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Copenhagen travel guide

Colourful buildings on Nyhavn waterfront

Overview

The coastal city of Copenhagen is packed with old-world fairytale charm alongside some of the world's most avant garde architecture. It is a vibrant, modern city with a long and fascinating history; it has been the capital of Denmark for nearly 600 years and is home to the oldest resident monarchy in the world.

The biggest city in Scandinavia, Copenhagen occupies a pleasant and strategic spot on the Baltic east coast of Denmark's largest island, Zealand, its harbour overlooked by the world-famous statue of the 'Little Mermaid'.

One of the first impressions that strike visitors to this busy, dynamic capital is the cleanliness and orderliness that prevails in its medieval, cobbled old city streets and along the picturesque canals in Christianshavn. Most of the myriad attractions for visitors are situated within about one square mile (3sqkm) of flat terrain in the centre, making it easy to explore on foot (or by bicycle, which is the vehicle of choice for locals).

Five streets in the heart of the city have been merged to provide the world's longest pedestrian mall, running between Rådhuspladsen and Kongens Nytorv, which is packed with historic gabled buildings, dynamic department stores, numerous interesting little shops, restaurants, pavement cafes, theatres, and world-class museums and galleries.

Despite the condensed city centre, Copenhagen is not short on green lungs: parks such as the ever-popular Tivoli Gardens abound in this city, which prides itself on its strict anti-pollution laws and lack of glass and chrome skyscrapers.

The family-friendly city that spawned beloved storyteller Hans Christian Andersen is, indeed, a modern, urban fairytale: one of Europe's finest capitals, Copenhagen retains a provincial charm and sense of history along with cutting-edge efficiency, offering its justifiably proud citizens an extremely high standard of living.

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