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Copenhagen's centerpiece is Tivoli Gardens, a leafy 20-acre oasis and sort of the granddaddy of amusement parks, opened in 1843. Though it's got museums galore—including the Ny Carlberg Glypothek of sculpture from ancient Greek and Egyptian to Rodin and Degas, plus a passel of Impressionist paintings—the first Copenhagen sight on most people's list is the little bronze 1913 Little Mermaid, languishing on the harborside.

Castles and palaces run amok in Copenhagen—the 18th century rococo Amalienborg royal palace, the 17th century Renaissance Rosenborg castle, the medieval Christianborg that now serves as Parliament—but the Big One isn't even in Copenhagen itself.

After exhausting yourself on the sights in town, follow the well-worn day trip trail up to Helsingor Castle (anglicized to "Elsinore") where tourists and Shakespeare aficionados flock to tour Kronborg Slot, Hamlet's home turf, though—and I hate to spoil it for y'all—this castle was actually built in 1574-85, well after the legendary 12th century prince named "Amleth" supposedly lived.

Yes, but how many pairs of long underwear will I need?

I'm as partial as the next guy to making flip comments about the Scandinavian winter, but it's really not that bad. December through March, temperatures in Copenhagen rarely get much below freezing, clocking in average temps that range from 32 to 37 degrees throughout the winter. By April, we're looking at temperatures in the low to mid 40s all around.

Of course, this far north, winter daylight hours are ridiculously short.


Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in April 2008. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.