Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and where I have been living for almost 2 years. I really think that it is true what they say – Danes are the happiest people in the world and I love to live here.
If you are planning a visit prepare yourself to fall in love. The city is so easy to explore with lots of things to see and do from culture, architecture, shopping or even nightlife you will learn to enjoy the slow intimate pace of Copenhagen.
Hope you enjoy my Copenhagen Travel Guide and that it will help you to prepare your trip!
PREPARE YOUR VISIT TO COPENHAGEN
LANGUAGE // Danish is the main language but you can easily find information in English in most places and ticket machines. Almost everyone speaks English on a high level.
CURRENCY // Danish Krone
BUDGET // Moderate to expensive. Copenhagen is not a cheap city so make sure you plan your days well otherwise you can easily ruin your budget on a simple three day weekend. For a daily budget I would say 1000Kr. Take in consideration tickets money and other extra activities. Always over-budget to be safe in my opinion!
ELECTRIC // Power sockets: type E and K / Standard voltage: 230 V / Standard frequency: 50 Hz
CLIMATE // During the winter is cold and windy with temperatures below 0. Some episodes of snow occur occasionally. Springs are mild with most people still wearing the usual winter clothes. Summer can be tricky; you can be lucky and get a really sunny day. Temperatures will be around 5°C to 25°C.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR THE YEAR TO VISIT // Summer is the best time to get to know the city as the days are longer hence things stay open until later and it’s warmer with endless possibilities for picnics for example. During Autumn and Winter you also have different attractions like the many Christmas markets but the days are shorter with sun light disappearing around 4pm.
HOW MANY DAYS? // It’s up to you. There is a lot to see and do but the city is small and you can easily check out the main attractions in one weekend with time to enjoy things at a slow pace.
GETTING TO COPENHAGEN
Kastrup Airport is the international airport in Copenhagen. From there you have several ways to get to the city center.
In arrivals you have taxis just outside that take 20-30 minutes with a cost of about DKK 300 (you can use your card).
Public transports are efficient and frequent and you can save some money by using them. On terminal 3 you have access to trains, buses and metro. Tickets can be bought in the DSB ticket machines (only accept coins or cards) or at the DSB sales counter.
The train takes 12 minutes to Copenhagen Central Station and by metro 15 minutes to Nørreport Station. Tickets cost 36 Kr.
The buses are also frequent but they may take more time to reach the center. The 5A is a good option, takes about 30 minutes and stops in a lot of the central areas in the city.
It’s easy to arrive by train to Copenhagen from a lot of the European destinations. There are several train connections from Malmö, Lund and Gothenburg in Sweden.
It’s easy to reach Copenhagen by car but it will take time and may take a ferry on the way depending of the country you’re coming from. I came by car from London and it took us about 15 hours to drive with a stop in Germany to spend the night.
BY FERRY or CRUISE
Ferries may be a good option if you’re driving or if you want to rent a car to drive around some countries in Europe. Check the routes with DFDS.
A lot of people also visit Copenhagen from cruise ships. Check them here.
WHERE TO STAY IN COPENHAGEN
Copenhagen is a small city and most hotels are quite central. Even if you’re further from most attractions there will be a lot of options for public transportations so don’t worry.
The prices for a night stay can be medium to high in most places. Check out Airbnb here for some reasonable prices and especially if you’re coming in a group for some time to the city.
For medium to high options my recommendations are the Andersen Boutique Hotel, Ascot Hotel, Hotel Christian IV, Hotel Skt. Annæ, Wakeup Copenhagen, First Hotel Twentyseven, Savoy Hotel and the beautiful floating houseboat hotel CPH Living.
You can have a look on other options here.
GETTING AROUND COPENHAGEN
As I mentioned before the city is small and really easy to discover even just by walking. The public transports are reliable and frequent and will take you to most all places you need.
For public transports you can save some money by buying the unlimited day tickets with all zones for train, metro and bus. A 24-hour ticket and the 7-day unlimited travel card, the Flexcard are good options. Check them here. You can get tickets in the DSB machines or on your phone with the Mobilbilletter app (from Apple store).
The Rejsekortet is a useful travel card if you’re planning to stay for a while and do frequent travels. You can get a Rejsekort Anonymous in one of the many 7 Eleven shops or online here.
Metro // All day and all night, every day of the week. Check timetables and zones here.
Train // Fast and frequent. A good option if you want to venture outside the city. Check the schedules here.
Bus // I don’t really use the buses much but they are good. Check out Rejseplanen which you can get as an app for your phone (from Apple store) to check out where you are and where you want to go by showing you the fastest options.
