Copenhagen: A perfect destination for art and culture loversCopenhagen, capital of a country that has one of the oldest monarchies in the world. A wealth of architecture and culture looming around just about every corner makes this a very special city that is waiting to be discovered by its visitors.
CityZapper’s editors selected the best tips and advice on Copenhagen for you and the team created this online city guide to make your visit an unforgettable one. Rest assured that you’ll get to see the city’s best and most unique sights, spots and venues.
Art and culture lovers will find everything their heart desires and more in the Danish capital. Visit the city’s ornate buildings, beautiful parks and grand fountains or lose yourself in Europe’s oldest theme park, Tivoli, which is not to be missed. True shopaholics are sure to love Strøget, a shopping street which cuts right across the very heart of Copenhagen and which is home to a wide variety of shops and stores such as large department stores and fashion chains as well as small and upmarket boutiques. Street artists are always around to liven things up with their great performances. Don’t forget to exchange your own currency for Danish crowns (dansk krone) since this currency has been legal tender in Denmark for over 130 years! Denmark has been part of the European Union for over 40 years but the country has not joined the euro.
Do try smørrebrød and røde pølser, both of them Danish delicacies. The Ida Davidsen restaurant specialises in smørrebrød, lavishly filled rye bread. The menu lists more than 177 different sandwiches. The most popular sandwiches are displayed in a glass food display cabinet which will make choosing a sandwich just a little easier. Copenhagen also has a vibrant nightlife; what’s more, the city even has its own official drink: The Copenhagen Cocktail! You can’t leave Copenhagen without having tried it since this cocktail is a delicious mix of Bols Genever (gin), Cherry Heering liqueur and lime juice.
Book a Copenhagen city break and rest assured that you’re in for a fun-filled weekend!
HistoryCopenhagen was founded by either Sweyn Forkbeard or by his son, Cnut the Great. However, traditionally, Copenhagen's founding has been dated to Bishop Absalon’s construction of Absalon’s Castle on the little island of Slotsholmenn in 1167. This is where Christiansborg Palace stands today.
Up until that time and for many years, the city used to be the centre of the realm of the Danish kings. In addition to the provinces that currently make up the Kingdom of Denmark, the Swedish provinces of Skåne, Halland and Blekinge also formed part of the ancient kingdom. The herring trade was booming and “Havn” (harbour), the name by which Copenhagen was known at the time, grew in importance after the year 1100 since the city found itself at the crossroads of both traffic and trade.
The aforementioned Absalon's Castle, “Borg ved Havn” in Danish, was founded in 1167 by Bishop Absalon of Roskilde, who in 1157 had received the city of Copenhagen and its surroundings as a gift from King Valdemar I of Denmark. By 1416, Copenhagen had become the official capital of Denmark. The construction of the then very modern and large galleons proved to be very important for the city’s prosperity and employment. From 1658 until 1659, the city withstood a siege by the Swedes led by the Swedish King Carl X Gustaf.
Two big fires, in 1728 and 1795, resulted in the fact that not many of the era’s narrow streets and buildings have been preserved. Copenhagen’s current and spacious grid plan dates from the 18th century.
The Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 saw a British fleet fight a huge Danish fleet. In 1807, the British fleet returned and opened fire on the city of Copenhagen to prevent the Danes from pledging their fleet to Napoleon. In the end, the Danes capitulated and their fleet was seized.
During the Second World War, Copenhagen was occupied by the Germans as was the rest of Denmark. Many buildings were destroyed during the occupation which lasted until the Allied victory on May 5th 1945.
Present-day Copenhagen is a modern city which is both progressive and innovative in many ways.