After a few days spent in the capital of the oldest European monarchy, I have to oppose to the famous Shakespeare’s quote and say that nothing is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Danish people think green, live free and are tolerant and outspoken. That’s what our own brief experience has shown. On the windows could rarely be seen any curtains or transparents as in all Scandinavia they honor frankness and sincerity.
Travelers, who like stylish architecture, palaces and old castles, will certainly recognize Copenhagen and its surrounding area as their place. As well as those, searching for distinctive city atmosphere, where history and culture blend with a modern urban ambience. Anyway I need to add that all popular landmarks and attractions in Copenhagen are not as crowded as in many other European destinations. That makes the sightseeing tours in the Danish capital a real pleasure.
And here it is our itinerary during the three days in Copenhagen:
We arrived in Copenhagen in the morning and soon reached our hotel, as the taxi transfer from the airport took no more than 20 minutes. We started with a boat tour along the canals to catch a first glimpse at the city and some of the main attractions:
• The Little Mermaid /den Lille Havfrue/ – the statue of the mermaid from the world famous tale by Hans Christian Andersen has become an iconic symbol of Denmark.
• The Opera building (Operaen) with its surprisingly modern architecture also can be seen from the boat.
• Amalienborg Palace /Amalienborg/. This is the home of the Danish royal family in winter time. In the museum, located on the ground floor in one of the four palaces forming Amalienborg, permanent royal collections can be seen as well as some special exhibitions held by the Royal family each year.
• Nyhavn. Since we have bought one-way tickets, we got off the boat at Nyhavn, literally ‘new harbor’. And the place immediately became a favorite one! Anchored wooden boats, old buildings from the 17th and early 18th century, lovely bars and restaurants on both banks of the canal. We decided to stop at an outdoor café devoting as longer time as possible to this scene. After that we continued our Copenhagen city tour on foot. Just to say, that in the next days we were figuring out all sorts of reasons to come back again to Nyhavn yet several times :).
• Stroget /Strøget/ – that is the longest pedestrian zone in Europe. For those who adore shopping, that is the place. They could spend long time in strolling the street’s numberless stores, food bars and restaurants. Do not forget most of the shops are closed on Sundays and work till 5 pm on Saturdays.
• The city hall square /Rådhuspladsen/ and the City Hall are also among the main landmarks of the Danish capital.
• The old stock exchange/Københavns Fondsbørs/. It is one of the oldest buildings in Copenhagen, built by King Christian IV in 17th century. It was a home to the Danish stock exchange till 1974. The Dragoon spire of its tower can be recognized at once among the other city roofs.
• Tivoli. We had the chance to visit Copenhagen close to Halloween, so that the Tivoli park was decorated accordingly with pumpkin-shaped items – lamps, souvenirs, etc. It is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, opened in 1843. We met many carnival processions during our two-hour visit, and Tivoli remained in our memories as one of the liveliest and colorful places seen with all its stages, rides and attractions. We still hear the screams and laughter coming from one of the roller coasters…
After the breakfast we set off for a half day tour of the castles outside Copenhagen, for we had bought tickets online in advance. We were lucky to know that the place of departure of the minibus was very close to our hotel – near the City Hall Square.
The suburbs and villages around Copenhagen were green, calm and pleasant, with so well looking houses and trim courtyards that I personally was not very sure what I would prefer, if I had to choose – living in Copenhagen or in some of these lovely little settlements…
Soon we stopped at the first castle of the tour program – the baroque Fredensborg castle /Fredensborg slot/ and had a view only from outside. It is the Royal family residence in autumn and springtime, and at the time of our visit it was not opened to the public; neither were the gardens.
• Frederiksborg castle /Frederiksborg slot/ in the town of Hillerød. It is the largest palace in Renaissance style in Scandinavia. Erected first by King Frederick II, later it was completely rebuilt by King Christian IV. This was the highlight of our tour today as Frederiksborg castle houses the Museum of the National history (since 1878, established by the Carlsberg founder J.C.Jacobsen). Museum’s rich collections of paintings, furniture and decorative arts show the Danish history for the period of about five centuries up to 21st century.
• Kronborg Castle (Kronborg slot) in the town of Helsingør (Elsinore). It is also known as the Castle of Hamlet. Namely that huge and cold castle, perching over the green hills, was the original scene in the famous tragedy by William Shakespeare.
Then we came back to Copenhagen and had enough time to enjoy the Strøget atmosphere as well as the healthy and delicios food at Nyhavn restaurants till late in the evening
The third day we spent in walking about the other museums and landmarks that we have planned to visit during our Copenhagen city break:
• Visit Carlsberg . After a guided tour depicting the history and technology of brewing and the saloon with impressive bottles collections, the visitors finally reach a bar holding two vouchers for ale tasting – one pint of dark beer and one more of lager… You can probably imagine the way all visitors went out – in high spirits and smiling broadly :)
Actually, our trip to Copenhagen also accomplished the same way.
The word ‘freedom’ is the main association whenever I think of this city. Also it seemed to me a place that immediately makes one feel comfortable and ‘at home’. I deeply hope someday to see again the bright colors of Nyhavn and feel the cool refreshing wind over the dark blue waters of the Baltic Sea.
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