Pictures of the floating world

Magical Copenhagen: guide (part 2)

Finally the part 2 of my Copenhagen guide is live!

By Anna Purpurpurpur

In the first part of my guide, I covered the most famous 12 sights of Copenhagen, such as Nyhavn, Tivoli Gardens, Frederiks Kirke, The Little Mermaid statue, Andersen Experience, Botanisk have, City Hall Square, Strøget, Rosenborg Castle, Christiansborg Palace, Amalienborg and Kastellet fortress, – and predominantly showed the capitals of Denmark in winter.

Now, let me continue sharing another 12 activities you can visit in this beautiful city! (I’m perfectly aware that this list is not complete, so part 3 of a guide is due as well!)

13. Denmark National Museum 

Denmark National Museum of Denmark is a real gem: head here to see the cultural artifacts from all over the world, including Denmark. The museum occupies The Prince’s Palace, built in the mid-18th century, and is located in the city centre not far away from the City Hall Square and the Christiansborg Palace. 

I’d definitely recommend you to see the Vikings section because – if not in Denmark (or Sweden), where else? You’ll see the reconstruction of cloths, boats, weapons, many archaelogical pieces and even will watch a fild anout a raid!

Greenland, thanks to which Denmark is one of the largest European countries, is represented there very well, too – don’t miss the museum actions dedicated to Greenland’s archaeological and cultural heritage.

Visiting the rooms with Danish historical objects, such as the Aarhus cathedral treasures, is another highlight of the museum. The collections from other countries, such as Japan, China, Greece, etc, are also present. Other anthropological gems of the Denmark National Museum are Sun Chariot, the Egtved Girl from the Bronze Age, and the Huldremose Woman. 

If you’re visiting with kids, pop into the Children’s Museum, which is part of the Denmark National Museum for discoveries of Middle Ages activities, the 1930s school, and a Pakistan market.

For traditional Danish smørrebrøds, pay a visit to the museum restaurant SMÖR on the first floor.

14.Gefion Fountain 

Gefion Fountain was designed by Anders Bundgar in the 1890s and activated in 1908, representing oxen pulling a plough and controlled by a woman. It might look like an ordinary fountain, which there are many in cities, but actually, the story behind it is deeply rooted in Scandinavian literature. It represents the story from the Ynglinga saga written by the famous Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century.

Goddess Gefjon was promised by Swedish king Gylfi as much lands as she could plough in one night and a day as gratitude – and the goddess took her four sons from giants, turned them to oxen, and ploughed as deep that cut an enormous part of the land and put it to the sea not far away from Sweden. Now we know it as Zealand, a large island occupied by today’s Denmark, where Copenhagen is located.

The lake was left on the site where the land was taken away: the story named Lake Mälar in Sweden; however, this might also be told about Lake Vänern. The fountain is not far away from both the Little Mermaid statue and The Kastellet.

15. Round tower

 The 17th-century Round Tower is located in the very centre of Copenhagen. Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, after whom the Planetarium is named and who’s buried in Prague (see my guide), played a game-changing role in this science field, and astronomy was seen as a very important field.

This Round Tower is a result of it: it was commissioned by King Christian IV in the early 17th century as an observatory for watching the stars. Now, it’s a perfect observation spot to admire the skyline of Copenhagen from almost 35 metres above the ground!

There is also a library and temporary exhibitions held inside the tower: during our visit, there was an ecological insight into the wolves’ lives and conservational issues.

To get to the top, you’ll need to climb the equestrian staircase: as the legend goes, Russian Tsar Peter the Great really rode a horse there in 1716 while visiting the city, and his wife followed him in a carriage. 

16. Charlottenborg Palace

Charlottenborg Palace, built in 1672–83 for Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve, an important Danish political figure, is another palace you might want to visit in Copenhagen, especially if you’re into contemporary art.

Its name refers to the dowager queen Charlotte Amalie, who acquired the palace in 1700. Charlottenborg Palace has housed the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts since 1754 when it was founded, and now Kunsthal Charlottenborg and the Royal Art Library are located there as well.

The palace has the loveliest courtyard, and don’t forget to look out of the windows while visiting the palace: you’ll get the best views over the Nyhavn!

17. Danish Jewish museum

The Danish Jewish Museum, located in the very centre of Copenhagen in the same building as the Royal Library, reflects on the 4-century presence of Jews in Denmark. For instance, did you know that as some point there was a discussion whether a wig can replace a kippah?)

