Airport layovers may not be the most fun way to spend six or so hours, but as they go, you could do far worse than a stay at Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport – one many consider to rank amongst the most pleasant in Europe. It’s modern, small enough to find your way around yet large enough to hold plenty of shops, restaurants and other time-wasting distractions, and is also fairly efficient when it comes to getting you to your gate on time: For us at NileGuide, however, the airport’s best feature is its proximity to the city center – located just five miles away, and reached in around 15 minutes using the city’s Metro train service.
The airport has three terminals, with Terminal 1 being used for domestic flights only. A new addition to this is the pier CPH Go, which opened on November 1 for low-cost flights only. So far only British low-cost airline EasyJet is using the terminal, but it is hoped other low-cost airlines will soon be departing from here as well.
The airport has a wide range of gift stores and duty free shops, including many exclusive Danish designers of both clothes and homeware: They’re pricey, but you can certainly find some very Scandinavian gifts here. Typical design includes Georg Jensen, Illum homewares, Royal Copenhagen, Lego (though disappointingly, the toy emporium here stocks mostly clothes), footwear specialists Ecco and A Pair and clothing from Noa Noa, Sand, Tiger of Sweden and By Malene Birger. For the extravagant – or maybe for those who simply like to window shop – the airport also has its own branches of Gucci and Ralph Lauren.
Those looking to lose themselves in a good book should head over to WHSmiths, the UK newsagent chain that offers plenty of English language books, magazines and newspapers, while the caffeine-deprived may be interested to know that coffee empire Starbucks operate just two franchises in Denmark – and both of them can be found at Copenhagen Airport.
WiFi access is available all over the airport, at a cost of DKK 40 for 30 minutes or DKK 60 for one hour, which is payable by credit card. There are also eight Wayport stations; these self-service PCs are available for use by the general public at a pay-per-minute fee and are located in and around Terminals 2 and 3.
Children and adults alike can enjoy the airport’s many play areas, which range from small areas for the little ones to clamber about to lounges for teenagers. Many visitors may miss the old toy train previously found in the arrivals hall and lovingly climbed upon by hundreds of stir crazy toddlers, but the more old-fashioned play areas have generally been replaced by ‘family lounges’ offering PlayStations, Xboxes, TV-screens playing non-stop Disney Channel, table football and Lego. The play area for older children is found in Terminal 1, while the Family Lounge is located in Terminal 2.
Those looking to relax with a spa or a massage should head over to the nearby Copenhagen Airport Hilton, where Ni’mat spa is also open to non-hotel guests, though we would suggest calling in advance first. Also at the Airport Hilton is the Scandinavian restaurant Hamlet Nordic Dining, which is probably the best place for sampling upscale local cuisine: Reservation is advised.
Though a Burger King and McDonalds can be found elsewhere, all of the airport’s sit-down restaurants are found between Terminals 2 and 3. These include Danish cuisine at København; Italian food at Prego, reliable steakhouse A Hereford Beefstouw and fast food noodles at Yam Yam to Go. Expect to pay around double what you would pay for the same meal in central Copenhagen.
For those with more than three hours to kill, we urge you to brave an adventure out of the airport. The Metro leaves every six minutes (four minutes in rush hour) from the Airport to the city center, and will get you to central square Kongens Nytorv in eight stops (15 minutes). However, we recommend disembarking at the stop before, Christianshavn, to sample one of Copenhagen’s quaintest and most visited neighborhoods, known for its old painted houses along the canalsides, cute shops and for having some of the best cafes and restaurants in the city. Enjoy a relaxed brunch in Lunas Diner, late-night Danish specialties at Wilders or Argentinean steaks at Asador along with a stroll around the shops on the waterfront. Alternatively, pay a visit to the maritime Orlogsmuseet museum or the 300 year-old landmark church Vor Frelsers Kirke, with its unique, twisting gold spire: all just 15 minutes away from the Airport and your onward flight.
For more ideas of attractions close to Copenhagen Airport, check out our guide: Copenhagen in a Matter of Hours.
Top photo courtesy of Arne V. Pedersen, Copenhagen Airports A/S. Other photo credit: Flickr/ creative commons/ Achim Hepp.