Denmark has an abundance of picturesque villages and towns, historic castles and monuments, and a coastline which varies delightfully from broad sandy beaches to small coves and gentle fjords. Throughout the country, rolling hills and gentle valleys provide a constant succession of attractive views; there are cool and shady forests of beech trees, extensive areas of heathland, a beautiful lake district, sand dunes and white cliffs resembling those of Dover; nor should one forget the Danish islands, each of which has its own unique attractions. Though there are few holiday resorts of the kind found in, say, France or Spain (the nearest equivalent being the ‘Holiday Centre’ (HC), a purpose-built coastal resort), the Danes, who are taking strong measures to keep their coastline clean and tidy, are keen for visitors to sample the many unspoilt beaches.
There are now various Sommerlands in locations all over Denmark; these are activity parks where a flat entrance fee covers the visitor for use of all the many and varied facilities inside.
The largest urban centre in Scandinavia, Copenhagen is a city of copper roofs and spires, founded in 1167. It has many old buildings, fountains, statues and squares, as well as the singular attraction of the Little Mermaid at the harbour entrance. The Copenhagen Card gives unlimited travel on buses and trains and free entry to a large number of museums and places of interest.
A number of organised tours are available, taking in most of the famous sights. These include the Vikingland tour to the Viking Ship Museum; a Royal tour to the Christianborg Palace (the seat of Parliament), Rosenborg Castle and Amalienborg Palace; a coach tour to old-world Bondebyen and its open-air museum; and even a brewery tour, which takes in the famous Carlsberg brewery, including an exhibition on the history of brewing and on this particular brewery. Tivoli, Copenhagen’s world-famous amusement park, is open from late April to mid-September. Bakken (in the deer park north of Copenhagen) and the Charlottenlund Aquarium are both worth a visit.
Cornered by Vor Frue Plads and Rådhuspladsen, Pisserenden's name translates into 'A Stream of Piss' – a reference to the area’s bygone status as one of the last bastions of inner-city slums. Today, Studiestræde is all about male fashion, with In Circus heading the more daring and experimental scene and Samsøe&Samsøe leading in the no-nonsense Copenhagen trademark style. Floss and Sabines are both excellent cafes on Larsbjørnsstræde, and Baden Baden is probably the best record store in Copenhagen for new sounds.
The monstrous Christiansborg, the seat of the Danish Parliament, stands on wooden pillars constantly threatening to rot and break. Slotsholmen is the very core of the Danish state. The semi-artificial island holds the parliament as well as the offices of everything from the Supreme Court to the royal horses, the offices of the Prime Minister, the Danish Stock Exchange, the Castle Church, the Museum of Arms, Thorvaldsens Museum, the Royal Court Theatre with the adjoining Theatre Museum, the Royal Brewery of Christian IV as well as the Royal Library (including its recent addition, Det Kongelige Bibliotek (Diamanten), arguably the most astonishing new piece of architecture north of Bilbao).
Looking like a supremely idyllic little piece of Amsterdam, Christianshavn is actually built on garbage dumped between Copenhagen and Amager. History aside, a Kanalrundfarten is recommended to take you floating past the beautiful old houses, watching Copenhageners prepare for the sea or just taking it easy on the deck of a home-made house-boat.
Christiania, a squatted 'free town' unlike anything you have ever seen (at least this far from Kingston), further emphasises the Amsterdam-feel of Christianshavn. Here, all manner of goods are sold in the open and anarchy reigns, although more or less controlled by self-appointed authorities.
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