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Copenhagen Card Was A Mistake

I have just returned from my Baltic Cruise. I spent four days in Copenhagen and I purchased the Copenhagen Card which was a big mistake for me. I lost money on it because I did not get enough use from it.

I did not have the energy to go to more than two attractions in a day. I did not always know where to go and how to get there. One day, I took the bus and the bus driver did not understand where I wanted to go. He brought me to the wrong area of town and I and to walk a very long way to get to where I wanted to be.

If I could do it all over again, I would have purchased the HOHO bus. There was a stop around the corner from my hotel. However, I met some tourists who regretted buying the HOHO bus because they had difficulty finding the bus stops.

With the HOHO bus pass, I would have been able to take a bus ride around the city so that I could see where attractions that I was interested were located. I could later go back to those attractions or get off the bus at the time.

Posted by
2206 posts

I'm sorry that the Copenhagen Card did not work for you. When we visited Copenhagen several years ago, we in advance looked at what we wanted to do and the Copenhagen card, and also looked at routes. We found the 5-day Copenhagen card would in fact pay for itself in terms of cash between admissions and transportation (we actually missed using it on the ferry in Helsingor, didn't see the discount), and that does not even include the convenience factor. All it took was some advance preparation, which is the rule for any of these city cards: will the savings add up to the cost. What I do not understand is why had a very long walk to where you wanted to be, since the card is good for all transportation during its time frame.

Posted by
188 posts

Perhaps prices have increased since you purchased the Copenhagen Card although I did get mine at a very good discount.

I am a senior citizen with some health issues that can interfere with walking. Often I can only do one attractions a day like Rosenberg castle. Every so often, I was able to do two attractions but that was it.

I did do a lot of advance planning and I had maps and notes with me but I still found getting around difficult.

I was trying to get to the museum district that includes the David Collection and Rosenberg Castle. I went to where I thought that i could pick up the bus. The bus came and I asked the driver if he went to The Museum District. He said that he did but he took me to an area of specialized museums and this was after a very long bus ride. He let me off, pointed me in the "right"direction and left.

When I realized that I was in the wrong area, I asked persons on the street for directions. Some did not know what the Museum District was or where it was. Some sent me in the wrong direction but others steered me in the right direction. There were bus stops but I did not know where these buses went and when I asked persons, they often did not know either. That includes other tourists but persons kept directing me in the right direction of the Rosenberg Castle on foot. I eventually found my way but it was a very long walk although a very pretty walk. I got to the Rosenberg Castle and toured but was not able to get to any of the other museums in the area. By the time I finished touring the Rosenberg Castle, it was mid afternoon and I was very tired.

I also walked back to my hotel from The Rosenberg Castle. Again it was a long walk but a very interesting walk.

I realize a lot of persons had very good experiences with The Copenhagen Card but I did not and would have done better with the HOHO bus.

Posted by
182 posts

I agree about the Copenhagen card. I posted this on an earlier thread from the same OP. Especially not a bargain because the time on the card keeps going all night so essentially you subtract the time you're sleeping!
But I do love Copenhagen and will return at first opportunity .

Posted by
2828 posts

I will just add a bit of context here... Sometimes, guidebooks (in particular, RS books) give 'names' to areas or routes that are really unknown or little known to locals. If you ask a bus driver about a "Museum District" in Copenhagen, it is likely he will not really now exactly which area are you referring to.

The same goes for RS-given nicknames such as "Lake District" or "the Ceaser Shuffle route" in Italy. People in Italy are likely not to know what one is talking about, even if they are capable of understanding English at a high level of comprehension. Another (non-RS) guide referred to lakes Brienz and Thun, in Switzerland, as "Twin Lakes". This is unknown for locals, for Swiss train staff, even for locals randomly stopped on a sidewalk.

RS seems to love this way to giving instantly relatable made-up geographical nicknames; helpful for reading a guide, useless to relate to local usage.

Copenhagen public transportation system, like those of most large-ish European cities, has an easy-to-use public transportation website/app with English interface available: https://intl.m.dk/

It is always a good idea to plan your route in advance, or at least know the name of the stops close to the places you actually want to go. Then, you can use stop maps or even ask for staff for information on a specific stop, they will be more able to help that way. If you have some Internet-enabled smartphone, even better.

Posted by
1424 posts

I have the impression that these tourist cards used to be a great bargain, but in recent years prices have increased and benefits have decreased, and it has become difficult to save money in most cities by buying them.

However, some of them come with an added benefit: convenience. Some of them allow you to skip lines at some venues. Some of them include public transit, so you don't have to buy single tickets every time you ride.

