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10 Things To Do In Copenhagen

Published 1 year ago on September 14, 2018
By Hugo

Aside from the Swedish capital Stockholm, the Danish capital Copenhagen is perhaps Scandinavia's most famous location- and for good reason. Along with modernist architecture, cosy restaurants, and well-dressed locals, the Danish capital is brimming with a whole host of breathtaking localities.

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So pack your thickest coat, and book a ticket to the trendy Danish capital as soon as you can as we go through 10 things everyone should do in Copenhagen.

1. Papiroen

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Copenhagen is spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants and cafes, so don't waste valuable sightseeing time picking that perfect place. Instead, dine at Papiroen (Paper Island), a cheap eats place lined up with food trucks serving an eclectic range of cuisine from around the world.

The culinary creativity on display is truly mindblowing, with everything from vegetarian Columbian food to fiery, spice tingling Korean chicken wings served in 8 uniquely designed food stalls that look out onto the river. 

Typifying the New Nordic Kitchen which the Danes are at the forefront of pushing to the rest of the world, the popular hangout spot is a perfect way to catch a quick bite or end a day of sightseeing. 

However, for those wanting to get in on the local cuisine, Danish pastries line the windows of local bakeries, while a burgeoning coffee culture sees Danes often have a chat over a warm mug and a sweet snack. In many ways, there is still the same al fresco culture at coffee shops as in warmer places in Europe, but Danes often come prepared with a blanket over their legs and a warm coat!

2. The Little Mermaid

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Hans Christian Andersen's famous fairytale The Little Mermaid has gone onto become one of the most famous Disney movies of all time having been immortalized on the big screen. First published in 1913, one of Copenhagen’s most famous stories-as you may already know- involves a young mermaid who falls in love with a young prince on land and comes ashore and sits on the rocks, hoping to catch a glimpse of him.

To celebrate such an iconic piece of Danish literature, a bronzed, granite statue was commisioned in 2013 to celebrate to story's 100th anniversary. There is also a house dedicated to Andersen’s fairytales called the Hans Christian Andersen Fairy-Tale House.

3. Tivoli Gardens

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One of Copenhagen's biggest and most famous tourist attractions is undoubtedly the verdant, mythical wonderland that is Tivoli Gardens. Tivoli is an explosion of colours, and in many ways, a more sophisticated, upmarket version of the famous theme parks dotted across North America.

Boasting a rich history of amusement parks and arcades, Tivoli Gardens has been open since the 15th of August 1843, making it the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken in Klampenborg, another Danish city.

4. Freetown Christiania

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Freetown Christiania, commonly known to locals as Christiania, is a commune comprised of around 850 to 1,000 residents who squatted in what was once a set of military barracks in 1971 owing to a lack of affordable housing in the capital. Spanning some 34 hectares in the borough of Christianshavn, the hippish attraction has attracted much controversy for its legal sale of cannabis, which critics argue has led to more dangerous drugs such as heroin and cocaine being sold.

However, various murals depict an anti-heroin stance in the area, which was temporarily closed in April 2011 by the Danish government. Today, however, it is once more thriving and is in many ways Denmark's answer to London's louche but premier attraction, Camden Town. 

5. Book a canal tour

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If you're only in Copenhagen a few days, the most efficient way of seeing the city is by boat. Various boat tours are advertised in the city centre, whose tour guides will inform you of a whole host of facts about the city. For instance, did you know that King Christian IV was a great admirer of the Dutch capital Amsterdam and modelled Copenhagen after it? 

So impressed was he with the various canals and channels, he decided to create his very own Amsterdam in his native Denmark, hence the number of channels in Copenhagen. There was also a more rational reason- to protect the Royal Danish Navy fleet.

6. Amalienborg Palace

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Amalienborg Palace comprises of four alike buildings belonging to the Danish royal family. The current Queen of Denmark is Margrethe II, having first come to rule in 1972. The Palace itself is a glorious space full of ornate decadence that goes back to the 1700s. The palace has long been held in high esteem as the pinnacle of Danish Rococco architecture, with the popular statue of King Frederik V, found in the centre of the palace square.

For royalists and monarch enthusiasts, you can get more acquainted with the Danish royals by visiting the Amalienborg Museum.

7. Amager Beach

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Spanning two-kilometres across an artificial island, families and local children often congregate here after school, making this scenic beach a perfect day out if you have children. 

There are also plenty of golden dunes and even a lagoon area for unwinding after a long day's work. Head south, and you'll even find a beautiful promenade filled with runners and skaters.

8. The Round Tower

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The centre of the New Nordic design movement, Denmark is known for its sleek, chic and practical design and the panoramic views offered from the round tower is no exception!

Built in the 17th century, the round tower is one of the oldest functioning observatories in Europe and offers visitors a perfect Instagram backdrop to show off to all your followers. The walk up is equally as enchanting. To teach the top of the 36-meter tall tower, you must walk through a beguiling, 200-meter winding staircase. Once there, you can spot all the city's main sites, as well as the enchanting narrow streets that lead to the seaside. 

9. Strøget Street

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As well as being responsible for some of the world's most in-demand fashion models, Scandinavia has always had a unique eye for fashion, with Copenhagen's Strøget Street as high-toned as shopping districts come.

On your 1.1 km long walk across Strøget Street, you can find everything, from prestigious global brands to boutique luxury ones such as Prada and Hugo Boss as well as popular high street brands such as H&M and Zara. As with many famous shopping zones, the area is also lined with street performers and musicians, which only adds to the febrile nature of the area.

10. Nyhavn

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Argubally Copenhagen's premier tourist attraction, Nyhav's multicoloured townhouses date back to the 18th century and consist of many high-end restaurants and snug cafes. Looking out onto the quaint, which is lined with rows of trendy sailing boats, the area gets crowded as soon as the shops begin to open their doors, so plan ahead and get there as early as you can.

The favorite tourist spot also commemorates those who lost their lives in World War II in the form of a Memorial Anchor at the end of the harbor.

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