A weekend in…Copenhagen
The capital of Denmark is a large city full of character. It is a hive of social activity, plays host to some stunning churches, serves up delicious food and is full of waterways and peaceful open spaces.
Home to the world's two oldest amusement parks and lots of performing arts venues and museums, Copenhagen is alive with history and flourishing culture.
It is one of the most environmental cities in the world and a large percentage of its citizens cycle to work.
Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport is just 15 minutes by train to the central station and trains arrive every 10 minutes. There is also an airport in the neighbouring city of Malmö, Sweden.
Across the road from the central station is a tourist office full of information and free city maps.
Copenhagen is very easy to navigate on foot if you have a map. There is so much to see and do that you could easily spend a whole weekend exploring it.
There is a large metro system, buses and trains if you don't feel like walking from sight to sight, although most of the main attractions are packed into Indre By, the historical heart of the city, and the area called Christianshavn.
You can also jump on a boat to explore the city. Tours of the inner harbour and canals are a very popular way of seeing the sights. Many leave from Nyhavn, a popular street for eating and drinking.
Nyhavn (photo: Charlene Mitchell)
There are also free bicycles, which can be used in the inner part of the city, or you can rent a bike.
See the sights
There is so much to see in Copenhagen that you probably won't know where to start.
If you like looking at beautiful architecture you have certainly come to the right place.
On my visit I tried to fit everything in by doing a circle of the city starting at the central station. Opposite the station is Tivoli, one of the city's two amusement parks, and across the road is the impressive Town Hall.
The ornate organ (photo: Charlene Mitchell)
Carry straight on and you will walk into Strøget, the longest pedestrian street in Europe and Copenhagen's main shopping area. Just off this street is the Copenhagen Cathedral, St. Peter's Church and Rundetårn (the Round tower). You can walk up to the top of the tower for a small fee, which spirals around until you reach the observatory deck. This offers excellent views of the city. The inside of the church attached to the tower is also stunning and is home to an impressive ornate organ.
The King's Gardens and Rosenborg Castle are very close by and are definitely worth a visit. If you get there by 11.30am you can follow the Royal Guards as they march through the city's streets to Amalienborg Palace for the change over at midday.
The changing of the guard (photo: Charlene Mitchell)
Next to the castle is the Marble Church, a beautiful piece of architecture both inside and out. From here it is just a short walk to Kastellet (Copenhagen Citadel), which is surrounded by a large green open space and a moat. It's a nice walk around the Citadel and there is also a windmill in the grounds.
Inside the citadel (photo: Charlene Mitchell)
Just outside is the famous Little Mermaid, which is normally surrounded by tourists dying to get a snap next to the statue. To the right of the Citadel's main entrance are St. Alban Church and the Gefion Fountain.
If you carry on along the waterfront you will pass the Opera House and the Royal Playhouse until you reach Nyhavn, a lively street full of bars and restaurants.
The Royal Theatre is at the end of this street and if you head for Christianshavn, which is just across the inner harbour, you will pass the Old Stock Exchange. The main attractions in this part of town are the Church of Our Saviour and Christiania.
Like the Round Tower, you can pay a small fee to climb to the top of the church. Inside are very steep, narrow, wooden stairs and once you reach the outside the stairs spiral around until they come to a stop near the top of the spire. However, this isn't for the faint-hearted. It's best to visit this church when it's not busy, as the narrow staircases don't cater for upwards and downwards traffic at the same time.
Christiania is a self-governing freetown established in the 1970s. It is a very colourful area that is popular with tourists, but the people who live there forbid taking photos. Cannabis and paraphernalia are also sold heavily here.
There are also many museums and art galleries in the city and if it's hot you can head to Havnebadet, a popular place to swim in the inner harbour.
If you have a bit more time to spare it's worth a trip over the Öresund Bridge to visit the much smaller Swedish city of Malmö. It's just 40 minutes on the train from the central station.
Eating and drinking
The main place for eating at drinking in Copenhagen is Nyhavn, a very colourful street with a canal. The Danish open sandwich is a must try because it is so popular and no trip would be complete without having a Danish pastry from one of the many bakeries.
by Charlene Mitchell