Arken was built to mark Copenhagen’s stint as European City of Culture in 1996. This remarkable contemporary art museum is as famed for the building that houses it – its nautical ship-shape inspired by its beachfront location on Ishøj Strand – as the international art contained within. After a few years in the doldrums, Arken has bounced back with a new extension opened in 2008. The permanent collection of works created after 1990 includes stunning pieces by top Danish artists such as Jeppe Hein, Peter Holst and Jacob Kirkegaard. One recent acquisition is Olafur Eliasson’s ambitious installation Your Negotiable Panorama, which uses visitors’ movements to manipulate wavelike light projections. Equally engrossing is Arken’s changing program of temporary exhibitions that can focus on photography, art or sculpture. The museum has a book store and a wonderful cafe that hangs, as if it were the ship’s lifeboat, on the side of the building – the views across Køge Bay are extraordinary. It is a great place to come with kids as there is plenty of sandy beach space to let off steam after pondering the meaning of Jeff Koon’s gigantic flower balloon sculpture. Ishøj Strand is 25 minutes south of Copenhagen. To get to Arden by car, take the E20 motorway and leave at junction 26, following signs for Ishøj Strand. S-trains (lines A or E) leave Copenhagen Central Station twice an hour. From Ishøj station take bus 128, which goes directly to the museum.