Cycling along the canal, enjoying hygge with friends and indulging in all the Danish culture at the museums and castles are just a few reasons to visit Copenhagen. On top of that, Denmark is consistently rated as one of the happiest countries in the world! If you’re considering visiting Demark’s capital, this Copenhagen travel guide will tell you everything you need to know before you plan your adventure!
I last visited Copenhagen on a cruise, where I saw 6 cities in 7 days: Copenhagen, Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo, Tallinn, St. Petersburg. It was an incredible adventure, and I learned and saw so much in each of these unique but nearby cities.
Not only is Copenhagen beautiful in summer, but it’s also great to explore when you’re wrapped up warm. I explored Copenhagen for a girly winter weekend, where we wrapped up warm and saw the sights, including the Little Mermaid, Nyhavn, Rosenborg Castle and more. See my winter guide to Copenhagen here.
I’ve put together my knowledge, tips and tricks from these trips into the ultimate Copenhagen travel guide, ready for your next Danish adventure! Let’s get planning!
A Copenhagen guide: everything you need to know about Denmark’s capital…
How do you get to Copenhagen?
Getting to Copenhagen by plane:
Flying from London to Copenhagen (CPH) takes just an hour and a half. You can also fly in from many other major European and international cities. A return flight can cost as little at £20 if you are able to be flexible on dates, so it’s a perfect candidate for a short trip or weekend away for anyone on any budget!
Getting from Copenhagen airport to the city centre…
You have a few options:
- Bus: There are several bus lines running between Copenhagen city centre and Copenhagen Airport. Bus 5A runs from the airport to the city centre. Find your exact journey at rejseplanen.dk.
- Train: For 36DKK you can get the train from Terminal 3, Platform 2 to Københavns Hovedbanegården (Central station). It takes about 15 minutes.
- Metro: You can also get the metro to other areas in the city, including (but not only) Nørrebrø, Vesterbrø, Frederiksberg, and Osterbrø. Be sure to get a ticket that covers all the zones you need – probably a ‘3 zone’ ticket!
- Flixbus and Nettbuss run buses from the airport through the city centre to other parts of Denmark and Sweden.
- Car rental
Where’s the best place to stay in Copenhagen?
There is a wide variety of accommodation on offer in Copenhagen including hostels, hotels and apartments on Airbnb.
I stayed in the Anderson Boutique Hotel during my weekend trip, located a 2-minute walk from central station & walking distance from everything. Gorgeous rooms, service and the most delicious breakfast buffet.
Hostels in Copenhagen that I’ve heard good things about include…
What’s the best way to get around Copenhagen?
- On foot: Copenhagen is a relatively small capital city and perfectly walkable! Most of the main sites are within a few blocks of each other.
- Rent bikes: Copenhagen is a great city to cycle round, and there are city bikes available to use. Get more information about how to use the bikes here.
- Public transport: Public transport in Copenhagen is really easy to use, and includes buses, trains and the metro. You can get single, timed tickets to use within certain zones at reasonable prices.
With the Copenhagen card, not only do you get free or discounted access to attractions in Copenhagen, such as museums, galleries, cruises and castle, but you also get to use public transport in Copenhagen for free! Get your Copenhagen card here.
The best places to eat and drink in Copenhagen…
Healthy: Joe and The Juice, 42Raw, SimpleRaw, Palao Torvehallerne.
Coffee: The Coffee Collective, Barisso Coffee, Copenhagen Coffee Lab, Mad & Kaffe, The Living Room
Pastries: Ole & Steen Lagkagehuset, Leckerbaer, Mirabelle, Meyers Bageri
Lunch: Copenhagen Street Food Market, Brooklyn Bar, The Bagel Co, Wok On, Aamanns 1921, Kronborg, Selma
Dinner: Cocks and Cows, Noma, Tivoli Gardens, The Tower @ Christiansborg Palace, Sky Bar and Restaurant, Alberto K, Sticks’n’Sushi @ Tivoli Hotel, Gro Spiseri, Høst
Party: Hive, drinks at Nimb (only open to the public in summer)
The best things to do in Copenhagen…
1. Hop on a canal tour.
Like Amsterdam there are canals running through Copenhagen. When first arriving, a canal tour is a great way to get your bearings and eye up spots to explore during your stay. There is something so serene about the presence of water in a city and these canal tours allows you to see Copenhagen from a unique perspective. See the variety of tours on offer here.
