Although Winter is not the typical season for travellers to flock to Denmark’s capitol, known for its lively parks and cafe lifestyle- there is still an abundance of sights and activities that must be added to your must-see list. There is a lot to this hip city, so to ensure you are not distracted and get hungry, I have complimented this City Guide to Copenhagen with my ‘Eating Out In Copenhagen’ guide that will give you some great ideas on where to eat in the number one foodies paradise in Europe!
The following guide will help you understand and explore this great city to the fullest- and don’t forget to breach the city center area, Copenhagen’s outer suburbs are the best part!
First of all, let me break down the city areas. There are 4 main regions that should be on your list: City Central, Christiania (Christianhaven) Island, Nørrebro and Vesterbo. You can easily cycle between all four areas within a day but I highly suggest taking a day on each, or 2 in one day for those in a rush. Each is very unique and I will highlight the best of each below (not exact, just the main focus areas of each suburb!).
By no means does this mean stay AWAY from the unhighlighted areas, but most of the main hot spots and my recommendations lie within these boundaries (Except the little mermaid!)
MAJOR TIP: Renting a bike is a simple MUST. This city is completely and utterly overrun with bikes, and there is a reason why- it is so darn easy to get around! The whole city is flat, there are bike lanes on every street and it takes about 15 minutes to cross the whole city- so get peddling!
Tivoli Theme Park and Gardens
My number one favourite thing in all of Denmark. What can be better than thousands of lights, vintage theme park rides and delicious desserts? NOTHING that’s what! Tivoli is Europe’s second oldest theme park- but that doesn’t mean it is outdated. For something extra special, head over from November-January for the ultimate festive experience. Like a kid in wonderland, you will be smiling ear to ear. This place is pure MAGIC. Hint: Go at night for lower entrance fees and see it’s glowing glory.
The famous Nyhavn canal area is the first thing that pops to people’s minds when they think of Copenhagen. After visiting it, I can see why- the colourful buildings, the glimmering water and the great little market stalls. The whole area is alive throughout the week and no matter what the weather, it is a great place to have a drink and meal. This is the top photo spot for anyone heading into Copenhagen!
The Little Mermaid and Churchill Parken
Although not central (at all really, but a lovely walk along the water gets you there in about 10 minutes from Nyhavn) this is definitely the most touristy spot in town. The statue, gifted to the people of Copenhagen by J.C. Jacobsen, the founder of Carlsberg depicts the classic fairy tale character hopelessly awaiting her prince. The story, also written by a Copenhagen local- Hans Christian Andersen- has become a childhood favourite around the world.
Many people overlook the fact that the pier in which she dawns is also adjacent to one of the most beautiful parks in the city! The park, with its vast green hills and monuments to Winston Churchill (hence the name) and stunning St. Albans Church are a great little walk or bike ride.
The street food and boutique eateries are definitely a highlight in Copenhagen. Head over to the busy Torvehallerne for a HUGE array of dishes from across the globe. For all you health nuts this is the best place to grab yourself some gluten free, nut free, lactose free, vegan, all natural, bio- whatever!
Strøget Shopping Street
Starting (or ending?) at the town hall square, this street stretches for miles and you will find everything here. I mean everything. This is the ultimate shopping strip that just never ends!
EAT: Hard Rock Cafe
Steak the size of your head? Cocktails that keep you coming back round after round… yep it is the Hard Rock! This world class favourite never fails to impress and the Copenhagen version is great. For a very expensive city, the prices are comparatively low and the service is one of a kind.
STAY (Central): The Square Hotel
You can read my review on this top find here, it is located right across from all the above!
The neighbourhood known for its wine bars and jazz scene should not be skipped. One of the newest and hippest area’s you around, you will see where the locals hang. Scattered with vintage clothing stores and coffee shops, the chilled undertone surrounds you.
This main street is where all the action is. The colour and funk of Nørrebro will be alive here every day of the year and some of the coolest boutique restaurants lie down this avenue.
The eternal home to many famous Danes, including Hans Christian Anderson, is part of Copenhagens Cultural center and the little monuments and stunning memorials are to die for- literally!
STAY (Skirting Neighbourhoods): Hotel Kong Arthur
Read my review of The Kong Arthur here, which lies a 2 minute walk from the edge of Nørrebro, a perfect escape from the busy city
Oh-Em-Gee, I fell in love! Literally meaning porridge, Grøed is one of the tastiest, healthiest and coolest places you will find in the city. With a number of locations, my favourite can be found on Jægersborggade 50 and is ever so amazing. MUST TRY!
Meat Packing District
One of my favourite hotspots in town, the old Meat Packing district has become a hipster’s haven and displays some of Denmark’s finest cuisine. From Mexican street food to gourmet artwork, you will find it all in this quirky area. The streets are littered with old buildings converted into modern diners, shops and bars. This is a true reflection of how Copenhagen is leading the way in modern design. Read more about the top restaurants here.
Love a good beer? Why don’t you see where it comes from? The Carlsberg Experience is a really fun way to learn about brewing, plus there is horse carriage rides, tastings, restaurants and the world’s largest bottle collection- it may not sound THRILLING to all but it beats staying home on a rainy day (Plus ladies- it will get you in the good books with your man!).
DRINK: Mikkeller Bar
World famous beer brewed right here in Copenhagen! Mikkeller is famous for its micro-brew and the quaint underground bars should not be missed!
Galleries and Museums
From new age graffiti to medieval classics, Vesterbro is the hub of art culture in Copenhagen. The streets are dotted with unique clothing and art stores, which enhances the creative culture streaming into the streets. Check out what is on at the Museum of Copenhagen or Galleri Puls Art for some really cool pieces. Hint: Almost all galleries offer one free day of admission a week, so check online for the best day!
Hippies unite! I recently wrote an article about this town as it entertained me so much. People here roam free, do what they want, say what they want. It is a free town- literally. Separated by their own laws and faith, this place simply must be on your list. Even for those who are anti-drug, religion or believe in conformity, this is a real eye opener and all are welcome. Take a quick walk through (it is a tiny place) and see what all the fuss is about- just remember, keep the cameras and phones away in the green zone- There are still some great photo ops on the outskirts.
Paper Island (Papiroen) Street Food
Another top hangout in the hipster-esc city. I loved Papiroen, in fact I spent over 4 hours having wine, food and making friends here. Completely full of internationals, locals and expatriates- you won’t have a problem conversing with strangers over mulled wine and gourmet burgers here. The old warehouse on the Dock overlooking the city center has been transformed into a funky market of street food vendors. Low prices and great atmosphere- this is a top pick. Summer months turn the dock into a faux beach with vendors soaking up the sun and winter draws them in for a cosy festive hangout- amazing.
I hope you enjoyed my tour of Copenhagen and it helped you uncover the magic of this weird and wacky city, let me know if you have any other hints or tips- I would love to see what I missed!