Copenhagen has garnered international awards for its green living, quality of living, and its standard of living, so it's no surprise that it's actually a nice place to... um... live. It's hardly a leap in logic to assume that because those who spend their every day in Copenhagen are quite satisfied that those visiting will also be. There are few cosmopolitan cities that are safer or cleaner. It's home to the oldest monarchy in the world and a bevy of landmarks and sights indicative of Danish liberalism, art, amusement, and even beer (that's you, Carlsberg). It's also common to bike everywhere, to eat sustainably, and to support a well-oiled government and welfare system. Copenhagen is like that family you love to hate because they send Christmas cards of their lavish, exciting lives and yearly accomplishments. You are shamefully reminded of your own shortcomings and jealous of their success, but it sure doesn't stop you from accepting the invitations to their parties. And Copenhagen happens to throw quite the party.
Beyond the oft-mentioned happiness and attractiveness of its citizens, Denmark's largest city is known for the canal system that cuts through its heart and the famous 17th century townhouses of Nyhavn that line its waterfront. The medieval center of Indre By is where historic architecture regally awaits, from the government chambers of Chirstiansborg Slot to the royal residency of Amalienberg and the Baroque stylings of Charlottenborg. Famous squares like Rådhuspladsen and Sankt Hans Torv are social center-points, while districts just beyond city center like Vesterbro and Norrebro are the best places to experience the modern Danish society, especially when it comes to two distinguishing aspects of the city, its cuisine and nightlife. Other cultural highlights include the two oldest amusement parks on Earth, Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg, and the more famous Tivoli Gardens in the midst of the city, both of which are upwards of 150 years old. Then again, if you're intrigued by alternative lifestyles, a walk through Christiania is a must. Like an open-air museum of an alternate universe, this commune has managed to survive autonomously since the 1970's and has been notorious for its drug culture and support of personal expression. The world-famous Carlsberg Brewery, the immortalized Elsinore (Kronborg Castle), and the collections of masterful art and history found in the Glyptoteket, Nationalmuseet (Viking artifacts!), and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art are also essential itinerary items.
Just like that perfect Christmas card family, which assuredly has a few skeletons in its closet, Copenhagen is not all roses when it comes to embark-style traveling. For one, it's a very expensive city to visit, a fact that can be offset if you walk or bike, eat at hot dog stands or visit museums and other attractions that are free or sometimes free (various museums will have a free day of the week). The other setback is Copenhagen's lack of big outdoor adventures; you can bike everywhere, swim the coastline, or scamper through local parks, but there isn't much for hiking, spelunking, or the more glorified adventure settings that we're all about here at Embark. Still, Denmark is a small enough country where you can reach nearly any corner in a day trip's time, while you can be to Sweden within an hour or Germany within four. If size and scale are your thing, pursue your adventures there.
The long and short of it? Copenhagen is the measuring stick of Danish society and often the only place in Denmark that big tour providers or cruise ships will take you. This doesn't mean that an authentic Copenhagen can be explored in a day or even a week or that it should be the only Danish city you visit. You're an Embark traveler, after all. Do yourself a favor and take a look through our included activities for a little inspiration and start planning your trip; then, who knows, it could be you in your "ugly" Christmas sweater spreading the holiday cheer of a year adventuring.