Mediaeval city morphs into modern metropolis
Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen is not just the title of a song. It is true! Growing up right outside Copenhagen, I have always loved the city. And over the last 20 years it has experienced amazing development. The city has cleaned up: The harbour and water is now so clean you can swim in it. Hundreds of old buildings have been restored, and eye-catching new edifices have been built with the help of famous architects. Copenhagen has a rich cultural life and the city has a high-octane flair. There are so many places to show you in and around Copenhagen, but this is what my favourite weekend in Copenhagen would look like.
Before we start… Be aware Copenhagen is a green city! Be prepared for taking the bike…
See the funny video to get into the mood
Denmark in general has great shopping. We have some of the best designers both for clothes and furniture. Zurich has its Bahnhofstrasse. We have Strøget, which is bursting with great shops and outdoor restaurants. If you are interested in Danish furniture, check out Illums Bolighus. Otherwise, just take a walk down Strøget from Raadhuspladsen to Kgs. Nytorv. I love the mood of the street. Street artist are performing, people are happy and there is always something interesting to see. I love to eat lunch (or dinner) at Cafe Victor. You have to book a table in advance or you will probably not get a table (Cafevictor.dk). Victor has been the most popular restaurant bar in Copenhagen for the last 20 years, and you will understand why when you eat there.
Please read on further down… but let’s see some pictures first…
After lunch, I always feel a compulsion to cross the street. My favourite chocolate shop (Summer Bird) is right there. You feel like trying everything. But you must at least try a cream muffin.
Another must is the canal trip, which is possibly the best way to see Copenhagen. The ride takes about an hour and is well worth it. You sail between the most magnificent and historic buildings. Boats leave from Nyhavn (New Harbour), which is very close to Cafe Victor. Nyhavn never sleeps. And I don’t just mean the tourists. The Danes loves this area too. Take time to stroll around the area and have a look at the tall ships anchored at the pier. Enjoy a coffee and a spot of people-watching at one of the many cafes.
A great place for dinner is Restaurant Mash (Mashsteak.dk), right around the corner from Nyhavn. If you prepare your trip at least three months in advance, you can even book a table at the Noma, which is rated as the best restaurant in the world.
Many Danes treat themselves to a hearty (and slightly unhealthy) breakfast on Sundays. Most people will already have heard about Danish pastries. Trust me, they are even better in Denmark! I am sure your hotel will serve them. If not, visit any of the great bakeries all over Denmark.
You can walk around Copenhagen or rent a bike. There are many places around the centre of the city where you can rent a bike. Start out around Nyhavn and walk or cycle along the harbour to Amalienborg Slot, where our royal family lives. Take a break and stroll around the area. Continue down to the Kastellet citadel, one of the best preserved fortifications in Northern Europe. I have a special bond to this area, as I was married and my children were baptized in the little church inside the citadel. It is a very peaceful and beautiful walk and takes you right past the little mermaid.
On the other side of the harbour you can see the magnificent opera built by Henning Larsen and paid for and donated to the city by shipping magnate Mærsk McKinney Møller.
Continue to Rosenberg Slot, a beautiful old castle situated in the middle of Copenhagen and surrounded by a spacious park known as the King’s Garden. Make sure you see the crown jewels in the castle.
Even now, there is still a lot to see, and Tivoli really should not be missed. Tivoli has attractions for all ages, whether you just want to walk through the beautiful garden and enjoy the many restaurants, or whether you are up for a ride. Either way, make sure you have time for Tivoli – a great way to end a fabulous weekend in Copenhagen.
And make sure you come back! I still haven’t had time to tell you about the scenic road along the cost towards northern Zeeland and Kronborg Castle (the scene of “Hamlet”), the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and all the places where you can dance for free every night, with instructors and music all though the summer. See you in Copenhagen!
The new 2012 edition of the Michelin Guide has awarded Copenhagen’s restaurants a total of 14 stars. Not only is that more than any other Scandinavian city, it is also more than other European cities such as Hamburg, Amsterdam and Vienna, Copenhagen also has more Michelin restaurants than Rome. This means that Copenhagen forces it’s position as the gastronomy capital of the North.