Located on the beautiful icy waters of the Øresund strait, which separates Denmark from its neighbor Sweden, Denmark’s bustling capital city is rated among the highest in the world for quality of life. A haven of Scandinavian culture and history, Copenhagen offers visitors world-class art and history museums, renowned Nordic cuisine, shopping, nightlife, sightseeing and more.
Copenhagen’s history goes back centuries so it goes without saying that the museums are noteworthy. For a comprehensive look at Denmark’s history as well as treasures from across the globe, visit the National Museum. The New Carlsberg Glyptotek houses art from ancient and modern times and the Kunsthal Charlottenborg is a must for contemporary art lovers.
Tivoli Gardens is one of the world’s oldest and most famous amusement parks. Like an enchanted fairytale world in the heart of Copenhagen, it has everything from roller coasters to live theater to gourmet restaurants.
Get a spectacular view of the city and 17th century architecture from the top of the Round Tower, Europe’s oldest functioning observatory. Visitors also frequent the Copenhagen Zoo and Northern Europe’s largest aquarium, the Blue Planet. Copenhagen’s most popular attraction? That would be the Little Mermaid, a statue just four feet tall commissioned in honor of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s legendary fairytale.
Copenhagen’s gastronomical scene is one of the best in Scandinavia and Europe in general. Boasting 20 Michelin starred restaurants, including Restaurant magazine’s World’s Best Restaurant winner, Noma, the city is awash with fine dining options as well as more laid-back cafes and bistros. Just grab a traditional smørrebrød (open-faced sandwich) and wash it down with a Carlsberg like a true Dane!
For some time away from the big city, a 20 minute train ride will get you to Roskilde, a smaller Danish town of about 50,000. This historic city was once Denmark’s capital and a hub of Viking activity. Don’t miss the Viking Ship Museum, the Romanesque-style Roskilde Cathedral, or the Old Church of Our Lady, dating back to the 11th century. If you visit in summer, Roskilde has hosted a legendary rock music festival since 1971.
Thanks to the five mile Øresund Bridge, you can get from Copenhagen to Malmo, Sweden in a mere 30 minutes on the regular commuter train (or 45 minutes by car.) Malmo, a formerly industrial city undergoing a tech boom, is a shopping hot spot. If shopping isn’t your thing, take a dip in the harbour at one of the outdoor swimming parks (in warmer months of course,) or visit a cafe or bar along the charming Lilla Torg square.
Central Copenhagen is where you’ll find easy access to the top sights and attractions and plenty of old world charm. Stay near the Indre neighborhood, home to the oldest district in the city, windy cobbled streets, and historic architecture as well as proximity to Tivoli gardens, the Central Station, and the Nyhavn harbor district. For the best shopping, parks (including Copenhagen’s largest, Fælledparken,) and family-friendly fun, stay in the Østerbro district, with easy access to the Little Mermaid statue and the latest foodie fave and three Michelin star winner, Geranium. For a multicultural mix of food and shopping, look for accommodation in the trendy Nørrebro neighborhood. The best nightlife and hippest restaurants can be found in the Vesterbro neighborhood (formerly a red light district, now one of the most popular neighborhoods.)
Transportation in Copenhagen is a dream. The Metro services most of the city with frequent and reliable trains. The outermost suburbs are reachable by bus (again, frequent and reliable) but most tourist destinations and activities are located in the center of town. Copenhagen is easily walkable and, if you’d rather explore the city on two wheels, extremely bike friendly. Rentals are available throughout the city, including the ubiquitous and convenient City Bike. For traveling throughout Denmark, regional trains are punctual and ideal.
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