might perceive as a typical Choice Hotel from USA perceptions of their hotel brands.
Skt. Petri Hotel Copenhagen, Nordic Choice Hotels Ascend Collection.
Choice Hotels Skt. Petri Copenhagen, Ascend Collection (Choice Hotels link).
Skt. Petri Copenhagen, Ascend Collection (Nordic Choice Hotels link).
Skt. Petri Copenhagen (hotel’s local website)
A room night at Skt. Petri Copenhagen is 20,000 Choice Privileges points for a standard reward night. I booked a Points Plus Cash reward night for 8,000 points + $90. This was my 20th hotel night at Choice Hotels in 2015 and I now have Choice Privileges Platinum elite status for 2016. This gives me an edge for hotel reward reservations in Europe with a 75-day advance booking window. Members with no elite status or Gold elite in Choice Privileges can only book international hotels within 60 days of arrival.
Hotel Skt. Petri had my room ready at 13:30 and I stayed in room 508, two doors down from the room I stayed at in July with a view of Rundetårn, the Round Tower (1635-1642) and the oldest working observatory in Europe. The observation deck is 35 meters high.
View of Rundetårn, the Round Tower from my hotel room at Skt. Petri Hotel.
Copenhagen – The Walk part 2