When it comes to colorful Scandinavian cities, Copenhagen, Denmark easily tops the list. I arrived here with Cory Lee of Curb Free with Cory Lee a couple of days before our cruise on the Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas so we’d have time to explore–much of which we did with our awesome guide Mie from Urban Adventures. I also took a day on my own post-cruise to check out some accessible Danish sights. Despite the abundance of cobblestones (some of which can be VERY rough), Cory and I were able to enjoy several wheelchair accessible places in Copenhagen.
1. Nyhavn. When you think of Copenhagen, the image of these colorful row houses along a canal in the Nyhavn neighborhood is probably what comes to mind. Just like every other part of the city, you’ll have to navigate a combination of cobblestones and smooth sidewalk areas to get here. You can also risk your life by using the bike lanes, but I would only recommend doing this very early in the morning before people are out and about. There are curb cuts everywhere (in varying degrees of smoothness), and the bridges that cross the canal are paved. There are also numerous open-air cafes and restaurants along the canal where you can grab a bite to eat.
2. Tivoli Gardens. This is the world’s second oldest amusement park, and includes a variety of attractions: buildings in the exotic style of an imaginary Orient, a theatre, band stands, restaurants and cafés, flower gardens, and mechanical amusement rides such as a merry-go-round and a primitive scenic railway. After dark, colored lamps illuminated the gardens. On certain evenings, specially designed fireworks could be seen reflected in Tivoli’s lake. There is access to Tivoli without steps from the Central Station entrance (Bernstorffsgade) and the Main Entrance (Vesterbrogade). The rides are generally not accessible, but staff will provide ramps whenever possible for the stores and restaurants. You can read more about accessibility in Tivoli Gardens HERE.
3. Amalienborg Palace (Changing of the Royal Guard). Amalienborg is famous for its Royal Guard, called Den Kongelige Livgarde. Every day you can experience the changing of the guards, as they march from their barracks in 100 Gothersgade by Rosenborg Castle through the streets of Copenhagen and end up at Amalienborg Palace, where the changing of the guard takes place at 12:00 noon. Surrounding the palace square with its statue of King Frederik V from 1771, Amalienborg is made up of four identical buildings. These are Christian VII’s Palace (also known as Moltke’s Palace, used as guest residence), Frederik VIII’s Palace (also known as Brockdorff’s Palace, home of the Crown Prince family), Christian IX’s Palace (also known as Schack’s Palace, home of the Queen and Prince Consort) and Christian VIII’s Palace (also known as Levetzau’ Palace, used as guest palace for Prince Joachim and Princess Benedikte).
4. The National Gallery of Denmark. The National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst) is Denmark’s largest art museum, featuring outstanding collections of Danish and international art from the past seven centuries. SMK is located just off of Copenhagen’s Nørreport station. Here you can experience special exhibitions, the royal collections, guided tours, performances, art talks, concerts, workshops and much more. You can access the entire museum with a wheelchair, and accessible toilets are on the lower floor of the Museum in both the new and old buildings. Wheelchair access is by the lift to the left of the steps at the main entrance.
5. National Aquarium Denmark. Also called The Blue Planet, Denmark’s Aquarium is Northern Europe’s largest aquarium and offers a unique experience for children and adults. The Blue Planet has water on all sides and is intended to give the visitors a feeling of being under water. The aquarium reopened in 2013 to become the largest aquarium in northern Europe. The building is notable for its innovative architecture: clad in scale-like aluminium panels, the aquarium resembles a giant whirlpool from above, while from the ground it appears to float in a circular reflection pool. Inside there are 53 separate aquaria housing 20,000 animals and 450 species, including 4m (13ft) hammerhead sharks, sea lions and moray eels. The aquarium is located next to the airport, a short walk from the Kastrup metro station. The aquarium is fully accessible to wheelchair users and has equipment for visually impaired and hearing impaired visitors.
