Copenhagen offers the best of past and present
8 September 2009
Your kids have grown up and flown the nest and you feel now is the moment to spend some time on yourself. So why not bring a friend or partner and have a great weekend in the Danish capital Copenhagen?
Copenhagen is a true Scandinavian capital, but being the southernmost of its Nordic neighbours, it also has a genuine continental feel. This year-round destination has a lot to interest and inspire all of you looking for great historical sights, a bit of history and culture as well as great food and quality shopping.
Explore a new city and you will come back feeling invigorated by all the fascinating things you have seen and explored. The best thing is that this hotspot is just two hours away with SAS Scandinavian Airlines, taking you there from five different UK airports, so wherever you live - what are you waiting for?
Having arrived at award-winning Copenhagen airport, high-speed trains and Metro whisks you off into the centre of town in just 12 minutes.
The city is compact and can easily be discovered on foot. Having checked into your hotel, why not take a walk past some of the most iconic Copenhagen sights. Starting at Nyhavn harbour area, once the home of Denmark’s famous son Hans Christian Andersen, you can admire the 18th and 19th century pastel-coloured buildings lining this lively canal street, filled with bars and restaurants.
Heading along the quayside towards Langelinie, you first come across the new Play House Theatre, a recently opened venue for theatre goers and a great place to stop for coffee. Just a few minutes later you come upon the Royal Palace of Amalienborg, residence of Queen Margerethe ll. The Palace actually consists of four buildings and visitors have access to two of them. Many plan their visit for mid-day in order to watch the changing of the guards in the open courtyard.
From the palace you also get the best view of one of Copenhagen’s latest attractions, the Opera House. A modern waterfront building which in addition to housing international music performances also manifests Denmark’s reputation as a great creator of modern architecture - operaen.dk.
As you stroll further along the quayside you soon reach the most famous sight in Denmark; the charming bronze statue of the Little Mermaid. She has been greeting visitors there since 1913. We see her, as the Hans Christian Andersen story tells us, the moment she has just for the first time, risen above the water’s surface and is resting on a rock.
Shop like Royalty
Step into a palace of quality, colours and splendours at Amagertorv Square. Four floors under the same roof offer the best you can ever buy in Denmark. This is the flagship store of Royal Copenhagen, which has produced high quality porcelain since its first introduction to Europe in the late 18th century. Today traditional crafts are combined with the creative forces of contemporary designers. This is also where you pick up the best of Danish silver designs, in the name of Georg Jensen. Admire the stunning craftsmanship that has remained an international favourite for more than 100 years. And this is not all, Illums Bolighus right next door, gives you the best choice of Danish and International interior design. When it comes to furniture, lamps, glassware and textiles – look no further and bring home vast inspirations on how to create a fabulous home. The main shopping area is right here, around the Stroget pedestrian street that cuts right through the city centre - royalcopenhagen.com.
A bit of nostalgia
Norrebro boasts two other streets with independent specialist retailers: Blagardsgade and Ravnsborgsgade. The latter is lined with antique and second hand furniture shops, a magnet for serious collectors and bargain hunters. Here you'll find classic Danish furniture, porcelain, glassware, art works, lamps, clothing and ceramics and just about everything else one might wish to collect.
For those who appreciate quality beer, Norrebro has also seen the launch of the micro-brewery Norrebro Bryghus. The brewery is housed in a former metal factory on Ryesgade Street, and contains a two-storey restaurant accommodating guests for lunch or dinner, a bar and a courtyard beer garden with outdoor service during the summer months.
In spite of being a capital city it has an abundance of parks and gardens, where people love to stop and relax for a moment. In Dyrehaven deer park in the elegant suburb of Klampenborg, you can ride in a horse-drawn carriage and take in the relaxing views of the Eremitage plain from where you see King Christian Vl’s beautiful hermitage castle. The gardens of Frederiksberg is another haven of relaxation. Here you also find small family run restaurants serving traditional Danish foods.
The day trip
In order to discover more of Denmark’s rich cultural heritage, why not hire a car or join a sightseeing tour of North Zealand. Highlights of a memorable day along the ‘Golden Coast’ north of the city can include a visit to Frederiksborg, a true north European Renaissance castle, housing the national portrait collection, a stop at Elsinore to see the home of Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet and Louisiana, the internationally renowned museum of modern art.
Having travelled through lush green forests, passing small picturesque villages and towns you are now on the east coast where you at times can see across the Oresund strait to Sweden. Literary fans would love to see Rungstenslund, home of author Karen Blixen, famed for her novel ‘Out of Africa. Travelling along the ‘Riviera Road’ back to Copenhagen, you will enjoy taking in the views of the sea and the fantastic villas that line the waterfront.
Young at heart
Your day will have a fairytale ending, as you step into the magical Tivoli Gardens, Denmark’s favourite attraction since 1843. It offers a range of restaurants and bars, including two Michelin rated establishments; The Paul and Restaurant Herman. A visit to Tivoli is also about romantic strolls around the Tivoli Lake, live music and entertainment for all ages.
For information on travelling to Denmark see visitdenmark.com.
For all information on Copenhagen, including events, design, restaurants and bars, go to visitcopenhagen.com.
For flight bookings: flysas.co.uk SAS Scandinavian Airlines offers direct flights from Aberdeen, Manchester, Birmingham, London Heathrow and City airports. Flight time is less than two hours.
It is worth looking at Expedia.co.uk, as it often has special Copenhagen deals on offer.