My initial impressions of the city of Copenhagen were fantastic! Keeping in tune with our short stay in Amsterdam, we started off our sightseeing in Copenhagen with, you guessed it, a canal tour. The scenes from our boat were phenomenal. I was excited for a tour of the harbor from the very first search I made for Copenhagen in Google Images. It did not disappoint. The colorful rows of buildings that adorn the canals are even more beautiful than I could have imagined. We also had a tour guide who was full of interesting facts for all of us tourists, giving her stories in flawless English and Danish. She was even savvy enough to wish all the Americans onboard the boat a Happy 4th of July before informing us all that Denmark had the oldest flag in the world and was thus fiercely proud of its Dannebrog. Throughout the course of an hour, we were guided right up to the statue of the Little Mermaid, Parliamentary and Royal buildings, the opera and play houses (where I must see Hamlet before I leave), and numerous other stunning bridges and old buildings. I would have to say this tour is an absolute must for future travelers in Copenhagen, and I would strongly recommend it be done early in the itinerary.
We spent our first full night in Copenhagen at Tivoli Gardens, and boy do I agree that it was a great decision. Being the second oldest amusement park in the world, Tivoli is experienced in entertainment. There are beautiful gardens and flowers all over the amusement park where just the sights and a nighttime stroll are worth the entry price. There are restaurants galore that serve both inexpensive and fancy meals, from your typical amusement park food (although I could not read the ice cream flavors) to fancy Nordic dinners. There are rides both old and new. At Tivoli today, one can face their fears on the newly built “Vertigo,” an indescribably intense ride that involves high speed loops, twists and turns, and suspending riders upside down in the air (Danish coins are actually valuable, so heed the ride attendants and take EVERYTHING out of your pockets before braving this one). However, the most exciting ride found at Tivoli for me was easily the wooden roller coaster built in 1914, Rutschebanen (The Roller Coaster). If your ride is simply named “The Roller Coaster,” then you know it must be old. A park attendant actually has to sit on the coaster and apply breaks throughout the ride to keep the coaster’s speed in check. One can imagine just how much fun the guests were having 100 years ago as they manned The Rutschebanen for what must have been an intense ride at the time (and still is). Riding this coaster and all the other rides we could fit in before closing time with my friends from college was an absolute blast. Oh, and there are awesome concerts almost nightly at Tivoli. I only have one important piece of advice for travelers who plan a trip to Tivoli as part of their stay in Copenhagen. Check the calendar before you go. Elton John might be performing inside the park the day after you go.