Destination Travel

Here's how you can spend time in Copenhagen, the land of the Danish pastry

Copenhagen celebrated her 850th birthday in September last year. The city is still rejoicing and here’s how you can spend your time, in between raising a toast or two at its many breweries

It started eight centuries ago with this fishing hamlet being gifted by King Valdemar the Great to Bishop Absalom. The nondescript village soon morphed into a walled city, as palaces and citadels were built, while squares mushroomed in the middle of the cobbled streets. Walk around, stumble upon castles and churches, amusement parks and breweries, as you explore the city by bike and boat.

Day 1

9.30 am: Hans Christian Andersen Tour

“My life is the greatest fairytale of all,” says a man in a black coat as he doffs his hat and introduces himself to us as Hans Christian Andersen. There are several ways to experience Copenhagen, but nothing is more intriguing than a city tour from the fairytale man himself. Richard, the guide, has been donning the garb of the author, the Danish city’s famous resident, and he shares snippets of his life while taking us around the city. We start our trail at the Copenhagen City Hall and head to the Gammeltorv (the oldest square in the city), followed by other landmarks.

11.30 am: Explore Copenhagen by bike

Biking is a national pastime of the Danes, jokes my other guide Christian, as he takes us on a biking tour of the city. While I am in a Christiania bike, Christian offers snatches of history peppered with humorous stories. There are several cycling tours — some of them take you to the city centre, as you explore along the canals to Christiansborg and Nyhavn and towards Frederiksstaden. Stop at palaces, say hello to the Little Mermaid and visit old churches. You can also, like us, explore neighbourhoods such as Norrebro and Vesterbro.

2 pm: Street food market

More than 30 food trucks serve different cuisines at Copenhagen Street Food. You can choose between Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Columbian and Danish. Tuck into the special Danish smorrebrod (open-faced sandwich) at this unique street food market. There are plenty of choices for vegetarians too. It is also the atmosphere that makes the experience special.

Here's how you can spend time in Copenhagen, the land of the Danish pastry

4.30 pm: Canal tours

The heart of Copenhagen lies in its canals. Be the captain of your boat and chalk out your own course, as you sail away in the solar-powered Go Boat. As you cruise through the canals, linger a while in Nyhavn, see the stately parliament and the old stock market.

7.30 pm: Dinner at meatpacking district

Copenhagen’s changing ethos is best captured in the meatpacking district, where old slaughter houses, markets and meatpacking warehouses have been converted into upscale restaurants, bars and galleries. Located in Vesterbro, one of the coolest neighbourhoods here, this is where you must be to feel the rhythm of the city.

Day 2

9.30 am: Sail like a Viking at Roskilde

A 45-minute train journey takes you to the Viking town of Roskilde, where you must stop at the Viking Ship Museum. This is where age-old ships were discovered at the fjord, stashed atop each other. But the best experience is to sail like a Viking in one of these wooden boats built in the boatyard here. Roskilde was the capital of Denmark before Copenhagen. The charming, windswept town is home to the first brick Gothic Cathedral, in the country where over 30 Viking kings lie buried.

Here's how you can spend time in Copenhagen, the land of the Danish pastry

1 pm: The spirit of Carlsberg

There is more to Carlsberg than just beer. There are four large carvings of elephants that greet you at the gate, which introduce you to the legacy that Jacobsen and his son Carl left behind in this brewery. There is an element of old-world charm, as you take a carriage tour of the brewery. A museum of beer bottles adds to the atmosphere. Copenhagen’s story is linked to the history of Carlsberg, and you can see a replica of the Little Mermaid here. Sit back and enjoy lunch and beer.

Here's how you can spend time in Copenhagen, the land of the Danish pastry

4 pm: Stroget shopping

Be it souvenirs or getting a taste of Danish design products, a trip to this city is not complete if you don’t go to Stroget, the longest pedestrian street here. A maze of streets tempts you with signature stores, such as Royal Copenhagen or Hay House, or you can sit in a café and people-watch.

6 pm: Amuse yourself at Tivoli Gardens

This park opened way back in 1843. The moment you step into Tivoli Gardens, you are transported to the past. The amusement park oozes an old-world charm, and the main attraction here is the wooden roller coaster which is the oldest in the world. My favourite among the rides is the quaint fairytale-themed one based around Hans Christian Andersen’s works. There are several speciality restaurants here and you can enjoy a quiet dinner in one of them.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 7:45:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/vikings-in-the-land-of-danish-pastry/article23433392.ece

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