I went to Berlin this past spring and did a lot of research into the various options. (There are a LOT of options in Berlin!) I ultimately decided not to buy any museum cards but to buy a 7-day transit pass that I could load on my phone. That way I was able to hop on any bus or subway or tram and travel all around the city without worry. I didn't worry about whether I used transit enough to make it worth the cost. It made my travels around the city simple and stress-free, and that made it worth the price even if I could have saved some money buying individual tickets. I also didn't worry about whether I could have saved money on museum admissions with one of the museum cards.

I know this is not the same as your experience, bostonphil, and I may be comparing apples to oranges. But I just want to suggest that, at least in some cases, it might be worth it to buy some kind of tourist card just for the convenience. And also, don't get too worked up about the money savings you fail to take advantage of or the extra costs you could have avoided. Just enjoy the experience of travel and realize that one way or another, it's going to cost you some money, so just relax and don't sweat it.

Posted by
18911 posts

I find that in large cities, sightseeing passes add a layer of complexity to my planning, especially if the pass I'm buying doesn't cover the full length of my stay. Without a pass my planning already has to take into account what places I want to see, their days/hours of operation and their locations. If I toss a sightseeing pass into the mix, I also have to try to cram the covered sights into the days when the pass is active, quite possibly returning to some of the very same areas on other days to see free or non-covered sights. That extra travel time makes me a considerably less efficient sightseer, and I have found the lost time outweighs whatever modest monetary savings there might be. Always keep in mind that the more use you're getting out of the local-transportation component of a pass, the less use you're getting out of the sightseeing component.

I've been a lot happier with small-town passes because there's not much of a geographical issue to contend with. Both the Orvieto card and the Padua card worked well for me in 2015, but I was spending an unusual amount of time in those small cities; most visitors probably don't want to see enough sights in either one to justify the cost of the passes.

With a few well-documented exceptions, I don't really understand the "convenience" factor as a justification for buying a city pass. Yes, a transit pass is convenient, but those are readily available separately from a sightseeing pass.

Senior travelers should keep in mind that some sights may have discounts for seniors, which makes a standard-priced sightseeing pass less likely to pay off for older travelers. And more and more sights seem to be offering a modest discount for online ticket purchase. You can be sure that the advertising material for the city card uses the walk-up ticket price, rather than the online price, in its savings claim.

Posted by
188 posts

Ok, so when I wrote about the Museum District, here is what i was writing about

Parkmuseerne is a museum district in the heart of Copenhagen.

I did point out Parkmuseerne .to persons but many, if not most, had no idea what I was talking about. Parkmuseerne was on my tourist map

But persons knew how to point me in the right direction and that is how I finally found Parkmuseerne. Eventually, I would ask about Rosenborg Castle and that helped also.

By the time I found Rosenborg Castle, I was so relieved but also so frustrated and tired. Yet, I did get to go through Rosenborg Castle and the park and I was happy. I saw a lot of Copenhagen trying to find Parkmuseerne and then finding my way back to my hotel.

Being somewhere for the first time is a learning experience and the mistakes that I made was just part of my education.

Posted by
188 posts

Andre L

Here is another example perhaps of what you posted.

I was trying to find Christiansborg Palace which is listed as a top site and was on my tourist maps. No one seemed to know where it was. I am talking about Copenhagen residents.

Well it turned out that it is now Parliament and that is how Danes know what used to be Christiansborg Palace.

I thought that I would have to give up on seeing Christiansborg Palace but I tried one last attraction and it was the Parliament Building aka Christiansborg Palace.

But while trying to find Christiansborg Palace, I did discover the place to take canal tours and I took a canal tour.

One must be flexible when traveling.

Posted by
18911 posts

The Christiansborg Palace/Parliament Building situation would be funny if it weren't so frustrating as you feel your sightseeing time evaporating.

I've had the experience of encountering local residents (but possibly not long-time residents; who knows?) who didn't know anything about a museum I was looking for. This has happened even in rather small cities, where you'd think such knowledge could be counted on. I assume a bad accent on my part is the problem in some cases, but showing the typed name of the place doesn't always work, either. The fact is that most people don't seem to go to museums. If it's not a super-famous place, you may be out of luck. This is where an electronic map on a smartphone can be very handy.

