Denmark is the most southerly of the three Scandinavian countries and its capital, Copenhagen, is located on the island of Zealand to the east of the mainland.
The Quick Pitch
The Öresund is the name given to the strait of water which separates Skåne in Sweden from the Danish island Zealand, which is only four kilometres wide at its narrowest point.
A vital waterway between the Baltic and Atlantic oceans, ownership of the Öresund strait has historically held the key to power and wealth in the Nordic region, as every ship passing through the strait had to pay a duty.
This led the small Danish port of Havn to rapidly develop, owing to its fortunate position in the Öresund. As the southern Swedish region of Skåne was owned by Denmark until 1658, the nation had complete control over all seafaring levies.
Since the opening of the Öresund bridge, which first connected Denmark and Sweden in 2000, there has been considerable promotion of an Öresund regional identity.
Now the Öresund area is the second largest population concentration in Europe north of Germany after St. Petersburg: an alliance of 12 establishments from both nations make up the Öresund University, and an estimated 14,000 people commute daily between Sweden and Denmark using the bridge.
Although the bustling cultural and economic hub of the Öresund region and the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen is remarkably accessible for a capital city. Most sights can be easily reached by foot, or alternatively do as the locals do and either rent a bike or borrow one of the many free city bikes.
As can be expected, there is much to see in the cosmopolitan Danish capital. However, here is a quick-fire shortlist of some of Copenhagen’s best bits:
If you want to see the most popular tourist attraction in the whole of Denmark, pay a visit to Tivoli, a traditional amusement park opened in 1843.
In keeping with the old-fashioned pleasure gardens of the nineteenth century, Tivoli has beautiful landscaped gardens, music throughout the year (both open-air and in the concert hall), theatre, and amusement rides for all the family.
“For the Christmas period we have free markets in the centre of town, with Tivoli of course being the largest and most authentic in the city. And in the King’s New Square we also have probably the most beautiful ice skating rink in the world,” says Henrik Thierlein of Visit Copenhagen.
The National Museum hosts a top class selection of world-wide and Danish artifacts from the Ice Age through to the present day; including a fully preserved 3500 year old oak coffin pulled from bog land which contains the clothes, comb, jewellery and blonde hair of the Bronze Age ‘Egtved Girl’.
The Rosenborg Castle while comprising of beautiful historic buildings and a museum detailing 300 years of Danish Kings, it’s claim to fame must be the display of the Danish Crown Jewels and the Danish Crown Regalia. Next door to the Castle the Kongens Have (The King’s Garden), Copenhagen’s oldest and arguably most beautiful park is worth a look.
Check out one of the finest collections of French paintings and Etruscan artworks at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. The museum was founded in the late 19th century by brewer and philanthropist Carl Jacobsen. The title of the collection, at the time one of the largest in the world, is derived from his brewery Carlsberg, which is still going strong to this day.
Today the museum houses more than 10,000 works from ancient Egyptian sculpture to French Post Impressionist paintings. A great stop off for a light lunch or coffee break is the museum café located in the stunning glass domed winter garden complete with trees, statues and fountains.
Slotsholmen is a small island at the heart of the city both geographically and historically. In 1167 the first castle in the city was constructed, from the foundations of which the capital grew. Now the area boasts a range of sights and museums nestled between quaint historical buildings including Christiansborg Slot, home to the Danish Government, and the Dansk Jødisk Museum, the Danish Jewish Museum.
If museums aren’t your thing, then head to Strøget, a local name given to a collection of interconnecting streets which feature some of the best shopping in Copenhagen, including the longest pedestrian street in the world.
Remarkably Copenhagen also has a ‘free city’. Once a series of abandoned military barracks, the area now known as Christiania was taken over in 1971 by a group of young homeless people. With a history of cannabis vending, and occupying prime real estate, Christiania has sparked one of the longest running debates in Denmark.
The fully pedestrianized ‘city’, just shy of one kilometre long, offers an offbeat selection of unpaved paths, unexpected green spaces, art centres, street murals, rambling houses and small squares. Plenty to while away a couple of hours of relaxed wanderings.
