Copenhagen boasts many accolades, chief among which is the title Scandinavia’s design capital. But the city that gifted the world with Arne Jacobsen and his iconic designs has a whole lot more to offer a first-time visitor. These are just some of them:
- The Tivoli Gardens: This is the most-visited tourist attraction in Denmark, and with its unbeatable location in the heart of the city and its varied entertainment options, it’s hardly a surprise. It is here Copenhageners take their children to delight in the amusement park part of the Tivoli, couples go to picnic and stroll hand-in-hand through the park in the evenings, and art lovers and culture aficionados to enjoy the Tivoli’s sculptures and unique designs. As if that wasn’t enough, the Tivoli Gardens also plays host to both world-class and Scandinavian musicians every Friday in the summer. Roxette, Kanye West and Jevgenij Kissin are just a few of the artists on this year’s line-up.
- Strøget: Strøget is something of an oxymoron. It is perhaps the best-known street in Copenhagen, yet you won’t find it on any maps because it is actually made up of 6 streets – Ostergade, Amagertorv, Gammeltorv, Nygade, Vimmelskaftet and Frederiksberggade. It lays claim to the World’s Longest Pedestrian Shopping Street title, yet is easily transversed in the course of a long morning. Starting from Kongens Nytorv on the eastern end to Rådhuspladsen (the city hall) in the west, Strøget offers delightfully Scandinavian shopping experiences for every pocket. Begin shopping from the Rådhuspladsen end of Strøget if you are on a tight-budget, as this is where you will find high-street stores the likes of Vero Moda, H&M and Zara. If money is no object, dive in from the deep end at the Kongens Nytorv end and explore the offerings of Nørgaard, Gucci and Chanel . If your legs and credit card are not sore by the end of this, take the metro from Kongens Nytorv to Ørestad to continue shopping at Scandinavia’s largest shopping mall, Field’s.
- Canal tours: Visitors to Copenhagen often marvel at how much of the city is surrounded by water. This is why a canal tour is one of the easiest ways to see the city in as short time as possible. The tour enables you to see the Opera, the Little Mermaid, the Black Diamond, the country’s Parliament and Noma (the World’s Best Restaurant) all in the space of an hour. The information you get while on board is priceless and best taken at the beginning of your stay in the city, as it can help you decide which part of the city you wish to explore further.
- Danish Design: Copenhagen is the Scandinavian capital of design. The city that gifted the world with Arne Jacobsen and his Swan, Egg, and Seven creations more than four decades ago continues to export minimalistic yet well-designed products to the rest of the world. Visit the various shrines to Danish design in the city, starting at the Danish Design Centre before proceeding to the quintessentially Danish high-end department store Illum, where you’ll find most of the country’s holy grail of designers’ products on sale including Malene Birger, Dyrberg/Kern and Georg Jensen.
- Christiania: The downtown hippy freetown of Christiania came about in 1971, when squatters occupied an area of former military barracks in the Christianshavn and Holmen area of the city. Today, a community of 900 people still live there, determined to defy capitalism and what they perceive to be its many evils. Do like the Copenhageners and bike to the Christiania where the semi-autonomous town’s own guides conduct tours in Danish and English past cafés, restaurants and music venues and the main street, Pusher Street, aptly named after the blatant hash trade that took place there before it was banned in 2004.
Make good use of the Copenhagen Card which entitles you to free entry to over 65 museums and attraction, and free public transport (bus, shuttle boat, train and metro) throughout the Greater Copenhagen area. The card can be bought on http://www.visitcopenhagen.com