Copenhagen. Probably the best city in the world.
A confident assertion, based on the advertising slogan of a very successful export and written in huge letters across a building after the artist had, presumably, had a few locally brewed Carlsbergs.
But does the city live up to it’s graffiti?
With the sun shining on the gleaming lakes and canals, as the healthy cycling Copenhageners freewheel through the city seemingly without a care in the world – and largely without a helmet – it probably does.
This is city-life, Denmark style and they have reason to be proud. Copenhagen has become a mecca for culture, a postcard for green-thinking and environmental living anda dream destination for the upwardly mobile and artistic.
Yet it remains compact and easy to navigate with one of the world’s most efficient public transport systems.
Within 10 minutes of the city you can escape to beaches, forests and fresh air.
Which all adds up to a huge Scandinavian welcome for tourists.
We arrived, flown over by the hugely efficient and friendly SAS airways from Manchester. A ten minute, clean and spacious train trip later we are in theheart of the city, emerging blinking into the brightness out of Norreport Station to be greeted by the sun and a sea of bikes.
It takes a bit of getting used to but we were soon navigating through the hordes of cycling workers and tourists toward the Kong Arthur hotel.
Located just a street away from the heart of the city and set back in a lake-side location, the hotel offers an elegant sanctuary and our luxurious two-level suites certainly live up to the hotels fourstar billing.
It would have been five star had they installed air conditioning but the management refused as part of their bid to remain Co2 neutral. In this city, they really mean green.
A hop and a skip later and we are in-stalled, ubiquitous Carlsberg in hand, in a sun-soaked square at the Restaurant Peder Oxe soaking up the rays before wandering round to admire the incredible architecture and retail therapy on offer.
Then its off to the famous Tivoli gardens, where fairground attractions and concert venues meet irrepressible kitsch, floral fantasia and fine dining, an unlikely recipe for one of the city’s oldest and most popular attractions.
After taking a stomach-churning round trip on the world’s tallest carousel (eek,I could see right across to Sweden) we came down to earth for dinner.
It was the first of several mouth-watering culinary extravaganazas I was to encounter. A haven for seafood lovers, highlights included dinner al-fresco at a traditional Danish restaurant by the picturesque and buzzing Nyhavn Canal, clearly the place to see and be seen on a sunny evening.
Not to forget an elegant lunch in the kooky cafe of the Royal cafe set below the Royal Copenhagen, the flagship store of Denmark’s fine porcelain house- itself a must see stopoff and shopping opportunity.
My favourite view of the city was by water, a canal tour to take in the major sights including the new Opera House and the Amalienborg Palace, home of the Royal family.
But to really experience Copenhagen borrow a free citybike, you’ll love it.
(Published in Lancashire Evening Post, 2013)