And, of course, A big part of exposition is dedicated to the miraculous story of how Danish people saved their Jews from Nazis in 1943, putting them on the boat and moving to neutral Sweden: as a result, the 99% of Danish Jews survived the Holocaust in contrast to Jews from so many other countries.

The museum was opened in 2004 and looks especially modern thanks to the design of Daniel Libeskind and with the objects highlighting different areas of everyday life and social activities of Jews in this country. During our visit, the new exposition was under development.

18. City Courthouse

 We were able to visit the City Courthouse during the Cultural Night in Copenhagen, and it was an interesting insight into how the courts work in Denmark.

This building in neoclassical style was built in 1815 after the design of architect C.F. Hansen and now houses the District Court of Copenhagen and was used as a background for a few filming sets.

19. Planetarium 

Visiting the Planetarium was definitely a highlight of our recent trip to Copenhagen, and I would definitely love to go there again!

This gorgeous modern building was designed by Knud Munk and opened in 1989, and one of the best things you can do there is to watch IMAX and 3D science films on the largest screen you’ve ever seen located in the Dome.

Most of them are in Danish but sometimes you can get the English translation too! Visiting the astronomical exhibition is a great activity as well. 

20. Copenhagen Zoo

 We were lucky to see Copenhagen Zoo around Halloween, and it was dressed up fantastically for the occasion: it probably had one of the best spooky pumpkin displays I’ve seen!

Apart from it, the zoo looks very modern and well-maintained. You can pet goats, try milking a cow (not a real one, though), eat alongside the giant pandas, and observe over 4 thousand animals, including babies!

There, you can meet elephants, red pandas, giraffes, zebras, hippos, tigers, and many other species – and add to the list that you’ll find enclosures as the architectural highlights as well.

21. Paludan Bog Café

Paludan Bog is heaven for book lovers! Located to the side of Copenhagen University, it’s always busy with students, but you might be lucky to get a table as well.

The whole interior consists of old shabby books and mismatched furniture, and at the till, you can grab something sweet from the selection of cakes or some sandwiches. It was founded in the 1990s and is the site of a bookstore that has been here since the 19th century.

22. Royal Library Garden

The Royal Library Garden is a secret spot in the very centre of the city close to Christiansborg, right behind the Danish War Museum. It’s an absolutely marvellous spot to visit, lined up with trees, flowers, fountains, and statues, and dates back to 1920.

In the past, the old Naval harbour was located on this site – to commemorate that, there’s a small pond in its centre. Don’t miss the statue of Søren Kierkegaard there too!

23. Flagship Lego store

The LEGO Store at the Strøget is a must in Copenhagen because Denmark is its homeland. The company was founded by Ole Kirk Kristiansen in 1932 and started as a game with wooden blocks. The word LEGO is an abbreviation of two Danish words: ‘to play’ – ‘at LEge’ and ‘good’ – ‘GOdt.’

And you’ll absolutely love their store on the main shopping street of Copenhagen with exclusive toys, a giant Lego dragon, colourful houses of Nyhavn, and a cool monitor that reads which toy you’ve chosen and brings it live in front of you.

You can also scan your hand, and the system will give you one of the LEGO characters (my fav was the one with the Star Wars).

24. St. Nicholas Church

The 90 m high St. Nicholas Church’s spire is well seen from all sides of Copenhagen (and we were lucky to see it right from our hotel terrace). The church on this site dates back to the 13th century and was considered the third oldest church in the city.

It was famous for Hans Tavsen, who’s also called Danish Luther, preached his first Lutheran sermon in Copenhagen here, thus making St Nicholas church the centre of the Danish Reformation. Sadly, the building was heavily damaged by fire in 1785 and didn’t serve as a church from 1805: first, it was used as a fire tower, then butcher stalls occupied the site, then the Copenhagen Main Public Library moved in, and now the Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center opened in 2018 is located there now. 

Bonus:

don’t forget to have your smørrebrøds, and if you drink beer, Carlsberg is available everywhere because it’s his home country! And Joe and the Juice also originates from this country.

Where to stay in Copenhagen

Last time, we stayed in Marriott Copenhagen, which was fantastic – however, with a baby, we needed something more central and went for the Socialist Tribute Hotel.

It’s a small, stylish, and very modern hotel steps away from the main shopping street, with a bar and breakfast area located on the ground floor.

We had a lovely two-floor room with a terrace overlooking the St Nicholas church – looks nice doesn’t it?

You might also like:

Guide to Copenhagen part 1
Stockholm museums
Malmö
Helsinki

Hope you liked my new blog,
Yours,
Anna xxx

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