This is a guest post from Josh Band of A Backpacker’s World.
Copenhagen is one of the most popular cities to visit in Scandinavia. And it does not disappoint: with so much to see and do in Copenhagen you’ll leave with plenty of precious memories. The city has a really special atmosphere, so welcoming and laid back and safe and secure that it perfectly epitomises the Danish word hygge.
Why Visit Copenhagen?
It would be impossible to list all the reasons to visit Copenhagen, but here are just a few.
- It’s safe. Copenhagen is consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in the world, and you can really feel it when you’re in the city. For example, the locals don’t even lock up their bicycles – they trust that no one will steal them.
- Way of life. As well as being one of the safest cities, Copenhagen is also one of the happiest cities in the world. Again you can really feel it: the atmosphere is so chilled and no one lets anything annoy them. They just take life as it comes, and it makes for a really cosy and friendly vibe.
- The sights. Copenhagen is a pretty city with lots of things to see and do. It’s worth visiting just to see Nyhavn, and it’s even more beautiful in real life than in the photos.
- Sustainability. Scandinavia in general, and specifically Copenhagen, is a leader in the sustainability world, so you will be having a mostly eco-friendly trip. For example, nearly every car in the city is electric.
- Shopping. Copenhagen has the longest pedestrian shopping street in the world, so if you fancy your hand at some shopping, Copenhagen is the place to be. But be warned that it is an expensive city to visit!
But there are countless reasons to visit Copenhagen. It’s one of the best cities in the world for a city break, and it’s impossible not to fall in love with the place.
What To Do In Copenhagen
Copenhagen is a city jam-packed with things to see and do. You could simply walk the streets and have a good time, but there are some things which you simply can’t miss. Here are some of the must-dos.
Nyhavn is the most famous canal in Copenhagen, and you’ve probably already seen pictures of it. The canal is lined with coloured houses on each side, and it’s like something straight out of a fairy tale. It’s such a cosy part of the city, that you could easily spend an hour just sitting here and watching the world go by.
The bars and restaurants along the canal make for a nice place to spend an evening. However, note that this is a prime tourist location and prices are high.
Tivoli Gardens is the most popular attraction in Copenhagen. It is one of the oldest theme parks in the world, and it’s a really special place, especially at Christmas time when it turns into a festive wonderland.
Unfortunately, Tivoli Gardens is only open at certain times of the year, but it’s worth planning your trip around the times when the park is open because it does not disappoint. It’s an amazing place!
Rosenborg Castle is home to the Danish crown jewels, but the castle offers so much more than that. The castle itself is stunning, with its red brickwork and green roof, and the surrounding gardens are really pretty. The interior of the castle is breathtaking: the rooms are filled with rich, royal decor, and the treasury quite literally has a golden glow. It’s a must-visit.
The Little Mermaid
You can’t say you’ve been to Copenhagen if you haven’t seen the statue of the Little Mermaid. You’ll probably be pretty underwhelmed by how small it is, a bit like Manneken Pis in Brussels, but that’s just part of the fun. It’s still worth checking out to say you’ve seen it, and you’ll enjoy the stroll along the waterfront.
Copenhagen is filled with castles and palaces and another one you really need to check out is Christiansborg Palace. This is also the Danish parliament. The building is beautiful inside and out, but the best part is that you can go to the top of the tower for free and get a breathtaking view of Copenhagen.
Copenhagen has a lot in common with Amsterdam, such as cycling and canals. And just like in Amsterdam, you can’t visit Copenhagen without taking a canal tour. This offers a unique but stunning perspective of the city, especially of Nyhavn which looks even more impressive from the water.
The Botanic Gardens in Copenhagen are widely considered some of the best in the world. A particular feature is the Palm House which is home to one of the most photographed spots in the city, the white spiral staircase.
It is so peaceful that you could easily spend a few hours taking in all of the greenery here. However, you don’t need them as an “escape the hustle and bustle of city life”, as Copenhagen is already so chilled!
You also need to check out the Freetown Christiania neighbourhood in Copenhagen. Long story short, rules don’t apply here, and pretty much anything is legal. That makes for a really unique visit, and area is like nowhere else. While you will smell weed, there aren’t really any safety concerns.
Note that most parts of Freetown Christiania don’t allow photos and have signs up saying so. Make sure to respect this rule on your visit.
Eating And Drinking In Copenhagen
The Danish cuisine isn’t one of the most famous in the world, but that doesn’t make it any less tasty. There are some famous dishes like smørrebrød, which is an open sandwich, or stegt flæsk, a pork recipe which is the national dish.
Many people think Danish pastries are Danish but they were first made by an Austrian. However don’t let that stop you trying some while you’re in Copenhagen because they are delicious.
Torvehallerne is a nice local market where you can get a quick and authentic meal, or some fresh foods if you’re staying a little longer. But the best area for eating in Copenhagen is in and around the Amelianborg Palace. It’s quite close to the centre of the city, and you are likely to pass through it at some point.
Copenhagen Travel Tips
Like with every city in the world, there are some travel tips which can help your trip go smoother or help you to save money.
- You can drink tap water. Tap water in Copenhagen has actually been ranked as some of the cleanest and best tasting in the world, so don’t spend money on expensive bottled water.
- Get the Copenhagen Card. The Copenhagen Card includes entry into all of the attractions and even includes a canal tour. It’s an easy way to save money on your trip, and it also allows unlimited free use of public transport, including to and from the airport.
- Take the train from the Airport. Speaking of the airport, the best way to get to the city is by taking a train. Taxis are extremely expensive and usually take longer than the train to reach the city! And if you do get the Copenhagen Card, your train will be free.
- Watch out for bikes. Most locals will cycle in Copenhagen – it’s even more bike-friendly than Amsterdam. The cyclists are more laid back than the Dutch, but do make sure you’re not walking in a cycle lane!
- Plan around Mondays. On Mondays, most things close in Copenhagen, so make sure you don’t plan to do things which will be closed. Rosenborg Castle is an example of something which closes on a Monday.
How To Get To Copenhagen
The most usual way to get to Copenhagen is by flying. If you can be flexible with your dates there are often cheap flights to the city on Skyscanner. You may be able to find round-trip tickets for as low as €30 or even less.
How To Get Around Copenhagen
Many of the sights in Copenhagen are close together, so it’s possible to walk most of the time. But for longer trips, you can opt to cycle like a local or use public transport (which is included in the Copenhagen Card as mentioned above).
Taxis are very expensive, so it’s not recommended to use them unless you absolutely have to. And there is no Uber in Copenhagen either.
Where To Stay In Copenhagen
The best area to stay in Copenhagen is near København H, the central station. This is near Tivoli Gardens, so you are close to the attractions. And it makes it really easy to get to and from the airport, as you arrive and depart from the central station.
From Nyhavn and Tivoli Gardens to the castles and palaces, and everything in between, Copenhagen is guaranteed to leave you with fond memories. But even though the sights are incredible, the charm of the city is what will impress you the most. The atmosphere and hygge can only truly be understood by experiencing it for yourself.
So make sure to book those flights and go and enjoy life in Copenhagen.
Author bio: Josh Bland writes about backpacking all around the world. From Southeast Asia to Europe, and everything in between, he loves to explore and to spend as little as possible while doing so…