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Many historians think that Copenhagen was founded by a Viking called Sweyn I Forkbeard in the Viking age. By the mid-12th century, it was a small town and became more prosperous after Bishop Absalon fortified it in 1167, which is when the city was officially founded. Copenhagen’s harbour facilitated its growth, and it became an important centre of commerce.
In 1254, Copenhagen was officially chartered as a city.
During the middle of the 17th century, the Swedes besieged the city, but Copenhagen survived. In 1711, however, the city lost one third of its population of 65,000 to a plague.
In 1801, a British fleet under the command of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson overpowered a Dano-Norwegian fleet. Copenhagen, rather than Trafalgar, has been said to be Nelson’s most challenging battle. The Second Battle of Copenhagen in 1807 was a British attack on the civilians of the city in an attempt to take over the Dano-Norwegian fleet, and the British destroyed most of the city.
In the 1850s, the city opened and expanded as new construction was initiated around The Lakes.
During World War II, German troops occupied the city. Since the war ended, Copenhagen has made much progress. In the 1970s, a network of commuter trains was established to the areas surrounding the capital.
Since 2000, Copenhagen has been connected to Malmö in Sweden by the Øresund Bridge, making it the centre of an expansive metropolitan region.
Spend a weekend in Copenhagen and see Scandinavia at its most impressive. Denmark’s modern, exemplary capital is filled with bold new architecture, an unbeatable public transport system, friendly locals who speak impeccable English, and plenty of entertainment, history, and delicious cuisine. The city has a reputation for being among the world’s most enjoyable cities to live in, which also makes it a superb destination for visiting. Book a flight to Copenhagen today!
The national gallery of Denmark was created in 1824 at Christiansborg Slot as a place for the royal family’s art collection, and is currently the biggest art museum in the country. Admission is free for the museum’s collections and small exhibitions, while the museum’s airy café also comes highly recommended.
Understandably one of the city’s most popular museums, this establishment is full of erotic objects, images, and films not intended for the fainthearted.
This castle is impressive, spread across a handful of islets on Slotsø Lake. In its glory days, it was a formidable fortress with beautiful interiors—paintings and gilded ceilings. Today it is a national museum where you can look around the 70 rooms open to visitors. Especially interesting is the Coronation Chapel, where Danish royalty accepted their fancy new crowns from 1671 until 1840. The Dutch Renaissance-style castle is open every day.
Atop the city hall stands a 105-meter-tall clock tower, whose visitors can climb to the top. The clock is named after its Danish designer and cost one million kroner to construct. Not your average clock, it displays solar time, planet revolutions, sidereal time, and the calendar—it even shows the different holidays.
Copenhagen’s cathedral was built in 1191, yet has been reconstructed three times due to fires. The current building, built in the neoclassical style, has stood since 1829. Art buffs will appreciate the exquisite sculptures of Jesus Christ and his 12 disciples, the most famous works by sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, which he created in the early 19th century. His statue of Christ has become an international model for countless of other sculptures. In 2004, the cathedral hosted one of Denmark’s most notable weddings when Prince Frederik married Mary Donaldson.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
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Borrow a bicycle from Copenhagen’s famous free service and have fun getting around the city! Anyone may borrow a bike from 1 May until 15 December for use around the city centre. No need to worry about damaging the bikes, either; their tyres are puncture-resistant. Hop on a bike at any of 110 stands in public spots; you simply deposit a kr20 coin and then when you return the bike to any stand, the money will be returned.
This clever programme pairs you and up to four friends with a local nightlife chaperone on Fridays and Saturdays to take you to Copenhagen’s most popular nightclubs and bars. For about 2,500 kroner (£290), you can all party where the hippest locals do and get VIP entrance as well.
Outside the city centre, there are several areas for bathers. This particular beach has recently had a makeover. It is now a picturesque lagoon with expanses of clean sandy beaches, as well as a playground for children. During the summers, its bars and cafes are the place to be, and be seen.
This is the Danish Film Institute’s admirable cinema. It shows many classic Danish films, as well as a wide variety of foreign films. Be sure to enjoy its decadent restaurant and bookshop afterward.
Even if opera is not your cup of tea, the beautiful, state-of-the-art facilities are worth seeing. Besides classic and contemporary operas, there are jazz performances as well. Performances are usually sold out in advance, but there are 25 tickets available every day at the box office. Many visitors come just for the Franco-Danish restaurant that boasts stunning panoramic vistas.
Copenhagen is known for fashion. Find local and international upscale designer brands at Birger Christensen, which is also known for its luxurious Danish furs. Bitte Kai Rand is a popular women’s clothing store, while Hay.Cph sells the latest Danish furniture.
