Hospitable and stylish, Copenhagen regularly rises to the top of the “world’s most livable cities” lists. Denmark’s genteel capital and largest city is small and safe enough to be comfortably explored on foot and bike, as the locals do (although the subway and other public transportation options are models of efficiency). Sidewalk cafes and colorful old houses, some built in the 1600s, line the stone quays of Nyhavn, the city’s old harbor, where classic yachts tie up and tour boats cruise the canals. At night, fireworks and a million lights illuminate the beautiful grounds of the Tivoli Gardens, Denmark’s Old World counterpart to Disneyland.
Copenhagen really is wonderful. Often referred to as the Paris of the north, Denmark's capital, with a population of 1,400,000, has a long-standing commitment to culture and the arts. Where else does the royal couple translate the writings of Simone de Beauvior or the queen design costumes for the ballet?
With its cafe culture, nightlife and progressive laws, Copenhagen hums with activity year-round. In summer, Copenhagen moves outside, and the city's cobblestoned pedestrian streets, known collectively as Stroget, and the Nyhavn Canal - an area formerly haunted by a fairly salty crew of sailors - become clogged with Scandinavians reveling amid a fleet of old-time sailing ships and 18th-century buildings.
But Danes are hearty folk, and winter will take them out to sip some glogg, and enjoy a little hyggelig (the Danish brand of hospitality not to be found in Paris). If there's such a thing as a cozy metropolis, you'll find it here.
Nor are you ever far from water, be it sea or canal. The city itself is built on two islands, Slotsholmen and Christianshavn, connected by drawbridges. Timbered houses and 12th-century castles evoke Copenhagen's past. Archaeological finds reveal a settlement here that dates as far back as 5000 - 6000 B.C.