THE CHILLY CITY OF THE NORTH
THE CHILLY CITY OF THE NORTH, Selçuk Korkmaz | 13.12.2014
Founded by the Vikings in 10th century, Copenhagen, with a population of around 2 million is one of the most important centers of Scandinavia. Meaning the Merchant's Harbor in Danish Copenhagen, loyal to its name, is a settlement nested within its canals. Once a small fishing village, today it is one of the most modern metropolises of Europe. Wandering around the streets it's very much obvious that the historical values have been preserved as the transformations have taken place.
Copenhagen has a classical northern climate that has the characteristics of cold winter and less cold summers. The best season to visit the city is autumn when the leaves turn yellow from green. We won't deny that spring in Copenhagen has a special beauty, but you may find the city a bit cold during these months when it's trying to shake off winter.So, if you intend to visit Copenhagen, try to make your plans and hit the road during autumn. In autumn you can experience both the morning sunshine bidding its farewell to the lukewarm days of summer, and the breeze from the canals forerunning the winter.
If you are a big fan of walking then you'll become a big fan of Copenhagen. You can explore almost the whole city on foot.
The modest architecture of the north will amaze you and you'll get lost among the canals and the back streets of the city. At the end of the day what you'll have won't be fatigue, on the contrary you’ll have a smile warming your heart. If you say, I like walking, but I'd prefer to ride a bicycle, you are in luck because you are in just the right place. Copenhagen takes the top place on the list of bicycle friendly cities. Either with your own bicycle, or with a rental bike, you can tour the whole city. It’s possible to collect the rental bikes from you departure point and leave them at totally different destination within the city. On every street you will see lanes, parking lots and traffic lights for bikes. The bikers have a total freedom in city traffic, and this prepossesses all the residents of Copenhagen. No matter how old they are, everyone rides a bicycle, and they're not just pedaling to work out, it's a part of life and transportation. If you neither walk nor ride a bike, you can use a ticket that you can get from the airport which is valid for 24 hours on any form of public transportation (subway, train, bus). However, you should bear in mind that each moment you spend on the subway you are missing a different sight of Copenhagen.
Constructed in the 17th century Nyhavn can be a good start for your Copenhagen visit. Meaning literally the new harbor, the region hosted ships bringing products to the city and taking products from the city in the past. I am talking about the region that has colorful hundred year old houses lying together which you often see on Copenhagen postcards and magnets.Though today it has lost its importance as a commercial center, it has become one of the city’s touristic hubs. In the ground floor of every building there are very nice cafes, bars and restaurants. Depending on your taste and choice you can have a nice breakfast, an elegant lunch or an entertaining evening. Especially breakfast on a bright morning, or a cold night spent in one of the famous bars of Copenhagen is sure to be unforgettable. In the area where the canal goes further in land there are also daily boat trips available for short trips. After a king's breakfast, instead of walking, if you prefer a boat trip touring the city, then you're in the right spot. On the canal tours, which generally last for couple of hours, you'll see a different side to Copenhagen.
How about continuing your way on the seaside and meeting a heroine from a fairy tale in Nyhavn? After approximately a 15 minute walk you can see the Little Mermaid Statue which was inspired by the fairy tale of famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, Den Lile Havfrue (The Mermaid). Created by sculptor Edward Eriksen in 1913, The Little Mermaid is today one of the most important symbols of the city. She has turned her back to the sailors maybe as a tit for tat, and waits for her prince and visitors in a kind of blue mood.
The most busy and lively spot of the city is unarguably the famous Stroget Street. Starting form Kogens Nytorv Square, and also housing the Guinness World Records Museum, it extends as far as the Tivoli Gardens; the Stroget Street is around 1.5 kilometers long. You can go shopping for world famous brands on the main street, or enjoy the boutiques waiting to be discovered in the back streets where I guarantee you will be very much impressed by the elegant and modest Scandinavian fashion. The cafes and the restaurants on the street are very convenient for a little break. Alternatively you can try the local delicacies available from the stands at each street corner. In addition, like on all famous streets, you can see street performers in Copenhagen. If you are lucky enough, you might be able to catch an enjoyable street concert or a street artist's performance. If you are a beer fan, keep in mind that there is a Carlsberg Museum in the city.For an extraordinary beer experience, you can take the bus which passes the end of the street and go to the museum.
