By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert
As the gateway to Scandinavia and the capital of Denmark, charming yet contemporary Copenhagen, mixes the old with the new. Danish for “merchants harbor”, waterways and small islets dominate this City of Spires known for its glorious palaces and churches. Overflowing with culture and cafes, stroll picturesque 17th century Nyhaven Harbor or shop stylish Stroget Street. And be sure to rub the bronzed tail of the city’s most famous symbol, the Little Mermaid – a hometown tribute to fairy tale master Hans Christian Anderson.
The historic core of the metropolis is the small island of Slotsholmen where Bishop Absalon founded the famous castle in 1167. The area has remained the center of regal rule and is home to the famous Christiansborg Complex. There are numerous museums here too, featuring sculpture, wartime memorabilia and porcelain.
Have fun at famous Tivoli Gardens where the oldest Ferris wheel in the world still turns, a big roller coaster still rolls and colorful horses still go round the merry-go-round. Stroll the gardens and enjoy the music and art there too. Excellent eateries grace the grounds, from casual, for a sausage roll or a pastry, to refined including restaurant Paul, which has one Michelin star.
Other tasty moments abound. For one of the city’s best smorrebord (open-faced sandwich) with smoked salmon, ham and cheeses, try Ida Davidsen’s, still a family run restaurant five generations later and frequented by the Danish royals. Dinner can be quite the experience as the city has 13 Michelin starred restaurants. Obviously, the dining options are fantastic and NOMA, featuring Nordic specialties is currently considered the best restaurant in the world and well worth the splurge.
SAIL: Copenhagen. Before sailing away, bring the city’s Danish flavors and flair home. Shop for tabletop pieces or trinkets from traditional blue and white Royal Copenhagen Porcelain or modern silversmith designer Georg Jensen. Danish butter cookies make a great gift as does a bottle of Danish Aquavit, a distilled white liqueur flavored with herbs like cardamom, caraway or dill.
SIP: Beer. Danes love their brews and beer remains the city’s number one export. Sip the local star Carlsberg or visit their famous brewery, founded here in 1847, and taste the various ales. And if you really want a sipping adventure, the Danes enjoy a shot of aquavit followed by a beer chaser!!
SAVOR: Smorrebrod (Open-faced Sandwich). Served on buttered hearty rye, topped with smoked fish or cold meats with slices of cheese, cucumber, red onion, tomato and hard boiled eggs, this is the traditional Danish lunch to try and even better with a beer!!