It may not trip off the anglophone tongue, but a sense of tryghed the Danish word for "tucked in" is key to the warm, fuzzy feeling that pervades many things about Copenhagen, from the civilized bicycle lanes and decent coffee almost everywhere to the effortlessly cutting-edge design and fashion stores. No wonder the Danes are officially known as the world's happiest nation. Here are five Copenhagen essentials.
1 The Royal Hotel
It celebrated its 50th birthday this year, but this gem created by the renowned Danish architect Arne Jacobsen still looks thrillingly chic. Every midcentury-modern detail is Jacobsen's, from the furnishings to the bathroom fittings to the cutlery, plates and glassware in the rooftop Alberto K restaurant. See radissonblu.com/royalhotel-copenhagen.
2 Kodbyens Fiskebar
Copenhagen's Noma was feted in 2010 as the world's best restaurant in The Restaurant magazine's annual awards, but if you can't get a booking try this hip, casual alternative. Kodbyens Fiskebar is imbued with a hint of Noma's spirit in its emphasis on Danish ingredients. It also employs a fair few ex-Noma chefs. Expect to dine on the likes of Gotland scallops with truffles, Limfjorden blue mussels in apple cider and Southern Jutland trout tartare with spelt seeds, herbs, capers and mustard. Something of a party scene develops on late weekend evenings. Details at fiskebaren.dk.
3 Tivoli Gardens
Reputedly created to distract the population from political conflict, this 167-year-old amusement park with its lake, vast array of trees and blooms, all-hours fairy lights, regular fireworks, whimsical Oriental buildings, 1950s concert hall and Ferris wheel oozes rosy-colored charm. But there's grownup fun to be had, too, at the Paul, a Michelin-starred restaurant serving up witty, contemporary dishes in a beautifully styled vintage conservatory. See tivoli.dk
4 Illums Bolighus
While there may be funkier places to shop, Illums Bolighus is the definitive, calm and civilized multilevel store to find all the leading Scandinavian design icons, from glassware by Alvar Aalto, Kaj Franck and Erik Bagger to cutlery by Jacobsen and Georg Jensen. Details at illumsbolighus.dk.
5 Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Founded by 19th century brewing magnate Carl Jacobsen, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum reflects his passion for French and Danish turn-of-the-century art (there are works by Monet, Gauguin and Rodin) plus ancient Mediterranean gems. Its lush internal winter garden shares a grandiose covered courtyard with Café Glyptoteket, famed for its pastries. Visit glyptoteket.dk for more.