The Plaza Hotel is an embodiment of luxury that dates back to 1913, when King Frederik VIII insisted that this four-star hotel be built. Conveniently situated in the city centre, with views of the lovely Tivoli Gardens, the hotel is across the street from Central Station. And aside from the hotel’s impressive history and classical style, its amenities are thoroughly modern, especially the fitness centre.
The Tivoli Hotel is bright, airy, and modern. It recently opened in summer of 2010 and was named after the Tivoli Gardens, which are in close proximity. The hotel also boasts waterfront views and free WiFi for guests. Those with children will find the hotel to be remarkably family-friendly: there’s a playground, and each child receives a welcome gift.
The Copenhagen Island Hotel is a beautiful modern structure, designed by Utzon. The hotel, which opened in 2006, overlooks the harbour on a man-made island; the views are spectacular. All of its 326 guestrooms are air-conditioned and have flat-screen TVs. The hotel restaurant is chic and reputable.
The Cabinn Scandinavia Hotel is comfortable and located only a brief walk from the city hall square and the gardens. All guestrooms have free wireless Internet. They are small yet cosy. For breakfast, a buffet is provided for 60 kroner per person each day. Lobby reception is always open and also has a sandwich and beverage bar for your convenience.
With stylish options for every budget, check out these alternatives for a hotel in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen Airport is in Amager, eight kilometres south of the centre. Taxis and buses are available right at the airport entrance or from the station under Terminal 3. From there, the Copenhagen Metro can connect you to the city centre, as well as all other major cities in Denmark.
Copenhagen’s bus and train network is excellent. Most of your travel will likely take place within two of the zones. Single tickets are good for an hour’s worth of travel and are valid for the metro, buses, and S-train. The metro system travels through the eastern part of the city centre, and the S-train has nearly a dozen lines that pass through Central Station. Ten-ticket cards can also be purchased at a discounted rate. The trains and buses operate from 05:00hrs until 00:30hrs, but buses on a few of the main routes run through the night, although the fare is double. You can obtain free city maps complete with bus routes from the tourist office.
Taxis can be hailed on the street, and if its light-up taxa sign is on, that means the taxi is available. There are also taxi ranks around the city, and taxis even accept most credit cards.
Bicycling is a wonderful means of exploring Copenhagen. There are many bike lanes and you may also board the S-train with your bike, at off-peak hours. Bookshops sell cycling maps.
Getting around Copenhagen by car is fairly easy and traffic is not bad, except during rush hours. Car hire in Copenhagen is therefore a convenient option, and gives you the chance to explore further afield.
If you’re in the mood for brilliant Nordic food, head over to Noma (Strandgade 93), which has received more praise than any other restaurant in Denmark. Its cuisine draws heavily from the North Atlantic, bringing in super-fresh fish three times per week. Chef Rene Redzepi prepares the seafood in traditional Nordic style, then combines it with other flavours such as pigeon, elderberries, and musk ox. Don’t be surprised if you are dining alongside celebrities inside the converted old warehouse that houses this famous restaurant.
Tuscan partners started Era Ora (Overgaden Neden Vandet 33B) in 1982, a Michelin-starred Italian restaurant rumoured to be the best in the country. The cuisine of this Danish institution is Tuscan and Umbrian, sprinkled with fresh seafood. The pasta is freshly homemade each day and the veal dishes are divine. Don’t miss out on the exquisite blend of flavours created from fresh, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant’s romantic, renovated 18th-century building is sure to charm you while you eat.
French cuisine is prepared spectacularly at Les Trois Cochons (10 Værnedamsvej). This charming bistro housed in an old butcher shop offers delectable, three course French meals for a reasonable price. Seasonal ingredients are central to the menu, which changes each month. Taste Danish influences in the halibut in mussel broth and suckling pig.
There are no vaccinations required to enter Danish territory. However, it is a good idea to make sure you have received boosters for all your typical injections back home.
If you are considering a trip to the island of Bornholm, you might need protection against tick-borne encephalitis, especially if you are travelling in the summer months.
The water is potable, though mineral water is also widely available.
The health infrastructure is great; almost all public hospitals have emergency departments. Before leaving home, ask a local Social Security centre for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
During an emergency, call 112 for the police or ambulance.
In July and August, groups of pickpockets invade Copenhagen, so be especially vigilant when walking around busy areas or using public transport.
Do not go walking alone at night or around poorly-lit places with jewellery or large quantities of cash. Do not leave personal belongings in parked vehicles. When you travel outside of the city, it’s a good idea to carry a fully-charged mobile phone with you.
When driving, headlights must be lit no matter what the hour of day. Watch out for the many cyclists in the city; they retain the right-of-way. There is no parking within ten meters of a traffic intersection in town.