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Copenhagen, Denmark


In the home of Hans Christian Andersen, it's appropriate that the first image to greet you as you slip into Copenhagen's harbor is the statue of the Little Mermaid. In fact, the fairy tale feel to the city is everywhere, from the coppery green towers alongside gingerbread houses to the bicycles gliding on cobblestone streets. There's something about this charming city that says, "People can relax here; this place is home."

Most of the palaces and civic buildings in Copenhagen have a historic connection to the royal family. Christiansborg Castle, a massive granite complex, is home to Denmark's House of Parliament and Supreme Court, and is where the Queen officially receives guests. Rosenborg Castle, the royal residence until the 19th century, is one of the city's most popular museums, where you'll see the Royal Crown Jewels, costumes, and other royal memorabilia. Amalienborg Palace, the royal winter residence since 1784, is a breathtaking arrangement of four identical Rococo buildings situated on one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. The statue of King Frederik V is considered one of the finest equestrian statues in the world.

For a taste of history that's truly extraordinary, stroll the ramparts, chapel and banquet hall of Kronborg Castle, originally built as a tax collection post, but better known for its immortalization by William Shakespeare as Hamlet's Castle.

Perhaps the best known of all Copenhagen's attractions is Tivoli Gardens, the world-renown amusement park located in the very heart of the city. Visitors are forever dazzled by the park's fairyland lights, beautiful flowers, gift shops, rides, restaurants and strolling musicians.

Stroget or "Strollers Street," Copenhagen's famous shopping district, is actually five streets, all of them for pedestrian traffic only. Elegant stores and trendy boutiques tempt with every imaginable luxury and souvenir, while the many bustling cafes offer other irresistible tasty temptations.

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