Copenhagen, or København to the locals, located on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand, is both the largest and capital city of Denmark. Originally a fishing village, the now urban landscape is characterised by beautiful parks and waterfronts. Copenhagen is one of the most stunning cities I have ever experienced. Definitely it is one that you need to get a view from above, to truly capture the breathtaking scenery.
One way to get a good view of the city is by taking the challenge of climbing the 400 steps up the helix spire,of the baroque, style Church of our Saviour. The black and gold spire reaches a height of 90 metres, rotating four times around its axis. Each year more than 60,000 people climb to the top to enjoy the views.
And the view from the top is simply breathtaking… although the lack of breath could very well be from the climb itself! I am usually fine with heights and climbing but I found this difficult. The stairs kept getting steeper and narrower. There was no room for people to go up and down at the same time, but thankfully each staircase was small enough that you could tell if someone was already on them, so you could wait. The problem was the last spiral staircase before you head outside. You can’t tell if someone is already on them until it’s too late. If you’re already feeling uncomfortable climbing this tower, then having to squeeze past someone on a narrow spiral staircase isn’t going to help!
But eventually I made it to the outside. Fresh air has never smelled so good! But there was still a horrible staircase at the top. Guess what, it was still not big enough for more than one person. I did meet a nice American couple on these stairs. The guy warned me that with my backpack I probably wouldn’t make it to the top. Turned out my new American friend was right! And as wonderful as the view was, I’m not entirely sure it makes up for the struggle to get up there. Plus the fact that you are fighting for space on the stairs, so you can’t sit back and enjoy the view.
What makes the situation worse, is that once you’ve finished enjoying the top, you realise you have to go through those stairs again, but going down. I must admit I hated every moment of it!
With my backpack on my back I couldn’t just go down on my bum (like a child) but it’s how I wanted to go down! I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my life! My legs were literally jelly, shaking with every step, by the time I reached the bottom.
So while the Church of our Saviour may be a gorgeous building, offering some fantastic views of Copenhagen, you don’t get to enjoy it for very long. If you’re looking for a view where you can sit back and take it all in,you need to visit the Round Tower (Rundetaarn). This 17th century tower was built as an astronomical observatory, but now it is used to offer expansive views of the city.
Unlike the Church of our Saviour there are no stairs to climb since the only way to get to the top is by the 7.5 turn spiral ramp making it a much easier climb. And even though the observation deck is only 34.8 metres above street level, you still get a fantastic view of the city. On a clear day you can see the Øresund Bridge which is the bridge / tunnel connecting Copenhagen to Malmo, Sweden.
I must admit, the Round Tower was definitely my favourite way of enjoying Copenhagen. Not just because it didn’t involve a horrible climb to the top, but for me the most important part of going up a tall building to enjoy the view of a city is to actually being able to enjoy the view of the city.
You can spend as long as you like up the Round Tower, but with the Church of our Saviour you really have to go down straight away, to let the next people up. And you can’t skip down like you can with the Round Tower… yes I actually did skip down the ramp!