Well folks, we did it! Our first international trip with baby! Or I guess now that he’s almost 14 months, I have to say big boy! *tears*
For our first international vacation as a family of three, we headed to Copenhagen and then Norway.
We took a red eye flight from New York to Amsterdam, had a short layover and then flew into Copenhagen. Little O did SO well on his first international flight. The flight was one of the things I was most worried about. After much debate, we decided to pay for his own seat rather than have him as a lap infant. This was an absolute lifesaver and if you can afford it, I highly, highly recommend this. He was able to sleep in his car seat and was much happier with his own space than he would have been in our laps. Plus, we could get some sleep, something that wouldn’t have happened if we had been holding him for 6+ hours.
Where we stayed: We chose an extended-stay hotel in residential Østerbro with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a balcony. The hotel was close to a grocery store, right off the train line, and easily walkable to local restaurants. There was even a playground right out back, a theme that would reoccur throughout our trip. The subtitle for this vacation is “Little O Enjoys the Playgrounds of Europe.”
I was very unsure how Little O would adjust to jet lag. Well, it was in the best way possible because he slept in! That’s right, our first day in Copenhagen, Little O slept till 9:30! This ended up messing up his nap schedule, but you know what? He was fine! There were some days when he only had one nap instead of his usual two, but we could see that he was having a great time. He was full of energy and really excited to explore every new place we visited.
What we did: Our first full day was devoted to sightseeing. We started with Rosenborg Castle, where we explored the gardens and castle. The gardens are free to all and really spectacular—well worth a stroll! The castle has a timed entrance ticket, followed by a self-guided walkthrough. Like many attractions in Denmark, children are free. No strollers are allowed in the castle though, so be sure to bring a carrier and be prepared to climb a few stairs to see everything.
After lunch, we headed to the Rundetaarn or Round Tower. Oliver was napping, but luckily the tower is mostly stroller-accessible! Rather than stairs, there is a long spiral walk that winds up the tower. There is even an art gallery along the way that you can dip into. At the very top, there is a super-narrow flight of stairs to reach the viewing platform. Oliver was still asleep, so Andrew and I took turns going to the top for a peek, but honestly that last stairwell was so narrow that I would have felt nervous carrying him up. I definitely recommend this stop for the views of the city though!
Next we strolled to the famous Nyhavn wharf. The classic colorful houses of Copenhagen and graceful wooden boats moored in the harbor certainly draw crowds, but it’s worth a visit.
Our second day in Copenhagen was spent at Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world. The park includes rides for all ages, from carousels to roller coasters, as well as gardens, arcade games, an aquarium, shows, shop and tons of restaurants. There is a great playground area for kids of all ages called Ramus Klump’s World (Ramus Klump is a…beaver? Squirrel? Bear? Not sure). There is also a family center here that is great for diaper changes or a quiet place to breastfeed if you need it. The playground actually would have been fabulous for kids aged 4-7 because there was a crazy multi-level treehouse to explore.
Tivoli also had a few rides Little O could go on—the Carousel, the Dragon Boats, the Vintage Cars, the Little Dragon. My favorite was the Flying Trunk, Tivoli’s equivalent to “It’s a Small World,” which takes you on an adventure through Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.
I wasn’t sure how much time we would need to explore Tivoli, but in retrospect a few hours would have been fine for our family. If you have older children who can go on all the rides, you could easily spend the full day there.
What we ate: We had some fabulous food in Copenhagen! After visiting Rosenborg Castle, we stopped at nearby Restaurant Under Uret for a classic lunch of Danish smørrebrød, or open-faced sandwiches.
That night, we had dinner at Restaurant Barr, a casual eating concept in the space that formerly housed NOMA. The cuisine explored food from the Northern Sea Region. Our favorite dish was the oat ravioli filled with cod and pike.
Both of these restaurants were very accommodating to children. Both had high chairs, but “children’s menus” as we know them in the United States are much less common. This didn’t bother us too much—Little O is usually up for eating whatever we give him at this point. We chose to order off the regular menu for Little O, or share our meals with him. Some restaurants offer smaller portions for children, which was helpful. We found that people were very friendly when we asked, and happy to make suggestions.