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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrCopenhagen is located in the Eastern Denmark on the island of Zealand. The capital city of the land that invented Lego is charming and compact, with a bustling center, beautiful architecture, and the unique Freetown Christiania . With a history that dates back to 1043, the city boast plenty of historical landmarks and interesting sights. Its streets are lined with neoclassical buildings that date from the days when Denmark was a major trading power, pastel row houses with flower boxes and lace curtains, and modern design masterpieces from the 20th century. The city boasts a National Gallery and National Museum that are modern, easy to explore, and have absolutely fantastic collections. Be sure to visit home to the royal family Amalienborg Palace, stroll along the Stroget and have some fun at the Tivoli Gardens.
Copenhageners are laid-back, environment-conscious and very attached to their bikes. For a lively mix of cultures, head to Nørrebro. This neighborhood has a fantastic blend of boutique fashion shops, ethnic food, antique stores, cozy restaurants, and charming cafés. Winter bathing is growing in popularity among younger Copenhageners. You can do it anywhere, of course, but there are clubs at the harbor swimming pool on Islands Brygge and at Amager Strandpark Beach, a purpose-built beach 10 minutes from the city center, on the way to the airport.
The best time to visit is summer, when the days are long and relatively warm. If you are looking for a budget destination, you might also want to reconsider your plans, this is not a cheap city. Denmark is in the European Union but has kept its currency, the Danish Krone.
HistoryCopenhagen was founded in 1167 by Bishop Absalon who erected a fortress on Slotsholmen Island. Thanks to its position and advantageous harbor, Copenhagen grew extremely quickly. The city replaced Roskilde as the capital of Denmark in 1443, partially because of its centrally located position, making it a great trading port as well as strong political and military center.
In 1711 the bubonic plague reduced Copenhagen's population by one-third. In addition, a series of fires destroyed much of Copenhagen in 1728. The reconstruction was completed in 1737, the medieval port of Copenhagen was irrevocably different. The city flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries, expanding beyond its old city walls and establishing a reputation as a city of culture, liberal politics and the arts.
What to See & Do
Amalienborg PalaceThe Royal Family have lived at Amalienborg Palace since 1794, when their previous home Christiansborg Palace burnt down. Built in French rococo style, it comprises of four buildings that form an octagonal courtyard, in the middle of which sits a statue of Fredrik V, the founder of the palace. This is also a fantastic spot to see the changing of the guard. It takes place every hour, however, the main event for visitors is the changing of the entire guard at noon. On Amalienborg's harbor's sied is the garden of Amaliehaven, at the foot of which the Queen's ship often docks.
NationalmuseetThe National Museum of Denmark, located at the Frederiksholms Canal, is housed in a 18th century style mansion. Inside, extensive permanent exhibition follows the Danish history from the age of prehistoric humans to the modern day. There are also various temporary exhibitions. The museum is free to enter and has also an excellent Children's Museum, well-stocked gift shop and a pleasant cafe.
Statens Museum for KunstThe National Gallery of Denmark features outstanding collections of Danish and international art from the late 13th century to the present day. The collections include works by the Italian renaissance painters Tizian and Mantega, the 17the century masters Rubens and Rembrandt, 19th century painters of the Danish Golden Age such as Eckersberg and Kobke and many more. The collection is largely based on the donations, especially from the Danish royal family.
Tivoli GardensTivoli Gardens is a garden park dating from 1843, located in the center of the city and featuring flower gardens, food pavilions, music events, and festivals, as well as amusement rides, games, and arcades, If you like action-packed rides, 'The Demon', Denmark’s largest roller coaster, where the cars have no bottoms is a must-do. For a blast of nostalgia, try the world’s oldest roller coaster, built in 1914.
