Copenhagen may lack the glamour of London, Paris or Rome, but the discerning traveler can find just as rich a travel experience in this cosmopolitan city.
If arriving by train, you’re within walking distance of a wealth of attractions and activities. Walk across the street to the Tivoli Gardens and take in a free musical or artistic performance. (There’s a schedule at the entrance.) If you have kids, they’ll love the amusement park, founded in 1843 and one of the oldest of its kind in the world.
The Stroget pedestrian district is just across the town square from the train station and offers excellent shopping for those so inclined. You can relax here at an outdoor cafe, enjoy one of the excellent Danish beers, and chat with the locals or just people watch. Also nearby are the National Museum, the canals, the Rosenborg Castle — an actual Renaissance castle within the city – and the statue of the Little Mermaid in the harbor. If you’re a jazz fan, go in early July to experience one of the finest jazz festivals in Europe.
Copenhagen was designed for pedestrians and bicyclists, which may explain why the U.N. Climate Change Conference is being held there next month. 37% of locals ride a bicycle to work every day, while only 31% drive. Having lived in L.A., this is like visiting an alternative (and refreshing) universe. Walk or rent a bike and travel like a local. Take the 90-minute walking tour given by “Hans Christian Andersen,” actually transplanted American Richard Karpen in long coat and top hat. You won’t be bored.
Just across the harbor from the city center is the fascinating community of Christiania. Founded in the early '70s as an alternative community, Christiania remains home to about 850 political idealists, artists, aging hippies and hash dealers. The many colorful buildings and murals exemplify its creative spirit. Some of the buildings have been built from scratch with recycled materials.
The local hash and cannabis trade was generally tolerated for years by the authorities, but clashes with police have increased in recent years. I walked down the main drag, Pusher Street (yes, that is the actual name), and admired the works of local artists.
There are so many options to mull over while planning a European vacation, particularly if you have limited time. Copenhagen is one destination that’s worthy of serious consideration.