Copenhagen, a popular destination in northern Europe, is also the largest city in Scandinavia with 1,6 million inhabitants, and has been the capital of Denmark for 600 years. Copenhagen is a charming and relaxing city, full of pedestrians and bikers, century-old buildings, beautiful parks, promenades along canals and one of the world’s most famous amusement parks, Tivoli Gardens. Copenhagen is often called the “Venice of the North”, rightfully. This city has an almost Mediterranean atmosphere, especially in the summer, when the days are long and the weather is warm, ideal for siting at sidewalk cafes or discovering the lush green countryside.
There are two major port facilities in Copenhagen where even cruise ships can dock. The first is Langelinie Pier, just one and a half mile from downtown, with an information center and many shops and cafes in the port facilities. The other terminal, Freeport Terminal, is a bit further from the city’s center, used by ships starting or finishing cruises in Copenhagen. At this terminal you won’t find any services, and the transportation to downtown is arranged only by the cruise lines (the nearest train station is more than a mile away, and cabs can be in short supply, too).
But once you are in the downtown of Copenhagen, there are lots of major attractions in comfortable walking distance – the famous sculpture depicting the character from Andersen’s fairy tales, The Little Mermaid, or Town Hall Square and Tivoli Gardens are all here. For getting around, it’s good to know that Copenhagen has more than a thousand “City Bikes” that anyone can use within the boundaries of central Copenhagen. You’ll just have to find one of the 120 City bike Parking places, and you’ll need a 20 DKK coin for the bike’s lock, but you’ll get back even this small amount of money when you return your bicycle. Copenhagen is perhaps the most bicycle-friendly capital in the world, offering City Bike maps as well at the information points.
One of the major attractions in Copenhagen, and a definite don’t-miss place is Tivoli Gardens, a 20-acre combination of botanical gardens, restaurants, concert halls, and most importantly, amusement rides. Tivoli Gardens has been operating since 1843, and it offers more than 20 different amusement rides, open from April till September each year.
Amalienborg Palace, consisting of four Rococo buildings from the 18th century, has been the home of the royal family of Denmark for more than two hundred years. You can watch the changing of the Royal Danish Guard when members of the royal family are at home, and visit the lush gardens around the buildings.
The sculpture of the Little Mermaid is probably the most iconic attraction in Copenhagen, but not the only commemorating Hans Christian Andersen, one of the most famous children’s literature authors ever. At the new Hans Christian Andersen Museum, built to the honor of the writer’s 200th birthday in 2005, you’ll see every kind of original artifacts – mostly books, letters and photographs – which were once in Andersen’s possession, and inspired him in writing his famous and touching tales.