Copenhagen isn't just about climate change

THIS week, the world and his carbon emissions reduction adviser descend on Copenhagen, where they will try to save the planet. In between meetings, though, they will also be able to enjoy the city. Copenhagen is a small, manageable sort of a place, ideal for a city-break. At this time of year, the key thing to realise is that it is cold. Really cold. It makes you thankful for the Gulf Stream. It’s no surprise that Danes spend a large proportion of their winter sitting in bars and cafes. Perhaps historically too much: a massive fire in medieval Copenhagen once burned down the entire city because the firemen were too drunk to fight the blaze.

The love of bars is good news for visitors to the city, as there are lots of great places to grab a drink and soak up the atmosphere. Head to the Café Norden (, or the Café Europa ( at Amagertorv, a small square which the famously unhinged (but droll) Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard called “the hub of the universe”.

If you are tough enough to brave the outdoors, the most famous attraction in Copenhagen is the Tivoli Gardens, an eccentric fairground with rides which include one that looks like a mosque ( In winter, it is open on most days until 30 December, and there are illuminations, Santas galore, fireworks, a pixie band and mechanical elves. The Little Mermaid, based on a character from a Hans Christian Anderson story, is worth a glance.

There are various areas, each with their own characters, such as the laid-back and gently bohemian Osterbro and Norrebro, and the famous commune of Christiana. If you are there for a short break, though, you are likely to spend most of your time around Stroget, the world’s longest pedestrianised street, and home to shops both high-end and distinctly grubby. It’s a great landmark to help you navigate around.

One must-see is Nyhavn, once a presumably smelly dock, but now a spruced up and picturesque area with old, pointy-roofed buildings of various colours, most of which have been turned into restaurants and bars. Some might recoil at the touristy prices, but it’s expensive everywhere in Copenhagen – £7 for a pint of Carlsberg is not uncommon – so you might as well blow the budget here as anywhere.

Slightly surprisingly, for a city whose wealth was built on the availability of herring, Copenhagen is something of a gourmet town – with 14 Michelin stars, it has more than Rome, Berlin or Vienna. The most famous restaurant is Noma (, a two-starred establishment where they serve up things like razor clams, seaweed and unusual berries from Nordic countries that have made this one of the most famous, innovative restaurants in the world. Formel B (, another much-loved restaurant, uses Danish products to cook a monthly-changing menu of French-style food in a slick room.

For a more humble, but equally Danish, experience, smorrebrod is the thing. Basically, this is just an open sandwich with various toppings, many of them fishy. Café Gammel Torv is a wonderful option, a deeply old-fashioned throwback of bare, brown wood and friendly service. Think curried, pickled or fried herring.

Culture is another thing that Copenhagen does well. There are numerous museums and galleries worth seeing, such as the National Museum (, which is interesting on the early history of Denmark, the National Gallery ( ), whose collection of Danish art is fascinating, and a modern gallery called the Louisianna ( There are also various royal palaces, and for those with time to spare, Kronborg Castle ( – Hamlet’s Elsinor – is a half-hour train journey from Copenhagen. No trip would be complete without a trip up the spiral ramp of the Round Tower (, once used as an observatory and later, more amusingly, for races on penny farthing bicycles. If that all sounds too energetic, then try the Carlsberg brewery tour. (, with the world’s biggest collection of beer bottles. If they don’t save the world, at least our leaders will have no problem drowning their sorrows.

Jeremy stayed at the Hotel Alexandra, where the rooms have examples of famous Danish furniture design.

Hotel Alexandra, HC Andersens Boulevard 8, DK-1553 Copenhagen V, Phone.: +45 3374 4444,