Viking Ships, Fairytales and Hygge in Copenhagen

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

Copenhagen is a Scandinavian cultural hotspot with castles, palaces, and museums dedicated to everything from Vikings and modern art to beer and music! See Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid on the shore, learn about Denmark’s maritime history and admire Scandinavian feats of design, while feasting on delicious Danish open sandwiches.

Royal for the Day at Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Castle in the heart of Copenhagen rises from sculpted gardens like a Dutch Renaissance version of a Disney palace. The exterior conjures images of the days when Denmark was an Absolute Monarchy and was built in the 17th century by Christian IV, one of the country’s most famous kings.

Before entering the castle on a guided tour, stroll along tree-lined avenues, marvel at sculpted gardens and bronze statues, then step inside to see how Danish royalty used to live.

Inside, walls are adorned with ancestral portraits, woven tapestries and in the Knight’s Hall, coronation thrones still stand just as they did centuries ago. Include a visit to King Christian IV’s Writing Room in the tower chamber – a place so well-preserved that you can almost sense the aroma of wax lingering in the air and imagine the sound of a quill etching important messages onto paper.

If you’re interested in learning more about Copenhagen’s royal lineage, pair this trip with a visit to Amalienborg Palace and its interesting museum nearby. 

Tall Ships and Smørrebrød at Nyhavn

Nyhavn is the most recognisable cityscape in Copenhagen. The historic quarter dazzles visitors with its colourful townhouses overlooking a waterfront dotted with tall wooden sailing ships.

It was built in the mid-1600s as a gateway from the city to the sea. Nyhavn was a place where ships could deposit their cargo, and where fishermen would sell their daily catch and seek out company after weeks at sea.

The centuries-old trade district is lined with residential houses, quaint waterside restaurants, and boat trips are offered to tourists on any given day. Walk or cycle along cobbled streets before settling down to enjoy Smørrebrød and hygge with friends.

Smørrebrød, which dates to the Middle Ages, is a traditional Danish open sandwich usually served on rye bread - ‘rugbrød’. The sandwiches are often served in trios, with each one comprising different toppings. These can range from pickled herring to prawns or roast beef with mustard or horseradish dressing.

Museums and Legends of Copenhagen

Copenhagen is blessed with some of Scandinavia’s finest museums. They incorporate everything from art and design to architecture, music and fairy tales.

Although Viking exhibits exist at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, those who truly wish to channel their inner Viking can travel 30 minutes to the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde. Here you can see five recreated ships, learn about Viking culture and trade, dine on Nordic Viking inspired food and experience their thirst for exploring new horizons through a range of interactive exhibits.

Meanwhile, music lovers can spend time at Musikmuseet where guided tours offer insight into Danish and European music. The museum displays hundreds of instruments, plus, the tours can be tailored to your personal preferences.

Lovers of legends and fairy tales can experience life through the eyes of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen on a Copenhagen walking tour. The novelist, famous for his children’s works such as ‘The Ugly Duckling’ and ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ is revered by the Danes and traces of his literary legacy can be discovered at the Royal Danish Theatre, in The King’s Garden and at the Little Mermaid sculpture by the water’s edge.

Five-Star Scandi Hospitality overlooking Tivoli Gardens

The Nimb sits at the edge of Denmark’s most famous amusement park, Tivoli Gardens, more resembling a sultan’s palace than a hotel. The exterior is painted brilliant white, adorned with ornamental balustrades, minarets and topped with a decorative dome, all of which illuminate with twinkling lights after dark.

Guest rooms and suites are luxurious – the décor a unique blend of Nordic minimalism infused with eastern antiquities. Some accommodations, including the Executive Suite, boast views of Tivoli Gardens and Copenhagen’s cityscape. They also offer access to the amusement park (in season) and Nimb’s rooftop bar, terrace, and swimming pool.

In the evening, join friends old and new in the Nimb Bar to sip signature cocktails beneath sparkling chandeliers, be entertained with live rock music or step outside to observe bubble fountains in the sculpted gardens.

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