Carlsberg don't do capitals, but if they did...

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

City Slicker - Copenhagen: The liberal spirit lives on in this Scandinavian city. Mark Rowe offers some top ideas for new and returning visitors



Why visit?


Christiania, Copenhagen's free city and high altar to hippiedom, has been under threat of closure ever since it was first colonised 40 years ago. But last month, just as the developers and bulldozers inched ever closer, the country's right-wing government surprised everyone by abruptly agreeing to grant the community the legal right to run its own semi-autonomous affairs.

The medium-term future of Christiania (christiania.org) is now secure, but some local observers fear it faces a fate worse than extinction – being turned into an even bigger tourist attraction than it already is: a human theme park where coach parties snap pictures and gawp at the quaint and peculiar inhabitants.

So, take the chance to visit while the flame of Christiania's original spirit still shines bright. Weekends are best: the flea markets are vibrant, and residents chew the cud over fires burning from metal drums. The early-morning drinkers are what riles the right-wing politicians.

But otherwise, Christiania remains what it has been for many years – an easy-going welcoming place, simultaneously tidy and ramshackle, unthreatening, populated by local families and with some offbeat exhibitions and good cafés, the pick of which is arguably the organic Morgenstedet (morgenstedet.dk).

Don't miss

Tivoli (tivoli.dk)

The granddaddy of amusement parks is still going strong after 168 years – and with good reason. There are rides for all ages against a background of marching bands, royal carriages and evening rock concerts. There's an innocence and low-level commercialism to Tivoli that you won't find at the Disney equivalents.

Glyptotek (glyptoteket.dk)

The city's leading museum is full of world-class art and sculpture but the space itself is also thoughtfully and atmospherically designed. There's a glorious atrium, filled with tropical plants, and check out the Egyptian collection, reached by a descending corridor that echoes the entrance to ancient tombs.

The Little Mermaid (visitcopenhagen.com)

She's just that – little – but this diminutive statue is a pilgrimage site for many who grew up on the tales of Hans Christian Andersen. It takes 30 minutes to reach her from the city centre, but the waterside stroll takes in royal palaces and some of Copenhagen's most futuristic buildings.

Louisiana (louisiana.dk)

One of the most beautifully positioned museums you could hope to find. It overlooks the grassy banks of the Skagerrak, the strait that separates Denmark from Sweden, an hour north of the city. Punctuated by statues and sculptures, the angular building's permanent collection ranges from Henry Moore to Roy Lichtenstein and is refreshed by temporary Modernist exhibitions.

The National Museum (natmus.dk)

A mind-boggling collection of Danish history and global artefacts. Among its strengths are the items brought back from 18th-century expeditions to Greenland – look out for delicate miniature walrus tusk carvings.

What's new

Copenhagen food market

Due to open this month, the Torvehallerne looks set to become a mouthwatering addition to the tourist scene, displaying meat, vegetables and delicacies from across the country. The location on Israels Plads should give a boost to the excellent but overlooked cafés and restaurants in the Norreport area, such as Kalaset at Vendersgade 16 (00 45 33330035) and Café Munk at Norre Farimagsgade 55 (00 45 3311 8383).

Details: torvehaller.dk

Ibsens Hotel

This stylish three-star hotel has just completed its refurbishment. Rooms are sleek and minimalist with comfy high beds, and the restaurant offers top-class dining. Its major charm, though, is the lengths to which the architects went to blend the building's interior with the surrounding streets.

Details: ibsenshotel.dk

Bella Sky Comwell Hotel

In this green and environmentally conscious city, many hotels are being particularly inventive. The Bella Sky Comwell Hotel has recently set up an apiary for 600,000 bees on the modernistic roofs of its two tilting towers. Not only can guests enjoy the resulting honey, but the vast colony is to play an important role in the city's urban ecosystem, pollinating its many chestnut and fruit trees.

Details: bellaskycomwell.dk

Geranium II

Rasmus Kofoed, who heads the kitchen at this organic restaurant, is officially the world's best chef after winning the 2011 Bocuse d'Or earlier this year. He's also on the shortlist for Denmark's restaurant of the year, to be announced later this month. The changing menu can range from lamb soup to an emphasis on fish, with many dishes based on fresh, local vegetables.

Details: geranium.dk

Amagerforbraending ski slope

Construction begins at the start of next year on what, even by Danish design standards, will be a striking building – an incinerator plant doubling as a ski slope. The 90m tower will be shaped as a ski slope, with three different year-round mile-long trails. The building work alone should be worth a peek.

Details: visitcopenhagen.com

Compact Facts

How to get there

Rail Europe (08448 484 064; raileurope.co.uk) offers return fares from London St Pancras to Copenhagen from £232 per person. The journey takes about 18 hours.

Further information

Wonderful Copenhagen (visitcopenhagen.com).

Insider Secret

Kia Utzon-Frank, Goldsmith

"JC Jacobsen Garden at the old Carlsberg brewery is a beautiful little gem. Whatever the season, you'll probably have it to yourself. To walk around in this little quirky place, exploring plants and more hidden places, and to take a stroll around the little lake with its big weeping willow, gives me a long-lost feeling of childhood. It's like stepping into a fantasy world."

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Day In a Page

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea