The capital of Denmark is probably one of the most beautiful and historic places in the world. It was once the center of the Danish empire as is evident by the number of castles and museums around and today is ranked as a top city to live in. there is an eclectic mix of both the old and the new as is apparent in Danish design, food and even culture. A trip here will change your life and leave you wanting more. After all, it is ranked among the happiest cities in the world!
Best time to Visit Copenhagen
The best time to visit Copenhagen is during the summer months from May to August. The days are long and occasionally sunny and the mood is festive!
Fun Facts About Copenhagen
- The world famous Carlsberg beer was born in Copenhagen in 1847. In fact its oldest brewery still exists in the city!
- Copenhagen has the oldest working observatory in Europe called the Rundetårn or Round Tower, built in 1642.
- More than half the population cycles to work and almost everywhere since owning a car is very expensive which means the city is littered with bike lanes.
- Copenhagen’s Strøget Street which measures a mile is Scandinavia’s longest car free shopping zone. It is famous for tax free luxury goods shopping and fine dining.
- Copenhagen is among the happiest cities in the world as rated by the World Happiness Index!
The Top 10 Attractions in Copenhagen
10 – Designmuseum Danmark
Visit this amazing design museum
housed in the 18th-century Frederiks Hospital (the first public Danish hospital) which will enthrall design students and tourists alike. The museum has a collection spanning arts and industrial designs spanning the late Middle Ages to the present, from the west to Asia! The museum offers both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Don’t miss the exhibits by modern designers like Poul Henningsen, Kaare Klint and Arne Jacobsen. After your tour, enjoy a cool drink and meal at the outdoor café in the museum’s Grønnegård courtyard. Please note that the museum is only open from Tuesdays to Sundays.
9 – City Hall and Rådhuspladsen Sqaure
Copenhagen’s City Hall
is located on one of its most popular squares, the Rådhuspladsen and is the the headquarters of the city’s municipal council and Lord mayor. Built between 1892 and 1905, it has a height of 105.6 meters and is one of Copenhagen’s highest buildings with 300 steps from the sidewalk to the tip of the tower from where you can get spectacular views of the famous Tivoli Gardens and the city. The City Hall has also featured in many blockbuster Danish series like The Killing and Borgen. Don’t miss the Rådhus built in 1905, a statue of writer Hans Christian Andersen, the Dragon Fountain also stands in the square and various other Viking Age monuments. If you have time to spare, you can sign up for many of the free walking tours that start from there.
8 – Little Mermaid
Hans Christian Andersen’s most famous character comes alive at the Little Mermaidmonument
in Copenhagen. She is arguably Denmark’s most controversial monument – the locals have mixed feelings about her which have resulted in many instances of vandalism over the years; sometimes there is graffiti, sometimes she is beheaded. The small statue was a gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen in 1913. He fell in love with Andersen’s tale of the famous mermaid
during a performance in the Royal Danish Theatre and decided to dedicate the monument to the city. As she sits on the Langelinie Pier, she has many admirers among the tourists that visit every year.
7 – Copenhagen Opera House
Also known as The Royal Danish Opera House
, this impressive structure spanning 41,000 square miles can seat an audience of 1400. Unveiled in 2005, it was designed by Danish architect Henning Larsen and other collaborators who used southern German Jura Gelb limestone and Sicilian Perlatino marble to build this ultramodern structure on the river bank. The extravagant ceiling in the main auditorium is plated with a whopping 105,000 sheets of 24 carat gold leaf! With a value of half a billion EUR, it is probably one of the most expensive opera houses ever! Guided tours are available. Performances are unforgettable.
6 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
This art museum
was founded in 1888 by famous local brewer Carl Jacobsen and contains some of the country’s most exquisite collections divided into two departments. The Department of Antiquities has a grand collection of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art while the Modern Department is themed around Danish and French art of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially paintings from Denmark's Golden Age as well as French Impressionism. Look out for famous works by Van Gogh, Rodin and Monet among others. Don’t miss the gorgeous rolling Winter Garden where you can relax after a long day at the museum and enjoy a coffee at at Café Glyptoteket. Many times the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is host to special exhibitions for which you may check their website. Entrance on Tuesdays is free!
5 – Amalienborg Slot
The Amalienborg Palace
is Copenhagen’s most famous attraction and is home to oldest monarchy in the world. The current Danish Queen Margrethe II and her family reside here. Don’t miss the daily changing of the Royal Guard called Den Kongelige Livgarde at noon. In the center stands the statue of King Frederik V surrounded by four identical palace buildings. Visit the Amalienborg Museum in Christian VIII’s Palace
here. Also visit the royal apartments which were used by three generations of monarchy.
