As our Scandinavian friends gear up for the Midsummer holiday (June 24th), we wanted to draw some attention to one of our favorite destinations: Copenhagen, Denmark.
Denmark has always been among the top-scoring countries in the annual World Happiness Report. It has thrice won the honor of being named the country with the world’s happiest citizens, starting with the report’s inaugural year in 2012. The report comes out each March, and this year named Denmark second only to Finland (which has now won six years in a row). Historically, Scandinavian countries have dominated the list, and for those of us who have been there, it’s not hard to imagine why.
Home to the capital city of Copenhagen, Denmark offers a wide range of experiences for every kind of traveler. Scrappy backpackers can rejoice in the simple pleasures of coffee and cycling, and sophisticated travelers can scale up their vacation with fine dining and chic fashion. There is something for everyone in this spirited destination.
Copenhagen has a sense of put-togetherness that is rare to find. From the bike routes to the buildings, everything is part of a larger design. The city’s own aesthetic is reflected back to a traveler from every angle. Copenhagen days make one feel as though they have seamlessly assimilated into the mass organization of life there. When it comes to Scandinavian travel, this city is a must.
Safety & Transportation
Well-organized and English-speaking, Copenhagen is the perfect place to book an impulse ticket. You’ll be able to navigate the city with ease, regardless of whether or not you’ve done your travel homework. Known as the world’s leading capital city for cyclists, Copenhagen has electric bikes for rent that bring just enough adventure into commuter life. Less than thirty percent of Copenhagen locals own cars, and bikes are the normalized mode of transportation. We can’t help but wonder if regular cycling adds to the joyful attitude of the Danish people.
The locals take a lot of pride in their city and therefore have a welcoming attitude toward tourism. They tend to be kind and are eager to help if needed. You can expect to be met with enthusiasm as a tourist in Copenhagen.
Of all the lovely things to do and see in this destination, there’s one otherworldly experience that a traveler simply must check off her Copenhagen list. We can’t wait to tell you about this one!
The Sherpani Unmissable recommendation for visiting Copenhagen: The Botanical Garden!
The Botanical Garden that sits in the heart of Copenhagen today has been there since the 1870s, but it isn’t the original one. In fact, it’s the fourth. The first garden was established all the way back in 1600, almost two hundred and fifty years before Denmark became a Constitutional monarchy. Though the original garden’s intention was to preserve medicinal plants, Denmark has been adding beauty to their country with curated gardens since before the Europeans established their first colony on American soil.
This historical context demonstrates the following point: Denmark has a long history of making beautiful things. This ingrained value of beauty is evident today all over the streets of Copenhagen.
The exterior alone is an architectural marvel. Among the twenty-seven glass buildings that comprise the gardens is the central, head-turning glass structure of the Palm House. Completed in 1874, the Palm House was designed by Danish architect Peter Christian Bønnecke and is inspired by London’s Crystal Palace. Inside, you’ll find a delicate spiral staircase inviting you to climb higher into the gardens and deeper into the jungle within. As of now, admission to the Palm House is just sixty Danish Krone (less than ten USD).
Walking into the Botanical Garden feels like entering another dimension. All at once you leave behind the modern city and are transported to a jungle of wonder. Home to approximately thirteen thousand different species of plants, you can easily spend the entire day on the grounds.
Among the wide variety of species that call the Botanical Garden home, is the mysterious Amorphophallus titanum, also called the Corpse Flower. This marvel was gifted to the Botanical Garden in 2003, and first bloomed in 2012. Since then, the flower has bloomed every other year in the summer, the most recent bloom was on May 14, 2022.
And what exactly happens when a Corpse Flower blooms? First, it grows at an alarming rate of up to ten centimeters per day (the timelapse on the Botanical Garden’s website is so cool to watch!). When the gigantic blossom opens, it is accompanied by the smell of rotting flesh. Though far from appealing to us, the flower’s signature smell has the intentional purpose of attracting pollinators by imitating a dead animal. Seeing a Corpse Flower bloom is a rare marvel, and if you’re lucky enough to catch the one in Copenhagen in all its glory, we are willing to bet it’s worth braving the odor.
One of the Botanical Garden’s newer initiatives is the Butterfly House, where visitors can walk among exotic butterfly species and witness their magic up close. While the Palm House is open year-round, the Butterfly House is only open in the summertime. If you visit Copenhagen in the summer, be sure to take advantage of this seasonal delight.
So when the time comes to cross dreamy Denmark off your list, we are confident it will be a worthy adventure. Whether you’re in Copenhagen for a day or a month, the Botanical Garden will be there waiting to hypnotize you with its exotic beauty. There are many reasons why we love Copenhagen’s Botanical Garden, but they can all be traced back to the same root (pun intended): we love a place where you can connect with nature in the middle of a big city.
Ready to go?
Have you been to the Botanical Gardens in Copenhagen? What was your experience like? Would you dare to sniff the Corpse Flower in all its stinky glory? Let us know in the comments below!
The above post is part of an ongoing segment of the Sherpani Travel Blog. We want to give travelers a singular, tangible recommendation for destinations; something we deem truly unmissable. These recommendations are carefully chosen from the personal travels of the Sherpani team.