Copenhagen is a city that gleams with a contemporary edge, but seems to take you back hundreds of years. Whatever you're looking for -sleek or cosy, traditional or modern - it can provide.
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What To Do
Despite its northern locale, Copenhagen's abundance of water means windsurfing, sailing, canoeing and swimming are all popular and easy to participate in. The green space tempts walkers and cyclists; there's also plenty of places to play golf, badminton and squash.
What To See
The city's seemingly interminable pedestrian mall, Strøget, has great shopping and entertainment, from street theatre to the parade of passersby. The famous Tivoli funfair enchants the eyes and heart, and the parks, gardens and canals keep the feel serene.
There are plenty of precious things to buy in Copenhagen, such as contemporary design pieces, porcelain and crystal, silverwork, traditional Viking jewellery and amber. Not to be missed are the soft goose-down quilts, or a piece of streamlined Scandinavian furniture.
Copenhagen is a 24-hour party city. For free entertainment simply stroll along Strøget, especially between Nytorv and Höjbro Plads, which in the late afternoon and evening is a bit like an impromptu three-ring circus with musicians, magicians, jugglers and other street performers.
The Night Film Festival (Natfilm Festival) takes place over 10 days in March, and features more than 100 Danish and international films in their original languages. The three-day Copenhagen Carnival is held over the Whitsunday weekend (usually late May or early June), filling the streets of the city centre with parades, samba dancing and other organised festivities.
Beach bonfires are lit up all around the country on Midsummer Eve; also called Sankt Hans Aften (23 June), while those who enjoy a good flaring of the nostrils should head for Klampenborg just to the north of Copenhagen for Denmark's most important horse race, the Danish Derby. The Copenhagen Jazz Festival gets toes a-tappin' over 10 days in early July, but if chamber or classical music is more your thing, hang out for the Sommerkoncerter i Vor Frue Kirk (Summer Concerts in Vor Frue Kirk), summer concerts held throughout August.
In late August the Danish capital plays host to the Golden Days in Copenhagen, with art exhibits, poetry readings and theatre focusing on Denmark's 'Golden Age' (1800-50). Christmas is a big celebratory deal around the country and it'll be hard to escape the numerous feel-good community fairs no matter where you are.
Public holidays include New Year's day, Maundy Thursday (Thursday before Easter), Good Friday (Friday before Easter), Easter Monday, Common Prayer Day (fourth Friday after Easter), Ascension Day, Whitsunday (seventh Sunday after Easter), Whitmonday (eighth Monday after Easter), Constitution Day (5 June), Christmas Eve (from noon), Christmas Day and Boxing Day (26 December).
Food and Drink
Although Copenhagen offers plenty of good dining options, from old-fashioned Danish pubs to trendy fusion cafes, nothing epitomises Danish food more than smörrebröd (literally 'buttered bread'), an open-faced sandwich that ranges from very basic fare to elaborately sculpted creations.