48 hours in Copenhagen

Tourists look at the sculpture of the Little Mermaid, inspired from a fairy tale written by Hans...

Tourists look at the sculpture of the Little Mermaid, inspired from a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen, a famous landmark of Copenhagen, Jan. 26, 2011. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

Karin Jensen, Reuters Life!

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

Copenhagenís best-known tourist attraction, the Little Mermaid statue, may be back from a 2010 visit to Shanghai. But why not skip the normal tourist attractions anyway and opt for an active, outdoor 48 hours in the cool and laid-back Danish capital this coming summer? Danes are outdoor people who spend summer making up for the long, dark winter by taking advantage of the light nights.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help you get the most out of a stay in Copenhagen.

FRIDAY

4 p.m. Stroll through downtown Copenhagen. Stroget, the pedestrian shopping street, is packed with tourists and mainly dotted with high-street chains. Instead, walk down the atmospheric Stradet ó Kompagnistradet and Laederstradet ó just south of Stroget, for many specialty shops, cafes and restaurants.

5 p.m. Have your afternoon tea or coffee at The Royal Cafe (6 Amagertorv).

6 p.m. Walk to the area around Gronnegade and Ny Ostergade, home to many exclusive shops, including flagship shops of several Danish design firms, such as By Malene Birger (10 Antonigade)

7 p.m. Itís time for dinner, and no better place to eat in the summer than at the waterfront. At the end of Nyhavn, turn left along the quay and reach the new spectacular Royal Danish Theater, where you can have dinner on the terrace.

9:30 p.m. Have a cold beer at the Royal Theatreís Ofelia beach cafe on Kvaghusbroen. Take a walk along the harbour and enjoy the Danish summer night.

An alternative is a visit to the bohemian district Norrebro. Try out the microbrewery Norrebro Bryghus (www.noerrebrobryghus.dk) or visit the cafes around Skt. Hans Torv. Walk around the lakes, where you will also find places to enjoy a cool drink.

SATURDAY

Everyone cycles in Denmark, and it is the easiest way to get around Copenhagen. Ask your hotel if it has a bike you can borrow or where to rent a bike and set off for an active day.

9 a.m. Start with breakfast at Sokkelund (36 Smallegade in Frederiksberg), which serves excellent French-style food.

10 a.m. Grab your bike and ride west on Alle Gade. On the way youíll pass Copenhagen Zoo (www.zoo.dk), but instead of going in, stop at the Frederiksberg Gardens where you can see the Zooís elephants for free while admiring the spectacular new $50 million elephant house designed by Sir Norman Foster.

11 a.m. Continue along Pile Alle to the original Carlsberg Brewery at Ny Carlsberg Vej (www.visitcarlsberg.dk). The brewery and its founder J.C. Jacobsen have played a vital role in Danish industry and cultural life, and the Carlsberg Visiting Centre tells the history. Donít forget to visit Jacobsenís private garden, a gem hidden away behind the great walls of the brewery.

1 p.m. Continue towards Christianshavn. If the bicycle ride is too long, take the Metro, Copenhagenís driver-less, state-of-the-art subway. Cycle down Prinsessegade. On your left youíll find Frelser Kirke, Our Saviourís Church. Climb the 400 steps to the top of the tower to see Copenhagenís rooftops.

1:30 p.m. Continue down Prinsessegade and peek in at Christiania, the hippy haven founded by squatters in 1971. Further on youíll find the Opera. The interior of the Opera house is especially worth seeing, not least the three chandeliers designed by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson.

2 p.m. Cycle all the way to Refshaleoen, where youíll get a spectacular view over the port, with container ships, cruise liners, sailing boats, wind turbines and Oresundsbroen, the bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden.

3 p.m. On the way back, stop at idyllic Krudthuset (8 Krudtlobsvej) where you can eat lunch in the garden.

4 p.m. Time for a swim. And one of the best places in town is Amager Strandpark (www.amager-strand.dk) with just under 5 km (3 miles) of amazing beaches.

7 p.m. After popping back to the hotel itís time to go out for the evening and the Tivoli amusement park (www.tivoli.dk) is a perfect place for a romantic dinner. Try one of the rides or go for a walk in the garden first to build up an appetite.

8 p.m. Tivoli has many restaurants. Try Groften for traditional Danish fare or the upmarket The Paul and Herman at the Nimb building.

10 p.m. Itís swing time. Dance to the tunes of Tivoliís Big Bang at Plaenen, or The Lawn.

11 p.m. Take a romantic stroll around the lakes and admire the many lights and finish off the evening with Tivoliís spectacular fireworks at 11:45 p.m.

SUNDAY

9:30 a.m. After breakfast, cycle to Naturcenter Vestamager (3-13 Granatvej, Kastrup), a nature reserve on the island of Amager with activities for the entire family and a great place to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. Rent a fishing rod, or go horseback riding on an Iceland Pony.

1 p.m. Have lunch at the reserveís cafe. For those who like it all natural, make your own lunch over the bonfire.

2 p.m. Head back to town. Stop at Glyptoteket (www.glyptoteket.dk), the sculpture museum founded by brewer Carl Jacobsen, son of Carlsberg founder J.C. Jacobsen. Be sure to visit the museumís Winter Garden cafe. Spoil yourself with one of the delicious cakes ó probably the best cakes in town.


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