If you would like to see some beautiful scenery while you are in the area of Stroget Street, Rundertarn (The Round Tower), a few blogs away from the main street, offers a wonderful view of the Copenhagen scenery. On a clear, bright day, you can see the whole city center from the observation deck. To take a look at this breath taking scenery from the 35 meter high observation deck, you’ll need a ticket, the cost is 25 krona per person. You will also need to climb the ramp which was built instead of a staircase so that the king could reach the observatory without leaving his carriage! Built in the 17th century as a part of Trinitatis Church, the tower was an astrological observatory. It also housed the library of Copenhagen Museum. Today an active cultural venue with lots of exhibitions has taken the place of the library, but the observation deck remains in use. Also, you can see the church bell from the mezzanines.
At times traveling with kids may be hard, but whatever the ages of the kids are, I always imagine that having a vacation with them will be lots of fun. Lots of surprises wait for children in Copenhagen. Let the kids go where they want to go, just follow them. You can find stores selling world famous brands like BR, Lego, Disneyland and Hamley's. If you are travelling with children, take the opportunity to revisit your childhood with them. Choosing toys with them in these stores with their established toys, I’m sure you will be reminded of a time when they were also your top priority. Let them enjoy the world of toys as much as they like.
At the end of the street there is a surprise waiting for you and your children. It's the modest statue of world famous writer, Hans Christian Andersen. The writer of The Little Mermaid, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina and many other fairy tales, probably turned his face towards Tivoli Gardens for a reason, maybe it symbolizes that he's waiting for new kids to listen to his fairy tales. In this park, that inspired the idea of Disneyland, you will be amazed how quickly time passes.
During its growth and modernization Copenhagen hasn’t excluded green areas, on the contrary, on each corner of the city a park is situated. There are lots of parks in different sizes. Absolutely the most well-known of them is Frederiksberg Park. The 400 year old park also houses the Copenhagen Zoo. It will take hours to tour the whole park comprising 64 hectares, but with its different walking tracks you'll get enough of all the green you desired for. The tracks intersecting with the shadows of trees compose a romantic and really magical ambiance. Plus the canal passing through the park really reflects the character of it. Especially in front of the Frederiksberg Castle you can enjoy the sunshine and the green areas and have lots of fun having a Sunday morning picnic.
OK, you left the park, and you're walking in the street, and right in front of you, there is some amazing scenery, wouldn't you like to explore it?
I've got news for anybody who likes shopping for second hand goods and antiques. On the second hand market, which takes place from April to October and is very close to Frederiksberg Park, you will find just about anything you could possibly be looking for. From clothes, books, and long plays to housewares and even toys. You can find anything that comes to your mind.
One of the places you should definitely visit before leaving Copenhagen is Christiania which is also known as the free town. In the 1970's the hippie movement resisting against the police refused to leave the area they had been squatting in, and the government in office didn't want to end the squat using police force and chose to legitimize the independence of the district. Cristiana now has around 1000 residents and its own flag and constitution. In the town where European Union and Danish laws don't apply, the police don't have any authority either. I am talking about an absolutely autonomous town. There are no security problems in the district, but I should mention that photography generally isn’t tolerated. Going in and out of the town, I couldn't help but smile when I saw the signs “You're leaving the EU” and “You're entering EU”
With its traditional architecture, parks and canals, Copenhagen will be a different destination for those who are looking for more than bright sunny weather in their vacation. Despite the cold weather, with its kind, elegant and warm hearted residents, it can be described as a tourist friendly city. Tivoli Gardens alone can be reason enough to visit Copenhagen. You can start exploring the magical cities of Scandinavia from Copenhagen. All you need is a long weekend and your winter woollies...
Before I forget, what were the girls standing in line for? Don't tell me that, you're not a bit curious?