Ny Carlsberg GlyptotekThe Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, located near the Tivoli gardens and simply know as the 'Glyptotek', is an art museum founded in 1888 by the brewer Carl Jacobsen. It houses over 10,000 works; including Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek and Roman collections, as well as Danish and French fine arts from the 19th century. At the museum's heart is a delightful and spacious Winter Garden boasting exotic trees and a cosy cafe where you can enjoy a piece of cake, a light lunch or just simply sip a cup of coffee.
Round TowerFor the best views of the city, head to the Rundetaarn. The Round Tower is one of the many landmarks built in the 17th century by Christian IV and the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. There's no elevators, the 209 m long spiral ramp leads you to the top. And once you get to the top it really rewards your effort, the view is truly breathtaking. And if you are in Copenhagen in spring, you can witness the famous unicycle race in the Round Tower.
Little MermaidThe sculpture of The Little Mermaid is Copenhagen's most famous tourist attraction. The sculpture, made of bronze and granite and inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land, was a gift from Danish brewer, Carl Jacobsen, to the city.
NyhavnNyhavn, the Copenhagen harbor is lined with colorful 17th and 18th century houses and wooden sailing ships. Houses to note are number 9, the oldest in the harbor dating back to 1681, and the three residences of Hans Christian Anderson at numbers 18, 20, and 67. How undeniably touristy it may be, but it has held on to its charm and is definitely worth a stroll.
StrogetStroget, one of the longest pedestrian zones in the world, is a wonderful place to spend some time soaking up the atmosphere of the city. This central area in Copenhagen runs from Raadhuspladsen, to Kongens Nytorv. The Stroget is lined with plenty of apparel shops, gift shops, restaurants and quaint buildings, sidewalk vendors, and cosy cafes.
Rosenborg CastleChristiansborg Castle was built King Christian IV Rosenborg Castle . The Renaissance castle was once home to the royal family, but after a great fire in the late 1800's the family movet to Amalienborg Palace. Today, the castle hosts a museum, exhibiting the Royal Collections, from the stunning crown jewels, coronation furnishings to impressive family portraits. The museum is arranged chronologically, so you can walk trough the history of the Danish Royal family. Don't miss the Christiansborg Castle tower, with its 348 feet, offers a magnificent view of the city's rooftops. The castle is surrounded by the city’s oldest public park, Kongens Have, featuring lovely botanical gardens.
Vor Frelsers KirkeThis gorgeous Baroque church, located in Christianshavn, dates back to the late 1600s and has a golden corkscrew spire. For an amazing city view, make the 400-steps ascent up the church’s 312 feet high spiral tower. The colorful spire was added to the church in 1752 by Lauritz de Thurah, who took his inspiration from Boromini’s tower of St. Ivo in Rome.
ChristianiaThe alternative village of Christiania, a colorful alternative community built by hippies in the 1970s, is Copenhagen's very own parallel universe. Within the car-free compound of Christiania are some of the best cafés, restaurants and clubs in the city. Cannabis is sold and smoked quite openly, although it is illegal to do so and police raids are a weekly occurrence. As a free state, Christiania officially has no laws and pays no taxes, but as a precaution, photographs of the stalls are not permitted.
Carlsberg BreweryThe Carlsberg Bryggeri is located in Valby. The brewery was established in 1847 by J.C. Jacobsen. The Carlsberg Brewery Visitor Center offers insight in both, beer production and Carlsberg city history. The highlight of the tour is the world's largest collection of beer bottles, with over 10,000 bottles. You can enjoy an authentic glass of beet, as well as some traditional Danish food. If you are into beers and want to know the history of the world famous Carlsberg factory is worth a visit.
BakkenThe Dyrehavsbakken, commonly known as 'Bakken', is locatede in the northern edge of Copenhagen. The world's oldest amusement park, dating back to 1583, is one of the most charming and traditional places in Copenhagen. In addition to its authentic Danish charm, Bakken provides plenty of thrills for visitors, from a ghost train, twirling tea cups, tunnel of love and old-fashioned, wooden roller coaster to more modern and faster attractions such as the spinning Tornado and the popular Mine Train. The amusement park is open from the end of March to the end of August.
