Midsummer night’s dream – a short break in Copenhagen
No European metropolis is as “hyggelig” – in other words, friendly, cozy, pretty – as Copenhagen, which contrasts big-city vibes with a small-town atmosphere, picturesque old buildings with icons of post-modern architecture, and lovely beaches with fashionable parties. Early summer is the time to get the most out of a trip to Copenhagen, when the long, light, balmy nights make sleep more expendable.
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Copenhagen: city of beaches, bicycles and harbour buses
Amager Beach Park:
Islands, lakes and the Öresund region – the delightful location of this city, home to more than a million, is almost unrivaled in Europe. No wonder, then, that many of its citizens regularly go down to the water. At the Amager Beach Park just five kilometers from Copenhagen’s old town, visitors can enjoy two beaches, the original beach and another sandy beach on a specially created island that’s separated from the mainland by a beautiful lagoon. Amager is ideal for swimming and sunbathing – and one of the city’s top summer spots.
Okay, Copenhagen isn’t that small, after all! So to see as much as possible, it’s a good idea to get hold of the right kind of vehicle – a bicycle, for instance. The Danish capital has a reputation worldwide for being a city of cyclists. In fact, you can even get hold of rental bikes (as you can in many European cities) for free here, thanks to the Bycyklen system, which has 110 cycle stations in the city center with a total of 2000 city bikes available there absolutely free of charge, for use in the city center only (deposit: a 20-crown coin).
www.bycyklen.dk (Danish and English)
Yet another mode of transportation that doubles as a tourist attraction: the number 901, 902 and 903 buses known as “harbor buses,” which connect tourist attractions on both sides of the harbor, offering passengers views of some of the most important sights in Copenhagen. These include the Little Mermaid (or rather, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s work erected in its stead, since the original is currently on display at the Expo in Shanghai), the “Black Diamond,” as the Royal Library is known, and also the new opera house on Holmen Island. Day passes for Copenhagen’s public transportation system are also valid on the harbor buses.
www.moviatrafik.dk (Danish and English)
Shopping, royal residences and open air concerts
Copenhagen dons its cosmopolitan gown here on Strøget, one of the longest and oldest pedestrian zones in Europe. Boss, Louis Vuitton and Prada are just some of the many exclusive brands to have opened their own boutiques or flagship stores there, especially in the eastern section. So if you don’t want to spend too much, it’s wise to stick to the stores located further west. Strøget isn’t just a shopping mile, though, it’s also a giant open-air stage for artists, street musicians and other performers.
Royal Copenhagen: Amalienborg Palace is the winter residence of the Danish royal family. Actually, Amalienborg is an ensemble of four palaces. One of them, Christian VII’s Palace, opens to the public for guided tours between July and September. Another tourist attraction is the elaborately choreographed changing of the guard performed every day outside the palace gates at 12 noon on the dot. The procedure does not take place, however, when the queen is not in residence –a circumstance signaled by the lowered flag over Amalienborg.
Amalienborg Palace: Amalienborg Slotsplads, http://kongehuset.dk/english (Englisch)
Friday is open-air day in Copenhagen: Fredagsrock, (Friday rock) is the city’s most popular concert series. Each summer, half a million people attend these rock and pop concerts at the Tivoli, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, where Danish and internationally acclaimed bands perform under the open sky between April and September. The atmosphere is always very relaxed as the audiences celebrate themselves and their stars.
Fredagsrock at the Tivoli: Vesterbrogade 3, www.tivoli.dk/fredagsrock. Admission: 95 to 125 crowns (roughly €12 to €17)
Photos: Panther Media, C. Alsing, Ellerbrock/Bilderberg, C.v. Roeden,, Corbis, mauritius images