6. The National Museum. The National Museum of Denmark (Nationalmuseet) in Copenhagen is Denmark’s largest museum of cultural history, comprising the histories of Danish and foreign cultures, alike. The museum’s main building is located a short distance from Strøget at the center of Copenhagen. It contains exhibits from around the world, from Greenland to South America. Additionally, the museum sponsors SILA – The Greenland Research Centre at the National Museum of Denmark to further archaeological and anthropological research in Greenland. All floors and exhibits are wheelchair accessible by lift, and an accessible restroom is located on the second floor.
7. Christiansborg Palace. Christiansborg Palace, located on the tiny island of Slotsholmen, contains the Danish Parliament Folketinget, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State. Parts of the palace are used by the Royal Family for various functions and events. The Royal Reception Rooms include The Tower Room and The Oval Throne Room where foreign ambassadors to Denmark are received by the Queen. The Throne Room gives access to the balcony where the Danish monarchs are proclaimed. The Prime Minister of Denmark also uses The Royal Reception Rooms in connection with state visits by foreign state leaders. The Alexandra Hall is used for official dinners. Wheelchair users must inform the Palace Administration before the visit. A lift gives access to the first floor of the Royal Reception Rooms. For rooms on the ground floor is no access by lift.The wheelchair accessible restroom in the Royal Reception Rooms on the 1st floor is located by The Queen Stair. The Ruins are accesible for wheelchair users via a platform lift. A wheelchair accessible restroom is located by the ticket office and entrance.In Christiansborg Palace Chapel there is wheelchair accessible entrance to the church’s floor plan via a platform lift.
8. Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket. This art museum in the heart of Copenhagen displays ancient and modern art in truly unique surroundings. Founded in 1888 by the brewer Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914), the art museum contains two main departments combining art in impressive architectural surroundings. The Department of Antiquities houses excellent collections of Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman art, providing a delightful stroll through 3500 years of art and history. The Modern Department focuses on Danish painting and sculpture of the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as French art of the same period. As a wheelchair user/ person with reduced mobility you can access the museum in two ways, depending on which exhibition areas you wish to visit. If you wish to visit French Painting, Greek and Roman Sculpture, Egypt, The Ancient Mediterranean, the Winter Garden and the Central Hall, please arrive at the side entrance at Tietgensgade 25 during the museum’s opening hours. Here you can ring the doorbell and come into direct contact with the Glyptotek’s personnel. If you wish to visit Danish and French Sculpture, The Danish Golden Age, Edgar Degas. Sculpture and The Café, please use the doorbell by the entrance at the corner of Dantes Plads and Niels Brocks Gade. Here you will have direct access to the Ticket Desk and the Cloakroom in the basement via the lift.
9. Kastellet (Old Citadel). Located in Copenhagen, the Old Citadel is one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. It is constructed in the form of a pentagram with bastions at its corners. Kastellet was continuous with the ring of bastioned ramparts which used to encircle Copenhagen but of which only the ramparts of Christianshavn remain today. A number of buildings are located within the grounds of Kastellet, including a church as well as a windmill. The area houses various military activities but it mainly serves as a public park and a historic site. The ramparts are topped with packed gravel and very accessible for wheelchair users.
10. The Little Mermaid. At Langelinje Pier you will find one of Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attractions: The sculpture of The Little Mermaid. Unveiled on 23 August 1913, The Little Mermaid was a gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen to the City of Copenhagen. The sculpture is made of bronze and granite and was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land. Every morning and evening she swims to the surface from the bottom of the sea and, perched on her rock in the water, she stares longingly towards the shore hoping to catch a glimpse of her beloved prince. Carl Jacobsen fell in love with the character after watching a ballet performance based on the fairy tale at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen. The brewer was so captivated by both the fairy tale and the ballet that he commissioned the sculptor Edvard Eriksen to create a sculpture of the mermaid. The sculpture can be reached by a flat boardwalk right next to the Kastellet.
Would you like to visit Copenhagen? Please visit my accessible travel agency’s website, Spin the Globe / Travel, and I can help you get there!