|Copenhagen Travel Guide|
Christianshavn & Christiania
Christiania started life as a military camp before being abandoned and taken over in 1971 by ambitious squatters who proclaimed their own 'free state'.
It never achieved full independence but still enjoys status as a rent- and tax-free enclave and a lively, arts-soaked environment. You can stroll or cycle through the area (cars aren't allowed) and check out the local craft market or organic food eateries - informative guided tours are offered daily throughout summer.
Directly opposite the university grounds is Vor Frue Kirke, the city's striking neoclassical cathedral which was originally built in the late 12th century and then rebuilt three times after succumbing to various pesky fires. The interior is decorated with sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen's acclaimed statues of Christ and the 12 apostles.
Good views of the city's rooftops are available from the summit of the Rundetårn (Round Tower), a 35m-high (115ft) pile of bricks a few blocks east of the Latin Quarter. The Rundetårn was erected as an observatory in 1642 and is still used by amateur astronomers in the wintertime, qualifying it as the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.
The Nationalmuseet has dibs on virtually every antiquity found on Danish soils, whether it was unearthed by a farmer ploughing his fields or a government-sponsored archaeological dig.
The artefacts date from the Upper Palaeolithic period to the mid-19th century. Highlights include the Sun Chariot, which is over 3500 years old, and an exhibition of 3000-year-old bronze lurs (Danish horns).
It was built in Dutch Renaissance style by Christian IV to serve as his summer home. A century later Frederik IV, who felt cramped at Rosenborg, built a roomier palace north of the city in the town of Fredensborg.
The 24 rooms in the castle's upper levels are chronologically arranged, housing the furnishings and portraits of each monarch from Christian IV to Frederik VII. However, the main attraction lies on the lower level, where the dazzling collection of crown jewels are displayed.
These include Christian IV's ornately designed crown; the jewel-studded sword of Christian III; and Queen Margrethe II's emeralds and pearls, which are kept here when the queen is not wearing them to official functions. These items are considered such a national treasure that the queen is not permitted to take the royal jewels with her when she travels outside Denmark.
The original Christiansborg palace was constructed in the 1730s to replace the pokey Copenhagen Castle and several buildings, namely the royal stables and edifices surrounding the main courtyard, date from this time.
Folketinget, the parliamentary chamber, can be toured on Sunday year-round, as well as on weekdays over summer, and this includes a peek at Wanderer's Hall, which contains the original copy of Denmark's Constitution.
For sheer Renaissance grandness, De Kongelige Repræsentationslokaler (the Royal Reception Chambers) won't disappoint - it's where royal banquets are scoffed and heads of state entertained. Underneath the palace are the excavated ruins of two earlier castles, including Bishop Absalom's original 1167 effort.
Tivoli & Strøget
The famed Tivoli park has been operating for over 150 years and so has had plenty of time to figure out how to best cater to the hordes of tourists and locals, many trailing enthusiastic youngsters, who flock there between mid-April and late-September each year. There are all the usual fun-park attractions, such as a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, open-air performances, carnival games and food pavilions. For the more cultured fun-loving palates, there are also traditional folk dances and a large concert hall hosting international symphony orchestras and ballet troupes. Tivoli also opens up for a few weeks prior to Christmas for holiday festivities, a seasonal market and ice-skating on the lake.
When you've had all the gee-whiz, whoop-it-up, wallet-emptying festivities you can stomach, stagger out in a calmer consumer-oriented manner up the world's longest pedestrian mall, Strøget.
Off the Beaten Track
Particularly impressive are the Riddershalen (Knights Hall) and the Slotskirken (Coronation Chapel), the latter being where Danish monarchs received their extravagant new head-gear between 1671 and 1840.
This Dutch Renaissance castle looks spectacular enough from the outside - spread as it is over several small islets on a lake called Slotsø - but the interior of this former fortress and now national museum is no let-down either, with over 70 publicly accessible rooms boasting gilded ceilings, full-wall tapestries, paintings and antiques. Particularly impressive are the Riddershalen (Knights Hall) and the Slotskirken (Coronation Chapel), the latter being where Danish monarchs received their extravagant new headgear between 1671 and 1840.
Features of the site include a detailed reconstruction of a Viking house
where you can imagine warriors feasting, sleeping and discussing hair-plaiting
techniques, a museum containing pottery and other domestic items that
have been excavated from the site and burial mounds up on the circular
The interior has antique furnishings, grand period paintings and an abundance of hunting trophies. For those who enjoy labyrinths, there's a 200-year-old bamboo maze. Also on the grounds is an antique car museum, which displays about 300 period cars.
Møns Klint is located on the island of Møn, south of Zealand, to which it is connected by bridge and serviced daily by bus.
The town's dominant landmark, Ribe Cathedral, stands as a fine testament to Ribe's prominent past. For a lofty view of the countryside, climb the cathedral's 14th-century tower. Ribes Vikinger is a huge museum with displays of Ribe's Viking and medieval history. One exhibition hall has a reproduction of an AD 800 marketplace, complete with a cargo-laden Viking ship; and there's also a multimedia room where you can explore the Viking era via computers, light and sound. Just south of the town centre is the Vikingecenter, which has attempted to re-create Viking-era Ribe through various reconstructions, including a 34-metre (1112ft) Fyrkat-style longhouse. Ribe is in southern Jutland, accessible by trains from Esbjerg (35 minutes) and Tønder (50 minutes).
Its narrow, cobbled streets are lined with close-standing 17th- and 18th-century
houses, many of them gently listing half-timbered affairs with handblown
glass windows, decorative doorways and street-side hollyhocks.
Visit these other interesting sites!