A large globe featuring an interactive display sits in a central square in Copenhagen December 8, 2009. Credit: REUTERS/Bob Strong

A man sells roses at a pedestrian road in central Copenhagen December 10, 2009. Copenhagen is the host city for the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009, which lasts from December 7 until December 18. Credit: REUTERS/Christian Charisius

A man looks at and touches an ice sculpture of a polar bear as it melts to reveal a bronze skeleton in Copenhagen December 10, 2009. The installation is a part of an initiative to put focus on the consequences of global warming. Credit: REUTERS/Christian Charisius

An activist from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) stands in a poster outlining climate woes and cures at the UN Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen December 11, 2009. Credit: REUTERS/Bob Strong

Got 48 hours to spare in the Danish capital of Copenhagen amid the world leaders, scientists, demonstrators and skeptics in town this December to discuss measures for confronting global climate change?

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a short stay in the laid-back yet stylish old Nordic city.


2 p.m. -- Head for bustling and picturesque 17th century trading harbor Nyhavn with its tall ships and crooked colorful houses. Have a seasonal mulled wine at the Christmas market or in one of many bars and restaurants. The harbor was excavated by King Christian V to give his newly built central square, Kongens Nytorv, a connection to the sea. Fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen once lived at No. 67.

3 p.m. -- From Nyhavn, take a boat tour of Copenhagen's idyllic canals and harbors (www.canaltours.dk). The boat will also stop at the Little Mermaid, the statue of Andersen's fairytale character and a top tourist attraction.

4 p.m. -- Back ashore and time to stretch your legs. Around the corner from Nyhavn, on the waterfront, pass by -- or through! -- modern architectural pearl Skuespilhuset, the Royal Theatre's new stage that was inaugurated last year. Gaze across the water to the futuristic Opera House on Holmen Island before continuing down Toldbodgade to venerable Amalienborg, the Queen's winter residence. If the flag is hoisted, she's in! If it's the weekend, you can climb into the magnificent dome of Frederik's Church for a view of the city skyline.

Pass by the headquarters of shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk, Denmark's biggest company, and Kastellet, one of the best preserved fortifications in Europe before heading back toward the center along Bredgade -- one of Copenhagen's main arteries with its art galleries and exclusive antique and clothes' boutiques. From there, zig-zag the streets around Kronprinsensgade, another artery lined with designer shops and cafes.

7 p.m. -- The meatpacking district promises a change of scenery for the evening. Listed for conservation and a stone's throw from the central station, the 1930s modernistic Kodbyen has recently become the in-crowd's preferred playground as galleries, restaurants and nightclubs found their way there. Have dinner at red-hot newcomer Pate Pate (Slagterboderne 1), a boisterous and friendly place for good wines, tapas and southern European inspired food -- or at the big and lively Fiskebaren (Flaesketorvet 100), the meat district's fish restaurant.

11 p.m. -- Join the party crowd at funky Jolene Bar (Flaesketorvet) for a few beers to the sound of some loud tunes, or head for hip Karriere Bar (Flaesketorvet 56) a few steps away for drinks and a slightly bigger dancefloor.


10 a.m. -- Have brunch at one of Copenhagen's innumerable cozy cafes and bars, for example laid-back Bang & Jensen (Istedgade 130) in the Vesterbro district, or if you prefer something with a distinguished heritage, Cafe Norden (Ostergade 61) in the City Center.

11 a.m. -- Stroll through the lovely garden Kongens Have to Rosenborg Castle (Oster Voldgade 4A), a 17th century red brick beauty which shelters the royal jewels.

12 noon. -- At City Hall Square, admire the giant Christmas tree -- environment-friendly this year as it is lit by pedal power. Jump on one of the bikes and help out!

1 p.m. -- Visit Tivoli, the famed 19th century amusement park (Vesterbrogade 3) whose Christmas-decorated gardens have a near-magical vibe for the old as well as the young. Enjoy the Christmas market and, if you have children in tow, the rides. Stop by classic establishment Nimb's new cocktail bar.

4 p.m. -- Head slowly but surely toward the Christianshavn island district passing grand buildings on your way: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a sculpture museum built on beer profits. Christiansborg houses the Parliament. Don't miss the old stock exchange Borsen, and the modern Black Diamond library.

Stroll through idyllic Christianshavn with its canals, narrow cobblestone streets, old warehouses and Dutch style merchant houses. The area is also home to the self-proclaimed hippie free town Christiania.

6 p.m. -- Have an early dinner at Noma (Strandgade 93), Denmark's only restaurant boasting two Michelin stars, which serves inventive Nordic dishes in an elegant rustic atmosphere with a spectacular warehouse harbour view.

8 p.m. -- A stone's throw down the quais, enjoy acclaimed Bizet's Carmen at Copenhagen's ultra-modern opera house Operaen (Ekvipagemestervej 10), where the curtain first went up in January 2005.

11 p.m. -- Head back to the city center and finish off the evening with more music: Get a taste of the fading era of Copenhagen as a 1970s jazz mecca at La Fontaine (Kompagnistraede 11), a smoky dive featuring live jazz bands that jam until the wee hours.


9 a.m. -- Get your morning coffee from the Coffee Collective (Jaegersborggade 10) in the multi-cultural Norrebro district. With one barista world champion on the team, and ambitious fair trade strategies, it is likely to taste and feel good.

10 a.m. -- Visit the old brewery site of Denmark's No.1 beer producer Carlsberg. Have a peek at the museum, check out the Christmas beers -- and gaze upon the famous elephant statues framing the portal (Gamle Carlsberg Vej).

On that note, a number of excellent microbreweries have surfaced in Denmark in recent years and also merit a visit.

12 noon. -- Settle down for a traditional Danish smorrebrod lunch at Cafe Toldboden (Amaliegade 41). Smorrebrod, a daily lunch staple for many Danes, are open rye-bread sandwiches with elaborate toppings.

2 p.m. -- If you are up for Christmas shopping, spend your last hours and crowns in town foraging for goodies in Denmark's classic upmarket department store Illum (Ostergade 52), its interior design branch Illum Bolighus, or Magasin du Nord (Kongens Nytorv 12).

If shopping is not your bag, then visit modern art museum Louisiana a train ride north of Copenhagen (Humlebaek) which, besides its collection and exhibitions, has a lovely garden and cafe with a panoramic view over Oresund, the strait between Denmark and Sweden.

Reprinted from Reuters (December 11, 2009)