A Scandinavian Gem
PUBLISHED: 08:48 07 August 2015
When Danny Kaye sang, ‘wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen, friendly old girl of a town,’ he knew what he was singing about, writes Rebecca Underwood
Located on Sealand, the largest island in Denmark, Copenhagen offers visitors an intriguing glimpse into the colourful tapestry of Danish history and culture.
In the 10th century, Copenhagen was a Viking fishing village and became the capital of Denmark in the 15th century. For a fascinating insight into the fearsome Vikings, visit the Viking Ship Museum, located by the fjord in Roskilde, just 35 kilometres from the city. The Viking Ship Hall features five spectacular ships, which were discovered in 1962 on the sea bed at Skuldelev, 32 kilometres from where they are now displayed.
Other popular attractions in the city include Amalienborg. Built in the 1750s, the site is made up of four identical Danish Rococco style buildings. Wander around the fabulous palace of Christian VII, husband to Caroline Mathilde of Great Britain; the palace of Christian VIII; the palace of Frederik VIII, great grandfather of the reigning Danish monarch Queen Margrethe II; and the palace of Christian IX, the first monarch of the House of Glücksburg. The Amalienborg Museum, located within Christian VIII’s Palace, displays a wide range of exhibits associated with the Danish monarchy dating back 150 years to Christian IX and Queen Louise.
Mingle with the crowds at noon and watch the changing of the royal guard marching from their barracks through the streets towards Amalienborg and then try visiting the National Museum, housed in the Prince’s Palace on Ny Vestergade. One of the most popular exhibitions is the toy section, which attracts lots of spellbound ‘grown up’ children!
For art lovers, Copenhagen is a treasure trove with much to admire. Visit the Hirschsprung Museum on Stockolmsgade, where exhibits include exceptional examples of German Romanticism and Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg’s 1841 masterpiece, A nude woman doing her hair before a mirror, demands the undivided attention of all the fortunate viewers.
For keen shoppers looking to bag a bargain, take a leisurely stroll to Strøget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets. It is simply crammed with international brands including Louis Vuitton, Mulberry and Prada.
Should you have some more energy to spare, take a brisk 2 kilometre walk to Langelinie promenade where you will find the Little Mermaid bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen. Based on the fairytale by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, the Little Mermaid statue was unveiled in 1913 and has become a major tourist attraction recognised worldwide.
For weary explorers keen to be pampered, the Hotel D’Angleterre offers the highest level of comfort and service. Located on Kongens Nytorv, one of the city’s classic squares, this imposing hotel, established in 1755, is an historic landmark.
Copenhagen has one of the largest numbers of bars per capita and for an after dinner tipple, make your way to the K Bar on Ved Stranden, which is for its delicious Martinis. Raise your glass high and make a toast to ‘wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen’.