2. Visit Nyhavn.
The place you’ve seen on all the postcards and the image you most like already associate Copenhagen with. You’d be lying if you said you didn’t want to take a photo – so make sure you check it off early in your visit. Bear in mind that Nyhavn is more expensive than other areas of Copenhagen.
3. Explore Copenhagen by bike.
It goes without saying that should you come to Copenhagen and the weather be anything more than mild, you should grab a bike and explore on wheels. Bikes have their own bike lanes here in Copenhagen and you can rent a bike for just 60 DKK a day. Check out Copenhagen’s bike sharing scheme here.
4. Enjoy Danish cuisine on a guided food tour.
There are so many things to try in Copenhagen: Danish pastries (wienerbrød was my favourite!), smørrebrød (an open rye bread sandwich, typically with salmon and eggs but there are a variety of toppings), æbleskiver (mini apple stuffed pancakes), grød (fresh porridge with seasonal toppings), gløgg (mulled wine), as well as a selection of gourmet meats, cheeses and wines.
My advice would be to take a culinary walking tour… that way you get to see the city and enjoy the food at the same time! Starting at just 450 DKK, you can taste all the Scandinavian delights and take in the wonderful cityscape simultaneously. Book your walking tour with Foodtours here, or a food and bike tour with Foods of Copenhagen here.
5. Visit Tivoli Gardens.
When I asked you guys for recommendations in Copenhagen, 90% of you included a trip to Tivoli Gardens in your response & rightly so. Tivoli Gardens is the Winter Wonderland of Copenhagen & the ultimate provider of festive vibes. This popular amusement park is located in the heart of the city centre (near central station).
Here you can have a go on Tivoli’s oldest and most popular ride – the wooden rollercoaster, one of only 7 rollercoasters in the world that has a brakeman on every train, alongside many other rides.
If ferris wheels and rollercoasters aren’t your thing, you can instead nestle between the exotic gardens for something to eat in one of the restaurants, wander around the shops or, my favourite option, grab a glass of gløgg (mulled wine). Having said that, Tivoli Gardens is also open in summer if you prefer the warmth!
6. Enjoy the street food at the markets and food halls.
Copenhagen boasts a variety of markets, some of which are just open in the summer, understandably, as they are located outside. The markets are particularly good for street food at lunch time! My favourites included Torvehallerne, Papirøen, Reffen, Løgismose, Rebel Food and WestMarket. View the full range of markets in Copenhagen here.
7. Visit The Little Mermaid.
This iconic danish sculpture is now over 100 years old and was a piece of art commissioned by Carl Jacobsen and created by Edvard Erikson in 1909 after Carl fell in love with the mermaid character in a ballet performance of Hans Christian Andersons fairytale – The Little Mermaid.
The mermaid is about a 15 minute walk further north of Nyhavn. There is also a bus stop besides this hotspot if you don’t fancy walking.
Get there early if you want to avoid the crowds of tourists! If you don’t fancy the walk, many canal tours pass the Little Mermaid so you can see her from the boat.
8. Explore Freetown Christiana.
Established in 1971, this green and car free neighbourhood has its own set of rules and is completely independent from the Danish government.
Consisting of art galleries, workshops, homemade houses, organic eateries and gorgeous nature, it’s most certainly a unique place to visit.
9. Enjoy a drink at the Carlsberg brewery.
A tour at the Carlsberg brewery includes a free beer (there are lots of different flavours), interactive exhibits, a look at the machines that go into the beer making process, and a look at the world’s largest collection of beer bottles. Book your tour here.
10. Have dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant.
Boasting 23 stars across 16 restaurants, Copenhagen is great for fine-dining on a special occasion!
