Copenhagen Travel Guide

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Copenhagen Travel Guide

Copenhagen Local History

In 1167 Bishop Absalom had a small fortress built in a harbourside village to try and stop the regular raids from the German Wends. This was the foundation for the future capital of Denmark, it was first known as Komandshavn (Merchant's Port and was later shortened to Kobenhavn (Copenhagen). In 1369 the original fortress was destroyed by ransackers from northern Germany during a raid on the town. It was only seven years later that work began on a new defence structure, called Copenhagen Castle. It was only in 1416 when King Eric of Pomerania moved into the new sturdy castle that Copenhagen's fate as the capital was secured. It has been the capital for 600 years.

By the beginning of the 18th century Copenhagen had grown quickly in size and population. The next 100 years were unkind to the growing city; in 1711 it was hit by bubonic plague which killed almost one third of the population. In 1728 and 1795, fires broke out destroyed most of the wooden buildings and large areas of the city, then in 1807 during the Napoleonic Wars, Wellington ordered a most savage bombardment on the city and again much of the city went up in flames.

On the 9 April 1940 the Nazis marched on Copenhagen and occupied it and the rest of the country for five years and although it got through the Second World War fairly unscathed it was in total disarray. From then until now the city embarked on an ambitious program to renew the city, as many of the neighbourhoods had become slum areas.

Copenhagen today is a flourishing and appealing city with low-rise period buildings, church steeples reaching to the skies and the occasional modern hotel.

Copenhagen Attractions

Copenhagen Shopping

Copenhagen is known as the shopaholics' paradise especially Stroget which is a 3.2 km pedestrian street. Here is where you will find just about anything from brand name shops, speciality shops, fashion and many more. Although you will find many of the major international retail names here, the best thing about shopping in Copenhagen is its small neighbourhood shops, some of which are quirky and unique. You will find that many of the shops are located in beautiful historic buildings and medieval streets. Similar types of shops are situated near each other such as fashion, antiques, art and so on. Most visitors will find that contrary to popular belief the price of goods are on a par with London and New York and can sometimes be cheaper.

Det Ny Illum - which is situated on Stroget at Amagertorv and has a beautiful glass dome and spectacular interior.

Magasin du Nord - is opposite the Royal Theatre and was Scandinavia's first department store and is still the largest.

Fisketorvet This was Copenhagen's first major shopping mall opened in 2000, which you will find beside the harbour on the outskirts of town. The mall has shops and restaurants in plenty and also has a multiplex cinema.

Frederiksberg Centret This traditional mall can be found in the smart suburb of Frederiksberg and has a variety of shops in clothing, shoes and accessories.

Copenhagen Activities

The Water Culture House (Vandkulturhuset) - There is so much fun here for children that if you take the children you may just as well prepare yourself to be there the entire day. There is no time limit on how long you are allowed to stay. The swimming pool is shaped like a super ellipse; it also has a climbing wall and a diving pool. There is also a spa and a water play area and the centre boasts its own restaurant where you can get really delicious meals which you can eat either inside or outside.

Tivoli Gardens - Vesterbrogade 3, Copenhagen No visit to Copenhagen is complete without a visit to one of the oldest amusement parks, namely the Tivoli Gardens. There is plenty for the children both young and old to enjoy such as the Ferris wheel, the Comedy Kitchen and the roller coasters. For those who are not up to the stomach turning activities, there are the more sedate events such as concerts, tight-rope dancers. For the small children there are sand pits, bouncy inflatables and much, much more. This park lies in the middle of Copenhagen and also has a beautiful flower garden.

The Øresund Aquarium Strandpromenaden - 5, Helsingør This aquarium can be found in north Zealand and has a huge variety of different creatures that live in the Oresund waters of Denmark. There are 150 different species of invertebrates in the salt water tank such as shellfish, molluscs and more. There is also a Touch aquarium where visitors are allowed to touch the creatures that live in the sea at the same time the guides will tell you everything about the creatures.

Copenhagen Parks & Gardens

Botanical Garden - Oster Farimagsgade 2B This garden was set out on 25 acres in 1874 with rare trees and shrubs. There are also herbs, Danish plants, rhododendrons and old rose varieties; plants that are aromatic, those used for dyeing and aquatic plants. There is also a huge Palm House which was originally built in 1874 but was renovated in 1982 and contains tropical and subtropical plants. Plants such as cactus, begonias, orchids and more can be found in other greenhouses on the premises.

Faelledparken - Oster Alle 35 Originally this was used as a grazing pasture for horses and cattle and later used by the military as an exercise ground. It was during 1908-12 that it was changed into a public park with playgrounds, football fields and large open areas; today there is also a skateboard range. A lot of events take place in this park especially the May 1st celebrations, political events and festivals. There are open air concerts and other performances during the summer months. Entrance to the park is free and dogs are allowed.

Frederiksberg Garden / Søndermarken This parks gardens were English inspired and are situated on 32 hectares. The avenues of lime trees can still be seen. Canals were dug during the 1700's and in the summer months you can try a trip in the canals in a rowing boat. You will also find a 'Chinese gazebo', a Swiss hut and an Apis Temple and much more. The entrance is free and there are activities for children and dogs are also allowed.

Copenhagen Beaches

Amager Strandpark/Kastrup Fort - Kobenhavn The water here is shallow and the seabed is sandy, with fine sand on the beach. There are also barbeque grills available on the beach. In 2004 this beach was awarded a blue flag.

