A Travellerspoint blog

May 2018

Travel Tips - Copenhagen

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Nyhavn

Nyhavn

What about the nuts and bolts of that 2 night weekend in Copenhagen?

My outward flight frrom Edinburgh was with Norwegian (£53/€60.50) and the return was with easyJet (£54/€61.60). easyJet’s flight time (21:10) gave me all day in Copenhagen. easyJet’s boarding arrangements can be unpleasant, and in Copenhagen they are just nasty. Not recommended.

Those prices don’t include any checked in bag - fine for a 2 night trip in May. I did pay extra for an upfront seat on easyJet and for an extra legroom seat on Norwegian.

Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air

It is unusual to be able to make a direct comparison between two airlines, but in this case I can, and Norwegian made easyJet seem like 3rd class.

I spent my 2 nights in an Airbnb flat very close (10 minute walk) from the Central Station. It was very expensive (£130/€148 per night, including Airbnb’s fee and cleaning charges) but I know I was paying extra for that central location.

Compact

Compact

It was clean, quiet and comfortable. I enjoyed it, and yes, the extra for the location was worth it.

I used the train to get from and to the airport. The cost was a very modest 36 DKK (£4.20/€4.80) each way. It takes 15 minutes. Compare that to £22 off peak (€25) single for the Heathrow Express - a similar journey time.

The only negative angle to it was having to queue for the ticket machines on arrival. On the other hand, it didn’t take long, the queue was well organised and they had staff on duty to help anyone having problems with the machines. The machines are easy to use, but probably not so if the instructions are not available in your language.

The Metro also serves the airport. However that line (M2) doesn’t take you to Central Station. You would have to change lines. It is useful for other parts of the city such as Nørreport and Kongens Nytorv.

I was able to get breakfast in a bakery just 5 minutes from my apartment. Quick, easy, cheap and good. Twice I had smørrebrød in the food hall at the Central Station - about 80 DKK (£9.40/€10.70) for 2 sandwiches and a drink. Delicious and worth every krone.

Local Lunch

Local Lunch

I had a pizza for dinner at Vapiano on Frederiksborggade right above Tivoli. It was good but slow... Friday night, of course.

Vapiano

Vapiano

I had a burger in the food hall at Westmarket on Vesterbrogade - a recommendation from Mariel. It was delicious - one the the best I’ve had in ages.

If your idea of weekend away involves lots of alcohol, and/or dinner out at fancy restaurants, Copenhagen will be an expensive option for you. I was on my own for most of the time, so I could make my own choices as far as those were concerned. I drink very rarely anyway. I could easily have saved quite a bit of money on my weekend by choosing an Airbnb in the suburbs and then buying a 24 hour ticket for public transport (or cycling).

Posted by IainT 02:59 Archived in Denmark Tagged planes trains food restaurants transport flights denmark copenhagen airlines Comments (0)

Helsingør

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Helsingør

Helsingør

Copenhagen is a city which can keep a visitor very busy with sightseeing for several days, and I suppose for most people that is all they want.

When I had my 48 hours there last weekend I decided to branch out a bit, having visited the city so many times before. My choice was between a day out in Roskilde or Helsingør, and in the end I chose Helsingør.

It is an easy 45-50 minute train journey north from Copenhagen, in Nordsjæland. Trains run every 20 minutes.

Rejseplanen App

Rejseplanen App

The ones I caught were modern and comfortable, being the Øresundståg which are used on the services crossing the Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden. I paid 108 DKK each way, but I suspect a 24 hour ticket would have saved me some money. Tickets are easy to buy from machines in the stations, taking cash or cards.

Kronborg Slot was one of the main attractions. The castle was well worth the trip.

Kronborg Slot

Kronborg Slot

It dates from 1420 and was the setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The banqueting hall is the largest in northern Europe. I found a very pleasant cafe - Strandsvejristeriet - just inside the outer walls. Best coffee and cake I have had for a while (and I’m a connoisseur). Entry to the castle was 90 DKK, but you can walk around inside the outer walls without paying.

Outer Walls

Outer Walls

As for the rest of Helsingør, it’s a pleasant little seaside and harbour town with non-stop ferries crossing to Helsingborg in Sweden. I walked around to take in Axeltorv (the town square), Karmeliterklosteret (15th century monastery) and Sankt Olai Kirke.

I made a good choice for my sunny Sunday by the sea.

Posted by IainT 12:34 Archived in Denmark Tagged trains transport denmark copenhagen helsingør Comments (0)

CPH

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Danish Cool

Danish Cool

Well what a great decision!

