With its mix of urban sophistication and outdoor adventure, Denver has it all. Situated on the banks of the South Platte River at an altitude of 1,609 metres above sea level, it is the gateway to the captivating Rocky Mountains. Now the capital of Colorado and the state’s most populous city, Denver was founded in 1858 after the first few flakes of gold were discovered on the river’s banks.
The gold has since dried up but Denver remains a veritable goldmine for travellers. The sun shines 300 days a year here and the climate is mild and moderate, with an average winter temperature of 7°C and an average August temperature of 30°C.
We recommend a stroll around the city centre to explore Denver’s fine art galleries, shops and numerous award-winning restaurants. Families with children will love the Denver Zoo, and the city’s inhabitants take great pride in the Denver Botanic Gardens. Just northwest of downtown is the historic and hip neighbourhood LoDo (short for “Lower Downtown”).
Many buildings in LoDo dating from around 1900 have been restored and the now-revitalised area is filled with funky shops, restaurants and art galleries. Denver is also renowned for its beer production so it is worthwhile – not to mention invigorating – to pay a visit to one of its many breweries. And why not step in at the variety of wineries and vineyards in and around Denver?
Only a 20-minute drive from Denver takes you to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains for a variety of outdoor activities, nature exploration, hiking, rafting, kayaking and mountain climbing, not to mention excellent golf courses and acclaimed golf resorts such as the Broadmoor.
The region boasts some of the world’s finest ski resorts, of which Aspen is obviously the most recognised. Denver’s surrounding towns and national parks include Central City, Black Hawk, Georgetown, Pikes Peak Country and Rocky Mountain National Park.
For an unforgettable, scenic drive, take North America’s Highest Paved Road up to the summit of Mount Evans at an altitude of 4,348 metres – the road is open from the end of May to the first Monday of October.