Arguably the most cosmopolitan and forward-thinking city in Northern Europe, Copenhagen is both home to over a millennium of Danish culture and a leader in modern city development and international tourism. If you're one to swoon over the archetypical European castle (there are a few real beauties 'round these parts), gaze in wide-eyed amazement at colorful waterfront facades, or get excited about a statue of the Little Mermaid, then there is no other choice but Copenhagen. If that's the case, let us give you a hand with what to expect.
Although the city was built on a revolutionary template called the “finger plan,” in which the suburbs radiate in five directions from the city center, the majority of what you'll want to see is in the palm of that hand. Indre By is the medieval center and heart of cultural affairs, with an exceptional number of well-kept churches and castles, as well as a few of Denmark's best museums. Amalienberg is the Royal residence that consists of four inward facing mansions; come here for the classic changing of the guard. Charlottenborg is classical architecture at its best and is a renowned exhibition space, while the City Hall on Rådhuspladsen (a bustling square) is known for its astronomical clock in the foyer. As far as museums go, the Glyptoteket begs attendance for its collection of both Western artifacts and more contemporary artistic works of French and Danish origin; the Nationalmuseet, on the other hand, has an unparalleled Viking collection, amongst innumerable other pieces. On top of all of this, there is an artificially created island called Slotsholmen, where a conjunction of Royal structures and worthwhile museums rub elbows. Of particular note is Christiansborg Slot, which houses all branches of government under one roof. For a sense of symbolic, photogenic Denmark (with the expensive shop prices that tourism brings), you may also visit the Nyhavn waterfront district.
Christianshaven is across the main canal and is considered the trendiest area in Copenhagen, with cafes and fancy bodegas existing amongst the red roofs of 19th century houses and meandering canal-ways. This is where the free state of Christiania has managed to endure despite the relative poverty of its alternative/Bohemian occupants, while the houses along Amagergade are an example of colorful housing reminiscent of Amsterdam.
Other sections of the city center are more lively and exciting along main streets; Istegade is the area to explore in Vesterbro (despite its roots in sex-related commerce), with the old Carlsberg Brewery a short walk away, and world-famous amusement park Tivoli Gardens as the most popular attraction. Nørrebrogade is the main drag in Nørrebro and provides a bustling thoroughfare for a blue-collared and diverse demographic. Finally, Frederiksberg is where you'll run aground of more than a fair share of Copenhagen socialites and stately mansions, although there isn't much more than the zoo and Frederiksberg Palace here for travelers.
If you're willing to step outside the city, take the short train ride to Kronborg Castle, the inspiration for Hamlet's castle in the Shakespearean work of the same name. Also, just north of the city is the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which is widely considered the best art museum in Denmark.
With so much to do in Copenhagen, the most trouble is going to be choosing what will fit in your itinerary; start the organizational process with our trip planner and continue exploring what Copenhagen has to offer.