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Bucket list destination:

Last updated: 20 August, 2023
Expert travel writer: Sarah Marshall

A compact, sexy, urban retreat, Copenhagen is arguably the most stylish, progressive and tastiest of all the Nordic capitals.

Copenhagen stands out on the cultural front. Spend afternoons gazing at Gothic churches, browsing ultra-modern design shops, or taking in a clutch of cutting-edge modern art and design museums, before spending long evenings in quiet cafés and laidback jazz clubs.

It’s also become a foodie capital – the wildly experimental Noma, voted the world’s best restaurant – has spawned an exciting culinary scene of worldwide acclaimed restaurants, alongside farmers’ markets and a strong local produce movement.

A network of canals begs to be explored by boat or kayak, while castles, royal gardens and Viking exhibitions, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich and varied past, enthral every visitor. Indeed, whatever your interests, sophisticated, culture- and character-filled, foodie Copenhagen never disappoints.

Orientation

Spread across a series of canals and lakes, this extremely walkable city is laid out in a series of easily navigable neighbourhoods.

Architecturally, the city runs the gamut from Gothic to ultra-modern, from leafy Frederiksberg and the palatial royal quarter of Frederiksstaden to the 17th-century rainbow waterfront of Nyhavn.

At the heart of it all sits Indre By, a maze of lively, pedestrianised medieval streets and squares.

Culture & Customs

One more reason this cosmopolitan capital is so appealing is its people. Danish culture is about family time, quiet nights with friends and enjoying the Scandinavian great outdoors.

Copenhageners have a typically Danish tradition of hygge (cosiness) that makes them very welcoming to outsiders – so don’t think twice about accepting an invitation to a Copenhagener’s home.

Tours, tickets & transfers

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

Private Walking Grand Tour of Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Private Walking Grand Tour of Copenhagen
Join your private guide on a  3 hour walking tour through the heart of Copenhagen. Learn about the main city sites, history, culture, food and much more along the way.

Price: D2,100

Min age: 0

Rating 4.90 / 5 [3906 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Copenhagen Card DISCOVER 80 attractions and public transport

Copenhagen

Copenhagen Card DISCOVER 80 attractions and public transport
Make the most of Denmark’s vibrant capital with a money-saving Copenhagen Card-Discover. How? Simply buy a card valid for 24, 48, 72, 96, or 120 hours and save your way around the city with free admission to more than 80 attractions and museums, including the must-visit Tivoli Gardens and much more. Plus, enjoy free public transportation throughout the Capital Region via bus, train, harbor bus, and metro. The Official Copenhagen Card is 100% digital. Download the app on your smartphone and tap in the card code. After redeeming and activating the card you are ready to explore Copenhagen. Please be aware not to activate (swipe) the card before you want to use it for transportation and visits at attractions and museums. When activating an order all cards in the order are activated at the same time. If you want to purchase cards that are going to be used at different periods please divide the booking on separate orders.

Price: D459

Min age: 0

Rating 4.57 / 5 [991 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Grand Day Trip around Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Grand Day Trip around Copenhagen
See the attractions outside Copenhagen. The only tour that not only includes the royal castles but also visits the former capital, Roskilde. You see a lot more than on the other tours. You also get a more personal experience because we operate in small groups of 16 people or less. Knowledgeable and English speaking guide.

Price: D1,100

Min age: 0

Rating 4.81 / 5 [827 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Copenhagen Bus and Boat ticket, Valid 48 Hours

Copenhagen

Copenhagen Bus and Boat ticket, Valid 48 Hours
See Copenhagen by open-air bus and boat with a hop-on hop-off tour. With a ticket valid for 48 hours from first use, explore the city on four comprehensive sightseeing routes. Hop on and off as many times as you like, and visit standout attractions such as Amalienborg Palace at your own pace. Or, stay aboard for a full loop to see the city from land and water.

Price: D349

Min age: 0

Rating 4.10 / 5 [469 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Copenhagen Segway Tour 2 Hours w. Guide

Copenhagen

Copenhagen Segway Tour 2 Hours w. Guide
Explore Copenhagen on a fun 2-hour-long Segway tour. After getting your necessary equipment and Segway, you will depart with your guide, who will provide live commentary on the locations you will visit along the way. You will view the sculpture of The Little Mermaid, Christiansborg Palace, Old Royal Stock Exchange, Amalienborg Palace and more, while receiving an informative narrative from your local expert guide. Tour is limited to a maximum of 12 travelers.

Price: D525

Min age: 10

Rating 4.92 / 5 [383 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Travel advice

When to go

Copenhagen is at its best in the summer, when locals and visitors stay out until the early hours and cultural events bring live music, dance and art to the streets. Spring and autumn are also great – even for cycling – since the days are still warm but the bulk of the tourists have departed.

But don’t discount winter; it’s a charming time to drink cups of glog in cosy bars and enjoy the Danish tradition of hygge (cosiness). The festive Christmas markets at Tivoli, and the city’s Christmas Parade, make this an excellent destination for a festive break.

Getting there and away

Copenhagen Kastrup Airport is just 8km southeast of downtown; the train will whisk you directly to the city’s Central Station in just 15 minutes, while the Metro is also accessible from Terminal 3.

Taxis are readily available in the city and at the airport, though they tend to be expensive: a ride to the airport from the centre of town will take roughly 20 minutes. Buses are cheaper and take about 35 minutes to reach Central Station.

Getting around

Copenhagen has an excellent municipal transport system, with metro and buses covering all central locations and most of those further afield. Driving your own car isn’t really recommended unless you’re planning to tour the rest of the country.

By far the most popular method of transport for Copenhageners is the bicycle. Everyone rides a bike in the city and its wide roads, with separate bike lanes, are perfectly suited to life on two wheels. Avoid the free City Bike scheme if possible; the bikes are often in bad condition. Instead, pick up a snazzy cycle at Københavns Cyklebors in Indre By.

The Copenhagen Card gives free entry to 80-plus museums and attractions, plus free airport transfers and bus, train and metro travel within the city. Buy it from the airport, station, tourist office and hotels.

Where to stay

Central Copenhagen hotels range from affordable, homely guesthouses to sparkling boutique boltholes and opulent, fin-de-siècle properties.

The area around the town hall in buzzing Radhuspladsen is home to a number of sleek, ultra-modern hotels, while regal old Frederiksstaden, rising from the harbourfront, is good for smaller, more affordable places. The streets around Nyhavn have a handful of unique, restored gems.

The hip neighbourhood of Vesterbro, meanwhile, is home to many of the city’s artiest cafés and bars – and some of the funkiest places to stay.

Where to shop

The cobbled streets of Stroget, Købmagergade and Kompagnistræde are good for sleek Scandinavian homewares, modern design objets and home furnishings – both at smaller design shops and flagship department stores.

The Norrebro neighbourhood, meanwhile, is a good bet for clothing; Jaegersborggade in Nørrebro, one of the city’s hippest and most atmospheric streets, has art galleries, the best shops, great for up-and-coming jewellery designers, and a fleamarket in spring.

Another great bet is chic Vaernedamsvej, near Vesterbro. Sometimes dubbed ‘Little Paris’ it’s filled with cafés and delicatessens intermingled outlets for local designers.

Health & Safety

The city is generally very safe to walk around, even late at night, although pickpockets do exist. Compared to other parts of Europe, Scandinavia is one of the safest regions due to the benefits of a strong welfare state. Everyone – from the homeless to the unemployed to the very wealthy – is well taken care of by the state, meaning that few city denizens choose to resort to life on the fringes of society.