Copenhagen may lack the instantly recognisable iconic sights that define so many global cities, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Visitors to many countries nowadays spend their time traipsing from one photo opportunity to another and leave little time to get to know the feel of the city around them. This is not the case in Copenhagen.
The Amalienborg Palace, strictly speaking four palaces, is a must for anyone with an interest in European royalty or simply enjoys pomp and circumstance. The complex makes up the main official residence of the Danish royal family, although the main courtyard in the centre is open to the public and is one of the most popular places in the city for visitors. The lack of visible security can seem strange to many, especially visitors more familiar with the US approach to visible protection for dignitaries, although the palace is not as undefended as it can seem at first. The ceremonial guard changes daily at noon.
The Danish National Gallery should be on the ‘to do’ list of all except the most culture-averse visitors to Copenhagen. The exhibits vary from slightly obscure Danish works to world famous masterpieces but almost all are interesting and well presented. The National Gallery is centrally located which means that visitors who don’t want to spend a whole day absorbed in art can build it into any gap in an itinerary.
One of the great attractions of Copenhagen is the internationally renowned Design centre. While the centre has obvious appeal to design aficionados, the exhibitions will prove of real interest to casual visitors because of the way they relate the concept of ‘design’ to the objects that each of us use in our everyday lives and how they can be subtly but comprehensively improved.
Lastly, one of the main attractions of Copenhagen for me is the harbour. It is the ideal place for a stroll in all but the worst of the winter weather but is at its best in summer. In fact, the harbour is so clean that artificial beaches have been created and when the water is warm enough locals and visitors alike can be seen frolicking in the sea, which is not something often seen around the Baltic.
The one exception to my earlier comment about instantly recognisable iconic sights in Copenhagen is the Little Mermaid. World famous as the character from the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, no visitor to Copenhagen is allowed to leave before commenting on how small it seems when you actually see it. However, at the moment the Mermaid is gracing the Danish exhibition at the World Expo in Shanghai and will be there for most of the year. Visitors expecting to come face to face with the enigmatic lady over the summer will, therefore, be disappointed.
3 Accomodation options in Copenhagen:
Ascot Hotel & Spa - double room and spa access in Lisbon with rooms from € 92/£ 80/$ 115
Carlton Hotel Guldsmeden – 3 star hotel in Lisbon with rooms starting from € 93/£ 81/$ 116
Hotel The Square – stylish 3 star hotel in Lisbon with rooms from € 98/£ 86/$ 123
Photo of Copenhagen harbour by Sachmanns.dk