Things to Do in Copenhagen - page 2
Copenhagen’s once-notorious red-light district received a thorough makeover in the new millennium and today, Vesterbro is better known for its fashion-forward art scene, huge variety of restaurants and vibrant nightlife. Located just west of the main center, this is Copenhagen’s hippest quarter and the main streets of Vesterbrogade and Istedgade are now teeming with bars, restaurants, cafés and shopping boutiques. Most notable is the growing collection of brewpubs and Danish craft beer bars, perhaps inspired by the huge Carlsberg Museum located nearby. Vesterbro’s liveliest quarter is Kødbyen, the former meatpacking district, where the former factory buildings and market halls have been transformed into some of the city’s coolest and most unique nightclubs, art galleries and music venues.
This incredible attraction is full of well-manicured lawns and lush gardens that surround a picture-perfect castle built in the early 17th century. The Rosenborg Castle Gardens may have originally been created to serve as the private yard of King Christian IV, but it has quickly become not only the oldest—but also the most visited—outdoor attraction in Central Copenhagen.
Travelers can wander the colorful and fragrant Renaissance and Baroque Gardens, lined with fruit trees and statues. It’s also worth exploring some of the various buildings that dot the grounds, including the Hercules Pavilion, the Wrough-iron grill and pavilions and the Rosenborg Barracks. Travelers will find a number of sculptures, like the famed “Horse and the Lion” that date back to the early 1600s. Rosenborg Palace Gardens is the perfect place to spend a morning or afternoon exploring and relaxing in an environment that’s as magical as it is beautiful.
Copenhagen’s branch of the international Hard Rock brand is ideally located just outside the main entrance to the magical Tivoli Gardens and acts as the perfect fast-food antidote to over-excited children who have over-exerted themselves on the rides. It’s also a stone’s throw from the main, pedestrianized shopping drag of Strøget and the edgy nightlife district of Vesterbro. The glass-fronted restaurant has a psychedelically orange and matt black ground-floor bar in which to sample Danish beers or a choice of cocktails, plus two floors of restaurant selling the world-famous menu of steaks, chicken wings and burgers. Hard Rock Café Copenhagen opens daily at 10am in the morning and also serves up a legendary American Brunch, for which late-night party people wait in lines for on weekend mornings.
Slotsholmen is an island in the harbor of Copenhagen. One of the most notable and impressive buildings on it is Christiansborg Slot, a Neo-Baroque palace built on the site of the old castle founded by Absalon, a Danish archbishop and statesman, in 1167. Christiansborg is the site of the Danish Parliament today.
Slotsholmen seats many of the central institutions in Denmark. Apart from the Parliament these include Christian IV's Stock Exchange (famous for its dragon spires), the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister's and Minister's Office, the Ministry of Finance, the Royal Reception Rooms, the Chancellery and the Royal Library, and the National Archive. A few museums are also located on the island.
Immortalized in print as the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the imposing fortress perched on the northeastern shores of Zealand, is often better known as its literary alter-ego, Elsinore, and is one of Denmark’s most visited attractions. With its dramatic seafront location and towering Renaissance façade, it’s easy to see why Shakespeare was inspired by Kronborg Castle (Kronborg Slot) and in 2000 the magnificent royal abode also became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although its history dates back as early as the 1420s, the present day Kronborg Castle was built in 1585 by Danish King Frederick II and expanded by Christian IV in the early 17th century. Despite being looted by the Swedes in 1658, the later addition of defensive sea walls and a moat elevated Kronborg to one of Europe’s most impregnable strongholds.
Over 300 cruise ships call every year at the port in Copenhagen, which was named Europe’s top cruise destination each year from 2004 to 2008. The largest city in Scandinavia, Copenhagen is a charming capital with 17th and 18th century architecture and winding cobblestone streets. Also home to one of the world’s oldest monarchies, the port is a great starting point for cruises to the Baltic countries, St. Petersburg, and even the British Isles and Greenland.
