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  • Writer's pictureRosanne Knorr

Copenhagen: Lonely Planet's #1 City

Lonely Planet just issued their Top Ten Cities for a 2019 visit and Copenhagen took the #1 spot. I second that vote!

I didn't set foot in Scandinavia until 2017. (It was on the bucket list years ago but life happens; our dog got sick and I didn't have the heart to leave him.) Eventually, I used Home Exchange for a cost-saving, three-week visit at an apartment in Frederiksberg where the bus stopped a few yards from the door and the modern metro was a five-minute walk through a popular park, making for easy transport. But biking was a special treat. The dedicated bike paths are wide, well-planned, and safely separated from traffic.

The number and quality of the museums surprised me; they aren’t on the radar as are those of London, Paris or Rome, but the massive Glyptotek art museum was just one of the favorites I discovered, well worth a visit for its atmosphere as well as art through centuries from classical Roman sculpture to Impressionist painting.

The long Strøget pedestrian street is dotted with squares, often with entertainers, though the main draw are the high-end boutiques, modern department stores in renovated historic buildings, cafes, and Lego’s flagship store.

The famous Tivoli Gardens covers acres of landscaped park, rides, live entertainment, and restaurants. Beer lovers (and even wine lovers like me) can enjoy the Carlsberg Brewery tour covering its history, its horses, and a refreshing brew as a reward at the end.

Gourmet bistros, ethnic cuisine and Danish specialties make up the restaurant scene but those edible works of art called smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) are especially good eaten at one of the picnic tables at the Torvehallern fresh market.

Strolling was part of the pleasure and so engrossing that I got lost a few times but was saved by friendly people who pointed out the way. There is so very much to see and do here that you could easily and happily spend much longer than the three weeks I did.

As for Copenhagen's reputation as the "happiest city," one local explained: “We pay high taxes, but we get a lot for it.” His examples: Beautiful parks and public spaces, efficient transportation, free higher education, universal health care, and maternity and paternity leaves that allow young families the time to bond without stress.

The happiness extends to visitors. The young French clerk in the café that I frequented told me she’d chosen to go to university in Copenhagen because she “wanted to try the happy place.” Don’t we all.

See more on Copenhagen and Lonely Planet’s full list of the Ten Top Cities to Visit in 2019 here:

Visit Copenhagen official site:

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