Copenhagen Travel, Denmark

Copenhagen's 17th/18th century Nyhavn waterfront and entertainment district, Denmark

Copenhagen’s 17th/18th century Nyhavn waterfront and entertainment district. Photo by Archer10.

Visiting Copenhagen

This is a pretty, compact and welcoming Danish city, especially for pedestrians and cyclists.
It has an active cultural scene, good museums and enough historic buildings to satisfy the most demanding tourist.
The general ambience is laid-back but the night life is energetic, and life is reasonably affordable in Denmark, unlike other more costly Scandinavian countries.

Downsides
– The city, like the rest of Denmark, can be extremely chilly, even in summer time.
– It’s not exactly a low cost destination.

Copenhagen weather

Best: May-June; the sunniest months of the year though not the warmest which are July and August. Summer average temperatures range from lows of 7C (44F) in May to highs of 20C (67F) in mid summer.
Worst: January, February; chilly, grey, many attractions are closed. Winter temperatures range from -2C (28F) to 2C (36F).

Things to Do

Amalienborg Palace, with Copenhagen Opera House in the background, Denmark

Amalienborg Palace, with Copenhagen Opera House in the background across the water. Photo by Rob Deutscher.

***Stroget, the world’s longest pedestrian shopping mall, is a lively chain of five streets, lined by shops, restaurants, daily markets, stalls, and street performances. The most interesting area is around the two squares Gammeltorv and Nytorv (meaning old and new).

**Tivoli Gardens, a famous amusement park featuring flower gardens as well as rides and attractions, running for over 150 years.

**Rosenborg Slot, an elegant castle of fine Renaissance brick work, with a basement where the Danish Crown Jewels are kept.

*The Little Mermaid, the world famous bronze statue. The mermaid itself is not as impressive as its fame, but walking by the sea and around the Kastellet is pleasant.

*The Amalienborg Palace can be visited, and the guard changes, in style, at 12 noon.

*Christiania. This alternative ‘free state’ is a fascinating social experiment.

You can swim at Amager Strandpark, or Dragor beaches near the airport – 20 minutes by bus.

The overhyped Little Mermaid, Copenhagen, Denmark

The overhyped Little Mermaid. Photo by Dornum72.

Short Trips Out of Town

***Frederiksborg Slot, An imposing Renaissance castle in a scenic location in the town of Hillerod, 40km/25m northwest of Copenhagen (30 minutes by train). The inside, a national museum, has over 70 rooms with magnificent interiors and antiquities.
Highlights are the Knights Hall and the Coronation Chapel.

If you like castles, there is another one, **Kronborg Slot ( Shakespeare’s inspiration for Hamlet’s castle) in Helsingor.

There is also the *Karen Blixen Museum (the author of ‘Out of Africa’) in Rungsted near Helsingor.

*Mon, one of three islands off Zealand’s south coast, is famous for its 5, 000 year-old white chalk cliffs (**Mons Klint). It also has some historic sights -Neolithic era- and nice beaches.

Odense, a large industrial town in Funen island, attracts tourists because it is the birth place of Hans Christian Andersen. The town is not as enchanting as his tales, and it’s 3 hours from the capital.
For beaches, try Hornbaek, Gilleleje, Koge, or Bornholm island.

Tivoli Gardens entertainment centre, Copenhagen, Denmark

Tivoli Gardens entertainment centre. Photo by News Oresund.

Please check festival dates, some are not yet confirmed.

Late May, 3 days, *** Carnival, parades, dancing, and other festivities. Carnival time is good weatherwise, but beware of crowds.

June **Midsummer Eve, people get together for beach bonfires.

Early July, 10 days, The Copenhagen Jazz Festival.

Late August-early Sept, *The Golden Days Festival, an arts festival featuring Denmark’s ‘Golden Age’ 1800-1850. Every two years.

November/December Christmas in Tivoli Gardens, special events for Christmas celebrations.

Arts and Culture

Copenhagen Opera House, Denmark

Copenhagen Opera House. Photo by Julian Herzog.

Arts/Culture/Nightlife
The city has vigorous culture programs throughout year, and especially in the summer there are many free concerts and plays in the parks and gardens – Tivoli, for instance.
There are lots of late-opening cafes and bars as well as clubs for live music.
See ‘Copenhagen This Week‘ a free guide from tourist offices for what’s-on-when listings.

Museums & Galleries
**Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, the city’s best art gallery. It has a fine collection of Etruscan artefacts (the biggest and best in Europe after Italy), as well as great master’s works.
**Charlottenborg, a gorgeous baroque palace showing contemporary art.
*National Museum, an exhibition focusing on Danish history, including the Viking era.

The 'Black Diamond' National Library, Copenhagen, Denmark

The ‘Black Diamond’ National Library. Photo by Jeroen Pulles.

Accommodation

There’s no shortage of hotels, but booking ahead is essential for the cheaper hotels in peak season (July-August).
One way not to spend a fortune is taking a package.

Food
Never cheap in Denmark, but Copenhagen has more choice of food at a better price than other Scandinavian capitals.
Many of the restaurants offer high standard, good value, set-menu or eat-as-much as-you-can meals.
Try some of traditional open sandwiches (Smorrebrod) and real Danish pastry! The city’s most hip and popular dining areas are around Nytorvand Kongens squares. Also the waterfront Nyhavn (picture top right) has a lively drinking scene along side a canal, with outdoor cafes and restaurants backed by colourful 18thC buildings.

Shopping
An obvious place to go shopping is Stroget, excellent for fashion, houseware, silver (Georg Jensen) and famous porcelain (Royal Copenhagen).
Also try the newer pedestrianized street, east of Stroget called Straedet, especially for antiques.