Arriving in Copenhagen, you will debark at either the Langeline Pier or the Freeport Terminal. Langeline Pier is an easy walk from the city center, but you might also take a taxi, a waterbus from the end of the pier or bus #26, which runs about every 20 minutes. Free city bikes are also nearby – you can check one out for the day if you prefer to pedal your way around Copenhagen. From Freeport Terminal, shuttle buses run into the city center, as does bus #26, and taxis are also available.
A pristine Renaissance palace in the middle of a lake that has been repurposed as the National History Museum is a fairytale look into the past. Frederiksborg Slot was constructed for King Christian IV from 1602 - 1620 and was the site of Danish royal coronations through 1840. Today, it offers a look into the historical splendor of knights, royalty and national honor, along with royal furnishings and elegant gardens.
This spectacular former fortress is spread out over three small islets on a lake. The lush Baroque interiors feature gilded ceilings, magnificent tapestries, paintings and antiques in more than 70 rooms available for public viewing. The Knights Hall and the Coronation Chapel are not to be missed attractions. Take a stroll outside along the lake for picturesque views of the castle and enjoy a longer walk through Slotshaven, the expansive beautiful gardens north of the castle, if you have more time.
Contemporary art enthusiasts will find plenty to challenge their perceptions at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark’s leading museum of modern art, where innovation and creativity meet head on. A short journey from Copenhagen, the museum occupies a dramatic setting on the shore of the Oresund Sound, with its modernist façade surrounded by an idyllic seafront sculpture park – both the work of Danish visionary Knud W. Jensen.
Behind the glass-fronted exteriors, the museum harbors a vast permanent collection of over 3,000 modern and contemporary works, dating from the post-WWII era to the present day. This is one of the largest modern art collections in Scandinavia, featuring significant pieces by Picasso, Warhol, Rauschenberg and Giacometti, alongside works by Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois, Jean Arp and Max Ernst.
More Things to Do in Copenhagen
With a history dating back to 1859, Copenhagen Zoo is one of the oldest zoological gardens in Europe and one of the countryâs top tourist attractions. The animal inhabitants of the 11-hectare park span all corners of the globe, including rhinoceros, giraffe, zebra and lions, alongside a number of rare and endangered species like red pandas, polar bears and amur leopard.
Visitors can marvel at local wildlife in the dedicated Nordic area, where reindeer, muskox, brown bears and grey wolves can be found; watch hippos swimming from an underwater lookout in the Hippopotamus House; interact with farm animals, reptiles and snakes at the petting zoo; or climb the 43.5 meter high observation tower, for expansive views over the surrounding city and parklands. Additional highlights include the Elephant House, designed by legendary British architect Sir Norman Foster to house the zooâs Asian Elephant breeding program.
Christianshavn is a man-made island neighborhood in Copenhagen. It was established in the early 17th century by King Christian IV as a military fortification and center for commerce. Divided by a network of canals, it is often compared to Amsterdam in style.
Christianshavn used to be a working-class neighborhood in the 20th century, but it has since evolved and now is considered to be quite a lively, diverse, and trendy neighborhood. Its streets branch out from the main canal and the houses are colorful and quaint. It is a great area for a stroll or to grab a meal.
Originally built as a hunting retreat for Frederick IV in 1719, the grand Fredensborg Palace now serves as the summer residence of the Danish Royal family, as well as a popular location for Royal weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and state visits. Less than an hour from Copenhagen, the palace makes an easy day trip from the capital, often coupled with a tour of North Zealand’s many castles, but the palace interiors are only open to the public by guided tours in July.
For the rest of the year, visitors will have to make do with exploring the grounds – an over 300-acre plot set around Lake Esrum and offering prize views of the palace’s dramatic Baroque façade. The palace gardens are among the largest and finest Baroque gardens in the country and include the Valley of the Norsemen sculpture park, designed by J.G. Grund, and a vegetable garden and orangery, connected by tree-lined avenues and dotted with Johannes Wiedewelt sculptures.
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