Saturday, 13 June 2015

Visiting Copenhagen with a Toddler

We recently spent a week in Copenhagen with our ALMOST 2 year old. It was amazing. The city is small enough that we were able to see most of, if not all, of the tourist highlights. We utilised prime napping time to whiz around some of the attractions that might be less toddler friendly/appealing like the Marble Church, Nyhavn and some of the residential areas. But, for the most part everything we did was well received by both adults and toddler alike. 

We were blessed with fantastic weather (we went during the first week of June) so we were able to spend a great deal of time outdoors, which is perfect for the short attention span of our toddler and her need to walk walk walk.



Our TOP 5 must dos

1. Copenhagen Zoo is slightly outside the city centre but it is easily accessible by public transportation. We walked from our apartment (which was close to the Central Station) and it took us about 45 mins. This zoo is fantastic. It was the most expensive touristy thing we did (170 kr. per adult, under 3s free) during our week in Copenhagen but it was worth it. It is a smallish zoo-with plenty of animal enclosures and even a separate Children's Zoo area complete with petting area and playground. You can bring a picnic or purchase food on site and there even wagons to borrow to wheel your coolers around with you. We ate at the cafeteria restaurant and the food was good, and not unreasonably priced for a tourist attraction (we paid 85 kr. each for a hot meal and a soft drink). We went on the weekend so it was busy, but not overly crowded. Our top choice, for sure. 

2.  The National Museum of Denmark was one of the few inside things we did in Copenhagen. It is a lovely, bright, modern museum with a fantastic hands-on Children's Museum on the ground floor where children can try on costumes, play games, ride a horse, sail in a viking ship and much much more. There are also mummies on the top floor of the museum and an amazing collection of old dolls houses on the 2nd floor. If you have a stroller or pram, be prepared to leave it (safely) at the entrance and use one of the ones the museum provides. The cafe wasn't open when we visited but we were able to sit in it to eat the snack we had brought with us. 

3. The Botanic Garden is a lovely green space in the centre of Copenhagen. There are areas where you can sit on the grass, as well as designated picnic areas and cafes. It is a great place to let your toddler loose if they have been strapped into a stroller for a while. There are plenty of outdoor areas to explore, as well as the glasshouses (but you will have to leave your stroller outside of those). We walked through the gardens a number of times on our way to and from other parts of the city centre, and really enjoyed exploring the different pathways. 

4. ├śrsted's Park was, thankfully, a short walk from our apartment close to the Central Station. In it is a wonderful children's area. We only played in one of the 2 play areas, but they both looked fantastic. The, what I would call, younger playground has a couple of slides, a huge sand box, swings, climbing frame, and little play huts. There are communal toys to use for digging in the sand and I honestly think our munchkin could have stayed there all day every day. During the week the bigger kids play area is supervised by park staff and it looked like they had loads of fun toys to play with and activities to do. 

5. The Round Tower is right in the centre of the main pedestrianised shopping area. It is free for children under 5 (25 kr. for adults). It was easy enough for our toddler to walk up (there is no elevator) and she loved looking out over the city from the observation area at the top. We visited The Round Tower on our last morning in Copenhagen and it was a nice, gentle way to end our trip. It isn't suitable for prams, we just left ours beside the ticket booth.  

In addition to these TOP 5 attractions we really enjoyed taking our toddler on a Canal Tour. The cruise was 60 mins, and was maybe a little bit too long for her...but the prospect of looking for tunnels kept her in good spirits for the whole trip. Again, we had to leave the stroller at the ticket booth so be prepared for that.  The canal tour was a good way to see a lot of the sites that are just a bit too far outside the city centre to drag a toddler along to, like The Little Mermaid statue and The Opera House

Copenhagen is a great city to explore with little ones. If you stay in the city centre most of the main attractions are within easy walking distance, or accessible by public transportation. We found the train trip from the airport to the Central Station very easy. There are ticket machines where you can select your language and pay using a credit or debit card, and the train only takes 15 mins.

Be prepared to leave your stroller outside shops and restaurants. Everyone does it, so don't be worried (besides if you are travelling with a cheapo umbrella stroller like us no one will want it anyway...the prams in Denmark are like SUVs).

Embrace the outdoors and definitely visit Torvehallerne food market to stock up on picnic supplies to enjoy in one of the many public parks.

Just go and enjoy it!