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New Year in Copenhagen

Joe Machin Out and about

Year after year, New Year's is built up to be one of the most anticipated celebrations of the annum. Yet, for me at least, it has nearly always failed to live up to the hype. So, by way of mixing things up a little, my friends and I decided to spend the final days of 2016 in Copenhagen.

Known as København to the Danish, the capital of Denmark is both culturally and historically rich. However, by no way, shape or form does it resemble a city steeped in the past. The wealth of architecture and canals offset the modern infrastructure to a tee, and there's a welcoming aura about the place, encouraging you to get involved. I'm going to take you around some of the highlights of our trip; shedding light on what I'm sure is only a fraction of all that Copenhagen has to offer.

Image -1-RSGetting to Newcastle Airport and beyond

We took the Tyne and Wear Metro from Gateshead station, and landed at Newcastle International Airport around 30 minutes later. After checking in our luggage and a hearty breakfast, we boarded. It took us 1hr 40 to get there in total, a straightforward, no hassle journey getting us into Copenhagen around midday on the 30th December. It's worth mentioning you can lower the flight price dramatically if you fly indirect with a stop in Paris (never a bad shout if you have the time).

Image -2-RSAccommodation

We landed at our apartment, which was situated slap bang in the city centre. For accommodation, I'd recommend using Airbnb. I've used it all over Europe and it has always been a success. Failing that, check some of the central hostels in Copenhagen.

Image -3-RSGetting Around the City

We juggled our inner-city travel between catching the train and cycling. The weight of locals use bikes to get around, and it's definitely a great way to discover the various nooks and crannies of the city, with rentals costing around 130 DKK for a 24-hour period. The train from the airport to the city centre is around 40 DKK, and is dead easy to figure out. In short, there's no shortage of transport in Copenhagen. My advice? Go rent a bike!

Image -4-RSMorning Run

I'm currently training for the Edinburgh Half Marathon, and so I took it upon myself to get out for an early run before we kicked off with the New Year's festivities. I headed up to the frozen Søerne lakes, North West of the city centre, which was picturesque to say the least. Would definitely advise a visit, even for a long walk.

Danish Pastries

For me, breakfast in Copenhagen presents only one logical choice - the infamous Danish pastry. A great snack to grab on the go, and not too expensive, these delicious little blighters were ever-present during our stay, and thankfully so.

Image -5-RSChristiania // Freetown

One of the highlights of our time in Copenhagen, Christiania is a raw, bohemian enclave that boasts a wealth of culture and attitude. Originally formed during the 70s, hippies decided to take up residence in an abandoned army base and the district grew from there. There's an abundance of fantastic beer gardens that are worth a visit, offset by a series of colourful war murals. If you're looking to pull away from some of the more touristy sites and discover a vibrant subculutre - even do a bit of people watching - then this is definitely the place for you.

Image -6-RSWatching the Fireworks at the Tivoli Gardens

After we visited Christiania, we headed for the Tivoli Gardens where we counted in the New Year and watched a spectacular fireworks display - and what a sight it was.

The Food

Denmark is renowned for its food... Scratch that, Nordic countries in general are renowned for their food. My advice is simple, my friends, be sure to eat food in Copenhagen. Whilst there, we experienced some mind-blowing taster menus, most notably at a restaurant named Höst, a magnificent, greenhouse-esque establishment that screamed of Scandinavian flair. Things can get quite pricey, however, so be sure to research well in advance and plan according to your budget, Naturally, this leads me to my next point...

So, what's the catch?

A word of warning, Copenhagen, although a fantastic place to visit, can be on the pricey side. Supermarkets, restaurants and bars are particularly expensive. This, however, does not take away from the beauty and culture engrained into this city, and therefore should not dissuade anyone from paying a visit. What I would say, however, is that Newcastle International Airport flies to a host of great cities, many of which offer more price-savvy alternatives - especially over the New Year's period!

Culture over tourist attractions

What struck me about Copenhagen was the lack of tourist attractions present, and, to be honest, this made the trip more enjoyable. If you're planning on visiting Copenhagen any time soon, be sure to take the time to enjoy the city at a slower pace. There's no real need to rush around to see everything in one sitting, simply get on a bike and experience Danish culture at its best.

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