By bicycle // Copenhagen is well known to be one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world with really good and easy to follow bicycle paths all around the city. For me this is the perfect method to go around and get to know the city in a quick, easy and cheap way. Most hotels will have bicycles but if not you can rent them in one of the many bike shops around town.
Walking // If you’re accommodation is located in the city center you will easily be able to go around by walking. Everything is located within 5 to 20 minutes to see and I have done it many times even during the winter.
By boat // A canal tour can be something you’re looking forward. It’s really nice during the summer (during the winter can be really cold). You’ll be introduced to the main attractions and history to the city. Check the Canal Tours located in Nyhavn.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN COPENHAGEN
The Little Mermaid
The sculpture of The Little Mermaid presented to the city in 1913 is probably the most iconic stop point when you visit the city. It was a gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen to the city and was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Little Mermaid.
Constructed in the form of a pentagram with bastions at the corners it is one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. It was set to build by King Christian IV in 1926 as a defence for war and nowadays serves various military activities of Danish Defence Ministry.
The fountain decorated with animal figures driven by God Gefjon recreates the mythical creation of Zealand where Copenhagen is located. It is used as a wishing well. Located just outside the Kastellet was designed by Danish artist Anders Bundgaard to be donated to the city by the Carlsberg Foundation.
Wandering around the four identical buildings that make Amalienborg is one the best things to see and do in Copenhagen. The royal family still lives inside the palace and it is funny to think that maybe they are watching us! The square outside the Palace is also famous for the Royal Guard, the Den Kongelige Livgarde.
Don’t miss the changing of the guard every day at 12pm, as they march through the streets from Rosenborg Castle to Amalienborg. Take the time for pictures with King Frederik V as the statue lies in the middle of the square.
This church, also known as The Marble Church is just on the corner from Amalienborg and is one of the most impressive churches in the city to me.
Built by King Christian IV, this 400 years castle is one of the most inspiring fairy-tale things to see in Copenhagen. The gardens are the country’s oldest royal gardens and were influenced by the Renaissance era.
During the summer the gardens fill up with people and many do picnics. It’s a great place to spend a day. The museum inside the palace is famous for featuring the Crown Jewels.
The unique botanical garden in Copenhagen has over 13000 species all well identified, but what makes it special are the glasshouses going back to 1874. There is a nice pop-up coffee shop as well that I love, particularly to enjoy an ice cream in the summer.
The Round Tower – Rundetårn
The oldest functioning observatory in Europe was built in the 17th century. It is a must because of the unique spiral architecture and the amazing views over Copenhagen. Prepare yourself to walk 209 meters to get to the top and to be amazed by the floating glass floor at 25 meters above the ground.
There are several parts of the palace that are worth to see and some are still used by the Royal Family. You can visit the Royal Reception Rooms where The Oval Throne Room is and watch out from the balcony from where the Danish monarchs are proclaimed.
Church of Our Saviour
The high and beautiful bell tower in a spiral shape is the highlight of the church and can be seen from most of the city. Open in 1752 it is very popular amongst the tourists and be ready for the 400 steps to get to the top.
The gardens from Frederiksberg Palace are one of the most romantic places in Copenhagen and also a fun place to sit around with a picnic basket when the sun is out. Don’t miss the Chinese Pavilion.
Royal Danish Playhouse
You will easily identify this as it lies beautifully in the canal. Even if you don’t have a ticket for a play it is still worth to go around for the sights and maybe have food and drink with a view.
Copenhagen Opera House
Across the canal from Amalienborg you will easily spot the Opera House. This is one of the most modern and expensive operas houses in the world. I have been there to watch Madame Butterfly it was incredible!
A former commercial port where once sailors gathered from all over the world is now probably the most visited part of Copenhagen. Why? Because is lovely to see all the colours of the houses perfected pictured with the large ships docked in the canal. Each season is different and with different attractions.
Look for number 9 as it is the oldest house there, since 1681 and for number 20 where Hans Christian Andersen used to live.
A simple walk around the canal can be relaxing as the atmosphere is great, normally with music playing in the background. Dinner is expensive but once in a while why not! You can try some of the most typical Danish dishes over there.
Popular for street performers this an area mainly for shopping but covers some points of interest on the way, such as the Church of Our Lady, where Prince Frederik and Princess Mary got married, The Court House in Nytorv Square, the Stork Fountain and the Amagertorv Square.
This amazing park was founded in 1843 and it is by far one of the most inspiring places in Copenhagen!