Frederiksborg CastleThe Frederiksborg Castle, located in Hillerod, north of Copenhagen, was built in the first decades of the 17th century by the Danish King Christian IV, on three islands on the edge of a small lake. The islands are connected by bridges. Inside the castle you will find the Danish National History Museum, where you can explore its rich collection of furniture, decorative arts, portraits and history paintings.
Blue PlanetThe Den Blaa Planet is Northern Europe's largest aquarium; 450 different species and 20,000 fish and other aquatic animals, from sea lions, sharks, dwarf crocodiles to barracudas and moray eels, can be seen in 53 different aquariums and animal facilities. With impressive spiral design and unique location it is worth a visit.
Arken Museum for Moderne KunstThe Arken Museum of Modern Art is located by the beach in Ishoj, south of Copenhagen. Shaped like a ship both inside and out, the building is certainly an imposing work of art in itself. Denmark's newest museum of modern art has a permanent exhibition containing Danish, Scandinavian and international art from 1990 on-wards.
Louisiana MuseumThe museum in Humlebaek, a 30-minutes train ride from Copenhagen followed by a 10-minutes walk, is worth a visit. The museum's permanent collection features works by Giacometti, Picasso, Warhol, Rauschenberg, Bacon, and many more, and there are outstanding changing exhibitions.
Where to StayThe city has a very good selection of accommodation, ranging from 5 star hotels, Eco-friendly hotels, design and small boutique hotels to more affordable B&B, private apartments and hostels, mainly concentrated in the city center and Vesterbro area. An inviting alternative is Christianshavn, just outside the city center and east across the waters of Inderhavnen. Nørrebro is a little more budget-friendly and a little rougher around the edges. This is where you’ll find cheap hotels and all night parties.
Food & DrinkHome to more than 15 Michelin-starred restaurants and Noma, named world's best restaurant in 2014 again, the city's fine-dining and New Nordic culinary options are plentiful. Many of the Copenhagen restaurants go for an organic or largely organic menu. But, these healthy treats often come with a rather hefty price tag attached to them. Wild game, cured or smoked fish and meats, and specialties like Limfjord oysters, Læsø langoustine, as well as eel and plaice are very common. Try pickled or smoked herring, smørrebrød (literally spread bread or open-face sandwiches), a street-side pølser (sausage), and the famous Danish pastries. Don't miss the Torvehallerne where more than 80 vendors sell their goods inside, from tiny cupcakes, ox-meat sausages, rhubarb juice to snacks and warm meals. Try Danish oysters, they are really good. Wash it all down with a pint of locally brewed Carlsberg or Tuborg.
ShoppingThe main international chains and designer boutiques are located around Strøget, the Europe's longest pedestrian shopping street. International fashion from Prada, Louis Vuitton, Cerutti, Mulberry, Chanel, Boss, and many others are found at the Kgs. Nytorv end of the Strøget. On the side of Amagertorv lies Købmagergade, featuring small independent shops with clothing. For both vintage and new fashion, head for Studiestrade and Larsbjorns Strade in Indre By, as well as Istedgade in Vesterbro. Magasin du Nord, the largest department store in Scandinavia, is situated on Kongens Nytorv .
Getting AroundSightseeing, especially downtown, is best done on foot. If you're not up for a walk, one of the guided canal tours will give you a good sense of the city. Although Copenhagen is a great city for pedestrians, if you really want to feel like a local, rent a bike. A City Hop-on Hop-off tour can save you some time if you want to quickly visit the sights. Public transport, including bus, train, and metro services, is efficient and safe. Ferries connect Copenhagen with Sweden, Norway, and Poland.
SafetyCopenhagen is considered relatively safe. Despite it being such a busy capital city there have been very few reports on incidents from visitors. However, petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching continues to increase especially in tourist areas and during the summer months. To prevent pick-pocketing stay alert in crowded places and keep an eye on you belonging.
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Author: Ayda. Last updated: Mar 18, 2016