Family trip: Copenhagen

April 25, 2018

This post should have been on the blog months ago because we visited Copenhagen almost a year ago, but better late than never, right? I bet some of you are still figuring out what you’re going to do this summer, so this article may be useful if you visit Copenhagen with your family.

A gorgeous city

We had visited Copenhagen three years ago on our annual trip as a couple and we had loved it. We stayed in a cosy hotel near the train station and as we were without children, we spent all the time walking around the city, visiting monuments, shopping and going to great restaurants.

This time we were looking forward to discovering the place with Philippe’s parents, Inés and Théo, so we tried to adapt the trip to the fact that we had kids. Well, I must say that didn’t work as expected either because we didn’t plan ahead properly or because on some occasions the city wasn’t adapted to people traveling with children.

Our hotel: a top design hotel, but not suited for kids

I love Copenhagen’s design. You can find it everywhere: in shops, in coffee shops, in restaurants… And I would bring home absolutely everything from this city. Being a total Nordic design freak, I wanted to stay in a cool hotel or house. We looked for a place to rent but the ones we liked were quite far away from the city centre, so we chose a very well-known, centrally located hotel: SP34.

We really loved the hotel and its decoration. It’s one of those places you could spend the day photographing. It has very beautiful spaces and a delicious restaurant.

However, I don’t recommend it if you have kids. First, because the rooms are tiny and when you add a crib and an extra bed, you can hardly move, even if you reserve one of the biggest (and most expensive) rooms.

The hotel’s restaurant wasn’t child-friendly either. It didn’t have a kid’s menu and all the dishes were very sophisticated (delicious for us, but Inés didn’t even want to taste the food).

We were also quite disappointed about the fact that the hotel couldn’t find a babysitter for us to go out one evening. It’s quite an expensive hotel, so we were expecting such a service.

In summary, it’s definitely a great place to stay if you travel without kids, but for a family trip, I would recommend to rent a place or pick a more ‘family friendly’ hotel (please let me know if you know any, as we just couldn’t find one).

Activities with the kids

As it was the first time that Philippe’s parents visited Copenhagen, we wanted to show them the most important parts of the city and not only child-friendly places. It’s quite a small city, so it’s very easy to walk around. When Inés was tired, it was easy to find a tuk tuk bicycle which drove us to our destination for a reasonable price. It was so much fun to do this with Inés!

I think it’s not very useful if I tell you what to visit in Copenhagen as you can find everything in tourist guides. I’m just going to give you our impressions on the places where we had great experiences with Inés and Théo.

Spending a day at Tivoli Gardens theme park

There aren’t a lot of cities where you can find an amusement park right in the centre. The first time we visited Copenhagen, we only went to Tivoli in the evening for diner and a concert, and back then we had already liked it quite a lot. This time we spent a whole day at Tivoli Gardens with Inés and Théo and realized what an amazing place it is for children. I usually hate amusement parks as I get sick very easily, but I loved this one. Attractions were nice and for all ages, there are concerts, flowers and restaurants everywhere… I guess we were lucky it was a sunny day, but we really had a great time.

Spend an afternoon at the Rosenborg castle park

This is one of the busiest parks I’ve ever seen. It’s full of families enjoying a picnic, cycling, playing…

When you know the dates you’re traveling to Copenhagen, I recommend you check the cultural agenda to see if there are any activities organised while you’re there. I had the impression that there’s always something on. When we were there, there was a festival organised by the Danish association against torture and it was amazing. There were bouncy castles, games, makeup sessions for kids, as well as concerts and bars for adults. It was a great way to spend a “Danish style” afternoon.

Visit the aquarium

The first time we went to Copenhagen, we fell in love with the Louisiana museum. It’s located an hour by train from the city, next to the sea, and it has a great collection of contemporary art and amazing sculpture gardens.

This time we would have loved to visit it again, but we thought it wasn’t the most suitable visit for the kids, so we chose to go to the aquarium. We went there the last day as it’s very close to the airport, so we took our luggage with us and put it in the lockers (lockers where big enough for huge suitcases!).

We’ve seen lots of aquariums (Philippe loves them!) and this one is one of the most impressive ones we’ve been to. There’s an area where kids can touch fish and you can watch them being fed in a huge pool. There are even activities for children such as makeup sessions. There’s a park outside and the restaurant caters very well to children. It was clearly the right thing to do to spend a morning there.

Changing of the Guard

This is always so famous in cities with kings or queens and castles, even if I personally don’t see the point of it, but kids are usually fascinated by the ceremony. For us it was a good way to visit the city and give Inés’ legs a break. She was fascinated by the methodical way the guards moved and even kept imitating their walk once we were back in Geneva We laughed a lot with that.

Things that failed

When we had visited the city alone we thought it was an ideal destination for kids. And it all started really well, with free service baby strollers when we got off the plane at the airport. This may seem unnecessary but nowadays you can’t always take your own stroller all the way to the plane’s gate and you have to walk all the way to the baggage delivery with your baby in your arms plus all the stuff that you usually carry for him. So, this is such a good surprise when you arrive at Copenhagen’s airport.

However, when we travelled back, we weren’t allowed to take our own stroller to the gate (which is something we normally do in all airports) and we couldn’t get a free service stroller until we went through the security, which meant we had to carry Théo for quite a long time (not quite as idyllic as when we arrived).

We also had mixed feelings about whether the city was suitable for parents travelling with their kids. There were great and suitable places like Tivoli and the Aquarium, but on many occasions we were in restaurants where they couldn’t heat Théo’s food or we weren’t allowed to come in with our stroller. I was shocked because that’s not the image I had of Denmark. I guess it’s a great place for kids to live in but not that much to visit. Or perhaps kids are fine, but not babies…

Lovely @hyggestar visited the city after us and had the same experience when she had to heat her baby’s food. Actually, she was luckier than me as she found the ideal place where to do so: Illum Bollighus, the most beautiful decoration shop I’ve been to in my whole life. And now that I know that they also have a place where you can look after your kids, I love it even more!

Copenhagen with kids?

Definitely yes, but don’t expect, as I did, that everything is perfectly adapted for kids. It’s worth preparing the trip’s activities and visits and, most importantly, plan accommodation and feeding better than we did as I can tell you many city centre restaurants weren’t’ suited for kids and our hotel, which was on TripAdvisor’s list of family hotels, wasn’t a good idea for the little ones.

Have you already been in Copenhagen with your family? How was your experience?