4 – Nationalmuseet
Denmark's National Museum
is perhaps your best guide to the history of Scandinavia during the Stone Age, the Viking Age, the Middle Ages and Modern Denmark. Located in the 18 th century Prince’s Palace, the museum boasts of some of Denmark’s most grand collection of artifacts. Highlights include Viking weaponry, rune stones, a 3500-year- old Sun Chariot, bronze horns and other Nordic artifacts. Don’t miss the Children's Museume which has a Viking Ship. Visitors can avail of the self- guided tour facility. After a long day at the museum, unwind at the museum’s Restaurant Julian which is a famous brunch spot among the Danes. Don’t forget to visit the museum shop!
3 – Christiania
Entrance to Christiania (Photo Credit by Bruno Jargot)
Christiania or Freetown Christiania, is a self-governed commune on the south eastern edge of Copenhagen. It was established by hippie squatters in 1971 and is home to non conformists from all over the world who share the common ideas and practices of communal living and sustainability. The most infamous of Christiania is Pusher St which is full of shady marihuana dealers but also cosy homemade houses and cute eateries and gardens. The area was once a military camp much before it was inhabited by squatters. The government did make an effort to take back the land by it bowed to multiple revolutions and finally allowed the community to continue as a social experiment. Enter into this wonderful commune from the Prinsessegade. If you visit from June to the end of August, you can avail of the guided tours of self-governed Christiania.
2 – Nyhavn
Although this translates to ‘new harbor’, Nyhavn
is anything but new. It used to be a busy international commercial port dating back to the 17 th century when the king Christian V ordered the development of this artificial canal. Back then the area was home to many sailors, pubs and houses of important dignitaries. Today it is where Copenhagen’s posh people hang out. The oldest house here, No. 9, dates back to 1861. Visit Hans Christian Andersen’s houses at No. 20, 18 and 67 – it is where he wrote many famous tales like 'The Tinderbox' and 'The Princess and the Pea'. Nyhavn is a must go to spot with its bright and colored town houses and exquisite gastronomy.
1 – The Tivoli Gardens
The Tivoli Gardens
are to Copenhagen what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris – so obviously it is #1 on things to do in the city! Established way back in 1843, the gardens have won over the hearts of thousands of tourists and locals alike with its dreamy amusement rides, carnival games, concerts, open-air stage shows and funky restaurants. Highlights include a century-old roller-coaster, Saturday evening fireworks display, a rock concert at the open-air Plænen stage and a romantic storybook feel. It is well known that Walt Disney himself got the idea for Disneyland after he visited Tivoli! It was also an inspiration for many of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories. It is no wonder that this magical place will leave you enchanted probably for the rest of your life in the second oldest amusement park in the world!
Top Events In Copenhagen
What To Eat In Copenhagen
Copenhagen is home to some of the world’s best restaurants like Noma and Geranium so this obviously means that the food here is to die for!
- Smørrebrød – This typical Danish concept of an open sandwich includes rye bread, fish or pork fillet with pickled herring and other condiments. Eat it at Michelin-star Restaurant Schønnemann.
- Danish Hotdogs – Nothing is more scrumptious and effortlessly simple than a simple Danish hotdog with chorizo, sauerkraut and a mix of condiments. Pølse Kompagniet serves the best in town.
- Grød – Taste Grød, traditional Danish porridge which is made of oats and sprinkling of local ingredients at GRØD, Copenhagen’s only porridge-themed restaurant.
- Hindbærsnitter – These are Danish raspberry bars that look like Pop Tarts but are so much better since they have a burst of flavor in the pastry and are melt in the mouth. Have them at Laura’s Bakery.
Getting to Copenhagen
Air – Most International airlines service the Copenhagen Airport which is supposedly the busiest airport in Scandinavia.
Road- The E47 highway connects Lübeck in Germany to Copenhagen and also Helsingborg in Sweden. Alternatively, use the Øresund Bridge to get from Malmö in Sweden to Copenhagen.
Getting around-and- about in Copenhagen
- Bicycle: Since Copenhagen is a bike-friendly city, you can rent a bike from virtually anywhere. Try Copenhagen Bike Rental and Bycyklen. Bikes can also be carried free on the S-Trains.
- Metro and Trains: The unmanned Metro service spans two lines M1 and M2 and runs 24 hours a day, all days of the week and is cheap and fast. The suburban network or S-train runs from the Copenhagen Central Station and connects the city to other parts of Denmark.
- Buses: Copenhagen has a well-connected system of buses. For more information go to website. Tickets can be bought on the bus.
