The Danes might be tempted (with much justification) to use the theme ‘Probably the best citybreak in the world’ to promote Wonderful Copenhagen, where from last Saturday until 17th November the National Museum’s ‘Viking’ exhibition includes the longest Viking warship ever found and several artifacts from Dublin, writes Neil Steedman.
As soon as you exit the metro station in downtown Copenhagen (a smooth 14-minute ride by driverless train from the airport) the world-famous ‘wonderful’ atmosphere of the city is palpable. Bicycles are everywhere (over 50% of Copenhageners cycle to work), canals and boats are never far away, and sidewalk tables with relaxed beer drinkers (not all partaking of Carlsberg!) also seem to be everywhere.
There is so much to see, taste and enjoy in this city, where a current highlight is the ‘Viking’ exhibition at the National Museum, Denmark’s largest museum set in an 18th-century mansion in Ny Vestergade. You might think that there’s a Viking exhibition here every year, but you would be wrong – the last one was in 1992.
The current exhibition displays new finds, including the longest known Viking warship at 37 metres, highlights new knowledge about the Viking sphere of influence, which stretched from Baku and Constantinople (Istanbul) in the east all the way to Newfoundland in the west, and includes several artifacts from Dublin, such as an 8th-century bishop’s crosier and ring pin, Persian silk, a slave collar, and tortoise brooches from Inchicore.
With the one-thousandth anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf on 23rd April 1014 fast approaching, there is sure to be much interest in schools and media coverage about the Dublin Vikings next year and Danish tourism bodies are keen to work with Irish tour operators and travel agents to develop packages to the many Viking sites and attractions spread throughout Zealand in Denmark.
So too, of course, is Scandinavian Airlines, which operates twice daily from Dublin to Copenhagen (once on Saturday) and since 9th June offers two classes for the 2h10m flight: SAS Go and SAS Plus.
SAS Go tickets are non-refundable, but can be changed for a fee, and one piece of baggage (maximum 23kg), time-saving mobile, web or kiosk check-in services are included. SAS Plus tickets are fully refundable and changeable, a seat can be reserved at time of reservation, you have priority on wait-lists, and two pieces of baggage (maximum 23kg), Fast Track security and lounge access are included.
My flight out was operated by a SAS-subsidiary Blue1 B717 with 115 seats in a 2×3 configuration, which made a very smooth and quiet take-off. Along with the new class options, SAS now offers a new inflight service called SAS Onboard Café. All products are handmade, fresh, “personal with great taste” – and are served with a touch of humour. For example, my salad with chicken tabbouleh and oriental seasoning came with the message: “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a high-altitude tactical salad. Specially equipped to combat the air-cabin conditions, which take away taste… But salads can’t really fly. So we recommend you eat it instead.” (By the way, the ‘tactical’ salad tasted really good!)
New Nordic Cuisine
Along with great architecture, furniture and product design, as well as visitor attractions such as Tivoli Gardens and The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen is world-famous for René Redzepi’s multi-award-winning Noma restaurant. While the prices here may be high for many clients, the great thing about Copenhagen is that the ‘Noma effect’ has filtered down through other restaurants, which now offer affordable New Nordic Cuisine that focuses on seasonal, Scandinavian ingredients.
For example, I enjoyed a superb dinner at Cofoco’s Restaurant Höst, where a three-course meal can be had for DKK295 (€40) or, including cava, wine and coffee, DKK525 (€70). If you send clients there, recommend that they also try a glass of Danish dessert wine: the Kirsebaervin ‘Sur Lie’, Frederiksdal Gods comes at DKK50 (€6.70) a glass and is well worth it!
A ‘must have’ for any visitor to Copenhagen is a cOPENhagen Card, which entitles the holder to visit 75 museums and attractions that normally charge an entry fee (including Tivoli and the Zoo) and to use public transport free of charge (bus, harbour buses, train and Metro) throughout Greater Copenhagen.
The Card also offers discounts on many other attractions, activities and restaurants, on car hire, and on Scandlines’ crossing of the Sound between Denmark and Sweden.
They are available for 24, 48, 72 or 120 hours, priced from DKK299 (adult)/159 (child) for the 24-hour Card up to DKK749/349 for the 120-hour Card.