Beautiful Copenhagen, Day 1 The Little Mermaid Trek

by | Dec 24, 2023 | Europe, Denmark


I took a quick 1-week trip to Copenhagen, I got a fantastic deal and could not say no. My wife refused to join me for this one because “it will be too cold”.

I had a few hours before my room would be ready, so I opted for a walk to The Little Mermaid. The pictures were all taken with my iPhone Pro 14, which wasn’t really happy with the light. The time-lapse was shot with the DJI Osmo Pocket 3.

For those unaware, The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen Harbor is a famous and iconic sculpture that has become synonymous with the Danish capital. Perched gracefully on a rock at the Langelinie promenade, this bronze statue depicts a mermaid becoming human, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.” Unveiled in 1913, the statue was a gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen to the city of Copenhagen.

Sculpted by Edvard Eriksen, it measures just 1.25 meters tall, creating a subtle yet poignant presence. Over the years, the statue has not only been a major tourist attraction but has also endured vandalism and restorations, reflecting its significant cultural and historical value. It’s often admired for its artistry and the poignant story it represents.

The flight

I had never been to Denmark, nor had I ever flown on SAS, so 2 firsts. I was pleasantly surprised with SAS but was not a huge fan of the A321 NEO LR aircraft, a very comfortable plane, but too small for a 9-hour flight. 4 or 5 hours would be fine, but not 9 hours. Copenhagen Airport (CPH) is beautiful and easy to navigate, it took maybe 5–10 minutes to get through the immigration checkpoint. All in, I was buying a train ticket in under 45 minutes from landing.

Train to the Copenhagen Central or København H

Public transit at 8 AM on a Sunday is not always reliable, but trains run about every 20 minutes between the airport and the main station in Copenhagen. The ticket will cost you around $5.00, at the big red DSB machines in the terminal, the machines have an English option, take cards, and contactless payment. There are NO ticket machines on the train. I got to the platform as my train was leaving. My 8:30 train ended up being an 8:40 train.

Go Hotel Ansgar

A 5-minute walk from the train station, Go Hotel Ansgar is not the fanciest hotel I have ever stayed in, but they are very accommodating! Joanna at the front desk was so kind, helpful, and friendly, she made my stay in Copenhagen so much better, and she deserves a huge raise!

I was informed that normally check-in is at 2 PM, and they would do everything in their power to get me in my room earlier. I left my bags with them until check-in and went to the dining room to have breakfast. The woman running the dining room had some issues that I had a breakfast receipt, but no room number, she told me to go ahead and eat while she figured it out.

While enjoying my breakfast, I looked at Google Maps for ideas on how to kill 3 to 4 hours. After looking, I came up with a walk to “The Little Mermaid” which, according to Google Maps, was about an hour’s walk away, I knew that I was going to be sidetracked along the route, so I had a goal, The Little Mermaid.

The Walk To The Little Mermaid

My walk started with a return to the train station, to check it out a little better than I could have while dragging luggage around. Copenhagen Central is a beautiful train station built in 1911, upgraded and electrified in 1934 to facilitate the S-Bahn trains, and modified in the late 1990s to incorporate the new metro service. Copenhagen Central is a hub for long-haul trains to the rest of Denmark, North into Sweden and Finland, and South to Germany and the rest of Europe.

Walking out the north end of the station you find Tivoli an amusement park and the first thing that goes through your mind is, which wants to ride a roller coaster in ~30° weather, but the place appeared and sounded to be in full swing. Tivoli Garden opened in 1843 and was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Disneyland. During WW II, several structures were burned by local nazi’s the structures were not fully replaced until after the war.

Just North of Tivoli is Rådhuspladsen AKA city hall square, where the final touches were being completed on the Christmas tree, as I understand it, there are concerts here through the summer months, as well as other civic gatherings.

Draft beer to go, what more do you need to say!

Continuing Northeast, I wove through the streets, with no real planned path, only a destination. Passing by the usual staples of euro retail establishments, I came across the Church of the Holy Spirit or “Helligaandskirken” which, like the majority of churches in Copenhagen, is closed from October to April. I was told this is a preservation thing, keeping the mud salt, and muck off the centuries-old floors. Helligaandskirken while beautiful on the outside, the inside is stunning the with beautiful wood carvings and beautiful wood inlay murals.

Made it to The King’s New Square “Kongens Nytorv”, technically the halfway point for today’s walk, and took the opportunity to purchase a pair of gloves, that I thought I forgot to pack, from one of the Christmas market vendors. This was the third Christmas Market that passed, and the first one that had gloves, it appears that most of the vendors at all the markets were selling cheap Chinese crap instead of locally made products, very frustrating.

Amalienborg (the Queen’s winter residence)

The houses at Amalienborg are open for tours when the queen is not in residence, apparently the queen was in residence because the houses were not open, nor was Frederik’s Church. This was my first-ever visit to an actual monarchy, was initially surprised to see the royal guards doing their royal guard stuff in traditional uniforms. There was some activity, and it appeared that there may be a change of the guard soon, so I waited and did some time-lapse videos while I waited. After 45 minutes, I was bored and decided to continue North to The Little Mermaid.

Amalienborg in December

Kastellet Area

As I pass Maersk, I can see St Alban’s Church and the Kastellet (A fort completed in 1664) to the left, I know I am close, maybe a quarter mile. At this point, I am kind of beat. I have been up for 24ish hours, drove 3.5 hours to Dulles, waited for 2 hours, sat on a plane for 9+ hours, walked across Copenhagen, and I still have a 2+ hour walk back to the hotel.

As I pass by the frozen moat for the Kastellet and the snow-covered statue of Princess Marie, I get a visual reminder of just how cold it is here, and how cold this week will be.

The Little Mermaid

I had always thought that The Little Mermaid statue was in the middle of the harbor, maybe 50 yards offshore, but not right on the shore.

As I approached the Little Mermaid statue I noticed a fairly large crowd and I also saw the statue itself. I don’t think I have ever seen a crowd this big to see a statue. I think this is a stop on some Instagram worldwide scavenger hunt because there were people there that I can only guess were on a long layover pulling carry on bags (not fun on cobblestones), doing their make-up, and trying to get the perfect selfie in front of this iconic landmark.

I relaxed on a bench nearby and made a short time-lapse of the activities around the Little Mermaid. It is interesting what you observe when you have to wait for a time-lapse to complete.

The constant flow of people going to take a selfie at the little mermaid statue.

It was cold and windy making it colder, a frozen moat cannot be a good thing

The walk and ride back

I took the picture because I thought it was an interesting house, and afterward, I found that this is the Collin Family house, who were good friends with Hans Christian Andersen, the Collin family considered him a member of their family. I thought it was interesting how far it sits off the street.

I was cold and tired, and I completed my goal of walking across Copenhagen to The Little Mermaid, it was time to head back to the hotel. I made it back to Kongens Nytorv and noticed the conveniently located Metro station my hotel is located half a block off the 3 line, so I headed down the stairs, yes stairs. All the other metro systems I have ridden have escalators, but not the Danish, nope stairs, with very few exceptions. There are elevators for wheelchairs and strollers, though.


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