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Copenhagen, the lucky capital

Copenhagen, the lucky capital

Pedestrian, 11 km, 2 days

Denmark is said to have the happiest people in all European countries. A visit to Copenhagen is, therefore, a must! On arrival, the first thing to do is head straight to the city’s most characteristic neighbourhood: the old port of Nyhavn.

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Copenhagen New Port   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Nyhavn 1051 København
Architecture, castles and historic districts

This picturesque port was built in the late 17C to allow ships up to the Royal Square. The rapid development of trade here led to the construction of warehouses and narrow housing for the merchants. This once infamous quarter is today an ideal place for a stroll, with little restaurants and café terraces where you can now watch not trade ships but sailboats pass by.


Amalienborg Palace   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Plads Amalienborg 1257 København
Architecture, castles and historic districts

Designed by Nicolai Eigtved on the request of Frederik V, this palace is made up of the four buildings that occupy the octagonal square and adjacent streets. It is an example of Classical urbanism that is delcately freed from its constraints by discreet baroque na drococo artifices. With the addition of the marble church that stands to the north of the square, Amalienborg is now a diplomatic centre, giving it the same aristocratic air as it had in former days.


Kastellet   Interesting

Churchill Parken 1263 København
Architecture, castles and historic districts

On leaving Amalienborg, Amaliegade leads to Churchill Park at the centre of which stands a former barracks, the 18C Kastellet (18e s.), with Vauban-like fortifications surrounded by lakes. At the entrance to the park stands the Museum of the Resistance which pays homage to the Danish underground that fought against Nazi occupation. Further on, the Anglican church of St-Alban (19C) stands in front of the monumental Gefion Fountain, an illustration of a Danish myth.


The Little Mermaid   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Langelinie 2100 København
Museums and art

On the seafront, the Little Mermaid, the symbol of the city of Copenhagen, sits on a rock on the water's edge looking forlornly towards the entrance to the huge port. This bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen was a gift from Carl Jocobsen, the son of the founder of the Carlsberg brewery, to his city and honours Hans Christian Andersen and the attachment Danes have with the sea.


Rosenborg Catle   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Øster Voldgade 4A 4A 1350 København
Architecture, castles and historic districts

In 1606, Christian IV bought a vast expanse of land outside the city walls that he turned into a garden, nowadays the Royal Garden, in which he built a "folly" that over the years was transformed into a castle. The most advanced techniques of the time were used here, including bathrooms with running water, and a drawbridge operated from the winter salon. In 1710, the palace ceased to be a royal residence as Frederik IV considered it too small. Since 1833, Rosenborg has housed the Crown Jewels.


National Fine Arts Museum   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Sølvgade 48-50 1307 København
Museums and art

The original building boasts a collection of Danish and international art up to 1900 in two sections: European art from 1300 to 1800, in particular Flemish and Dutch painters from the 15C-18C; and Danish and European art from 1800 to 1900. A gallery, the "street of sculpture", links the old building and the new, which displays 20C art, including Scandinavian paintings, a collection of canvases by Matisse, the CoBra movement, Cubism etc. Other rooms are devoted to modern, Danish and foreign art.

After your first day in Copenhagen, you should return to the old port and find a spot in the terrace of any one of the numerous cafés dotted along the quays. There, you can sample a frokost tallerken, a typically Danish dish comprising herring, salmon, chicken and crudités.


Strøget 1550 København
Architecture, castles and historic districts

From the Town Hall to the New Royal Square, there is a maze of streets that sometimes open out onto squares, forming the "main street" of Copenhagen. During a walk through these streets, styles change and duty free shops make way for elegant shops labelled with "suppliers to the Court". And, unless you wind among the cars, strollers must find a way through the coming and going of passers-by and the café terraces that have invaded the footpaths.


Thorvaldsens Museum   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Bertel Thorvaldsens Plads 2 1213 København
Museums and art

Denmark's most famous sculptor, Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), spent a great part of his life in Rome and was welcomed home as a hero when he returned to his native country. Built in a deliberately neo-Classical style in homage to the artist, this museum houses a number of his sculptures, as well as his personal collection of works, which provides a fascinating insight into the art of his time.


Christiansborg Palace  

Christians Brygge 1471 København
Architecture, castles and historic districts

Between the early fortress (1167) and Christianborg (completed in 1928), there were five castles built on the same site. The current palace, in front of which is an equestrian statue of Frederick VII (1808-1863) has a façade with concave wings and encompasses the Royal Stables, the Theatre of the Court and what remains of the first palace. It never served as a royal residence. It now houses the Parliament, Supreme Court, Prime Minister's Office and the royal reception rooms.


Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Plads Dantes 7 1556 København
Museums and art

The large art collection, established by the brewer Carl Jacobsen in 1882, is at the origin of this museum. It boasts the biggest collection of antiquities in Northern Europe (the Etruscan section is particularly impressive), and a collection of French art from the 19C and 20C, including a large portfolio of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works. The museum also houses numerous Danish sculptures and important canvases by 19C Danish artists.


Tivoli   Interesting

Vesterbrogade 3 1630 København
Industrial tourism and theme park

Exotic buildings, fairytale castles and Venetian lights at night that make this 8ha hectare amusement park so magical. Tivoli counts 400 000 flowers and is just a stone's throw from the town hall. Since it opened in 1843, it has become the most popular attraction in Denmark, not least with the people of Copenhagen: it is their favourite spot for a stroll or for trying out one of the various activities.

Copenhague by night! Exploring this place at night, when 110,000 sparkling bulbs and Venetian lamps are suspended from the trees, is essential! Tivoli is one of the oldest theme parks in the world and the country’s most visited site. Here you can eat, go to the cinema and a concert.

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