IF your idea of Copenhagen is the Little Mermaid and the Tivoli Gardens and probably the best lager in the world, you won’t be disappointed.
But scratch a little deeper and you will find one of Europe’s most endearing and unusual cities, that is suited to a long weekend or the basis of a family holiday in Denmark.
For families the unmissable attraction is Tivoli, one of the world’s amusement parks and unusually, it is located in the city centre. Don’t expect something on the scale of a Disney resort, Tivoli is more charming, smaller scale but still a top tourist attraction.
All the fun of the fair is set in beautifully planted grounds, water features, lakes and in the evening all is bathed in a magical glow. You may well find yourself back for more and at different times of the day as there is also free entertainment on open-air stages – we saw a concert performance of Chess – and cute parades of pretend soldiers.
Next on the list has to be the Little Mermaid, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s story. But you have to go and find it as it is sitting on a rock at Langelinie Quay in the harbour area. She will be 100 years old in two years but doesn’t look her age.
The Danes love their lagers and there are numerous attractions. But the most famous is the Carlsberg Brewery which offers free tours on weekdays. Then you can see where some of the money generated by the beer went – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum just behind Tivoli, built by the founder of the Carlsberg breweries over a century ago.
The museum houses collections including classical Egyptian, Roman and Greek a finer collection of French paintings, as well as Golden Age Danish Art and an extensive collection of Etruscan art.
Speaking of drinking, popular both day and night is the Nyhavn, a small harbour lined with multi-coloured traditional houses that now house some of the city’s trendiest cafes and restaurant.
Not so internationally renowned as the beer, the Round Tower can have a similar affect on your head if you race up its vast, wide spiral ramp too fast. It was built in 1642 by Christian IV as an observatory and offers fabulous views over the city.
Denmark is a modern, constitutional monarchy and has the palaces and pomp to go with it. Worth visiting is the Amalienborg Palace which is actually one of four palaces on Amalienborg Square where Queen Margarete lives. If the flag is flying she is at home so pop along to see the changing of the guard at midday.
Also, not to be missed if the Renaissance gem, Rosenborg Castle which houses houses a collection of royal treasures including the Crown Jewels in the basement vault, protected by the Royal Guard.
If palaces are your thing you could also go and tour Christiansborg Palace on the Slotsholmen, a small island where the city began, and admire the Royal Reception Rooms the Theatre Museum, an old Baroque court theatre, and the Royal Danish Arsenal with an impressive display of airplanes, tanks, and uniforms. This is also the home of the Danish Parliament and the Supreme Court.
If you have a spare afternoon take the train for the 25 mile journey to Elsinore (Helsingor in Danish) to see Kronborg Castle, known as “ Hamlet Castle” not that it is even contemporaneous with when the dark Prince was supposed to have lived.
Try as they might, the castle guides still can’t find the Bard’s signature in the visitor book.