If Town Hall Square (Rådhusplassen) in Copenhagen is the heart of the capital, then Strøget, the 1.8km (1 mile) pedestrian shopping street, is the spine.
Strøget has endless shops, street vendors, buskers and cellar galleries. This is where Copenhageners and visitors alike go to shop or just to promenade. The mainstream shops and eateries are on Strøget proper, while the more quirky boutiques, cafés and restaurants are situated on the quarter side streets.
Starting at the Town Hall Square, Strøget meanders through five streets and four squares before it turns into Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square), the largest square in the Old Town on which stands an equestrian statue of Kristian V who laid it our in 1670.
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Good landmarks and meeting places are the squares of Gammeltorv (Old Square) and at Strøget’s major crossroads, the crane fountain at Amagertorv. Here, another main pedestrian artery, Købmagergade, branches off to the north.
Near Gammeltorv is one of the few remaining residential areas in the inner city. Living in the picturesque neoclassical houses is a mixture of old-time Copenhageners, artists and students, and here you find some of the more exotic clothes shops and galleries – try Skt Pedersstræde for starters.
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St. Peter’s Church on the corner of Nørregade and Skt Pederstræde, is the oldest church in Copenhagen, its chancellery built in 1450.
Hans Christian Andersen lived at No. 19 Vestergade, when as a young man, he first arrived in Copenhagen from Odense. Another famous Dane, the 19th-century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard lived in the house on the corner of Nytorv and Frederiksbergsgade at Gammeltorv.
One block south and running parallel to Strøget is Kompagnistræde with shops specializing in antiques, china and pewter.
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Two block south across from the canal on Ny Vestergade, is Denmark’s National Museum., the country’s most visited museum, which is largely focused on Danish history. It is highly recommended for its newly revamped collections of ancient “bog” finds from the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages, and includes unique treasures such as the golden Chariot of the Sun, the enigmatic Gundestrup Cauldron and Egtved Girl. A fascinating and well-structured museum that takes days to cover, it also has an interesting section on Danish cultural history.
From Nytorv, continue along Strøget towards Amagertorv. For a close encounter of the rich and sweet, stop at one of Copenhagen’s premier confectioners, Conditori La Glace, a few stops from Strøget at Skoubogade. Here cream layer-cakes reign supreme.
The opposite side of Amagertorv is occupied by the shops most often visited by tourists. Illum Bolighus, a showcase for superb Danish and international design, and the flagship stores of Royal Copenhagen Porcelain and Georg Jensen silver.
The Medieval City of Copenhagen, written by Tor Kjolberg