My last visit to Copenhagen was back in the 80’s and I only remember two things about that trip: Tivoli and the Little Mermaid. So, when I knew I would spend a long weekend in this Danish capital in the end of August, I was naturally curious. And what I found was a true cosmopolitan city: quirky, fashionable and grand yet minimalistic!
These are my personal highlights of that weekend (in no particular order):
1. That famous Little Mermaid. We happened to be in Copenhagen when this landmark celebrated its 100th birthday. If you happen to be in Copenhagen on August 23, then find out what celebrations take place that day. We witnessed 100 human mermaids jump to the sea to swim near the statue. To see the video about this event, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX8xIsKgVz4
2. Boat cruising. Water is present everywhere in Copenhagen, and the city and the sea live in harmony. A good way to get an idea of this is to buy a one-hour ticket to metro, bus or train, which also includes hopping onto boats called Havnebus. I loved doing this and it is such an excellent way to get a glimpse of Copenhagen’s mentality!
I also loved the boat stops:
3. Architecture. Have you heard of Arne Jacobsen? How about Jørn Oberg Utzon, the name behind Sydney Opera House? They both come from Denmark and have paved the way for new Danish architects that keep emerging year after year. The list of buildings to see in Copenhagen is next to endless, but this gives you some idea: http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen/architecture/top-10-architecture
The main elements of the Danish architecture (water, light, sustainability and space) were present wherever I looked, and personally I appreciated how the docks have been converted into restaurant, galleries, museums, art schools and architectural bureaus.
This lighthouse (?) is one of my favorite architectural masterpieces and it put such a smile on my face!
4. Design. The Nordic countries are known for their design and Denmark is no less important than its neighbors. It has produced its fair share of names that are recognized all over the world and the Danes are proud of this for a good reason.
Design is everywhere you go, and it combines style, minimalism and practicality. When walking, look around and you will see esthetic objects all over.
5. Food. To see what young chefs are capable of creating, make a dinner reservation at Mielcke & Hurtigkarl: Danish gourmet at its best but make sure to arrive early to visit the romantic Frederiksberg Have park. For lunch, head to the inside food market called Torvehallerne, which has a wide selection of highest-quality food shops and restaurants (http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen/gastronomy/torvehallerne). Sushi Lovers, an award-winning Japanese restaurant, as well as Palæo, Denmark’s first restaurant serving stone-age food, are located here.
We opted for Hallernes Smørrebrød, because I really wanted to eat herrings. They have an excellent selection of delicious small rye breads with different toppings, but in order to benefit from the wide selection, arrive early!
Final words: some other “obvious things” one should do are walking along Nyhavn (and stop for a waffle at Vaffelbageren!), spending an evening at Tivoli, renting a bike, etc., but this is something every guide book will tell you. I hope that I managed to portray a slightly different image of Copenhagen and helped you to choose your next weekend-trip destination!
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