Copenhagen, Denmark’s beautiful capital, is located on two coastal islands (Zealand and Amager). And as fans of Scandi-noir thriller The Bridge will already know, Copenhagen is linked to neighbouring Malmo in Sweden by the iconic Öresund Bridge.
As well as its surrounding canal and coastal landscapes, the city has a cool café culture, and a beautiful historic centre to explore. Here are 5 reasons to visit Copenhagen:
1 Tivoli Gardens
The second-oldest amusement park in the world, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens is located in the centre of the city, near City Hall. Dating from 1843, Tivoli is now bang up to date with a new digital virtual reality experience known as The Demon, where rollercoaster passengers are taken through a Chinese fire-dragon universe. Tivoli has beautiful gardens to stroll in and a selection of great restaurants. You’ll find everything from traditional Danish cuisine to French bistro or Asian food. During the festive season, Tivoli Lake is transformed into a sound and light show and there are spectacular fireworks here on New Year’s Eve.
2 Little Mermaid
Possibly Copenhagen’s most famous attraction, the bronze and granite sculpture of the little mermaid was a gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen to the City of Copenhagen. Created by sculptor Edvard Eriksen, you’ll find her on a rock by the waterside at Langelinje Pier, where she’s been looking out to sea since 1913. Apparently, the artist was inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up her life in the sea so she can be with her handsome prince on the land. The model for the sculpture was the sculptor’s wife, Eline Eriksen.
Nyhavn is a beautiful 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen. Lying between Kongens Nytorv and the harbour front south of the Royal Playhouse, this once-thriving commercial port is now a popular tourist destination, renowned by its restored 18th-century townhouses (many of which were home to well-known artists), live music and eclectic cafes, shops, bars and restaurants. You’ll also see historical wooden ships in the canal. Danish author Hans Christian Anderson once lived in the area, and during the festive season there are market stalls along the cobbled quay.
4 Christiansborg Palace
Formerly the home of the Danish royal family (they moved to Amalien Palace in the 1800s), Christiansborg is located on the island of Slotsholmen. Known as the Borgen, the Palace is now home to the Danish Parliament, while parts of the Palace are used for state events. Built in 1773, this Baroque palace is stunning: head for the Tower Room, the Oval Throne Room, the Velvet Room and the Great Hall with its unique tapestries. Then stop for lunch or a coffee in the Tower restaurant, just below the viewing deck. At 106m it’s the highest tower in Copenhagen and has superb views over the city and canals.
5 Carlsberg Museum
Carlsberg, probably the best beer in the world. Whatever your amber nectar preference, a visit to the Carlsberg Museum is a must for beer lovers. The former Carlsberg Brewery is now a living homage to the art of Danish brewing with daily guided tours from experts, who share the ingredients and processes that create such a world-renowned lager. It’s not all history and great architecture though, visitors are encouraged to join the daily beer tasting sessions. The brewery founder, JC Jacobsen lived next to the brewery and gave workers their own daily beer allowance. You can also do a self-guided tour and there’s a Carlsberg merchandise store.