Visiting Copenhagen - What to See and Do
(Copenhagen Airport CPH, Denmark)
Denmark's capital and largest city is Copenhagen
, a low-rise beauty with 400 years under its belt as the centre of Danish society. It is one of the friendliest, most care-free cities in the world, an atmosphere all but the most dour visitors quickly pick up on. From sidewalk cafés to the amusements of Tivoli, there's always something to do in Copenhagen.
The Danish capital is a model of what a city can be. Nearly half of its population rides a bike to work, you can actually swim in the inner harbour, and its urban development has been carefully managed to avoid ruining its magical medieval scenery.
The historic city centre is where most of the charm is found, strolling along its peaceful waterfront and soaking in the scenes like Christiansborg Castle, the Town Hall Square and the iconic Little Mermaid statue. There's sophisticated nightlife, a thriving café scene and endless shopping along the Stroget. This is a city you can even bring the kids to, thanks to its myriad parks and fun attractions.
Ten things you must do in Copenhagen
- Whether you are old or young, you can't leave Copenhagen without spending a day at the Tivoli Gardens. This is one of the world's first amusement parks (opened in 1843), but it still remains a fun modern place to relive your childhood. From its magical merry-go-rounds to more thrilling rides and attractions, Tivoli is the epitome of a Danish summer.
- Perhaps it is the long grey winters, but when spring arrives, Copenhagen's cafés transform into al fresco beehives. Lingering outside at a sidewalk café table is a major pastime in the capital, and the prime area to begin is New Harbour (Nyhavn). There are few more pleasant experiences than sipping a coffee whilst watching the masts of sailing ships bob in the harbour.
- The nexus of shopping in the Danish capital resides in the aptly-named Stroget, which means 'to stroll' in Danish. For nearly a mile, this charming consumer strip is lined with shops of all stripes. Make a detour midway onto the Vestergade street for a more historic ambience and better selection of quaint cafés and bars.
- Whether or not you agree with its libertarian ideology, you really must check out Christiania. This unique self-ruling enclave is a free city in almost every way. Its market sells things that may make you do a double take, but it has cafés, bars, shops and certainly the most colourful residents in Copenhagen.
- Christiansborg Palace is a beautiful place dating back to 1416, when the first of many kings moved in. Today it is used for practical governance by Denmark's parliament and supreme court, but a tour of its stately rooms gives a rare glimpse into the opulence that was once the exclusive domain of Danish royalty.
- The Nordic world's greatest collection of artefacts related to its long and storied heritage is contained within the National Museum. Its five departments span from prehistoric times to the Viking era and the Danish Renaissance. There truly are some rare treasures on display, and even a cool kid's museum wing.
- To experience the whole of Danish culture in one stop, spend a day out of town at the Frilandsmuseet Open-Air Museum. This 90-acre / 36-hectare park is like a time capsule of rural Denmark, recreating dozens of different facets of historic Danish life, from fishermen to farmers. Craft demonstrations and folk dancing add to the fun.
- The Danes know how to have a good time, whether it is drinks in the bar or a night at the symphony. Visitors will have a solid schedule to choose from at any time of the year, with classic orchestras and hot new bands using the Tivolis Koncertsal (Concert Hall).
- The Royal Museum of Fine Arts is hands-down the top venue to admire artwork in Copenhagen. Much of the collection, which runs from the 13th century to the modern era, is the combined collection of the Danish kings. The sculptures and paintings inside are priceless, and you can easily absorb the better half of a day checking everything out.
- Another of Denmark's magical castles is the Rosenborg Slot, a Renaissance masterpiece that hasn't changed since 1633. From the crown jewels and regalia collection to the Knight's Hall, there are lots of extremely regal attractions on display inside this magnificent palace. After exploring the inside, stroll around the vast gardens to imagine life as a king (or queen).