48 Hours In: Copenhagen

The Danish capital presents an enticing menu this month, with gourmet festivities adding to some of the world's finest restaurants, says Chris Leadbeater

Travel essentials

Why go now?

Denmark's capital is enticing at any time, but especially in summer, when it is doused in Scandinavian sunshine. It will also have a foodie feel from 23 August-1 September, as the Copenhagen Cooking festival (copenhagencooking.dk) takes hold. This annual event will focus on "social food", with mobile kitchens and street feasts. From 25-26 August, Rene Redzepi's MAD Food Symposium (madfood.co; 2,500 Danish krone/£294) also takes place in the city.

Touch down

Copenhagen's main airport, Kastrup (cph.dk), lies five miles south of the centre. Scandinavian Airlines (0871 226 7760; flysas.co.uk) flies from Aberdeen, Birmingham, Heathrow, Newcastle and Manchester. Alternatives include BA (0844 493 0787; ba.com) from Heathrow; BMI Regional (0844 417 2600; bmiregional.com) from Edinburgh and Glasgow; easyJet (0843 104 5000; easyjet.com) from Bristol, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester; and Norwegian (0843 3780 888; norwegian.com) from Edinburgh, Gatwick and Liverpool.

The city operates a zonal transport system, so the three-zone trip to the centre costs Dkr36 (£4) whether you travel by train (dsb.dk), which takes 12 minutes to reach the Hovedbanegard rail terminus (1); metro (m.dk), which takes 15 minutes to get to Norreport station (2); or bus No 5A (moviatrafik.dk), which takes about 30 minutes to reach the Hovedbanegard (1). Taxis take around 20 minutes and cost about Dkr250 (£29).

Get your bearings

Almost at the easternmost point of Denmark, Copenhagen preens on the east coast of the vast Zealand island, separated from Sweden by the 15-mile width of the Oresund strait. The city is split into districts by myriad canals and waterways – of which Indre By (the historic core), bohemian Christianshavn and gentrifying Vesterbro detain most visitors.

Metro (two lines), S-train (seven lines; dsb.dk/s-tog) and bus services dissect a city that is easily explored on foot. All are covered by transport tickets sold at stations and bus stops. A basic ticket – Dkr24 (£3) – is valid for one hour in the two central travel zones. City Passes cost Dkr75 (£8.50) for 24 hours; Dkr190 (£22) for 72 hours. The main Visitor Centre (3) (00 45 70 22 24 42; visitcopenhagen.com) is at Vesterbrogade 4A – open daily from 9am-7pm in August, from 9am-6pm in September (except Sunday, 9am-2pm). The Copenhagen Card (transport and entry to 75 attractions) costs Dkr299 (£34) for 24 hours, Dkr449 (£52) for 48 hours.

Check in

The Axel Hotel Guldsmeden (4) (00 45 33 31 32 66;hotelguldsmeden.dk) is a small four-star at Helgolandsgade 7-11 that contributes to Vesterbro's trendy vibe with a cocktail bar in its lobby. Double rooms start at Dkr995 (£114), without breakfast.

Another four-star haven of peace amid the eateries of Nyhavn dock (at No 71), is the 71 Nyhavn Hotel (5) (00 45 33 43 62 00; 71nyhavnhotel.dk). Doubles from Dkr1,099 (£126), room only.

A five-star icon at Kongens Nytorv 34, all ballrooms and bling, is the Hotel D'Angleterre (6) (00 45 33 12 00 95; dangleterre.dk) where you can blow the budget with a double for Dkr5,500 (£631), room only.

Green day out: Copenhagen is hugely proud of the Tivoli gardens Green day out: Copenhagen is hugely proud of the Tivoli gardens

Day one

Take a hike

Begin by ambling through Slotsholmen, the island that is a key component of Indre By, divided from Christianshavn by the channel of the Inderhavnen (Inner Harbour). Here, the Black Diamond – an angular extension to the Royal Danish Library (7), completed in 1999 – is the star of the waterfront. The library complex, at Soren Kierkegaards Plads 1 (0045 33 474 747; kb.dk), is open daily except Sunday, with one-hour tours on Saturdays at 3pm for Dkr40 (£5). Follow Christians Brygge to the south-eastern corner of Slotsholmen. Kayak Bar (8) at Borskaj 12 (00 45 30 49 86 20; kayakrepublic.dk), is taking part in the food festival with al fresco herring lunches, held at long tables (23-25 and 30-31 August, 1-3pm; Dkr150 (£19). Continue north-west along Borsgade, noting the Borsen (9) – the oldest stock exchange in Denmark, dating to 1619 – which is remarkable for its spire of four entwined dragons. Further on, the Christiansborg Palace (10) hosts the Danish parliament.

Window shopping

Running between Kongens Nytorv (11) and Radhuspladsen (12) squares, Stroget is the main shopping street, pedestrianised for a mile (stroget-kobenhavn.dk). The Royal Copenhagen (13) store at Amagertorv 6 (00 45 33 13 71 81; royalcopenhagen.com) is the flagship of the Danish brand which has been making porcelain since 1775. Sostrene Grenes (14) at Amagertorv 24 (00 45 36 97 81 10; grenes.dk) sells quirky discount homeware. BoConcept (15), at Gammel Kongevej 29A in Vesterbro, is a Danish design firm that fits into the cool district with sleek seats and crafted chairs (00 45 33 26 87 87; boconcept.dk).

