What to see & do in Copenhagen

Sprawl in the harbour’s grassy park for a live slideshow of Danish history: yachts gliding past glass cultural centres, speedboats zipping by Navy buildings, reworked as designer pads. Lunch Scandi-style (salmon with trout roe and beetroot) at Søren K, in the Royal Library, then check out the Royal Opera House (tour £12), all Sicilian marble and gold leaf.

In the canal quarter, bag a table at Christianshavns Boat Rentals and Café and take in the scene. Facades, in ochres and pinks, echo Amsterdam, and waterways lead into the ‘alternative’ enclave of Christiana, with its half-timbered homes and naughty mores. The government has cracked down on drug sales, but the hippy atmosphere prevails

Take the waterbus from Nyhavn to Halvandet (Refshalevej 325; 00 45 70 270296, www.halvandet.dk). Open until the end of September, it’s a shipyard turned urban beach club. Watch Copenhagen’s tallest, blondest, loveliest people pull up in their private boats from your mini-cabana as DJs play.

Make for Vesterbro, once red-light, now the epicentre of cool. Streets are lined with apartment blocks painted in pinks and blues; murals brighten brick walls; pavement cafes are mobbed by all kinds: families, old-timers, professionals in black. Idle with a ‘boutique’ beer in kiosk/cafe Kihoskh – make it a Devil’s Brew.

Stick a 20DKK coin into any of the 110 bike racks citywide and pedal off. Break yourself in with a spin from Vesterbro to the old Navy area of Holmen, home to creative educational facilities such as the School of Architecture and Design. You’ll sample the old, the new – and the glorious harbour views.

Catch the last rays before winter in the King’s Garden, or in Frederiksberg Gardens, for lakes, canals and views of Norman Foster’s elephant enclosure in the nearby zoo. Denmark’s Jamie Oliver – Claus Meyers – has his Meyers Delis (Magasin, Kongens Nytorv 13; or Gl Kongevej 107) near both parks.

Peruse peaceful Ordrupgaard Museum in the city’s north. It dates from the 19th century and is set in a rambling villa recently expanded by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. Her glass and black-lava concrete extension makes an improbably perfect complement to the elegant gallery and formal gardens.

Louisiana (Gl Strandvej 13, Humlebæk; www.louisiana.dk; £11.30) is a stunningly-situated modern art museum with views over the Oresund Strait towards Sweden. Its sculpture garden is dotted with works by Henry Moore and Richard Serra. Take in the Klee and Cobra exhibition (September 30 2011-January 8 2012), a tribute to 20th-century Swiss artist Paul Klee and his fascination with children’s self-expression.

Where to stay in Copenhagen

There’s never enough time to see everything in wonderful Copenhagen so choosing a city centre hotel is essential! Radisson Blu have three hotels in Copenhagen, all of which are perfectly located for seeing the sights and soaking up the atmosphere.

The luxurious designer Radisson Blu Royal Hotel (Hammerichsgade 1; 00 45 33 426000, www.radissonblu.com/royalhotel-copenhagen). When Arne Jacobsen launched this place in the 1950s, the world’s first design hotel was born. Every feature bore his touch, from the perfect-grip door handles to his now-iconic ‘Swan’ and ‘Egg’ chairs. Several revamps later, it has lost a little soul, but room 606 retains every feature of the original design. The elegant  Falconer Hotel Copenhagen Conference Centre and the soaring Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel with its great city views.

Copenhagen Card

Local Expertise from Kristine Munkgård Pedersen who runs walking tour company Cph:cool, which promises to give an insider view of the city.

Order a Copenhagen Card before you arrive. It offers free entry to 65 museums and attractions, plus airport transfers and bus, train and metro travel.

Now for nightlife… I love old-school bars, called bodegas or værtshuse, the smaller and darker the better. In the centre, my favourite is Bobi Bar (Klareboderne 14; 00 45 33 125543; ) with its dim light, red wallpaper and mix of young and old. Go to Frederiksberg’s Cafe Intime (Allegade 25; www.cafeintime.dk) – it’s like visiting the boudoir of an eccentric grandma. The clientele is as extraordinary as the decor: models, transvestites, retirees and students. Welcoming – and wild!’

For more city tips from in-the-know residents, click on the ‘Copenhagen’ section of www.spottedbylocals.com.
Further information
See www.visitcopenhagen.com and www.visitdenmark.com.