- 3 stars: Geranium
- 2 stars: AOC, Kadeau, Noma, Alchemist, Jordnær
- 1 star: 108, Kong Hans Kælder, Marchal, Clou, Relæ, Kokkeriet, Formel B, Kiin Kiin, Søllerød Kro, Alouette
11. Enjoy the view from Christiansborg Palace Tower.
Sitting at 106 metres high, the Christiansborg Palace Tower is the highest tower in Copenhagen and boasts gorgeous views over the whole city – don’t forget your camera! If you want to further your experience you can dine at the Tower’s restaurant.
12. Visit Rosenborg Castle
Built in the early 17th Century and located in King’s Garden, this Royal Hermitage hosts the crown jewels and sits in the most beautiful of settings. The perfect spot for a run, for a wander, to satisfy the historian in you. Combine your visit with a stroll through the nearby Botanical Gardens and a picnic in the King’s Garden.
Other castles in Copenhagen you should visit include Frederiksborg Palace, Christiansborg Palace, and Amalienbord Castle!
13. Kayak or rent a boat on the canal.
Whether you want to kayak along the canal solo or join a tour, get a different perspective of the city with Kayak Republic!
Alternatively, rent a sustainable boat from GoBoat and enjoy the city with the energy from the water, light and air!
14. Take a picnic to the famous Dyrehaven and watch the wild deer.
15. Learn how to make Danish pastries in a cooking class.
16. Enjoy the food scene in the neighbourhood of Refshaleøen.
This creative neighbourhood is a must-see in Copenhagen for foodies! Reffen is a great food market that you cannot miss. You can also enjoy dinner with an on-site sauna at La Banchina, explore the flea markets, and appreciate the modern art at Copenhagen Contemporary Gallery.
17. Go to the Round Tower for breathtaking views across the whole city.
18. Wander around the neighbourhood of Værnedamsvej, Copenhagen’s ‘Little Paris’.
19. Explore Nørrebro.
Often described as vibrant and youthful, this district of Copenhagen reminded me a lot of Shoreditch in London. Sophisticated coffee shops, a quirky dress sense, walls filled with graffiti (heart of the artistic individual) and shops filled with vintage wear. Nørrebro is also a great place for international food, due to its cultural diversity. While you’re there, don’t miss the famous cobbled street of Jægersborggade, or Superkilen, the huge urban park.
You can read more about the Norrebro district and what it has to offer here.
20. Wander through Strøget.
We couldn’t write a Copenhagen guide and miss this district. This 1km stretch of car free, pedestrian friendly street boasts a wealth of well known shops from budget friendly stores to luxury shopping experiences. Here you will be able to pick up souvenirs, grab a coffee or listen to talented street entertainers. Barisso Coffee serves a great cappuccino. If you are here and hungry, there are a few eateries on the main strip but you will need to dive off the main stretch to gain a decent selection.
21. In summer, hit the beach at Amager Strandpark.
22. And in winter, go ice-skating at Frederiksberg Runddel.
Entrance is free if you have your own skates, and if not you can rent a pair!
24. Explore the gorgeous Gråbrødretorv square.
The outdoor seating makes it a great place to sit in summer and enjoy a coffee or some lunch!
25. Soak up Danish culture.
Copenhagen is home to some beautiful museums, churches exhibitions and galleries, and if time allows, you should explore as many as you can! Favourites include…
- Unique Open Air Museum
- Gargantuan National Gallery
- Danish Museum of Design & Art
- Kunsthal Charlottenborg
- Cisternerne Odrupgaard
- Grundtvigs Church
- Bagsvaerd Church
- Federik’s Church
26. Try urban mountain sports or skiing at CopenHill.
27. Enjoy the ultimate Nordic wellness experience at CopenHot.
Hot tubs with sea water and saunas… a blissful addition to this Copenhagen guide! Check out the website here.
Day trips from Copenhagen…
- Malmö and Lund in Sweden! Explore Sweden on my blog here.
- Kronborg Castle
- Frederiksborg Palace
- The Cliffs of Møn
- Egeskov Castle
- Louisiana Museum of Art
- Rosklide Cathedral, and the RAGNAROCK Danish music museum/exploratorium in Rosklide!