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5 mindful (and historical) spots in Copenhagen

There are times when the need to unplug and eliminate the hustle and bustle of city life becomes overwhelming, but where does one go to find a quiet spot in the middle of a big city like Copenhagen? With these five places combining mindfulness and history, help is at hand – and it’s completely free of charge.


By Ann Louise Sæmer

The King’s Garden

At the very centre of Copenhagen, amid shops and heavy traffic, is a beautiful oasis where you can not only retreat for a bit of peace and quiet but also experience a bit of Danish renaissance history: The King’s Garden was established in the beginning of the 17th century by the ever entreprenant King Christian IV as a prelude to the since adjoining Rosenborg Castle. In short, this is where the king originally went to stretch his legs after a busy week of fighting Germany and making plans for a new and improved Copenhagen. Since opened to the public in the 1770s, it has remained a very popular spot of tranquility amongst locals and tourists. During the summertime, the garden does however become the number one spot for anyone craving a bit of sun, so perhaps look elsewhere for your daily dosage of mindfulness during that time of year.

The King’s Garden, Øster Voldgade 4, 1350 Copenhagen K

(The garden is closed at night but otherwise open at all hours)

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The King’s Garden

The Royal Library Garden

Wedged between Christiansborg Palace and The Royal Library, is an equally tranquil yet much smaller and somewhat hidden garden. Since 1920, The Royal Library Garden has been a secluded place for relaxation and pondering some of life’s greatest mysteries much like the bronze sculpture of Kierkegaard, which is placed in the middle of the garden. The Library Garden also provides a wide variety of flowers and an impressive water sculpture. Every hour on the hour water shoots up, thereby turning the sculpture into a fountain. For many, this is perhaps the best kept secret of tranquility in Copenhagen.

The Royal Library, Proviantpassagen 1, 1218 Copenhagen K

(Opening hours 6AM – 10PM)

The Royal Library Garden

The Royal Library Garden

The Citadel

Yet another remnant of King Christian IV’s regime, is The Citadel, a well-preserved fortress founded in 1626. It still houses various military activities but mainly serves as a public park and historic landmark. Let the mind wonder while taking a stroll along the old baracks or perhaps swing by the prison, where the royal physician of King Christian VII, Johann Friedrich Struensee, awaited his execution in 1772 after his affair with Queen Caroline Mathilde. The gloom and doom of olden times aside, this is primarily a place to find your inner peace by strolling, feeding the ducks, and enjoying the view of the harbour.

The Citadel, Gl. Hovedvagt, Kastellet 1, 2100 København Ø

(The garden is closed at night but otherwise open at all hours)

Kastellet

The Citadel

Holmen’s Cemetery

If ever there was a place for peace and quiet, it would be a cemetery. Founded in 1660, Holmen’s Cemetery is Copenhagen’s oldest cemetery still in use. As it was originally intended as purely a naval cemetery, a great number of its impressive monuments belong to soldiers fallen at sea during critical years such as 1864, when The Second Schleswig War took place in Denmark. On a lighter note, it’s also the final resting place for people such as the famous composer H.C. Lumbye, and author and expert in etiquette, Emma Gad. The graveyard is charming and well-kept, and benches placed along the many paths provide a chance to rest your feet and take in the peaceful surroundings.

Holmen’s Cemetery, Øster Farimagsgade 46, 2100 Copenhagen Ø

(Opening hours from 7AM – 5PM)

Holmens Kirkegård

Holmen’s Cemetery

Dyrehaven

If your need for a calm and secluded place ever compells you to leave the city centre entirely, you’re just a 20 minute train ride away from Dyrehaven – a vast piece of serene wildlife-heaven covering 11 km2 (4.2 sq mi) just north of Copenhagen. Founded in 1669 by King Frederik III as a hunting ground, the forest park is now mainly used as a quiet place to go for a brisk walk or run. Having just left the hectic city centre behind you, you may need a few minutes to adjust to the fact that once the park’s characteristic red gates close behind you, you’ve more or less left civilization and entered a world where close encounters with a rather sizeable deer are very common. The roughly 2100 deers freely roaming about Dyrehaven are however seemingly unfazed by anyone walking along the dusty paths scattered in the majestic landscape. For a bit of additional history, make sure to walk by The Hermitage Hunting Lodge, built in 1734 for King Christian VI, to marvel at the view. Once you and your feet find that you’ve had just about as much historical mindfulness as you can take, there are several informal restaurants to turn to in the section near Klampenborg Station.

Dyrehaven, 2930 Klampenborg

(Open 24 hours) 

Dyrehaven

Dyrehaven


 

 

 

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