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Fairy Tale Travel: The Little Mermaid

Written in 1837 by one of the world's most famous Dane's, Hans Christian Andersen,"The Little Mermaid" is the story of an undersea princess who finds love with an above sea level prince. While Hans' original is dark and grim, Disney's spin is a far more romantic and fitting jumping off point for exploring Copenhagen.

Written in 1837 by one of the world’s most famous Dane’s, Hans Christian Andersen,“The Little Mermaid” is the story of an undersea princess who finds love with an above sea level prince. While Hans’ original is dark and grim, Disney’s spin is a far more romantic and fitting jumping off point for exploring Copenhagen.

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What love looks like after you’ve signed your soul over to a Sea Witch, lost your voice, been turned in to a human, and nearly drowned. Photo: Jeff Christensen / Flickr

While Hans was no doubt inspired by the cold gray Nordic sea for his tale, Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is anything but. With nearly a thousand years of history, its rich culture is the perfect place to live out your fairy tale adventures.

Your Castle

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Beautiful views await you. Photo: John Anes / Flickr

The little mermaid’s kingdom may be the deep blue, but the closest we’ll get is on a renovated barge. CPH Living is a boat anchored in one of Copenhagen’s famed canals. Located in the heart of the city, you can take in views from the rooftop deck onboard, or disembark and stroll to the latest restaurants and bars.

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It’s a hotel. It’s a boat. It’s both! Photo: Cphliving.com

The Quest

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You don’t have to be a pigeon to admire this work of art. Photo: Brandon / Flickr

The Little Mermaid Statue/Hans Christian Andersen Fairy-Tale House:

Certain tourist attractions, no matter how cheesy they are, must be done. First, pay respects to the statue created in the little mermaid’s honor, and then walk to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. While it may be a corny Ripley’s museum, it is complete with dioramas depicting all of Andersen’s fairy tales.

Frederiksborg Castle:

This stunning red-and-green Renaissance-era palace is enough to turn any girl’s head. The castle suffered a fire in the 1800s but was rebuilt according to the original plans that include a Princess’s Wing, and an ocean-themed fountain featuring a statue of Neptune. The castle also houses the National History Museum.

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Photo: Roger W / Flickr

Kayak Tour:

Head into the water and see if you can spot a mystical sea creature yourself! Sightsee Copenhagen from a kayak on your own (there are even some waterfront bars and restaurants where you can dock your vessel), or go further afield with a guide and a catered lunch.

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And take in the view. Photo: Thomas Rousing

Beaches and Baths:

Take your aquatic adventuring to the beaches, both natural or manmade. Amager Strandpark has a promenade, bridges over a lagoon to an island, and a sandy beach full of dunes.

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Also, check out the Copenhagen Harbour Baths, a system of man-made pools dotting the canals. Take a picnic to Svanemollen Beach, and if you’re feeling up to it, there is also a pier you can jump off of (Just don’t turn into seafoam.)

Rosenborg Castle:

Within the walls of this Renaissance-style palace are a treasure trove of oil paintings, porcelain, and a generous collection of furniture made of silver. And then, there are the crown jewels – rooms full of sparkly, shiny tiaras, necklaces, and fist-sized brooches. The sorts of things any aspiring princess would want. Tickets to Rosenborg will also get you into Amalienborg, a cluster of four palaces watched over by the Royal Guard.

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Just make sure you don’t trip and fall in to any of the paintings. Photo: Dennis Jarvis / Flickr

Happily Ever After

Tivoli Gardens: During the day this park is a family destination, with kids running around screaming and hopping on rides. But when the sun goes down, and lights turn on, it becomes very romantic. Opening in 1843, it has been a cultural center ever since. There is always an evening musical act, and summer Saturdays see big names (and a fireworks show!), and they’re free once you’ve paid park admission.

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Photo: charley1965