Have your Dreams ever been full of Castles, Fairy tales, Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses? Well, if yes, then there’s a good chance all of them were in Denmark… The Kingdom of Denmark is the oldest existing Monarchy in Europe today. Dotted with historic summer Palaces, Mansions and Gardens, all across its’ beautiful capital, Copenhagen. The city is seen as the epitome of architectural grandeur with buildings crafted in Renaissance, Rococo and Baroque styles… The combination is so spectacular, it’s really no Problem travelling in this Northern part of Europe… YES… It’s THAT Beautiful!
Copenhagen radiates Positivity, and it took me, the very moment I stepped out of the Airport, into the crisp Scandinavian Air… It was also a beautiful sunny day, right in the middle of spring, together, they made the whole memory of my first city stroll unforgettable! I still remember Copenhagen shining brightly above and around me, every step of the way.
Short History of Copenhagen
Founded in the early 10th century by Viking fishermen, Copenhagen has been the Capital of Denmark since the 15th century. In Danish, ‘København’ translates roughly to ‘merchant’s harbour’, as the Port and harbour were a Hub for Trading at the very beginning. Though it has seen times of plague, fire and more during the 18th & 19th centuries, the City went through several redevelopments and restorations, leaving architectural prints on what is the economic, cultural and governmental centre of modern-day Denmark.
One of the things I admire about Copenhagen is the ease in getting around the City…. it has been voted one of the worlds’ most bike-friendly cities for years, and cycling in Copenhagen is by far the smartest and most convenient way you can discover it. Danes ride their bikes to work, and for leisure. The Roads have evolved to help too, so try to fit in as much as possible and include a biking tour. You can explore a multitude of districts, each with its own distinctive character, and all lined with bicycle paths.
After the completion of the main Øresund Bridge linking Copenhagen to the Swedish province of Scania, Copenhagen swelled in size, including bridges to connect the two countries, increasing its economic importance in the region. The areas in between are maintained as parks, promenades and harbour waterfronts, all places where Danes can enjoy the outdoors during warm seasons.
Quality of Living
In terms of Living Standards, Copenhagen ranks high in international surveys, offering a stable economy, with a solid educational system and social infrastructure. Copenhagen has also ranked as one of the world’s most expensive city, but not so much so that it isn’t the most liveable as well, thanks to its great connectivity both internally and externally, and environmental policies. The city’s planning favours cyclists and pedestrians, encouraging and allowing Danes a healthier way of living.
The most prestigious landmarks in Copenhagen are its Castles and Palaces, some of which can be found in the very heart of the city itself, within walking distance of each other, blending in harmoniously with ample green areas and public gardens, and some world-famous parks. Perhaps the closeness to the city centre of all these major landmarks means even a 3-day trip here is enough to engage and immerse yourself in the essence of Copenhagen.
The iconic ‘Little Mermaid’ is the city emblem, while the Amalienborg and Christiansborg palaces are also world-renowned. Here there are plenty of Museums, including The Viking Ship Museum, the National History Museum, Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum or the futuristically designed interiors of the Danish Jewish Museum.
Frederiksstaden is one of the most important Rococo complexes in Europe, dating back to the 18th century. It is comprised of Amalienborg with its own four beautiful palaces and Frederik’s Church in the centre, positioned on the same axis with the new Copenhagen Opera House, mirroring each other, from the other side of the harbour basin. The whole district is laced with straight broad streets lined by bourgeois houses, mansions and palaces, oozing affluence and heritage.
The inner city includes an island, in the harbour of Copenhagen, dominated by the vast Christiansborg Palace: home of the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court of Denmark, the Prime Minister’s Office and the State Rooms of the Queen. Christiansborg is seen as the centre of all Power in Denmark.
Freetown Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood of Copenhagen where a community of 850 residents, dwell freely, on a former military base site. A source of controversy ever since its creation in 1971, Christiania is a place that has its’ own set of rules, independent of the Danish Government, self-sustaining, with its own laws that forbid stealing, violence and other social ills…and it’s that very independence that led it to be the centre of many Independents over the years, plus the Flower Power movement of the 70s’ ‘moving in’…the result of these many movements, has left a colourful and vibrant place… It is considered to be the 4th largest tourist attraction in Copenhagen and for all these reasons it cannot be missed!
If you’re planning a 2-3day trip, here are some of the places that are sure to tickle your fancy during your visit:
Langelinie is a pier, promenade and park in central Copenhagen and home of the statue of the Little Mermaid – an icon of the city and a possibly THE most popular tourist attraction dating back to 1913
Tivoli Gardens – opened in 1843, and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world after Europa-Park in Germany…
Nyhavn – is an artificial canal which has serviced the city for 300 years. Nowadays the Quay is pedestrianised and has become a ship and museum harbour with brightly painted houses from the 17th and 18th century, some of them homes to famous historical figures like Hans Christian Andersen (who lived at #67), artists, ballet dancers and poets. #9 is the oldest house in the compound, dating back to 1681. Today the waterfront bristles with speciality stores, bars, restaurants and cafes which draw hordes of tourists every year
Frederiksborg Castle – is one of the most beautiful palatial complexes housing the Danish Museum of National History
National History Museum – where you can check out the installation of Ole Worm’s cabinet by artist Rosamond Purcell – “All Things Strange And Beautiful”
Photo: Purcell produced ‘Bringing Nature Inside’, a meticulous re-creation of Worm’s Copenhagen museum. This installation travelled to other institutions before settling in the Geological Museum at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in 2011
Rosenborg Castle – a Dutch Renaissance castle located in the city of Copenhagen built in the 17th century
Kronborg Castle – a castle and a fortress in the town of Helsingør, 50km outside Copenhagen. This place has been immortalised as ‘Elsinore’ in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Kronborg Castle is one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe, recognised as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site since 2000.
Egeskov Castle – is located in the south of the island of Funen, 2 hours away from Copenhagen by train. It is Europes’ best preserved Renaissance water castle, dating back to the 15th century and is an absolute fascinating fairy-tale castle which is what you can easily depict from the following pictures.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Keep in mind that the best time to visit Copenhagen is April to September…while June is the sunniest month of the year, July is the warmest…. With an Oceanic climate and weather subject to the low-pressure influence of the Atlantic Ocean, the weather conditions throughout the year can vary. Because of Copenhagen’s northern latitude, the average number of daylight hours changes considerably between summer and winter, from 17.5 hours to just 7 hours during Winter Solstice.
All in All? From what I saw, this Citys’ charm sits in its pace of Life itself, entwined into high standards of living which benefit both Societies, and the Environment around it. Promoting the Danish culture and design is paramount as an Idea. Add that to the harmonious city atmosphere with a rich history dating back to Vikings’ time and well-preserved Architecture as far as the eye can see…Meaning if you do go: you will get to feel free, the Danish Way, for sure.