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Tips for my upcoming trip to Copenhagen

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 15, 2003

Tips for my upcoming trip to Copenhagen.

Reader comments

KarenJun 16, 2003 at 11:03AM

Dear Jason,

If you follow Matthew Lindermans advice then you have only seen the tour-guide version of Copenenhagen. For steping of the beaten track you should certainly drop Strøget, Nyhavn and possibly Tivoli - unless you are interested in amusement parks then its a must.

In stead your should wander these neighborhoods: Nørrebron Vesterbro and Christianshavn.

You should visit two wonderful outdoor bars/restaurants: Pappahotel and Luftkastellet - they are in different parts of the habour of Copenhagen and much nicer than Nyhavn and it’s fake harbour atmosphere.

Go to Sankt Hans Torv and explore Nørrebro, go to Halmtorvet and explore Vesterbro go to Christianshavns Torv and explore Christianshavn.

Take Meg to dinner at ‘Bastionen og Løven’ or if you are rich at ‘Formel B’.

Karen, Copenhagen

Søren DalsgaardJun 16, 2003 at 7:19PM

Hi there Jason,

We’ve emailed before a few times, last time about Paris, so here’s my take on another European capital, that of my own little country.

First of all, I won’t really recommend the Copenhagen banlieue as Karen did, if you haven’t been here before. It is marginally interesting, true, but not VERY much so. I’d say you should stick to the center, with some one-hour local train rides to nearby attractions. The attractions in bold are the ones that shouldn’t be missed, time permitting (I don’t know the length of your stay).

For modern architecture “Scandinavian style”, check out the new national library, the Black Diamond down at the water’s edge. It has a nice foyer with a view of the harbour. Also, you’ll see the new Scandinavian Clean & Cool (tm) architecture if you take a ride on the Metro from the square called Kongens Nytorv, at the end of Strøget, the long pedestrian street. Otherwise, for transportation, walk the walk or use the free bikes: that’s a good way to see the city.

You’ll pass by the library on one of the must-do trips, the canal-boat ride. Next to kongens Nytorv, at Nyhavn (the old harbour) you can take Nettobådene, they are cheaper and do the same tour of the port as the more expensive alternatives. With the boats you’ll get to see the Little Mermaid as well, and save yourself the long walk to that not very interesting sight.

Copenhagen is a port city, but known as the city of towers too. You’ll get a good overview of the city from the canal-boat but also from climbing some towers. I’d suggest the vertiginous and somewhat scary climb of the spiral tower of Vor Frelser’s Kirke. Check out the nave of the church too, it’s a great example of luminous Danish Baroque.

Christiania, the hippie capital, is next door. See it before our Conservative govt. closes it down. The worn look of its inhabitants betrays the fact that 68 is quite far away by now…

Another baroque church you should check out is Trinitatis with it’s famous Round Tower glued to one end (not very tall, but very much in the center, so definitely worth it).

Rounding off the churches, check out Vor Frue Kirke, the cathedral of Copenhagen. Very bright and luminous and with Thorvaldsens cool and poised statues. Also, if you want to see something quite amazing and “clean”, check out the 1920’s Grundtvigskirken, a huge yellow-brick monster of a church a bit from the center.

As far as castles go, Rosenborg is a little gem in the center, inspired by the Dutch Renaissance. The crown jewels are in the basement. Well worth the visit for all the objets d’art, gifts to the Danish royalty over the centuries.

Breeze through Amalienborg, the queens’ residence, just for a look at the Royal Guard, which changes on the hour, every hour.

An short train ride away from Copenhagen you have two amazing renaissance castles: Frederiksborg in Hillerød and Kronborg (Hamlet’s castle) in Helsingør (=Elsinore). If you go to Kronborg you’ll pass by Louisiana, a very nice modern art museum, perfectly blended into the surrounding nature. These are all away from Copenhagen, but can be easily reached with the frequent local “S-trains”.

Among the museums, Glyptoteket has an wonderful central hall and a big classical collection in splendiforous halls. For paintings, the best of the Danish golden age is in the small museum of Den Hirschsprungske Samling which can be seen in an hour, so see that one instead of the State Museum of Art next to it. Art-wise, on Gammel Torv (the Old Square), which you pass through walking down Strøget, there’s a huge and amazing statue. If you suffer from arachnophobia you should steel yourself… :-)

The town hall has a nice main hall in the particular nordic beaux-art style which is a bit heavy and brooding, faux viking-style.

Tivoli is a tourist trap, but if you feel like seeing something quaint and kitsch, by all means…

For a nice lunch buffet, try “Huset” in a back yard in the city center, in Magsstræde. Other culinary delights: the lovely vanilla-flavoured soft-ice with crunchy cones. Also, pastry from a real bakery. It’s called “Danish” for a reason you know, even though we refer to it as Wienerbrød, “Vienna bread”.. :-)

OK, that’s what I can think of off the top of my head, have a nice trip! Mail me for any particular questions, if you wish.

Søren

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.