Back in February I booked a weekend away in Copenhagen for May, to make sure I was out of the country at the time of That Wedding. I’m a republican (with a small “r”) and have no time for the medieval “royal family” garbage. It worked. Unless I chose to subject myself to Twitter or Facebook, I was totally cut off from it. Wonderful.

Copenhagen is a city I visited many times over a 15 year period straddling the 1990s. Mostly it was just an overnight stop on the way to somewhere further east or north. I also attended a conference there in 1994, which allowed a bit more of an insight to the city.

Morten's Place

Morten's Place

It was fantastic to be back after so long, and to be blessed with beautiful late spring weather. I’d forgotten how gorgeous the city is. One lovely building after another, one wonderful open space after another. The sea...

Saturday Brunch

Saturday Brunch

Leaving aside the background music for a moment, I packed several highlights into 48 hours. First, a reunion with Mariel B. She is such good company. Polyglot, multicultural and a bundle of fun.

Next, the World Ice Hockey Championship semifinal between Canada and Switzerland. Aside from being a real privilege to get to an event like that, it was a great game.

Big Occasion

Big Occasion

Last but not least - a trip on the train north to Helsingør to visit Kronborg Slot - the 16th century castle which became the backdrop for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I enjoyed going around it, but also getting out of the city on a sunny, spring Sunday.

Kronborg Slot

Kronborg Slot

On a short 2 night trip the travel and accommodation arrangements being “right” is important, so well done Norwegian Air and easyJet for getting me there and back on time and stress free.

Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air

Well done also to Airbnb and Morten for providing me with an ideal place to stay.

Posted by IainT 09:43 Archived in Denmark Tagged sport flights denmark copenhagen airlines helsingør Comments (0)

Travel Tips - Istanbul

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Blue Mosque, Dusk

Blue Mosque, Dusk

As I did on my visit to the city last year, I flew with Turkish Airlines direct from Edinburgh. Flight time is around 4 hours.

Departure from Edinburgh was 15:55 with arrival at Atatürk Airport for 22:10. On the way back the flight left Atatürk at 12:35 and reached Edinburgh at 15:00. In all respects those timings are good. You miss traffic rush hours, and you’re not leaving early or arriving late. Both flights arrived early.

Ready

Ready

You get a full lunch/dinner served, and I was very happy with the quality. You also get full in flight entertainment from a screen in the headrest in front.

4 Hours

4 Hours

Checkin arrangements were quick and efficient for both flights, as was baggage recovery. My flight cost £176 return, booked about 3 months in advance. The price includes a 23kg checked in bag, and a carry on bag of up to 8kg (dimension restrictions apply).

Passport control at Atatürk was very quick entering and leaving, but do remember that UK passport holders needed a visa at the time of my trip (obviously check current requirements if you’re planning a visit, but this has been the situation since my first visit to the country in 2005). The e-visa is available online in 5 minutes for US$20 (multiple entry and valid for 6 months).

No embassy application is involved. You can buy the visa on arrival, but this might involve waiting in a queue and then waiting in another one at passport control.

I stayed at the Terrace Guesthouse as usual - I know the owner. It is 20 minutes from the airport at 10:30pm, but it can take over an hour at the wrong time of day. It is located in Sultanahmet, one of the key tourist areas. You have the Blue Mosque on one side, Aya Sofya on the other, and the Bosphorus in front.

The price depends on which room you take, but mine was €79 per night. The price includes a sumptuous Turkish breakfast, from the terrace looking out over the Bosphorus.

Breakfast View

Breakfast View

They will organise airport transport for you if you want, at €30 per trip. I use it because I like the “meet and greet” at the airport - a sign with your name on it, and then you are escorted to your vehicle.

Istanbul Arrivals

Istanbul Arrivals

It will usually be a smart air conditioned minivan, and most often you’ll have it to yourself. The alternative is a battle with a taxi driver... and every risk of being ripped off.

As well as being convenient for the airport and several major tourist sights, the T1 tram line runs very close to the Terrace Guesthouse - a 5 minute walk. The trams will connect you with the Metro (for the airport if you prefer to get there by public transport), ferries at Eminönü and Kabataş, and the mainline (European side) railway station at Sirkeci.

Vapur

Vapur

When I think about it, all my arrangements went according to plan. Maybe I should go back in the autumn!

Posted by IainT 13:34 Archived in Turkey Tagged planes edinburgh ferries turkey istanbul transport flights airlines Comments (0)

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