The heart of Denmark is surely Copenhagen, a cultural mecca boasting everything from top-ranked chefs to scientific advances for the ages, all while being known as having one of the best quality of life ratings of any major city. But within Copenhagen, there is yet another heart that beats, and that is Nyhavn, the 17th-century canal and modern entertainment district of the city. With its distinctive colorful rows of buildings lining the canal, Nyhavn teems with life as the cosmopolitan-set inhabitants frequent their favorite shops, eateries and watering holes. One particular section, located between the Nyhavn Bridge and Kongens Nytorv, is complimented further by large, ancient wooden ships that are docked along the waterway. And as you explore such a whimsical place, don't forget, you are also in the hood that the author Hans Christian Andersen called home for many years.
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Museum Ships Along Nyhavn
As you visit Nyhavn you might notice that it is lined by old sailing vessles. The harbor is, in fact, limited (outside of tour boats) to traditional sailing craft.
One of the cool things that has really helped developed Nyhavn's charm is that it also doubles as a floating museum. Many of the ships along Nyhavn either belong to the Danish National Museum or a private society dedicated to preserving historic sailing vessels.
Among these, my absolute favorite is the lighthouse boat. Distinctly identifiable due to the large lighthouse in place of its crows nest, the Danes would pull these ships out and anchor them off one of Denmark's 400 islands. Should a threat arise, in place of having to abandon a lighthouse they'd just move the ships and leave the invading fleet to fend for itself.
For the perfect experience visit Nyhavn on a clear summer day just as the golden hues of sunset hit the buildings. It'll bring out the colors of the buildings while casting a golden blanket over the ships.