22 Nov 2016
LEGO, Lurpak butter, Carlsberg beer, The Little Mermaid, Hans Christian Andersen, Georg Jensen silverware, Pølsevogn for the best hot dogs, Frederik, Mary and er, Danish pastries. This is Danmark.
Denmark may be the smallest Scandinavian country, but it packs a mighty punch. Once a mighty Viking powerhouse, today it is one of Europe’s most exciting travel destinations. Believe it or not, Denmark has a longer coastline than India and one that is comparable in size and impressiveness to Brazil. Golden sand adds a unique dimension to this northern European destination. Beyond Baltic beaches, castles, impressive fjords, wild forests, and culturally-rich towns make up the rest of Denmark. Music is the sound of life in Denmark too. The Rock Festival in Roskilde and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival are two enormously popular Danish events.
Copenhagen – Coolest kid on the Nordic block, Copenhagen is edgier than Stockholm, worldlier than Oslo and more culturally rich than Helsinki. Style bibles Wallpaper and Monocle magazines fawn over Copenhagen’s industrial chic fashion, design and architectural scene, and the culinary revolution. This is where you’ll find Nordic pioneer Noma (Book early! Strandgade 93, 1401 Copenhagen K. Tel - +45 32 96 32 97) , one of the world’s top 20 restaurants and one of the city’s 15 Michelin-starred restaurants. This is pretty impressive for a city of just 1.2 million people. Sitting on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager, bicycle-friendly Copenhagen with its cobbled streets is linked to Malmo in southern Sweden by the gargantuan Öresund Bridge. With a number of bridges connecting various districts, compact Copenhagen’s cityscape is characterised by parks, promenades and waterfronts. A royal capital with almost nine centuries under its svelte belt, Copenhagen is equally well versed when it comes to world-class museums and storybook streetscapes offering a concoction of sherbet-hued town houses, craft studios and cosy cafes. Indre By, the city's historic centre, contains Frederiksstaden, an 18th-century rococo district, home to the royal family’s Amalienborg Palace. Nearby is Christiansborg Palace and the Renaissance-era Rosenborg Castle, surrounded by gardens and home to the crown jewels. Further landmarks include Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid statue and Frederik’s Church.
Must-see - Tivoli Gardens. One of the planet’s oldest them parks, Tivoli Gardens was opened in 1843. Today, four million visitors a year come to play, which is only marginally less than Euro Disney!
The WOW factor – Known the world over for stylish simplicity and quality craftsmanship, Danish and Scandinavian design is highly covetable. Purveyor to the Royal Danish court, Illums Bolighus (Amagertorv 10, 1160 Copenhagen K) is the premier centre in Scandinavia for Danish and international design. A browse through this temple to modern design will have you lusting after furniture, lamps, kitchen and bathroom gadgetry, ceramics, porcelain, silver, and glassware. Make sure you leave space in your luggage!
Must try - Cuisine in Denmark includes a mishmash of international dishes plus local delicacies like smorrebrod luncheons and seafood dinners. At the cheap end of the scale is a visit to one of the city’s many pølsevogns for a hotdog. There are American hotdogs. Then there are Danish hotdogs. These babies are delicious. Try a ristet hotdog – a frankfurter in a small, long bun topped with pickled cucumber, crispy onions, mustard, ketchup, and remoulade (a sweet mayo pickle and herb sauce). The best pølsevogn in the city is Harry’s Place (Nordre Fasanvej 269, 2200 Copenhagen). If hot dogs aren’t your scene, try smorrebrod – buttered sliced of rye bread topped high with fish, meats and vegetables. One of the city’s best is Aamanns Smørrebrød and Etabilssementet, Øster Farimagsgade 10, Copenhagen Tel - +45 35 55 33 44). Krogs Fiskerestaurant (Gammel Strand 38, Indre By, Copenhagen Tel - +45 33 15 89 15 ) is a fantastic seafood restaurant that has been a Copenhagen institution since 1920. Enjoy the fruits of the sea from pristine Nordic waters: oysters, lobster, sole, plaice, cod, crab and more.
Something different – a trip across the Øresund Bridge - an approximately 16 km long road and rail link between Denmark and Sweden. Consisting of three sections: a bridge, an artificial island and a tunnel, the incredibly impressive Øresund Bridge is also the location where parts of the cult Danish-Swedish hit TV series, The Bridge was filmed. The bridge connects Denmark with Malmö – a bijoux city in the province of Skåne with a good choice of cultural attractions, restaurants, bistros and boutiques full of Swedish design-ware and hip, new Swedish fashion labels.
Best time to visit - The Nordic spring and summer. The sun starts to shine in Denmark from around end April through mid-October. Optimum time is between June and September.
Visitors should also head to Billund! There are many copycats across the globe, but LEGOland in Billund is the original. More than a million people pass its gates annually, making it the busiest attraction in the country outside Denmark’s capital. The centre of the amusement park is Miniland, which features LEGO recreations of famous areas around Denmark and Scandinavia. Not bad for an interlocking plastic brick invented in 1949.
Stay tuned for - Oslo next week.
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