Eurovision 2014: Discover the Danish host city of Copenhagen

Follow our music and travel guide to the Danish capital, and relive the spectacular kitsch, glitz and glamour of the annual song competition

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Eurovision 2014: Discover the Danish host city of Copenhagen
Written By
Radio Times Staff

Unlike other parts of Europe, we Brits don't take the Eurovision Song Contest too seriously. It may be due to the utterly bizarre acts often clad in spandex suits, doused in glitter and wearing costumes like boxer shorts or air stewards' outfits while they prance around on stage. It may also be due to political undertones in the voting or the fact that we actually have a real music industry to be proud of (we did, after all, produce The Beatles, Bowie and Bob Dylan – and that's just the 'b' s).

That said, there is no denying the Eurovision Song Contest is brilliantly bonkers entertainment, kitsch, camp and hypnotic. If you like the Danish take on the competition this year, why not visit the host city of Copenhagen after the show (the grand final starts at 8pm, May 10, on BBC1) and relive the Euro-pop extravaganza. Here's what not to miss while in town...

There’s more to Copenhagen than Hans Christian Anderson and Danish bacon, there’s an old-fashioned charm and  interesting Nordic sounds by the stadium-load. Let's start off with the music...

MUSIC

KB18

This intimate alternative venue is not fussy with music genres – the only requirement for sounds played here is that they are alternative. On any given night, you may be introduced to electronic beats or new punk, indie or garage rock bands. Low ceilings, graffiti and dark walls ensure the underground feel you expect from such a venue. www.kb18.net

Mojo Blues Bar

For an entirely different flavour, try this soul, blues and funk joint. Dimly lit tables surround the stage and dance floor, smoke hovers in the air, and black and white artists' images hang on the walls. The atmosphere is a welcoming mixture of tourists and musos, and there are plenty of Belgium and international beers to choose from. www.mojo.dk

Stengade

The building of this late night music haunt looks like a Hackney youth club, but you’re probably less likely to get mugged here. The entire thing has been graffitied with bright etchings, paintings of speakers and sound systems garnish the lower walls and the bricks are painted red, green and mauve. Despite the exterior's jovial design, the music here is hardcore. Think: rock, punk, hip hop, metal surf, and heavy dance – expect the sweat to drip down the walls. An ideal place to see what rebellious Nordic kids are listing to these days. www.stengade.dk

Rust

For big beats, big shapes and big headaches the next day, it has to be Rust, which fits a total of 670 revellers across three floors. Open since dance music took off at the end of the ‘80s, this place may be a bit more commercial than other music venues in Copenhagen but the organisers know what they are doing; previous artists on the line up include Rufus Wainwright, Blog Party and Stereo MC's. Don’t expect to go home until 4am on weeknights and 5am at weekends. www.rust.dk

The Grey Hall

Housed within an arts complex called Christiania, which was formerly a riding venue for the army, The Grey hall has hosted mega artists such as Rage Against The Machine, Metallica, Faithless and Bob Dylan. It’s a really bohemian space and is also rented out for other events such as large markets, art exhibitions and Christmas bazaars. See what's going on here: www.christiania.org


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WHAT ELSE TO DO

Nyhavn

This is the scene you expect to see on postcards of Copenhagen; distinctive coloured 17th-century houses flanking the canal. Although a pretty and vibrant place today, it has a sinister past. Nyhavn was dug by Swedish war prisoners from the 17th century Dano-Swedish War. These waterways were used as a gateway to the old inner city at Kongens Nytorv. These days it's very pleasant, visitors can stroll past historic wooden ships on the bank. www.nyhavn.com

The Little Mermaid

In 2013, this famed sculpture turned 100.  In 1913, this gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, was given to the city. Today she is still displayed with pride on Langelinje Pier. Get up close and you’ll see that she was built from stuff made to last – of bronze and granite. www.mermaidsculpture.dk

Tivoli Gardens

Fairgrounds don’t get more thrilling than this; the fact that it’s the second oldest fairground in the world adds an extra scare-factor every time you step onto a roller coaster. However, the gardens alone are worthy of a visit. The 21-acre park has more than 100,000 lights, which illuminate of an evening. By day the colours are similarly fantastic – flower beds are packed with around 400,000 plants, including 65,000 tulips. There’s also a Chinese pagoda and a number of grand concert venues. www.tivoli.dk

De Kongelige Repræsentationslokaler

Cultural travellers should make a beeline for the royal reception chamber, filled with beautiful wall tapestries that recount history from the Vikings to the Danes. The Queen even holds banquets here, so if it’s good enough for her. www.ses.dk


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Strøget

If you’re looking to pick up some Scandinavian treats, head to the longest shopping area in the whole of Europe. High street shops, luxury brands and fast food outlets are muddled with souvenir stores in this consumer’s playground. Around 250,000 people a day wander through its streets in the summer months.

FOOD AND DRINK

Peder Oxe

Go local at this traditional restaurant offering fresh fish and organic meat plates. Lighter bites include the salad buffet and locally-themed sandwiches. www.pederoxe.dk

Nomahas

This fancy, creative Michelin-starred Nordic fare has to be tasted. They do things like Nordic coconut, pickled and smoked quails egg, and caramelised milk and cod liver. Come with an open mind. www.noma.dk

HOW TO GET THERE

Low cost air carrier Norwegian flies from London to Copenhagen for around £80 return. Bmi flies direct from Manchester.

WHEN YOU'RE THERE

Cycle. There's no better way to see the city than on two wheels. Hire Bycycler bike racks (similar to Boris Bikes) are available across the city (www.bycyklen.dk). Or the buses are pretty reliable too (www.hur.dk).


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