Nitin Chaudhary

Travel Writer and Photographer based in Malmo, Sweden

Ten Things to Do in Copenhagen

Ten Things to Do in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a strange metropolis. It comes across as oddly calm; the city life runs without a wrinkle that often accompanies other successful capital cities. Trains run on time; politicians listen to people, and political parties that make tax-cut an agenda do poorly in the elections. To the travellers, unversed with the Scandinavian way of life, here’s what to do in Copenhagen.

1. Kick the wheel

Copenhagen is the cycling capital of the world. Ride on the well-crafted cycling lanes and you will find tiled waist-high dustbins. There are dedicated train coaches and bridges for cyclists and similar other innovations all geared towards increasing the adaption of this sustainable way of moving around. Caution: watch your step while crossing fast-moving cyclists during peak traffic hours or risk getting abused, for cycling is serious business in Copenhagen.

2. Run the marathon

Organised in the end of May when the flowers are in bloom (yes, Spring starts late in this part of the world), this marathon is an excellent way to circle the cosy city. The marathon starts from Islands Brygge next to the canal, goes around Amalienborg palace; the path crosses the beautiful “Black Diamond” library, and treads across several small bridges. Live music is a constant. You can register as late as the morning of the event unlike its counterpart events in other cities, tickets to which are sold out a year in advance.

3. Have a latte at Nyhavn

This old part of town still flaunts a topless club or two; however, it is now known for the open air cafes and restaurant, and expensive boats. On sunny days, make sure you get there on time as the place is soon crowded with locals snapping up after-work beer. The place is instantly recognisable given the coloured buildings that define this street, and has appeared on some popular postcards.

4. Walk the Strøget

Strøget, the most glamorous street of Copenhagen, runs from the town centre Rådhuspladsen to the up-market Nyhavn. The street is a spectacle of performers ranging from Jazz musicians to tricksters aiming to net dewy-eyed tourists. The street houses well-renowned brands (no wonder it’s recognisable as the shopping street also). Do check out the by-lanes wherein nestle nice coffee shops.

5. Drive over the Øresund Bridge

This man-made marvel between Sweden’s Malmo and Copenhagen is a 21-km gem that runs partially under water. Watch out from a good vantage point and the sight of the bridge disappearing into the water is spectacularly befuddling. Drive on it to witness a wind farm on one side and the long coastline on another. Till two years back, people were allowed to walk/run on the bridge once a year.

6. Eat at Noma

(That is if you can afford it, and manage to get a reservation.) Till 2013 and for three years in a row, Noma was judged the best restaurant in the world. The pride of the Danes was dented a bit when Noma lost the crown this year. Known for creating a culinary experience based on local ingredients, Noma is still worth an evening. A meal for two costs approximately 1500 DKK (Rs.15,000).

7. Helsingør castle

Watch The Royal Shakespeare Theatre perform The Hamlet at the Helsingør castle. The play is performed once every summer inside the castle. The tickets are sold out in the first hour, so only the most industrious get a chance. In any case, the Hamlet castle (as the Helsingør castle is often called) is worth spending half a day in.

8. Go psychedelic in Christiania

This place comes alive only when it’s dark. A short walk away from Christianshavn metro station, one may need to ask directions to reach here. A large arched gate welcomes the brave tourist. On the other side of the gate, which one notices while faltering out from here, is carved “Now you enter the EU.” Christiania is popular for its hippie culture. Though illegal in Denmark, marijuana is sold in open and over the counter.

9. Polar bears, anyone?

Visit the Copenhagen Zoo if you want to see a polar bear. For Asians, these white creatures are the biggest draw, whereas the locals gape at the Asian elephants.

10. Don’t forget Tivoli

Tivoli has this unique ability to entice foreigners and locals alike.

Enter the walled city from right in front of the Copenhagen Central train station, and you step into a village fest with small shops selling goodies, an amusement park with an acre-spread of fun-fair, performances in open air theatres, restaurants, rose gardens and a full-blown lake in the middle. The shrieks from the rides often spill over to the outside, baiting the outsiders with a touch of mystique to join in.

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