- Local Taxis: These are everywhere but are also expensive.
- Walking: We highly recommend this as the best way to see the city and it is safe too!
Where to Stay in Copenhagen
Price / Quality Ratio
Budget & Family Options
List of Recommended Souvenirs
- Danish ceramics – Denmark has a long tradition of producing pottery for several hundred years with the Royal Copenhagen porcelain factory being set up in 1775.
- Coins and currency – Another good thing to take back home is the Danish kroner. The coins are quite pretty and unique – they have a hole in the middle!
- Legos – Denmark is the birthplace of the famous Lego and it would be a shame to go home without some souvenirs from their stores!
- Carlsberg Glasses – Visit the Carlsberg brewery for a wonderful exBEERience and go home with a set of their iconic beer glasses.
- Danish Candy – The Danes love their candy especially licorice and are known to be top candy consumers in the world. Don’t miss hard candy made at Sømods Bolcher’s factory you can even watch the process here.
Top Tips for Travelers to Copenhagen
- Always carry a raincoat or an umbrella since rains are expected especially during the summer.
- Wear a good pair of walking shoes and try not to venture out into the city centre in stilettos because of the ancient cobblestones.
- Tipping is not expected in Denmark unlike in other parts of Europe.
- Carry something warm even in the summer months because the winds are strong inCopenhagen.
- Make sure you don’t walk in the bike lanes. Locals who are in a hurry are bound to come rushing into you!
Enjoying Copenhagen on a Budget
Copenhagen is undoubtedly one of the most expensive cities in the world. That being said, there is a lot on offer to make your travel to this beautiful city affordable.
- Copenhagen Card: This card will allow you access to around 79 museums and sights around Copenhagen at no extra cost. Free bus, train and metro rides are also included as are discounts at restaurants and attractions. Prices start at 389 DKK for adults for 24 hours.
- City Pass: This is a public transport pass and allows you access to go from one place to another in Copenhagen effortlessly and for cheap! You can order it on the webpage and it will be delivered to your phone instantly. Prices start at 80 DKK for 24 hours.
- Street Food: Embrace Copenhagen’s street food culture instead of going to a fancy restaurant. Visit the street food area on Papirøen Island where you will find everything from local cuisine to Korean burgers!
- Stay in hostels: This is best if you are traveling alone and is a great way to meet new people and make new memories.
- Free Swimming: If you love the water and want to dip your feet into the cool Scandinavian waters without spending a buck, head to the Amager Strandpark with its three miles of beaches or the Islands Brygge for a good dip.
- Walk Walk Walk!: It is true that most of Copenhagen can be seen on foot since everything is so close together. And maybe you can save that unused transport money for another ride at Tivoli! There are also many free walking tours available
Day Trips from Copenhagen
- Fredensborg Slot <insert picture>: Located about 45 minutes from Copenhagen, this castle was built in 1720 and is the current queen’s favorite place to unwind. This Italian Baroque styled-building is also called Denmark’s Versailles and was built to commemorate the truce between Denmark and its Scandianvian neighbors back in the 18 th century. There are lovely gardens to walk around in as well.
- Roskilde: This ancient city was Denmark’s capital from A.D. 960 to 1536 and is a mere 23 minutes west of Copenhagen by train. Visit this city’s many churches and Viking-influenced museums. The star attraction is the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Roskilde Cathedral. Roskilde also hosts Europe’s largest music festival every year.
- Frederiksborg Slot <insert picture>: Close to the Fredensborg Slot is another much larger castle of Frederiksborg. This Renaissance castle was built back in the 17th century by the famous Danish King Christian IV and has the best of Renaissance period art. Don’t forget to visit the museum inside. You can also indulge in walks and boat tours.
- Malmö – Cross on over to Malmö, Sweden on the Øresund bridge where the famous Danish crime drama The Bridge was shot. Located a mere 40 minutes from the city center, Sweden’s third largest city has a beautiful historic center, perfect for a day trip.
Visitor Information & Useful Links
Copenhagen Visitor Service
Vesterbrogade 4, 1620 Copenhagen V
Tel.: +45 70 222 442
Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm / Saturdays and Sundays: 9am to 4 pm
Tourist Information Point
Address: Copenhagen City Hall
Rådhuspladsen 1, 1599 København V
Tel: +45 3366 2586
Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm / Saturdays and Sundays: 9am to 4 pm
Emergency Contact Numbers
Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance
Medical illness (non-emergency)
Hospital / Emergency Wards
Bispebjerg Bakke 23, 2400 Copenhagen NV
Tel.: +45 3531 3531
Italiensvej 1, 2300 Copenhagen S
Tel.: +45 3234 3500