Posted by
52 posts

I am in the habit now of searching on line for any of the cutely names places mentioned in RS and other guide books. I find out ahead of time the name by which a neighborhood is known locally. We also have budgeted for a data plan on our iPhones while in Europe and use our phones for directions when walking. Our iPhone Map App made a huge difference in Poland a couple of years ago. Even with a paper map, it is challenging to get around in Poland because the words on signs look so different from anything else we see in Europe. With GPS we found our way easily, not only walking, but also driving.
The city passes used to save us quite a bit of money and they are still super for early entry, but since we generally are looking for off the beaten path places, we rarely buy them. As we have gotten older and arthritic we find to our chagrin that a cane often gets us to the head of the line at most attractions. Not that we ask...in Berlin at the Pergamon Museum, a security man leapt over a wall to grab me and hustle me, my cane, and the hubby to the front of the line, and free entry. And in Paris, another guard saw my husband leaning on his cane in the long line at the Musee D’Orsay and gently escorted both of us through a side entrance...again at no charge!

Posted by
971 posts

I live in Copenhagen and I have never heard of a specific Museum District or Parkmuseums before. It does sound like something that was made up for a guide book. I would also guess that Davids Samling is not a museum that is well known by the average guy on the street.
That people couldnt locate Christiansborg sounds very strange to me, it’s the parlament and seat of government and is always refered to as Christiansborg. There must be some miss pronounciation at play here.

Posted by
1044 posts

Christiansborg Palace

I think the word "Palace" is what confused most Danes. At least I only think of it as "Christiansborg" - and because the pronunciation includes the "stød" (punch) which is uniquely Danish, it is hard to pronounce for most foreigners.

Morten: Parkmuseerne are also widely promoted on the buses in Copenhagen.

But I admit, that I have no idea what "Davids Samling" is.

Posted by
188 posts

Here is a little something about The David Collection

he collections

The museum comprises three permanent collections whose nucleus dates back to the days of its founder, C. L. David: the Collection of Islamic Art, the Collection of European Art, and the Collection of Danish Early Modern Art.

The Collection of Islamic Art – internationally, the museum’s most important one – encompasses exquisite decorative art from the 7th century to the mid-19th century from an area that extends from Spain in the west to China in the east, from Uzbekistan in the north to Yemen in the south.

The Collection of European Art features a rich selection of art from the 18th and 19th centuries: furniture design, French and German porcelain, Danish faience and silver, and Danish, Dutch, and French paintings.

The Collection of Danish Early Modern Art comprises paintings and sculptures made by Danish artists between c. 1880 and 1950. At this time, the special exhibition “From Philipsen to Salto – the Collection of Danish Early Modern Art revisited” is on display.

Posted by
24 posts

Sorry you were unable to get your money's worth with the Copenhagen card. When my fiancee and I visited in the summer, we saw enough of the sights to make it well worth the money. I think it was about 165 E worth of admissions (plus the transit pass) for 99 E each. In Amsterdam, I think our total was 143 E of admissions (plus the transit pass) for 93 E apiece. But it did involve fairly precise planning, and luck that we didn't run into any problems (fatigue, traffic, strikes, etc.)

Day 1: cruise ship docked, all the free sights (Changing of the Guard, Marble Church, Kastellet, Little Mermaid, Gefion Fountain, Nyhavn, walked around the Stroget)

Day 2: activated cards for train to Frederiksborg, Baadfarten boat tour, Amalienborg Palace tour, Round Tower

Day 3: Rosenborg Castle, canal boat tour, Christiansborg all-access tours, Thorvaldsen's Museum, Danish War Museum

Day 4: Roskilde Cathedral, Viking Ship Museum, National Museum, Tivoli Gardens

Day 5: we had a morning flight out of CPH, so our passes were still just within 72 hours to use for the Metro ride to the airport

It may seem rushed, but we were more than satisfied with all the time at the sights, except maybe a few more minutes in the National Museum. The Roskilde Cathedral also closed very early for some midday ceremony, so we only had about 90 minutes there.

We took advantage of the CPH public transport online trip planner, and got around the city fairly easily, and minimized waiting at the bus/train stops, although the bus stops are admittedly not well-signed. We did get a bit lost in the shopping streets off the Stroget, but it ended up being a pleasant way to poke around some of the old courtyards and side streets off the main drag.

As for the "museum district," I'm not surprised your bus driver was confused. I think there are more tourist museums near Slotsholmen, which is the opposite direction of Rosenborg. If you said "Norreport," which is the Metro hub near Rosenborg, I don't think you would've had the same misunderstandings. I'm surprised the locals you found were unable to help you with Christiansborg. It would be like asking people in DC to show you Congress, and they couldn't tell you that it was the Capitol building.

Given the physical limitations you are cognizant of, unfortunately I'd guess that most sightseeing passes would not be worth it for you, besides any skip-the-line features, or if they are good for a much longer trip. To get proper value out of them, you really have to triple or quadruple-up on the attractions, I don't think the math would ever add up in your favor if you got only 2 uses per day.

Better luck in the future! Next trip you're off to, let me know and if I've been there before maybe I can give you some pointers.