Split by lakes and surrounded by sea, an energetic and hip waterside vibe permeates COPENHAGEN (København), one of Europe’s most user-friendly (and trendy) capitals. It’s a welcoming, compact city with a centre largely given over to pedestrians (and cyclists). There’s an emphasis on café culture and top-notch museums by day, and a thumping live music, bar and club scene by night. Festivals like Distortion (June) and the Jazz Festival (July) show the city off at its coolest and most inventive.

Until the twelfth century, when Bishop Absalon built a castle on Christiansborg’s present site, there was little more than a tiny fishing settlement to be found here. Trade and prosperity flourished with the introduction of the Sound Toll on vessels in the Øresund, and the city became the Baltic’s principal harbour, earning the name København (“merchants’ harbour”). By 1443, it had become the Danish capital. A century later, Christian IV created Rosenborg Castle, Rundetårn and the districts of Nyboder and Christianshavn, and in 1669 Frederik III graced the city with its first royal palace, Amalienborg. Since then, various kings and merchants have built up the city to be the amalgam of architectural styles and landscapes that you see today.

 

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