During the day the bright colours and watching the rides up and down fill your eyes and by night time is the ‘WOW’ time – thousands of lights illuminate several paths across the park making it look like a fairy-tale. I personally love the ice creams in the summer and the crepes in the winter.
Depending on the time of the year, special decorations come to live. In the summer everyone getters around in the middle of the green grass were music is normally played. During Halloween it’s all decorated with witches, pumpkins and skeletons. Christmas is magical with all the lights and carols every day. Be aware that the park it’s not open all year.
Danish Museum of Art & Design
It was once the first public hospital in Denmark. Nowadays features several exhibitions from ceramics, glass, you name it!
The National Gallery of Denmark – SMK
Denmark’s largest museum has a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art. Sometimes they feature special exhibitions of the royal collections. It’s a beautiful building a with a very nice garden where you can relax on your visit there.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
The art museum founded by Carl Jacobsen in 1888 has some interesting collections from Egypt art to the Roman statues. There is also the possibility to sit in the Café and relax in the beautiful garden. Free on Tuesdays.
Hans Christian Andersen Fairy-Tale Museum
Hans Christian Andersen is the Danish author of a wide collection of fairy-tales most of all inspired from living in Copenhagen, as the Little Mermaid. In the museum you can get to know this author better and some of the inspiration for his tales.
National Museum of Denmark
There is a vast collection from different times. The ones I found more fascinating are the Huldremose Woman, a body discovered in 1879 and dated back to 160BC to 340BC and the Vikings exhibition.
The Free Town as it is known was established in 1971 by a group of hippies who occupied an abandoned site and developed their own set of society rules, independent from the Danish government. Nowadays this still applies – the society within the society – were buying/smoking weed is allowed.
In Christiania you will find homemade art, organic food, and nice views of the city. In most areas, photos or filming is not allowed.
It’s one of the most beautiful and relaxed areas of Copenhagen. It’s easy to walk around or cycle. The area is known to have excellent coffee shops and restaurants serving very typical Danish dishes. During the summer you can also take a ride in one of the swan’s boats.
It is a must of the city where the world-famous Carlsberg Beer was made in the pass. You get to know the ingredients and even have a taste on some different beers.
One of the best options for kids of all ages in Copenhagen. You can easily spend a whole day there with lots of entertainment around science experiments.
It may be hard to think about the beach you thing about Copenhagen but exists! In the summer there are two harbour baths: Copencabana and Island Brygge. Also for proper sandy beach you can go to Charlottenlund Beach Park or Amager Strandpark, not far from the central Copenhagen.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
This restaurant located in Nyhavn has a good buffet for your introduction to Danish food. There you can try most traditional food like Denmark’s famous open-faced rye bread sandwiches the smørrebrød and enjoy the sunshine outside looking at the canal.
The world’s first porridge bar it’s a nice option to start the day. It’s also located in Jægersborggade, one of the many trendy streets in Copenhagen.
This is my favourite cafe in Copenhagen for Danish pastries. It’s on the way to Nyhavn with accessible prices and a unique décor. Various members of the royal family and actors have stopped there.
Where you can have some traditional Danish food and also try several types of beer in one meal.
Meat Packing District
The area is one of the trendiest places to go out in Copenhagen, either to eat or just have a drink in one of the many bars. It used to be Copenhagen’s meat industry area so don’t be shocked by the look of the buildings. The most famous restaurants over there are WarPigs and BOB Bistro. On Saturdays in the summer a market comes to live with a lot of food stalls.
Copenhagen Street Food Market – Papirøen
This food market is one of my favourites of all in Copenhagen. I drag everyone that visits me there as I just can’t get enough of the amazing food served there. In the summer everyone jut getters around outside looking at the canal. If you are coming on a weekend I would avoid particularly the meal times and would try to go outside those hours as it can get packed. But apart from that there is a lovely décor and all types of food you can think of to try.
Hot Dog Vans
Not a restaurant but they are all over the city and it’s a very Danish thing to stop for a hot dog while out.
Just across Nørreport station you will find this food market where you can buy flowers, groceries and some amazing food! There is Danish food and also some other cuisines. All fresh and delicious!
The Union Kitchen
One of the trendiest places for brunch at the moment but they also have food outside those hours.
One of my favourite places because it’s located looking across the Copenhagen Lakes, perfect for a weekend brunch!
Have you visited Copenhagen or have plans to? Let me know and maybe I can help to plan your trip!
Pin this Travel Guide for your trip to Copenhagen!