Port and Shore Excursions
We thought Copenhagen seemed pretty, even in the rain. We walked into town, and it is about a 20 - 25 minute walk. This is one of the cities we wished we had done an organized tour. The city did not seem all that welcoming to tourists, and we think a tour would have given us more insight.
You can get off the ship, walk to the left(towards the back of the ship), go to the next street and turn right - on the other side of the street, you can catch bus #16 to Rock Church and National Museum(heard great things about this museum from fellow cruise passengers) or bus #14B to the shopping area, park, town hall, market. The bus only cost 6.50euro/adult and 3euro/kid. This was the cheapest mode of transportation - bus drivers spoke enough english to answer basic questions about the bus service. Do not recommend the Ice Bar here, because it is small and disappointing - they also close for private parties without notice! We walked down to the end of the Esplanade street to the market - here there are stalls with fresh cooked fish, squid, and paella - it was great!
The ship does not allow for enough time here! Do not take the hop on/off bus here, if you get into port at 2pm, because the bus is done at 4pm. The ferry stops running at 5pm. I would definitely take an organized ship tour here, if I could do it over, so we could have seen more attractions. If you don't care about seeing much of the city, then it is a 5-10 minute walk into the city. We did make it to the Vigeland Sculpture Park and it is brilliant! If you do it on your own, get the guidebook or read from Rick Steve's to get a little more insight into the sculptures.
2 days was not enough time for our once in a lifetime trip to Russia! We enjoyed the tour of Catherine's summer Palace in Pushkin, but it is very crowded!We had to be quick to take any pictures or buy souvenirs here, because we were given very limited time - but the shops inside were nice and a safe place to use credit cards. I wish I had bought more nesting dolls here, because there was really great quality, for reasonable prices. If you want the cheaper nesting dolls, the quality is not quite as good, but you can get them at the markets. We also really enjoyed our 4 hour tours of the Hermitage(without kids along) and a walking tour that included Church of the Spilled Blood - there was a big market here, and we were able to bargain quite a bit. Offer half or 2/3 of the price they tell you, then say "no" and walk away, if they refuse. Usually, the seller would call me back and agree to my price or slightly higher. The prices at the Russian Bazaar, on the ship, were 2-3 times the price that I paid for everything. Our 5 year old did fine on the tour to St. Catherine's Palace. We did not bring her on the walking tour, but she could have done it, because we had rests on the bus between areas we visited. I would not recommend taking anyone younger than a teenager to the Hermitage. We were so glad we could leave the kids on the ship, part of the time! We did 4-5 hour ship tours here, because of the age of our kids, and it was perfect. If we ever go back, we will do the full day trips with one of the local tour companies - especially so we can attend an affordable evening event.
We are kicking ourselves, because we slept in this morning. This city is so quaint and completely doable on your own. It is a 10 - 15 minute walk into the old Medieval town. There is a lot to see and do here, and people spoke English fairly well. We did take the full loop around the town on the hop on/off bus, so we felt like we were getting some brief history. Lots of affordable souvenirs here in the markets. We followed the Rick Steve's walking tour, and it was perfect for us!