Lunch on the run

Next to the Royal Copenhagen store (13), also at Amagertorv 6, the Royal Smushi Café (16) deals in open flat-bread sandwiches such as the Baronessens Luksus with its piled salmon, shrimp and asparagus for Dkr145 (£17) (00 45 33 12 11 22; royalsmushicafe.dk).

Top table: Noma has regularly been voted the world's top restaurant Top table: Noma has regularly been voted the world's top restaurant

Take a ride

Canal Tours Copenhagen (00 45 32 66 00 00; stromma.dk) offers a one-hour "Grand Tour" of the Inderhavnen port that departs from the dock at Gammel Strand (17), meandering past landmarks such as the Little Mermaid (18) – the bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen's creation, perched just off the Langelinie promenade in the Osterbro district, who has her 100th birthday this year. At least four tours an hour; Dkr75 (£8.50).

An aperitif

Dip into Vesterbro at Lidkoeb (19), a chic bar at Vesterbrogade 72B where the Valkyrie cocktail mixes bourbon, lemon and apple for Dkr100 (£11) (00 45 33 11 20 10; lidkoeb.dk).

Dining with the locals

Vesterbro's meat-packing past is celebrated at BioMio (20) at Halmtorvet 19 (00 45 33 31 20 00; biomio.dk), where chefs cook in a kitchen in the middle of the room. The August menu features three courses for Dkr300 (£34), including pork with avocado puree.

Noma (21), on the Christianshavn flank of Inderhavnen, at Strandgade 93 (00 45 32 96 32 97; noma.dk), has regularly been voted the world's top restaurant. Its three-course menu, for Dkr1500 (£172), includes roast turbot with celeriac. Reservations essential.

Rather less formal, the address is in the name at dockside eatery Nyhavn 37 (22) (00 45 33 15 70 76; nyhavn37.dk), where the 37's Burger is Dkr139 (£16).

Day two

Cooking up a storm: food festivals are part of local life Cooking up a storm: food festivals are part of local life

Sunday morning: go to church

A glorious baroque temple, the Vor Frelsers Kirke (23) (Our Saviour's Church) thrusts a black-and-gold spire into the sky above Christianshavn, at Sankt Annae Gade 29. Consecrated in 1695, it is open daily 11am-3.30pm, with Sunday mass at 10.30am. But the selling point is the tower view, open daily, entry Dkr40 (£4.50) (00 45 32 54 68 83; www.vorfrelserskirke.dk).

Walk in the park

On the south-east side of Christianshavn, Christiania (24) (00 45 32 95 65 07; christiania.org) is the self-proclaimed "autonomous neighbourhood" that was founded on an old military base in 1971. With graffiti-daubed homes, it looks stuck in the hippie era, but offers a snapshot of commune life, and beers for Dkr25 (£3) at Café Nemoland (25) (Fabriksomradet 52; 00 45 32 95 89 31; nemoland.dk).

Out to brunch

Back in modern Christianshavn, Café Oven Vande (26) sits beside a canal at Overgaden Ovenvandet 44. It serves a fish-heavy Ocean Sandwich for Dkr110 (£12.50), and glimpses of houseboats on the water (00 45 32 95 96 02; cafeovenvande.dk).

Cultural afternoon

The Nikolaj Kunsthal (27) hosts art shows in the shell of the 13th-century St Nicholas's church, at Nikolaj Plads 10 (00 45 33 18 17 80; kunsthal.dk). It is open daily except Monday, admission free.

Elsewhere in Indre By, the Nationalmuseet (28) at Ny Vestergade 10 (00 45 33 13 44 11; natmus.dk/en), charts the history of Denmark in detail. It is open daily except Monday, free entry. Current exhibition "Viking" (until 17 November; booking fee of Dkr10/£1.15) shows off Aegir, the world's biggest surviving Viking longship.

Nearby at Dantes Plads 7, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (29) is an art treasure trove with a wealth of sculpture by Rodin, open daily except Monday; Dkr75 (£9) (00 45 33 41 81 41; glyptoteket.com).

Along with a collection of weaponry, the the Tojhusmuseet (30) military museum at Tojhusgade 3 (00 45 33 11 60 37; thm.dk; open daily except Monday; Dkr60/£7) is also involved with Copenhagen Cooking. The Nordic Taste event sees Scandinavia's restaurants proffer samples of their fare, from 24-25 August.

Icing on the cake

Copenhagen is hugely proud of the Tivoli (31) – the enclave of ornate gardens and thrill rides that has lit up its map at Vesterbrogade 3, since 1843 (00 45 33 15 10 01; tivoli.dk). Open daily; admission Dkr95 (£11). Rides cost extra – from about Dkr25 (£3).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Arts and Entertainment
books
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
people
Voices
Nigel Farage arrives for a hustings event at The Oddfellows Hall in Ramsgate on Tuesday
voicesA defection that shows who has the most to fear from the rise of Ukip
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Life and Style
Brave step: A live collection from Alexander McQueen whose internet show crashed because of high demand
fashionAs the collections start, Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution