Tivoli Gardens

Steeped in nostalgia, these amusement gardens were built in 1843 on the site of former fortifications in the heart of Copenhagen, on the south side of Rådhuspladsen. Some 160,000 flowers and 110,000 electric lights set the tone, and a collection of restaurants, dance halls, theaters, beer gardens, and lakes attracts many thousands of visitors every year.


This pedestrian-only urban walkway stretches between Rådhuspladsen and Kongens Nytorv, two of the city's most visible and busiest plazas. En route along its trajectory are two spectacular, although smaller, squares, Gammeltorv and Nytorv, "old" and "new" squares, which seem to blossom during the warm-weather months with outdoor seating -- extensions of the many restaurants that line its edges. The word "Strøget" usually doesn't appear on maps. Instead, Strøget encompasses five interconnected streets: Frederiksberggade, Nygade, Villelskaftet, Amagertorv, and Østergade.

Nyhavn/Kongens Nytorv

Nyhavn ("New Harbor") was originally conceived in the 1670s by the Danish king as a shelter from the storms of the North and Baltic Sea, and as a means of hauling building supplies into central Copenhagen. Nyhavn today is the site of a denser concentration of restaurants than any other neighborhood in Copenhagen. Moored beside its granite embankments, you'll see old or even antique fishing boats, some of which remain in place to preserve the sense of old-fashioned nostalgia. For many generations, Nyhavn was the haunt of sailors looking for tattoos, cheap drinks, and other diversions. Nowadays it's one of the most obviously gentrified sections of the city, with outdoor terraces that are mobbed during warm-weather months with chattering, sometimes hard-drinking Danes on holiday. At the top, or western terminus, of the Nyhavn canal is the five-sided Kongens Nytorv (King's New Market), site of the deluxe Hotel d'Angleterre and the Royal Theater.

Indre By

This is the Old Town, the heart of Copenhagen. Once filled with monasteries, it's a maze of streets, alleyways, and squares. The neighborhood around Gammeltorv and Nørregade, sometimes called "The Latin Quarter," contains many buildings linked with the university. The Vor Frue Kirke (cathedral of Copenhagen) is here, as is the Rundetårn (Round Tower).


This island, site of Christiansborg Palace, was where Bishop Absalon built Copenhagen's first fortress in 1167. Today it's the seat of the Danish parliament and home of Thorvaldsen's Museum. Bridges link Slotsholmen to Indre By. You can also visit the Royal Library (site of a recent hypermodern new wing described as the "Black Diamond"), the Theater Museum, and the Royal Stables. The 17th-century Børsen (stock exchange) is also here.


Set on the opposite side of Copenhagen's harbor from the rest of the city, this was the "new town" ordered by master builder King Christian IV in the early 1500s. The town was originally constructed in the Dutch Renaissance style to house workers in the shipbuilding industry. Visitors come today mainly to see the Danish Film Museum, on Store Søndervoldstræde, and Vors Frelsers Kirke, on the corner of Prinsessegade and Skt. Annægade. Sightseers can climb the spire of the old church for a panoramic view. Within the Christianshavn district is the offbeat community of Christiania. In 1971, many young and homeless people moved in, without the city's permission, proclaiming Christiania a "free city" (that is, partially exempt from the rules and regulations of the Danish government) within the orbit of Greater Copenhagen. It has been a freewheeling and controversial place ever since.

Once filled with barracks for soldiers, Christiania is within walking distance of Vor Frelsers Kirke at Christianshavn. You can enter the area on Prinsessegade. The craft shops and restaurants here are fairly cheap because the residents refuse to pay Denmark's crippling 25% sales tax.


Once a hotbed slum loaded with junkies and prostitutes, Vesterbro would be comparable to the East Village or Williamsburg in New York City. Its main street, Istedgade, runs west from the Central Railway Station. Don't come here for monuments or museums, but for hip cafes, bars, music, and ethnic restaurants. No longer a slum, Vesterbro's sense of newfound hipness centers on the cafes and bars around the Halmtorvet, Vesterbro's main square. Expect gentrification but also cultural diversity such as Turkish-Kurdish gift shops, food markets loaded with fruits you might not immediately recognize, barbers from Istanbul, and, from time to time, a sex shop like those that proliferated here during the '70s and '80s.


Adjacent to Vesterbro, Nørrebro takes the immigrant overflow, and is also rich in artisan shops and ethnic restaurants, especially Turkish and Pakistani. This area has been a blue-collar neighborhood since the middle of the 19th century. The original Danish settlers have long since departed, replaced by immigrants who are not always greeted with a friendly reception in Copenhagen. The area also abounds with trend-conscious artists, students, and musicians, who can't afford the high rents elsewhere. Numerous secondhand clothing stores -- especially around Sankt Hans Torv -- give Nørrebro the flavor of a Middle Eastern bazaar. Antiques shops (believe us, many of the furnishings and objets d'art aren't authentic) also fill the area. Most of these "antiques" stores lie along Ravnsborgade. The district is also home to a historic cemetery, Assistens Kirkegård, burial ground of both Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard, just to the west of Nørrebrogade. If you're looking for the densest concentrations of the nightlife that the district has become famous for, head for either Sankt Hans Torv or Blågårdsgade.


Heading west of the inner city along Vesterbrogade, you will reach the residential and business district of Frederiksberg. It grew up around Frederiksberg Palace, constructed in the Italianate style, with an ocher facade. A park, Frederiksberg Have, surrounds the palace. To the west of the palace is the Zoologisk Have, one of the largest zoos in Europe.


Dragør is a fishing village south of the city that dates from the 16th century. Along with Tivoli, this seems to be everybody's favorite leisure spot. It's especially recommended for its aura of an 18th-century Danish village, if you only have time to see the Copenhagen area. Walk its cobblestone streets and enjoy its 65 old red-roofed houses, designated as national landmarks.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.