Storybook journeys can step out from page to reality, when one visits Denmark’s charming capital of Copenhagen. After all, this is the land that nurtured the world-famous myths of Hans Christian Andersen, like Thumbelina and The Little Mermaid, while Shakespeare used Kronborg Castle as the setting for Hamlet.
As Lonely Planet’s 2019 top city to travel to, Copenhagen’s bewitching history and rich culture will have you enthralled, no matter how you approach it. The very lands are soaked in stories to tell, and the stone walls seal in over 1,200 years of kingdom monarchy.
CHARTING HISTORY AND CULTURE WITH CASTLES
Don’t worry, retelling the Danish history isn’t housed in some stuffy museum. From towering turrets to jaw-dropping murals, a visit to one of Copenhagen’s iconic castles is the ultimate immersive trip back in time. The best part? Amalienborg Palace and Rosenborg Castle are within the city itself, while Kronborg Castle and Frederiksborg Castle are easy day trips out, just an hour by car or train.
Sparking Shakepeare’s most famous play, Kronborg Castle’s massive grounds by the straits look perfect for some dramatic bloodletting.
The UNESCO Heritage Site is one of Northern Europe’s best examples of a Renaissance castle, and the insides of the halls have seen decadent partying from aristocrats to military reinforcements against the Swedes.
Today, it plays host to performances (like Hamlet) and is a monument for visitors from all over.
A perfect accompaniment to that is Frederiksborg Castle. The palatial complex is best known for its pretty baroque garden, as well as a Museum of Natural History, where halls, portraits and furniture paint the story of the many epochs.
If a taste of the royal life beckons, you might wish to wander through Amalienborg Palace, which still serves as grounds for the royal family of Denmark. Witness the royal changing of guards, then visit the museum to discover the passage of the Danish monarchy. For an even more vivid presentation of the royal history, Rosenborg Castle holds 400 years of astounding royal artifacts and treasures – including the shiny Crown Jewels.
FROM PAGEANTRY TO PLAY
Contrary to how it sounds, Tivoli Gardens is essentially an amusement park. But this legendary hotspot for locals and tourists alike is not just for children. Close to the city centre and Central Station, Tivoli is 80,000 sq m of fun, food and fabulous flora.
Opened in 1843, you are looking at the world’s second-oldest amusement park that is still operating, and one that even Walt Disney took reference from with several visits, before he opened his own in 1955. So to say the park was ahead of its time is not an exaggeration. Today, it keeps the best of the traditional and innovative, with kid-friendly rides like The Flying Trunk and Camel Trail, all the way to tech rides like The Demon, which incorporates virtual reality.
Dot your day with themed picnics besides hanging gardens or bamboo forests, or grab some delicious Michelin-worthy fare – Asian, Italian, Nordic, your pick! – and jive to musical performances on daily rotation. The grounds might be sprawling, but it’s densely packed with lush entertainment that changes with the seasons, and a perfect living monument to the Danish lifestyle.
FROM THEME PARKS TO TOWNS
An hour and a half away by train from Copenhagen is the home of literary giant, Hans Christian Andersen. Odense is placed in the green island of Fyn, and takes everyone back to when cobbled streets made sense.
“To travel is to live,” the famed author once said, and just moving within Odense, you’ll find a modern city with urban cafes running parallel to quaint museums like the Funen Village and the Danish Railway Museum. In the historic district, you’ll find a thoughtful hamlet left largely unchanged, that even keeps intact the little yellow house the famous author once lived in. A tour from here will capture the old charm that birthed the fairytales, as you walk in the footsteps of Andersen.
If you like your clock turned back a little more, Ribe is the answer to your prayers. The town stretches back 1,300 years, making it the oldest in Denmark – but this is not a derelict antique. Rather, you’ll find a well-preserved town attached to some of the most scenic spots, such as those at the Wadden Sea National Park – the largest in Denmark and a UNESCO site, and the Wadden Sea Centre, which is a splendid gateway with its remarkable architecture and presentation of migratory birds in the park. You’re also an hour or less away from alternative activities, such as experiencing the white beaches at Southwest Jutland, or for the fans, Legoland.
Explore Copenhagen and beyond with Singapore Airlines (SIA) and enjoy a flight with over 1,800 on-demand entertainment options in a mood-lighting cabin designed for comfort. Extend your journey with a visit to Aarhus’s underground Viking Museum, or take in the striking architecture of Utzon Center in Aalborg. There’s also, of course, the world’s grandest Legoland in Billund, all made possible with seamless connections by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), a partner airline of SIA. Start planning your discovery of Copenhagen with promotional fares starting from S$908 at singaporeair.com. Sale ends Nov 6, 2019.
Read more travel tales of Copenhagen here.