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72 Hours in Copenhagen...Pure Bliss!

By: Susannah Cord with Jes C. Boye-Moeller / Photographs, Sean Pavone

  • 72 Hours in Copenhagen...Pure Bliss!

Copenhagen Abounds with Magic and Wonder and There’s Something Here for Everyone

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Writing an article titled 72 Hours in Copenhagen is one of those "it seemed like a good idea at the time" things. The reality, however, is it is all but impossible to pick through the endless possibilities for the traveler looking for a few days of fun in the sun and possibly rain, or whatever weather those unpredictable isles that make up the kingdom of Denmark may throw at you. Narrowing it down to the capital of Copenhagen is helpful if unreasonable to a Dane raised just northeast of the big city, so let's go a bit astray as we explore the wealth of this tiny Scandinavian country of some five million citizens. It's easy enough to do with a comprehensive rail and bus system with many sights within walking distance.

  • 72 Hours in Copenhagen...Pure Bliss!

Visit Nyhavn Canal at Sunset in Copenhagen

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Let’s say you arrive one fine summer afternoon and check in to your hotel, perhaps the historic Hotel d’Angleterre or the whimsical Hotel Nimb at Tivoli Gardens. Copenhagen abounds with brand and boutique hotels, so there’s something for everyone. You have wisely chosen to explore Denmark in the summer for the best chance of beautiful weather for outdoor exploration. Typically temperatures range from 15 to 30 C. Perhaps you have arrived in mid-June for the long summer days and twilight evenings that linger long into the night, and Denmark’s nature blooms in profusion. Danes love to grill, sing, and dance, in particular on Midsummer Night’s Eve when bonfires dot the beaches for miles on end. (But really, any night will do for the festive Danes.) Take a five-minute walk to dine on the quay of the famously cheerful Nyhavn and see for yourself and get a healthy dose of ‘hygge,’ a renowned Danish concept covering a feeling of comfort and coziness that is hard to define, easier to experience for yourself.

  • 72 Hours in Copenhagen...Pure Bliss!

Visit the Century-Old Tivoli Gardens where Amusement Park Rides Intersperse with Beautiful Gardens, Theater, and Restaurants

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It’s Day One, and you’re off to the breakfast buffet at d’Angleterre’s Michelin starred Marchal, or for a local favorite, try Møller Kaffe & Køkken. A stroll up Strøget, a famous pedestrian street full of shops and street performers, warms you up for the spiraling climb up Rundetårnet, a 17th Century tower built for astronomical observation. Close by lies Vor Frue Kirke, Copenhagen’s grand cathedral, after which you are well on your way to Lagkagehuset, where coffee and Danish pastries await. Or if it’s real food you’re after, nearby Restaurant Schønnemann delivers an authentic experience of another of Denmark’s famous exports, the versatile open-faced sandwich known as Smørrebrød. Finally, walk it off at Kongehaven, the oldest park in Copenhagen where the castle, Rosenborg Slot, houses the royal regalia, or with a visit to the Botanical Gardens, where flora both indigenous and exotic provide a peaceful bookend to a day spent in the hustle and bustle of historical Copenhagen. Visit the century-old Tivoli Gardens, where amusement park rides intersperse with beautiful gardens, theater, and restaurants for a finish with a flourish.

  • 72 Hours in Copenhagen...Pure Bliss!

Day-Trippers from Copenhagen will Enjoy the Hermitagen in Dyrehaven

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Today, let’s head northeast to Elsinore, home to the castle and lore of Hamlet, Shakespeare’s tragic Prince of Denmark. It’s a beautiful train ride through fields and forest to the seaside town where Hamlet’s castle Kronborg awaits visitors in stately residence. Elsinore, a typically quaint Danish provincial town, has another claim to fame - the humble yet brilliant ice cream shop in Brostræde, where a photo of Cary Grant munching his Brostræde cone substantiates their claim. For art lovers, a short train ride back in the direction of Copenhagen takes us to the renowned Louisiana Art Museum, or for history buffs, the royal family’s spring residence of Fredensborg Slot tempts with exquisite gardens and Café Havehuset. After lunch, enjoy a carriage ride through Dyrehaven, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a delightful woodland surrounding Hermitagen, historically a royal hunting lodge. If Tivoli wasn’t enough, spend an evening at Bakken, the world’s oldest pleasure park adjacent to Dyrehaven, or return to the city for dinner at Kokkeriet, where traditional Danish fare is reinvented for the modern palate.

  • 72 Hours in Copenhagen...Pure Bliss!

Sailing is a National Pastime and Copenhagen is an Historic Maritime City

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Sailing is a national pastime and Copenhagen a maritime city, so it’s only appropriate on our last morning to enjoy a tour of the canals, including a peek at Agnete and the Merman, underwater sculptures depicting characters from the Danish fairytale of that name. Carry on the enchanted theme at Amalienborg Palace, the royal residence, observing the traditional Changing of the Guards before lunch at another Danish national treasure, Langelinie Pavillionen, where Danes have dined and danced for generations, while The Little Mermaid sits forlornly awaiting her fate nearby. Just up the street stands the exquisite Frederiks Kirke, The Marble Church, Scandinavia’s most prominent church dome, or for a different experience, visit Design Museum Danmark. In this working archive, the building alone is memorable. To close out our 72 hours in Copenhagen, let’s go out with a bang, with the most inspired Nordic cuisine at the double Michelin starred Noma, and an evening of auditory pleasure at the Copenhagen Opera House, a neo-futuristic statement piece on the harbor island of Holmen. It’s the perfect ending to a whirlwind tour of Copenhagen, which may yet leave you hungry for more.

Copenhagen Video by William Collins

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