Underrated Attractions in Copenhagen, Denmark
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Copenhagen is Denmark’s capital, a small and charming town, blessed with the Scandinavian atmosphere. Every touristic guide will invite you to meet the Little Mermaid, to visit gardens and palaces, to walk on Hans Christian Andersen’s steps. They will talk about the royal palace, museums, and promenades. Will sends you to theaters and zoo parks. But the true spirit of Copenhagen is hidden inside some much-underrated places. Let this city inspire you. Let it show you its heart and soul, its way of life, its principles, and its joy.
Bicycle and Kayak sightseeing
Almost every citizen in Copenhagen owns a bicycle. Mornings are animated by colored, hurried bicycles. They go to work, to school, to business meetings, everywhere. Here bicycles have more rights than cars. If you want to feel the real city, take a tour by bike. Renting is very easy and cheap, bicycle tracks lead you anywhere you want, parking is a piece of cake, and stealing is not a Danish word. Wake up early in the morning, grab a pretzel and a tea, and enjoy a day on two wheels.
On the other hand, weekends and afternoons are for kayaking. A dense network of canals allows you to see the entire city. Both exotic and practical, sightseeing from a kayak will make a true Danish experience. In Copenhagen, they have a tradition of kayaking. There are places for renting and hosting kayaks, equipment stores, courses, guided tours and many other kayak relating activities. Kayak sightseeing will be a great first time for a novice and a relaxing day for an expert.
Carlsberg is Copenhagen most famous brewery. Founded in 1847 by J.C. Jacobsen, the brewery is well known in the entire world. Less known is its architectural symbol, the most famous landmark in the area, designed in 1901 after an idea of J.C. Jacobsen’s son, Carl.
Elephants Gate is also known as Elephants Tower. Four real-sized elephants support a brick tower, inspired from different cultures and periods. The initial inspiration was Bernini’s obelisk-carrying elephant on Piazza della Minerva in Rome. The result is not Italian at all. Covered in red ornamental brick, with rounded windows, and an onion dome, Elephants Gate includes many symbols. The most important (and later controversial) is swastika. A symbol of luck in Sanskrit language, swastika was used in the official trademark of Carlsberg Brewery. Furthermore, Carl Jacobsen wanted his four children names graved on each elephant. He had lost other four children before the building was finished and he wanted health and prosperity for the remaining ones. But history had other plans and what in 1901 was luck, in 1930s was the Nazi symbol. In 1940s, the brewery stopped using the swastika in its trademark.
Queen Louise’s Bridge
You can cross the lake in the center of Copenhagen using a bridge built between 1885 and 1887: Queen Louise’s Bridge. The bridge was later transformed to accommodate more pedestrians and cyclists. When everyone was building roads for cars, in Copenhagen the bridge was modified to reduce car traffic and increase cycling and walking. This is the spirit of Copenhagen. This is what you should take home with you. You should notice the generosity of nature, the ecological perspective, the relaxed atmosphere, and the love.
Queen Louise’s Bridge is a gathering point, with benches, coffee, and beer houses. People come here for a sunbath, a talk or meeting with friends. Queen Louise’s Bridge is a peaceful place in the heart of the city.
Another example of true Copenhagen spirit is Noma. A two-Michelin-star restaurant, founded in 2004 by Chef René Redzepi, Noma aims to make popular the new Nordic Diet. The principles of this new diet are simple and easy to follow. The mentality is harder to change. In brief, the new Nordic Diet advice you to use seasonal products, locally cultivated, and to eat less beef and more vegetables. All these principles rely on healthy and ecological reasons. At Noma, this diet is fully implemented. Danish vegetables, mushrooms, fish and algae, berries, traditional cooking and the only seasonal food is their offer. The spirit of Noma was written in two cookbooks.
Noma worked. Its success is validated. You need to book a table with two or three months before. People from all over the world come to be an intern here, to learn and to grow.
Every traveler should know that the real feeling of a city lies in its markets. Only is a market you can smell, touch, and see the most intimate aspects of a city. In a market, you’ll find locals, not touristic guides and sellers. In a market, you can try traditional food and ingredients. In Copenhagen, Torvehallerne is market you want to visit.
Over 100, 000 people come here for their daily groceries. Everything is fresh, from fish to meat, to fruits and vegetables. More than 80 shops are waiting for you. Besides ingredients and spices, in Torvehallerne you’ll find tea and coffee, cooked food, fine chocolate and small places where you can have a whole meal.
Try to visit Copenhagen with a different perspective in mind. Look for the underdog. Find the spirit, follow the people, and let you submerged in a Scandinavian culture, in a cleaner way of life. Copenhagen will be a breath of fresh air in your life.
About the Author:
This article was written by Monica Radulescu, savvy travel blogger at asabbatical.com, a personal travel blog of Adrian Sameli. To connect with Monica, follow her on Facebook.