When you travel, sometimes you either have a long layover or a very short visit in a city. And when this happens, it's like site seeing on steroids. You scramble to make your wish list of "must sees" and sprint from site to site trying to catch it all. Well this is exactly what happened to us in Copenhagen, Denmark.
We want to say that Copenhagen is a great city and it should not be overlooked, but if all you have is 5 minutes, here are our recommendations:
Find a coffee shop and then a park where you can relax and have a snack. Remember to get a delicious fattening latte and also eat some Danish baked goods! These people know what they are doing. Ok, now you're feeling like a real European, right? You've had a bit of caffeine and sugar, your beginning to feel better and are ready to explore this awesome city!
2. Visit Christiana
Skip the "tourist traps" and go to the Christiania district, otherwise known as a Freetown.
Yes, you can probably go see some typical tourist monuments or a museum (there is nothing wrong if you are into that) but if you want to do something a bit more unique, visit the most known arts district of Copenhagen - Christiania.
Here is a bit of history about Christiania. Apparently, it was started in the '70's when a group of people started to squat in what used to be the old military barracks. There is a lot of controversy about this area. Artists, musicians, free spirits, hippies, stoners and drug addicts are among the people who created this neighborhood (and probably a couple tourists who just didn’t want to leave...).
The government doesn’t recognize Christiania as a "legal" district because squatting is not technically legal and there are is the drug issue too. It is not legal to use or sell marijuana in Denmark but of course people do, especially in Christiana. These folks have been there so long and they have created a beautiful unique place to live. So why would the government want to get rid of that? Well they are still trying to figure it out what to do with this funky neighborhood and once in a while there is a police raid. Meanwhile you can go and visit this awesome place, even if you are not into drugs go see the art because it's amazing and the falafel was delicious!.
There are a few important rules when you go to Christiana and you better obey them.
1. Do not take pictures!
(Except in a few small, designated areas and we couldn’t help ourselves and share some of the amazing artwork we saw there.)
2. Have fun
3. Don’t run (because this place is raided by the police often and when you run it creates chaos and people think you must be the cops)
Christiana is totally touristy and you see a lot of people wandering around on the streets. When you go there you see the drug dealers wearing ski-masks to hide their identity and they look a bit intimidating, but don’t worry it is totally safe. Just don’t take any pictures!
The whole place looks like a larger version of the apartment of that stoner friend you have. It is the combination of the weirdest, little grungy and dirty things around, but totally laid back and cool.
So when you feel like you've had your fill of the sites, sounds and smells, you must stop and get a vegan falafel plate in the Christiana district. It totally hit the spot before we left.