The Danish capital demands a little loyalty as you leave, by catching you off-guard when it evokes your hidden Viking instinct—the love for sailing, finds Anwesha Sanyal.


“What would it be like to grow up in Copenhagen?”

A view of the buildings lining the canal.
A view of the buildings lining the canal.

I gradually lapse into one of those moments in travel, when you shut up, and think in retrospection—when strands of memories become your early morning rays and peak through clock towers, churches, and state buildings to shine beamingly on your experiences in a new city. You can be one of the two kinds when it comes to sailing, I think, you can either love it, or absolutely dread it. I belonged to the latter kind all my life, only to be contradicted unexpectedly, in under an hour. My first encounter with the Danish waters was…gentle. I hopped on to a Stromma boat, one of the biggest shipping companies in Europe, for a guided tour on the canals that come with a dose of two languages, Danish and English. The ferry gently turned multiple corners of historical facades before it exposed itself to the vast expanse of the Copenhagen harbour—the air was light, the wind cold, and below the three layers of clothing, I felt a change of heart. The Opera, the Amalienborg and Christianborg Palaces, the Black Diamond, and the famous Little Mermaid waited patiently to be discovered for the millionth time, so did the hundreds of postcard perfect buildings lining the canal, to be photographed by amateur hands, I was finally introduced to what Copenhagen has to offer.

A little away on the harbour floated a swanky new Duffy, an electric boat with chic interiors akin to a lounge, with sofas and tables, and equipped with the latest technology for easy maneuver. From afar, this seemed to be a spectacular option for intimate picnics on the water that rode a notch higher on the luxury quotient. About ten people on the boat swayed to local music as a little blond, blue-eyed child bent over to touch the water. On enquiring I learnt that the trip on a Duffy was followed by a quick meal at the ‘Bread & Wine’ café where you are served sandwiches and croissants, and a glass of wine. Another time perhaps, I thought.

In Denmark, you want to be nothing less of a Viking, and the delightful way of going about this business, is by ‘hunting’ for something. Spar Shipping’s half- and full day fishing trips can come handy at times like these. With a beer in hand, you feel complacent rejoicing the catch that frankly comes with a little bit of help. At least for an afternoon, Copenhagen is conquered.

Pearl and Crown Seaways are the navigators of one of the most popular routes for cruises, that between the Danish and Norwegian capitals. It can spoil the daylights out of you with a gastronomic indulgence that requires one to have a large appetite—there are four restaurants and a café—with stellar food that’ll make you regret not having more room in your stomach. The 7 Seas Restaurant has a sumptuous breakfast buffet table ready with cereals, meat, salads, and pastries among other things, the Blue Riband restaurant whips up an à la carte lunch, while Marco Polo’s gourmet dinner of a six course menu in an elegant ambiance with a selection of wine is a foodie’s paradise you would love to discover. There’s a sauna, a nightclub, a casino—throwing boredom off the deck.

Without warning though, I was anchored in Copenhagen, and the city in me. I recalled my guide announce while pointing at a fountain in Amagertorv on the first day. “This is the centre of the city where everybody meets. When you plan to meet someone, you say, ‘meet me at the fountain with the storks.’ And they’ll know.” On my way back now, I know I’m leaving only to be back soon. To meet the city at the fountain with the storks.