It’s easy to fall in love with Copenhagen, a city at once historic and modern, traditional and innovative. Known for its design scene, top-notch cuisine and hip, laid back atmosphere, this Scandinavian capital is certainly not considered a budget destination. Surprisingly, though, there is a multitude of experiences to be had for no cost at all, among them some of the most famous sights that Copenhagen has to offer.
Explore nautical Nyhavn
Its vibrant colours and historic tall ships make Nyhavn Copenhagen’s most famous destination. Stroll down the less famous side for the best views and photographs, and to look at the lighthouse ship Geyser Rev, as well as house number 20, where beloved Danish author Hans Christian Andersen was living in 1835 when he published his first volume of fairy tales.
Marvel at the views from Christiansborg
Christiansborg Palace is home to the Danish Parliament and Royal Reception Rooms. Although there is a fee to tour much of Christiansborg itself, entrance to the tower and church are free. Christiansborg Tårnet is Copenhagen’s highest viewpoint, with stunning views in all directions. From here, you can take in the sweeping city scape and even see across the water to Sweden
This is it – the actual castle that Shakespeare set Hamlet in! There are many mysteries surrounding Shakespeare and whether or not he ever visited Kronborg Castle is one of them. In Hamlet, Shakespeare called Kronborg Castle Elsinore. This has become the English name for Helsingør, the town where you can visit Kronborg.
Kronborg Castle has existed at Helsingør (Elsinore) since 1420. It’s been burned to the ground and rebuilt since, but always maintained its vital position at the head of the Øresund Sound. Ships passing into the Baltic Sea paid tolls at Kronborg Castle and Helsingør was once one of the most important towns in Europe. In 2000, Kronborg Castle became a UNESCO World Heritage Site
In 2006, not quite 100 years after Eriksen’s iconic mermaid was introduced, Bjørn Nørgaard, a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, created “The Genetically Altered Paradise.” A news release described the piece as “a provocative and humorous look at postmodern society.” Located a quarter of a mile from the beloved tourist attraction are contorted, abstract sculptures of Adam, Eve, Mary Magdalene, Christ, a pregnant man, and “The Genetically Modified Little Mermaid.”
This mermaid is also bronze and sits in a position similar to Eriksen’s, but her twisted figure, with elongated skeletal legs and an unrecognizable head, is a criticism of genetic alterations. The mermaid has avoided vandalism so far. Maybe it’s because, as Nørgaard says, she’s already “fighting against the order of nature”; any further modification would be superfluous.