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Copenhagen must be one of the most stylish European capitals. Not only because the people seem to just ooze style and grace, but also because the buildings themselves seem to reflect the same standard of style. While Copenhagen is the largest city and capital in Denmark, you can easily explore all its highlights in a weekend trip.
Tivoli Gardens is the second-oldest amusement park in the world, having opened in 1843. The idea for the amusement park was aided by the fairytales of famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. In fact, it is rumored that Walt Disney was inspired by Tivoli to build his own theme park. The amusement park sits close to the center of the city and directly across the street from Copenhagen Central Station, so it is always effortless to reach the attraction. Compared to amusement parks in other countries, Tivoli Gardens is not just a tourist trap. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can see so many Danish families enjoying a day out together.
The amusement park offers something different for everyone; from thrilling rides to the more laidback ones as well as all kinds of performances. One thing to note, unlike some amusement parks, you need to buy a special ticket to ride the rides. If you prefer to just people watch, the ticket price will be much lower. Of course, if you get into the theme park and decide you do want ride something, then you can pay at the ride. However, you will pay much more than if you had just paid for it at the entrance. Since Denmark can experience extreme winter weather, Tivoli is not open all winter. If you’re planning to travel to Copenhagen between November and March, check the website first to make sure the park is open.
Denmark is home to many castles of all shapes and sizes. Many of them reside either within Copenhagen or an hour away from the city.
Rosenborg Castle was the favorite castle of Christian IV. With the castle’s Renaissance style and its surrounding gardens, it will quickly become your favorite as well. You will learn about the daily lives of the Danish Royal Family and see that some members were quite the pranksters. On display is "the pant-wetting chair", which ties its sitter down and squirts water onto the unlucky person's pants. It is rumored that some of the family members had peepholes drilled into doors so they could properly sneak up on someone. Rosenborg Castle has a sprawling garden and is a lovely place just to get lost in the Danish summer sun. There are two cafes on the castle grounds for hungry visitors.
If you have the time or are just a literary nerd, take a train to Helsingor to see Kronborg Castle, which is only one hour from Copenhagen. While it is not confirmed, it is rumored and widely accepted that Kronborg Castle was the palace featured in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. If you visit the castle during the winter or late fall, you can easily see how mysterious and Hamlet-like the castle is. It is free to walk around the castle grounds and they even have a look-out point where you can enjoy the views of Sweden. If you’d like to see the grand halls or reenact the famous play, you will have to pay to go inside. The prices vary, depending on the season, but if you buy your ticket online ahead of time, you may save some money. During the summer, the castle puts on interactive plays where visitors can follow actors around the castle as they enact Hamlet. One summer, the castle hosted Jude Law who played Hamlet in a unique rendition of the play. Check the website to see if any fun events are happening in the castle during the time of your visit
Nyhavn (“New Harbor”) is probably the most iconic picture of Copenhagen. The tall colorful buildings nestled in a small harbor may remind you of Amsterdam; however, after walking around the area, you’ll quickly spot the differences. If the weather is pleasant or if the sun is at least out and shining, then you will see Danes just sitting outside soaking up the sun, even if it is below freezing. If the sun is out, then the Danes are certainly out and about.
Copenhagen’s most famous resident also lives near Nyhavn. The statue of the Little Mermaid is a simple stroll down from the central Nyhavn area. Don't worry about getting lost trying to find her. The crowds and signs placed along the pathway will point you in the right direction. The Little Mermaid stems from the fairytale written by Hans Christian Andersen, which was later made into an animated Disney movie.
You can also climb into a canal boat to explore Copenhagen from a different point of view. The canal tours usually take about an hour and will take you past some of the most famous buildings and castles in Copenhagen, as well as the most expensive residential area. You will get an unobstructed view of the Little Mermaid from the behind, along with all the tourists attempting to take the perfect selfie while trying not to fall in the water.
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