Nyhavn. You know this place. You’ve seen it in your dreams. All over your Pinterest boards. In your Instagram feed. On almost any travel advertisement for Denmark. It’s beautiful, crowded, and everything you would expect from such an Insta-famous destination. My visit to this iconic location wasn’t necessarily planned, but thank goodness we made it…and ended up returning a few times to take everything in. I had virtually no expectations going in and found myself wholly entertained.
From people-watching, taking way too many pictures of the colorful buildings, and creeping around the Hans Christian Andersen house, my friends and I kept ourselves entertained for hours on end. Having grown up going to Disneyland (and later working there), I find myself unusually calm around insane crowds and Nyhavn was no different. I enjoyed every minute of the gobs of people milling about, taking pictures of every square inch of the place. Nope, not being sarcastic. As a city girl, it’s comforting to me for some reason. I’m sure there are times of the year that it isn’t as insanely crowded as mid-July, but that’s when we decided to make our grand debut into Denmark.
So now that I’ve hopefully not scared you away, may I offer a few humorous tips to making the most of your Nyhavn tourist experience? Believe me, we did every single one of these and I have no shame in saying I enjoyed every moment!
#1: Eat at Tinderbox
Anyone who has traveled to a popular destination will tell you that restaurants jack up their prices in the touristy areas. It’s common knowledge. Did I consider this advice when looking for a place to lunch at Nyhavn. Nope. We found Tinder Box Restaurant just down the way from the Hans Christian Andersen house and decided it was time to try “traditional” Danish food. Oh yeah. Bring on the curry pickled herring and horseradish. We were living it up in our little fantasy, completely falling head-over-heels in love with Nyhavn while a cute old man serenaded us on his accordion. Now I associate Nyhavn with Dr. Zhivago, thank you very much.
#2: Take All the Pictures
How can you visit a place like Nyhavn and not come away with too-many pictures of the canals and ships? The place is screaming to have its picture taken, and for good reason. The brightly-colored buildings are breathtaking to look at and pretty unique. Whenever there’s a sailboat docked in the canal, the masts and rigging add to the romance of the location and evoke a childlike sense of wonder from those of us who hail from another corner of the world. Take all the pictures you want. Get every angle. Just don’t fall over the edge of the canal.
Like I mentioned before, I used to work at Disneyland and happily learned the art of people-watching. Not in a creepy way, I have to clarify. I’m better able now to pick out some of the unique qualities of passers-by than ever before. Let me tell you – Nyhavn has its fair share of interesting folk. People from all walks of life and all corners of the world flock to this little community. Do yourself a favor: grab a gelato from one of the many vendors, have a seat alongside the canal, and relax/people-watch. You won’t be disappointed. And you never know…someone might be “people-watching” YOU!
#4: Cruise the Canals
Want a cool way to view Nyhavn and some of the surrounding areas? Right at the end of the canal is a little shack where you can purchase tickets to go on a canal cruise. Not only do you get away from the rest of the tourists, you also get some amazing views of the city, explore less-crowded canals, and if you’re as lucky as we were, get mooned by a bunch of drunk guys.
By following my steps, you’ll not only be one of the most touristy person around, you will honestly have a great time. I know I’ve spoken in jest, but Nyhavn is a truly beautiful, albeit busy, place. Get your camera ready, take some motion-sickness pills, and enjoy the beauty of Nyhavn!
Have you been to Nyhavn before? What was your favorite experience?