(UPDATED APRIL 2022) One of my favorite places in Europe is visiting Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen has a magical quality; the city is bustling with tourists and locals, yet the energy level remains relaxed and laid back. Copenhagen is upscale and metropolitan, but that didn’t overshadow Denmark’s remarkable. After reading more, I hope you can see why I am fascinated by this iconic city.
Nyhavn, the New Port of Copenhagen
I booked a room at Hotel Bethel in Nyhavn, or the New Port, on the canal for my girlfriend, Jo, and I, who were visiting Copenhagen before our Black Sea cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. The hotel receptionist helped us with check-in and got us all settled in.
Our room was clean and spacious, with tall ceilings and huge windows overlooking the canal. We had a private bathroom and complimentary Wifi. A breakfast buffet with a vast selection of food and drinks was included, making this hotel a good value when visiting Copenhagen.
Visiting Copenhagen’s Infamous Canals
The canal view from our hotel window offered a look at the magnificent colorful row houses lined up along the Nyhavn Canal. It was a dream backdrop for our photographs, namely the Memorial Anchor.
The most picturesque sailboats line Copenhagen’s canal. It appears clean and odorless, quite the opposite of Amsterdam.
Boats lining the canals were primarily non-operational and now served as residences or restaurants. Nyhavn awakens at nighttime; the streets and cafe-lined sidewalks fill with pedestrians, laughing and drinking. Food is expensive, so brace yourself. On a positive note, it is entirely safe to stroll around late at night.
Keep your eyes open for Michelangelo’s David Statue as you wander around Copenhagen.
Royalty at Its Finest
Amalienborg Castle was built around 1750 and is the official residence of the Danish King and Queen. Queen Margrethe II, the present ruler who lives in the castle with her husband, Prince Consort Henrik, is the second queen ever to have reigned over Denmark.
Amalienborg comprises four identical palaces with corresponding wings, arranged around an octagonal square, flanked by an equestrian statue of Frederick V.
The Royal Guard guarded the castle. Jo and I were lucky and caught the changing of the guard one day at noon as we wandered around town. We saw the Royal Guard dressed in royal regalia, including a spiffy bearskin helmet. New troops paraded through the streets from their barracks beside Rosenborg Castle, just a few kilometers away from Amalienborg.
Copenhagen’s Stately Castles
Jo and I took a tour of Frederiksborg Castle, the royal family’s summer residence. King Christian built Frederiksborg in 1600. Although the grandest of the castles, a fire destroyed part of the original structure many years ago. My favorite part was visiting Knight’s Hall, adorned by medieval weapons and animal heads.
Add Frederik’s Church (with the rounded light green dome) to your sightseeing list. It is more popularly known as the Marble Church. Due to the marble expense, it took 100+ years for the church to be completed. Marble Church is adorned with paintings of the 12 Apostles.
Another must-see tourist stop is Gefion Fountain. Nike, riding four bulls, is depicted in this stunning fountain.
Copenhagen has its share of impressive castles in the city and the countryside. (they are called slots in Danish) My favorite was the 17th-century Rosenborg Castle, within walking distance of the city center. The turrets were impressive and picturesque, reminding me more of a movie set than a residence.
Rosenborg Castle has elegant furnishings, china, and admirable art. Even the crown jewels (chalices, crowns, swords) are displayed. Breathtaking silver lions guard the white and gold coronation throne.
Famous Authors and Amusements
Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark’s beloved author, lived for many years at 18 Nyhavn. You can see his famous Little Mermaid statue in the harbor but may be shocked at its size. The Little Mermaid is tiny but significant nonetheless.
You can also visit one of the first amusement parks in the world: Tivoli Gardens. This park, designed to the likes of eras gone by, has fun rides such as a Ferris wheel, fun house, Golden Tower, roller coasters, and Star Flyer, an 80-meter tall carousel.
Tivoli also has live performances, dances, musicals, a concert hall, and an aquarium. It is a great place to walk around and people-watch. At night, Tivoli really shines! Try to see “A Tivoli Fairytale,” a nightly show that allows the audience to experience the works of Hans Christian Andersen.
The Hard Rock Cafe sits at the entrance of Tivoli, and other eateries are scattered throughout the park, requiring admission to visit. Rides are an additional fee.
Copenhagen, My Fairytale City
Copenhagen is a city that dreams are made of. Its charm and coziness will have you planning another trip before you leave. I cannot wait to return to this magical city someday.
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