The capital of Denmark has repeatedly been included in the list of “the Best Cities for Life” as measured, comfortable and safe Copenhagen embodies an atmosphere of calmness and conciliation. In the homeland of Hans Christian Andersen there are many interesting sights, ancient cathedrals, palaces and museums located in narrow streets.
It is more convenient to start a one-day trip around Copenhagen from the railway station, moving towards the old part of the city, making a circle, and then returning back to the starting point.You can explore Copenhagen by foot or on a bicycle. You will notice that Copenhagen is the most bike-friendly city in the world, which it is.
The Town Hall Square is the central square of the city where the Town Hall building and the monument to Hans Christian Andersen are located. There is a belief that if you kneel at the statue of the storyteller and make a wish, it will certainly come true.
The building was erected in 1905, and the tower of the Town Hall is equipped with an excellent observation deck. There is no elevator, so be prepared to take 300 steps, but once you reach the top, a wonderful view of the city will open in front of your eyes. The Town Hall is also home to the most accurate clock in the world that has been uninterruptedly running since 1955 – the astronomical clock of Jens Olsen.
One of the oldest stock exchanges in Europe, Bersen, was built in the center of the Danish capital in 1624 in the style of the medieval Flemish Renaissance. The centuries-old building is decorated with an original 56-meter spire. The spire depicts the intertwined tails of four dragons. The top of the spire is the heads of dragons with crowns: a symbol of the Scandinavian empire. According to legend, the spire protects the building from fire and other misfortunes. For many years Bersen retained its original appearance and served as a shopping center. Today, major conferences, business forums and exhibitions are held here.
As you walk further, you will see the Glyptotek of Carlsberg. It stores the private collection of Danish businessman Karl Jacobsen, a founder of Carlsberg. It is a large collection of art objects, both ancient and modern. Among the exhibits are Egyptian sarcophagi, paintings and sculptures of famous masters like Renoir, Gauguin, Monet, Rodin and Mayol.
You will then approach the Christiansborg Palace which was built in 1167, but due to fires the building was completely rebuilt 3 times. The last reconstruction was done in 1828,and that was then when the Palace acquired the features of French classicism. After another fire, 100 years later, in 1928, Christiansborg again rose from the ashes, but in the neo-baroque style.
Today it houses the Royal Library, the Royal Residence, the Supreme Court, the Danish Parliament, the Museum and the Office of the Prime Minister.
Closer to noon, you will be approaching one the most interesting parts of the city.
Christianshavn or Christiania is a special place in Copenhagen. This is a separate state with its own laws. It was founded in 1971 by the hippie community. In the “Free City of Christiania” an indescribable atmosphere of freedom reigns, sharply contrasting with the rest of the “right and well behaved” Copenhagen. Bright and colorful, it is the world of independent hippies and artists, unusual houses of different styles and shapes, handmade souvenirs. There is definitely something to see and experience for all the visitors of the capital.
On the streets of Christiania there are many cafes and street food stands where you can have a tasty and inexpensive meal for lunch. Don’t forget to have some traditional Danish pastry as well. Some of them are romkugler (rum balls) which are the leftover pastries blended into a sticky paste with jam, rum and cocoa powder; and drømmekage (dream cake), a coconut-caramel-topped sponge cake.
It is time to visit the Church of the Savior – Inside the beautiful church there is an old organ, and visitors can also climb the spire of the Church tower; of course, if they survive 400 steps, they can then enjoy the amazing view of Copenhagen.
Stroget Street is the longest and oldest pedestrian street in Europe. It attracts tourists not only because of its ancient churches and squares. A 1.5-km Stroget is a paradise for lovers of shopping and vibrant colors: there are many restaurants and cafes, shops and boutiques, and in addition music is played from morning till night and many artists and entertainers perform here. This street never sleeps, life boils here at any time of the day.
Colourful houses on the banks of the Nyhavn Canal create a unique festive atmosphere: a picturesque place invariably attracts visitors to the city. There are many fish restaurants with open verandas on the promenade. In 2016, a bridge was opened here connecting Nyhavn with the Christianshavn (Christiania) area.
Amalienborg Palace is the most beautiful palace in Copenhagen. What is interesting is that it is still used for its intended purpose – the royal family lives in the building. A complex of four mansions rises around the square, where a monument to King Frederick the Fifth stands. For tourists, the chambers of Christian the Seventh and Christian the Eighth are open – here you can explore the true atmosphere and also personal objects of the royals used between 1863 to 1947. A ceremonial change of the guard is regularly held on the square in front of the palace which is definitely a sight to see.
The magnificent Gefiona Fountain in Langelnye Park is a small-sized composition that looks very harmonious and beautiful. Water Flows wash the steps of wild stone and trickle down into a wide bowl. In the evening, the illuminated fountain looks even more spectacular.
And now, the main symbol of the Danish capital and its visiting card is the statue of the Little Mermaid at the entrance to the Copenhagen harbor on the Langelnye promenade. A small bronze monument (just under 1.5 meters), dedicated to the main character of the fairy tale written by no other than Hans Christian Andersen was built in 1913. For more than a hundred years, tourists from all over the world have come here to see the Little Mermaid, sitting on a stone near the seashore and looking sadly into the distance. The statue of a fairy-tale girl is the personification of the story of true, but sad love.
Walking further, there is a cozy Park Kongens Have, where you can have a picnic on one of the lawns, see many sculptures and another monument to Hans Christian Andersen.
The small ancient Rosenborg Castle of 1624 is notable for retaining its original appearance to the present day. Rosenborg stands in the middle of the country’s oldest Royal Garden – here you can leisurely walk along the paths, admire the picturesque views, impressive statues and sculptures, and also feed the ducks at the local pond. Inside, the interiors of the former royal chambers, the treasury of the crown and the collection of royal regalia have been preserved for the public to see.
Gammeltorv Square is an ancient market square of the 12th century; there is an old fountain built in 1608, behind which you can see the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary. The famous Round Tower or Rundentaarn is also located here.
Cathedral of the Virgin Mary is the first church built on this site in 1209, but because of fires and natural disasters, it was constantly rebuilt. This huge church accommodates more than 1000 people, and boasts of marble statues of Jesus Christ, the twelve apostles and angels to add to its beauty.
And at last, the 36-meter Rundentaarn Tower is a wonderful observation deck with amazing city views. This 17th century tower and observatory, is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.
It is now time to head back towards the central railway station where it is only convenient to grab traditional Danish dinner.
You can’t leave Copenhagen without trying Stegt flæsk med persillesovs. This is a very rustic dish that consists of crispy fried pork served with boiled potatoes, parsley sauce and pickled beetroot.