Once the earth is under your feet again (you’ll enjoy the feeling), cross the nearest bridge to Castle Island. The curious yet majestic-looking spire ahead tops the oldest stock exchange in Europe, built in 1619. Its spire is formed from the entwined tails of three dragons. They represent Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
Keep going, to the Christiansburg Palace. The town of Copenhagen began here. Stop and visit the medieval castle. Parliament and the Royal Reception Chambers are open, too. Then continue to Nyhavn, a narrow waterway dug by soldiers in 1673. You’ll understand why Hans Christian Andersen made this charming waterway his home. A specially-built mirror outside his apartment window allowed him to peek unseen at the world outside.
Nyhavn is peaceful, an ideal place for lingering and people watching. You’ll usually see them dressed casually, though they are among Europe’s rich people. Danes are taught not to stand out in a crowd①. But they do know how to party, especially during holidays.
To see them having fun, and to have some fun yourself, cross Andersen’s Boulevard and enter Tivoli Gardens. You won’t be alone. More than five million people a year come here. They come to dance, dine, take in outdoor and indoor concerts, see ballets and laugh at the comedy. One tip: bring a lot of money. About 20 restaurants are among the city’s most expensive. Even without money, you can still enjoy the proud old trees, the colored night lights and the beautiful gardens. You might feel as if you are in a fairy tale.