When planning a trip to Copenhagen – or perhaps just looking for something new to do as a local – reading all the “What to Do in Copenhagen” guides can feel a bit repetitive. Nyhavn, The Little Mermaid, Strøget… Been there, done that. What else?
Copenhagen is so much more than those aforementioned attractions – but sometimes you need to look a little underneath the surface.
When I first arrived in Copenhagen, I was amazed by the sheer number of courtyards the city contained. If you don’t notice it by walking around the streets, you’ll surely notice when looking at a map! This old Danish building style is so quaint and charming and unlike anywhere I’d been previously. I was instantly hooked.
It started to become somewhat of a game to me, to explore as many courtyards as I could as I ventured around the city. While many are of course private and closed off (and you should not enter), there are just as many that are open and it’s harmless to poke your head in and take a quick peek inside.
Often it’s here where you really find the heart of the city’s history. You’ll discover little details like how many courtyards either have just simple brick and/or exposed old wooden beams – in contrast to a magnificent, brightly coloured street-facing facade. This was because, historically, it cost a lot of money to paint buildings, so landowners chose to make only the publicly-facing sections beautifully painted, leaving the inner courtyards bare. Often the courtyards also contained back houses where Copenhagen’s working class would live, as the rent was considerably cheaper. Many, many families would be packed in here, so it’s fascinating to think of all the stories contained in each of the courtyards.
So if you’re looking for something a little different to do in Copenhagen, here’s an idea! Check out my video I did below where I show you five of the prettiest courtyards in the city. (Note: Google Map links are included in the episode description of the video, in case you want to visit the exact ones shown in the video).
Photo Credits: (1)