Bellevue Strandpark - Strandvejen 340 This beach has fine sand, shallow water with a sandy bottom. During summer there is a lifeguard on duty and from mid May to the end of August changing cabins are available. Unfortunately, dogs, windsurfing and bicycles are not allowed, you are also not allowed to pitch a tent.

Ishoj Strand, Koge Bugt Strandpark This is one of the finest beaches in Denmark and is part of a 7km beach park. It offers many opportunities for different activities and recreation. The beach itself is sandy with shallow waters and a sandy bottom. During the summer months there is a lifeguard on duty and it is suitable for windsurfing. It was also awarded a blue flag status in 2004.

Vallensbaek Strand This beach was awarded the blue flag status in 2003 and 2004 and is part of the Koge Bay Beach Park. As with most of the beaches in and around Copenhagen it has fine sand and shallow water. There is also a lifeguard on duty during the summer months.

Copenhagen Restaurants and Bars

Copenhagen's local cuisine ranges from marinated reindeer meat to smorrebrod including frikadeller (Danish meat balls).

Copenhagen Restaurants

Atlas Bar Larsbjornstraede - 18, Indre By - Mon–Fri 11am–10pm, Sat noon–10pm. This restaurant is very popular especially at lunch time. It used to be a vegetarian but they now serve non-vegetarian dishes such as Mexican chilli and Bali chicken. As it is so popular it is advisable to book in advance.

Bankerat Ahlefeldtsgade - 29, Indre By - Mon–Fri 9.30am–midnight, Sat & Sun 10.30am–midnight. This restaurant can be found on the corner of Nansensgade in Indre By. It is known for its affordable and quality dishes, mostly Asian, Italian and Mexican. On Sunday evenings in winter there is a free movie screening.

Davids Solvgade - 91, Indre By - Tues–Fri 6pm–8.30pm. This inexpensive cafe is probably the best in town for takeaways. There is no seating in the cafe, but as they are situated near many parks, there is no shortage of places to enjoy your meal in the fresh, open air. They serve a blend of Mediterranean and Danish meals (the menu changes daily) such as scallops in creamy sauce, cous-cous and pesto to name but a few. If you are in a hurry call ahead as all meals are prepared fresh and take about 30 minutes to prepare.

Ida Davidsen Store Kongensgade - 70. Mon–Fri 10am–4pm. This restaurant can be found in a cellar full of atmosphere. To sample true Danish fare this is definitely one of the best places in town. They serve a traditional Danish smorrebord with toppings which include smoked salmon, herring and roast beef and the pricing is moderate. To make your meal more interesting look out for members of the Danish royal family who often drop in for a quick bite.

Copenhagen Bars & Clubs

Mantra Bernstorffsgade - 3 Central Station, Tivoli -Thurs–Sat 11pm–7am. This is one of the best and most central clubs in town; it is situated right next to the Tivoli Gardens. What was once a jazz club is now a disco and Reggae Club. Thursdays are reggae nights and Friday and Saturday are Soul and R & B.

Q-House of Dance - Axeltorv 5.Tivoli -Thurs 11pm–5am, Fri & Sat 11pm–6am. Definitely not to be missed, this dance club is easy to reach from Central Station. This is probably more for the older clientele, but if you enjoy dancing the tango this is the place to be.

Rosie McGee's - Vesterbrogade 2a, - Mon–Wed 11am–2am, Thurs 11am–4am, Fri & Sat 11am–5am, Sun 11am–midnight. No far from Radhuspladsen, this pub attracts many visitors. The disco upstairs is what gives life to this establishment with its pumping mainstream pop music. Downstairs you will find a restaurant and bar, if disco is not your style.

Alleenberg - This bar can be found in smart Frederiksberg and has a tranquil garden where you can enjoy a relaxing drink.

Base Camp This bar is located on the island of Holmen and has a tranquil atmosphere as it is situated by a picturesque canal.

Lord Nelson - Hyskenstraede 9, Tel: +45 28 22 19 94 This bar is is unique in that it is the only bar in Denmark that serves only Danish draft beers.

Copenhagen children's activities

The Water Culture House (Vandkulturhuset) - There is so much fun here for children that if you take the children you may just as well prepare yourself to be there the entire day. There is no time limit on how long you are allowed to stay. The swimming pool is shaped like a super ellipse; it also has a climbing wall and a diving pool. There is also a spa and a water play area and the centre boasts its own restaurant where you can get really delicious meals which you can eat either inside or outside.

Tivoli Gardens - Vesterbrogade 3, Copenhagen No visit to Copenhagen is complete without a visit to one of the oldest amusement parks, namely the Tivoli Gardens. There is plenty for the children both young and old to enjoy such as the Ferris wheel, the Comedy Kitchen and the roller coasters. For those who are not up to the stomach turning activities, there are the more sedate events such as concerts, tight-rope dancers. For the small children there are sand pits, bouncy inflatables and much, much more. This park lies in the middle of Copenhagen and also has a beautiful flower garden.

The Øresund Aquarium Strandpromenaden - 5, Helsingør This aquarium can be found in north Zealand and has a huge variety of different creatures that live in the Oresund waters of Denmark. There are 150 different species of invertebrates in the salt water tank such as shellfish, molluscs and more. There is also a Touch aquarium where visitors are allowed to touch the creatures that live in the sea at the same time the guides will tell you everything about the creatures.

Useful Copenhagen Links

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