A CITY FOR ALL
Late May 2012 a friend of mine that had moved to Copenhagen a few months before called me asking me if I had plans for the portuguese June holidays that year. I promptly answered him "no" for which he immediately replied: "what are you waiting for to buy a plane ticket and come visit me in Copenhagen?"
It didn´t take me long to start checking for flights and prices and making plans to visit Copenhagen.
So, I landed in Copenhagen on the second week of June. And now, after I´ve already been in Norway and Iceland on Winter I must tell you it is almost a blessing to arrive in a nordic city or country in Summer time; days are extremely long and clear and the weather is warm and pleasant. You will need some time to adjust to the long days (sun was rising at 3:00am and setting down at 11:00pm...) but after a day or two your body is already fully adapted.
Copenhagen is, more than anything, an enjoyable city. It is suited for everyone and everybody´s tastes. The city is, after all, on top of most of the more livable cities lists published. And it is widely considered as one of the cities with better quality of life in the World. After minutes walking in its streets you can understand why: the city just WORKS... everything and everyone flows... calmly and gently.
People are nice, quiet and calm and everything looks like it is on its right place. There are hardly any cars or traffic on the roads and instead you´ve got hundreds of bikes that cross the streets on an orderly manner much contrary to what happens in cities like Amsterdam or even Paris.
Even most of the buildings and streets look like you are walking in a town filled with oversized dollhouses of different colors. It was this the way the city found to bring some life and joy to the long dark winters that stretch for months.
For those of you who have already been to Copenhagen, my "a city for all" claim is certainly something you can relate to. The city is surprisingly adjusted to everyone, whether old or young and the word that best describes its lively streets is "diversity"; there is this feeling of being modern without modernity.
Since the city became an important cultural hub in the last years attracting artists from all over the World, it also turned out to be one of the trendiest places in the World to live or work in...
Misteriously enough, in the last years, the city also became the capital of the gastronomical world being now home to the largest number of awarded Michelin stars restaurants in the World: 15 restaurants and a total of 18 stars granted. NOMA, the most celebrated one, is already a city institution. Furthermore, Copenhagen is now also one of the most iconic centers of the design world, attracting designers from everywhere searching for the modern nordic influences.
Like most of the cities I love, Copenhagen has a sea front and harbour that invites you to stop and simply enjoy a special moment by the water. Nyhavn, specially, is a kind of magical place with colorful buildings by the water filled with small restaurants and coffee shops with nice danish traditional food.
Exploring the canals around it is mandatory; after it, try stopping by Nyvahn and have a glass of wine while quietly facing the ships in front of you.
Copenhagen is filled with places to explore and wander about. From narrow alleys and streets filled with cafes, record stores and fashion shops, to open squares, churches and palaces you will surely find something that suits your taste.
Unmissable is a visit to the incredible Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park where you are sure to feel like a small child for a few hours again.
Be sure to have time to pass by Kongens Nytorv square and also by the impressive Amalienborg Palace and its square right in front of Frederik´s Church and its green dome.
Also be sure to walk around the star shaped Kastellet on your way to the obligatory Little Mermaid, Copenhagen´s most iconic and photographed attraction. On a walking distance you can also visit Rosenborg Castle and its gardens.
The neighborhoods around the center are also worth exploring, specially Norrebro and Frederiksberg.
If you dare, walk down to Christianshavn, a small independent conclave populated by artists. This is a no man´s and no law land where community life is the rule. You are forbidden to take pictures there but exploring it is definitely a must-do.
In the end I feel it will be extremely difficult for anyone not to like Copenhagen. Danish people are extremely friendly and polite and are always trying to help you.
If you sit on a bar having a drink you will most certainly be joined by a group of danes trying to get to know you and welcome you into their fantastic city.
Below is my must see/do list for Copenhagen:
Explore the Nyhavn area and its canals;
Take a picture in front of the Little Mermaid (everyone does it... so why wouldn´t you?);
Have a different gastronomical experience; the city is filled with great restaurants suited for every wallet;
Spend one night in the Tivoli Gardens and feel like a 5 year old again;
Rent a bike, the easiest way to explore the city;
Amalienborg Palace and Rosenborg Castle are a not to miss for royalty admirers;
Have a beer with a dane, or two, or three, or with the entire bar which will probably end up happening anyway;
Visit the surrounding neighborhoods, specially Christianshavn and Frederiksberg;
Admire the fashion and design scene on every corner of the city.