- Copenhagen, A City Of Charm, Culture and History -
Sailing into Copenhagen’s harbor, one is greeted by the sight of an expansive wind farm, a tribute to the Danish embrace of clean energy. This technological wonder belies the true nature of Denmark’s capital. Copenhagen is a city of rococo architecture, charming sidewalk cafes, colorful, historic neighborhoods, and above all, culture and the arts. But it is the friendly and outgoing nature of the Danish people that is the soul of this city’s charm.
As is usually the case in Europe, Copenhagen offers a hoho (hop on hop off) bus, an excellent way to explore the city and decide how best to budget your time. The bus leaves the port of Copenhagen several times a day, and ends its route there as well. Taxis and an excellent public transportation system are also available. Guided canal tours offer wonderful views of Copenhagen, and bike rentals are also a great way to get around. But ultimately, the city is built for walking. Strolling the streets, we discovered bakeries and cafes serving danish pastries, open faced sandwiches, Carlsberg beer, and aromatic coffees. We visited many of the Copenhagen’s highlights, and mingled with the people. It was truly an exhilarating experience.
Copenhagen’s Amalienborg Palace
We chose the hoho bus to get into town. Along the way we stopped for a quick photo of The Little Mermaid, a sculpture which depicts the famous Hans Christian Anderson character, and which has become the symbol of Copenhagen. While no tour of Copenhagen would be complete without a visit to The little Mermaid, we were surprised by the small scale of the sculpture. Although the rock it sits on is near shore, we needed binoculars to truly appreciate the bronze.
The Amalienborg Palace was our next stop. The palace is comprised of four rococo buildings. Built around a square near the water, they serve as the home of Danish royalty in Copenhagen. A tour of one of the buildings provides a glimpse of their lifestyle. The furnishings and artwork are well worth seeing. To our great fortune, the queen was in residence during our visit, so we were able to experience the Danish changing of the guards ceremony before lunch.
Copenhagen’s Nyhavn Neighborhood
One of the most picturesque areas in Copenhagen is known as Nyhavn. This part of town was home to sailors, ladies of the night, and raucous bars and beer parlors. Over the years the area was renovated. The post card perfect colorful houses were restored, and sidewalk cafes replaced the bars. Today it is a charming place to stroll, dine al fresco, and enjoy Copenhagen’s summers.
This was the home of Hans Christian Andersen, Copenhagen’s most famous citizen. He wrote many of his fairy tales in Nyhavn, and today the three houses in which he lived are marked by plaques which trumpet “Hans Christian Andersen slept here”.
Copenhagen’s Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
One of the highlights of a visit to Copenhagen is the famous Ny Carlesberg Glyptotek. It was opened in 1888 by the founder of the Carlsberg brewery, and houses an astounding collection of masterworks of art. Included are a large collection of works by Danish artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, many of Paul Gauguin’s and Rodin’s masterpieces, and the most complete collection of Degas’ sculptures found anywhere. Here you will find Degas’ famous “Little Dancer” enshrined in bronze.
Copenhagen City Hall and Tivoli Gardens
Copenhagen City Hall, designed by architect Martin Nyrop in the National Romantic style, is located in the center of town. Built on a large square, it has become a focal point for outdoor events in the city. In front and to the right you will find a wonderful bronze of Hans Christian Andersen wearing his iconic top hat. The interior is a marvel of architecture, and houses interesting period furnishings and artwork.
Around the corner is the famous Tivoli Gardens, best described as a botanical garden and an amusement park combined. The lush landscaping and ponds are lit by hundreds of lanterns at night. There are restaurants for every taste, from elegant, and serving gastronomic delights, to very casual, and serving common fare. One of the restaurants is even in the form of a floating pirate ship. There are many small amphitheaters which offer musical performances from classical, to jazz, to the very contemporary, and plays for adults and children alike. Of course, the mandatory amusement rides and games can also be found here. An evening at Tivoli Gardens is the ideal way to complete a day’s adventure in Copenhagen.
This is just a small glimpse of what the city of Copenhagen has to offer, but it will leave you with a flavor of this marvelous place.
Happy cruising, Andrew Kruglanski, Cruisin Susan Cruise Blog.
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* Copenhagen photo courtesy of Martin Nikoloj Christensen
** Copenhagen photos courtesy of Brothersoft.com
*** Copenhagen photo by Andrew Kruglanski