Copenhagen is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating Scandinavian capitals for its collection of stunning churches, spires and its unique waterfront design.

Copenhagen-6 Copenhagen-7

In fact, this lively city was awarded the NESCO-UIA (International Union of Architects) World Capital of Architecture this year by UNESCO.


I spent a morning on a brief discovery walking tour with a local Viking Ocean Cruises guide, beginning at the iconic Little Mermaid Statue, and working our way along the waterfront to the Royal Harbour, Gefion Fountain, Amalienborg Palace and adjacent Marble Church.

[Gefion Fountain]

[Amalienborg Palace]

[Marble Church]

Afterwards, I made my way to Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square) and to the 17th century Nyhavn canal, sight of Copenhagen’s famed coloured houses.

[Kongens Nytorv]

One of the coolest landmarks (IMHO) is the old Stock Exchange Building – Børsen, with its four entwined dragon’s tails, representing the four Scandinavian countries.


The 1625 building, one of the oldest in Stockholm, is currently under renovation, however the back side is mostly free of scaffolding, and the impressive spine is a breathtaking sight against the spring blue sky.


Here’s a collection of my favourite architectural gems around the city.



[Colourful Nyhavn merchant houses]



Founded by Vikings in the late 900’s, Ålborg is Denmark’s fourth largest city and contains the country’s best-preserved Renaissance architecture.


It’s a charming, compact town located in Northern Jutland, about 20 miles up the most narrow point of the Limfjord.



Founded as a trading post, the wealth that poured into merchants’ accounts helped build many half-timbered mansions that can still be found here today.

[Ålborg Musikkens Hus]

As we make our way along Utzon Park, our first stop is inside the 2015 Ålborg Musikkens Hus, designed by Jørn Oberg Utzon, the very architect behind Sydney’s famed Opera House.

[Vor Frue Kirke]

Vor Frue Kirke (Church of Our Lady) houses one of the original church bells dating back to the 12th century. A former Benedictine monastery was contained on this site (and demolished in 1876), replaced with Vor Frue Kirke a couple of years later.

[Budolfi Church]

[Budolfi Church frescoes]

Strolling through the Old Town, we take in the Gothic 14th-century Budolfi Church (the only white church in all of Denmark) and its frescoes as well as the lovely baroque-style City Hall.

[Ålborg City Hall, 1762]

An Ålborg highlight is Jens Bang’s stone house. Bang was famously snubbed by the town’s government, and his statuesque renaissance home was never approved by the local gentry.

[Jens Bang’s House, built in 1624]

[Ålborghus Castle courtyard]

Ålborghus Castle, the current seat of Northern Jutland’s governors, is one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture, built between 1539 and 1555 by King Christian III.

Ålborg-9 Ålborg-11

I was hosted by Viking Ocean Cruises for the purpose of this feature. Opinions, as always, remain my own.

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