Finally no stop to Copenhagen would complete without a visit to the most famous of the city’s residents, Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Little Mermaid’. Commissioned in 1909 by brewer Carl Jacobsen, the bronze statue of the fairytale figure sits at the Copenhagen harbour gazing out to sea.
Denmark is comprised of the the mainland peninsula, Jutland, and over 400 islands.
The country has a population of 5.3 million, 1.7 million of whom live in the Copenhagen area and 2.8 million in the Öresund region.
The Danish monarchy is the oldest in the world.
Copenhagen is officially the gastronomic centre of Scandinavia, holding 12 Michelin Stars – more than Rome, Madrid, Milan or Berlin.
Visit Copenhagen – For city and transport information, events calendar and accomodation.
How to get there
From the 11th of January, SJ will be running more trains than ever straight across to Copenhagen. So jump aboard one of the 14 trains that run daily and arrive direct to the Danish capital with no changes.
Gothenburg: 7 trains departing every day
Stockholm: 6 trains departing every day
Växjö: 1 train departing every day
Stockholm – Copenhagen
Mon-Sat: 6.21 – 11.32
Mon-Sun + holidays: 8.21 13.42 (new departure starting 11/1-2009) X 2000
Mon-Sun + holidays: 10.21 15.31 (new departure starting 11/1-2009) X 2000
Mon-Sun + holidays: 12.21 17.30 (new departure starting 11/1-2009) X 2000
Mon-Sun + holidays: 14.21 19.32 (new departure starting 11/1-2009) X 2000
Sun-Fri + holidays: 17.40 22.42 (new departure starting 11/1-2009 X 2000)
Mon-Sat: 6.19 11.39 (new departure starting 11/1-2009) X 2000
Sun + holidays: 10.16 15.39 (new departure starting 11/1-2009) X 2000
Mon-Sat: 10.19 15.39 (new departure starting 11/1-2009) X 2000
Mon-Sun + holidays: 12.19 17.39
Mon-Sun + holidays: 14.19 19.39 (new departure starting 11/1-2009) X 2000
Mon-Sun + holidays: 16.19 21.39 (new departure starting 11/1-2009) X 2000
Sun-Fri + holidays: 18.18 23.39 (new departure starting 11/1-2009) X 2000
Mon-Fri: 6.27 10.02 (no change of trains in Malmö) X 2000
Mon-Fri: 7.27 11.00 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Sat: 7.57 11.41 (no change of trains in Malmö) X 2000
Sat: 9.27 13.04 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Mon-Sun + holidays: 11.32 15.02 (no change of trains in Malmö) X 2000
Mon-Fri: 13.27 17.01 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Sat: 13.27 17.01 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Mon-Fri: 15.27 19.01 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Sat-Sun + holidays: 15.27 19.01 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Sun-Fri + holidays: 17.27 21.02 (no change of trains in Malmö) X 2000
Mon-Sun + holidays: 19.27 23.02 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Mon-Fri: 5.29 9.05 (no change of trains in Malmö) X 2000
Sat: 6.57 10.32 (no change of trains in Malmö) X 2000
Mon-Fri: 6.59 10.30 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Sat: 8.59 12.30 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Mon-Sun + holidays: 10.59 14.32 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Mon-Sun + holidays: 12.57 16.32 (no change of trains in Malmö) X 2000
Mon-Fri: 14.59 18.30 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Sat-Sun + holidays: 14.59 18.30 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Sun-Fri + holidays: 15.57 19.32 (no change of trains in Malmö) X 2000
Mon-Sun + holidays: 18.59 22.23 (no change of trains in Malmö) InterCity
Mon-Sat: 6.02 8.32 (no change of trains in Malmö) X 2000
Sun-Fri + holidays: 2019 22.52 (no change of trains in Malmö) X 2000
For SJ’s complete timetable, please see:
This article was produced by The Local in cooperation with SJ