The Danish capital is a unique destination, a harmonious blend of winding alleys, grandiose royal palaces and beautiful shops in the old town, the Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid and avant-garde buildings. There are five things you must see and do to feel the heartbeat of Copenhagen, a city that lies at the crossroads of the MSC Cruises journeys between the great capitals and fjords of Northern Europe
The first landmark that all travellers dream of visiting as soon as they arrive in Copenhagen is, without doubt, the statue of the Little Mermaid; world famous and photographed by millions of romantics every year. This sweet girl from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale has sat on her rock and cast her dreamy gaze over the port for over a hundred years. She was donated to the city in 1913 by the brewer Carl Jacobsen, founder of the Carlsberg brewery. She is cast in bronze and is only 125 centimetres tall. Sadly, over the years she has been subjected to many acts of vandalism, but despite everything she sits forever on her rock, beautiful yet sad, waiting for her beloved prince!
The Tivoli Gardens are the next destination. Grown-ups and children alike will be amazed by what is on offer at this amusement park in central Copenhagen with rides, gardens, restaurants, open-air shows and even two hotels. The park is the second oldest of its kind in the world and was inaugurated in 1843. At night, Tivoli is a romantic wonderland illuminated by more than 111 thousand lights, while during the day, visitors can admire its 400 thousand flowers, of which 65 thousand are tulips, a constant companion while you stroll through the park.
To be or not to be? The most famous question in the history of theatre still re-echoes throughout Kronborg castle. It was built by the Danish king Eric of Pomerania on the furthermost tip of Zelandia, at the point where the distance between Denmark and Sweden is only four kilometres, to keep control over the passage of ships. In 1585, Frederick II of Denmark transformed it into a renaissance castle, unique throughout Europe thanks to its size and style. A terrible fire destroyed a large part of the castle in 1629 and, since then, it has never been restored to its original splendour.
Shakespeare launched Kronborg castle into fame by using it as the setting for his renowned tragedy, Hamlet: every summer, the castle’s courtyard hosts a festival celebrating the English playwright and his most famous works.
After leaving Hamlet and his tragic musings behind, throw yourself into the lively atmosphere of Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s historic port. It was built in 1671 by Christian IV and was Denmark’s commercial centre for two centuries. The typical coloured houses that border the port date back to the 17th and 18th centuries and are famous worldwide. It was also home to Hans Christian Andersen author of the Little Mermaid. Today, this district is known for being “the biggest bar in Scandinavia” thanks to the numerous bars and restaurants that have sprung up along the picturesque canal. Good company, a beer in your hand, a plate of bread, butter and salmon and then the rumble of martial drums.
You cannot leave Copenhagen without seeing the changing of the guard in front of the Royal palace. Not far from the Kogens Nytors (King’s New Square) lies the Amalienborg, the Danish royal family’s residence. The building complex is made up of four palaces that look onto a central square.
At twelve o’clock every day, the royal guards cross the city from the Rosenborg castle to Amalienborg, marching to the beat of the drums, and take up their places in front of the gates of honour. How can you resist the temptation of having your photo taken beside an upright, stern guard in his elegant royal uniform?
For information about MSC Cruises journeys and excursions, visit www.msccruises.com, browse the new brochure or consult your travel agent.