The city of spires


In recent years, Copenhagen has gained a reputation as one of the world’s coolest cities. Now famous for haute-cuisine and avant garde design, in 2008 it was voted the best city in the world for design.

Both municipal and national policy has created an urban environment centred around green living, which aligned with an advanced infrastructure has created a high quality of life for the city’s population.

Copenhagen is situated on the east coast of the largest and most populated of Denmark’s islands, Zealand (or Seeland). Its location means that it has a relatively temperate climate, though the weather can be rather varied. The temperature on the other hand is more stable and the annual range is comparatively narrower than that experienced in other European countries; temperatures are on average 5 degrees higher than other places on the same latitude.

Things to see and do

Considerable investment has been put into the city’s cultural development and Copenhagen can be seen to be reaping the rewards. Not only is Copenhagen the administrative capital of Denmark, it is also the cultural centre of the country and the wider Scandinavian area.

The architecture of Copenhagen is undeniably one of its defining features. The uniformity of the relatively horizontal skyline is only occasionally broken by one of Copenhagen's dramatic spires, steeples or domes. Built in the 18th century during the reign of Frederick V, the district of Frederiksstaden is arguably the most distinctive. One of the most important buildings in the city, the Marble Church with its prominent dome, can be found here.

The architecture of Copenhagen is recognised worldwide and the city has been the recipient of various awards.

The oldest part of the city was constructed in the medieval period and legislation dictates that the historical centre will remain free of any high rise buildings.

Recent years have, however, seen a boom in modern building in other parts of the city, with buildings designed by foreign architects popping up since the turn of the millennium. Even the elephants at Copenhagen’s zoo are housed in a shelter designed by world-famous architect Norman Foster.

The good life

Copenhagen is one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world, with the popularity of cycling rivaling bike-loving Amsterdam. Furthermore, in the Danish capital, organic food has the largest market share of any capital city in the world.

Copenhagen is quite literally a ‘green’ city too, boasting numerous parks, both big and small. The local government aims that by 2015 all of  the city’s residents will be within 15 minutes walking distance of a park or a beach.

In the summer months, the King’s Garden at Rosenborg Castle becomes the centre of life in Copenhagen with a massive influx of picnickers. It is also the home to an open air sculpture display with additional temporary exhibitions in the summer.  

The city’s botanic gardens are also a great place to relax or take a stroll, complete with 19th century greenhouses donated by the Carlsberg brewery’s founding father J.C. Jacobsen.

Unusually, Copenhagen’s cemeteries also serve the public as outdoor spaces, for relaxation or contemplation. Most popular is Assistens, which is also the final resting place of Hans Christian Andersen.

The amount of water in and around the centre of Copenhagen is another of its distinguishing features with 8 km of coast within 30 minutes bike ride from the city centre.

Eating and drinking

Thanks to restaurants like the two time Michelin starred Noma, Copenhagen has established its place on the gastronomic map and is now top of the list of global gourmet destinations. The city boasts more Michelin starred restaurants than any other Scandinavian city.

Of course, we cannot forget those ubiquitous Danish pastries. Copenhagen has a long history of baking with a baker’s association that was established in the 1290s. The locals also enjoy the traditional open sandwiches, known as smørrebrød.

In addition to all this food, Copenhagen has a long heritage of beer brewing. The Carlsberg brewery, founded by J.C. Jacobsen, has been producing its namesake lager at the same site just outside of the Danish capital since 1847. There are now some 100 breweries in Denmark, many operating in or around Copenhagen. However, despite a laid back attitude to alcohol, public drunkenness will not be tolerated anywhere in the capital.

To find out more about what is going on in Copenhagen and what this exciting city has to offer visit the city’s official website .

Further reading

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