Copenhagen has built up a reputation over the past few decades for pioneering European art and design. If you’re visiting for a short break, make sure you find time to sample some of the aesthetic pleasures on show at one of the city’s many galleries and museums. The Statens Museum for Kunst sprawls over two sharply contrasting buildings, a 19th-century palazzo and a minimalist extension. This contrast features in the collection itself, which encompasses masters such as Breughel and Rembrand alongside modern Danish heavy hitters like Per Kirkeby and Asger Jørn. If you’d rather marvel at industrial design, the Designmuseum Danmark is an excellent place to spend a few hours. Or if history is more your area of interest, the Nationalmuseet has an extensive collection of artefacts dating as far back as the Stone Age.
Mermaids and carnivals
The most photographed monument in Copenhagen is without a doubt the Little Mermaid statue on Langelinje Pier, built in 1909 by sculptor Edvard Eriksen. Further fairytale delights can be found at the Tivoli Gardens, a 19th-century entertainment centre that includes old-fashioned rollercoasters, vaudeville shows and hundreds of fairy lights after sunset. There’s plenty to do here for both kids and adults alike. If you’re looking for a glimpse of alternative Copenhagen, Freetown Christiania is an area of the city founded in 1971 as a green, car-free neighbourhood, where you’ll find a number of art galleries and music venues.
Two of the most pleasant ways to explore Copenhagen are by renting a bike or by hopping on a boat cruise. You’ll find places to rent bikes dotted close to the main transport hubs, and there is also a city bike system that you can use to rent bikes for a few hours at a time. On the canals, DFDS Canal Tours operate both waterbuses and guided tours of the city.
Opera and cocktails
If you’re in the mood for live performance, you can catch some opera in the state-of-the-art Operaen centre, or you can watch theatre and dance at Det Kongelige Teater and the Skuespilhuset. After sunset, kick back with a cocktail in one of Copenhagen’s many chic bars, from the award-winning 1105 bar to the laid back K-Bar. If you’d rather enjoy a glass of wine, the fashionable Ved Stranden 10 has an excellent menu and offers stunning canal-side views.