Copenhagen, the Danish capital that people call the happiest place in the world. It's a vibrant city with old, historical buildings being home to modern and open mindsets. Copenhagen is a city where you can experience Danish culture from gastronomy to biking, at its best. I have visited a handful of times in the past few years so I decided it was time to write a travel guide on the idyllic city of Copenhagen, sharing how to get around, where to stay, what to do, and where to eat and drink.
Transportation Within Copenhagen
Copenhagen is a big city being 88.25 km². The best way to get around Copenhagen is by bike. Most hotels will have a bike rental service available. Copenhagen is very bike friendly and also really safe with dedicated bike lanes. This is the best way to enjoy the city and see all it has to offer. There is also a metro service available, which is an efficient way to travel within Copenhagen as well, running twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
Where To Stay In Copenhagen
Copenhagen has various neighborhoods that offer unique experiences. Nyhavn is the most touristic area of Copenhagen, famous for its harbor and colorful facades. Vesterbro is a hipster hangout brimming with chic restaurants and nightlife. The Latin Quarter within the inner city (Indre By) is a bohemian gem that isn't overcrowded with tourists, and home to a diverse eclectic mix of shops, boutiques, and cafes. Here are my favorite places to stay in Copenhagen:-
HOTEL STK PETRI - a beautiful boutique hotel with a magnificent and bold lobby, and stunning suites and rooms located in the Latin quarter. The rooms are stylish, and offer nice views of the city centre. I have stayed here a couple of times and love the location.
HOTEL SANDERS - an elegant boutique hotel located in the heart of the city, very close to Nyhavn habour. This hotel has a beautiful rooftop, stunning interiors and multiple bars and restaurants within the hotel.
SANKT ANNÆ 10 - located in Christianshavn district of Copenhagen, Sankt Annæ bed and breakfast offers a rustic and comfortable stay, with mindfully styled rooms.
NIMB HOTEL - Nimb Hotel lives inside Copenhagen's famous Tivoli Gardens within a jaw dropping, Moorish style building. Each room is styled with antique furniture and four-poster beds with impeccable decor. Nimb Hotel is the best option for a luxury stay.
What To Do In Copenhagen
Whether you're a foodie on a mission, or visiting for a slow weekend away, here are the best things to do in Copenhagen.
No trip to Copenhagen is complete without visiting the famous New Harbor, known as Nyhavn. Nyhavn used to be the commercial port where ships from all over the world would come in to dock, filled with sailors, ladies of the night, and pubs. The famous Danish fairytale writer, Hans Christian Andersen has been known to have lived in Nyhavn for several years of his life. Now, the canal is lined with touristic bars and restaurants and is a must visit for tourists visiting Copenhagen.
Palads Teatret is truly a hidden gem in Copenhagen. It is Denmark's largest and Copenhagen's oldest cinema, in one of the most intriguingly colored buildings in the city. The pink and peach facade is bursting with colorful architecture, and looks like it has been plucked from a Wes Anderson movie. The cinema itself has 17 screens if you're looking to catch a movie, but otherwise, I highly recommend heading to Palads Teatret for some interesting photography.
One of the oldest and prettiest streets in Copenhagen is Magstræde and walking around this street is a must. Magstræde oozes historic charm and character with its brightly colored facades, and cobble stone streets. In recent years, Magstræde has become somewhat of an Instagram hotspot with its famous bend at one end of the street.
Gråbrødretorv is a public square in the heart of Copenhagen. Although in the city centre, Gråbrødretorv still seems quiet and peaceful, making it the perfect place for a morning stroll. The charming square has cafes and restaurants lining its sides, with a plane tree and water fountain in the middle. Beautiful tall colored buildings tower over the square and its a great place for architecture photography. Tip - walk around the allies surrounding Gråbrødretorv for some hidden gems.
Rundetaarn - The Round Tower
The Round Tower, also known as Rundetaarn is an observatory tower overlooking the city of Copenhagen. After walking the spiraling ascend (ramp not stairs) to the top, you are rewarded with one of the most splendid views of the city. I recommend visiting in the morning to avoid large crowds.
Shopping on Strøget
Strøget is a 1.1km pedestrian only shopping street in the heart of medieval Copenhagen. Strøget is not only great for Danish designed shopping, but also sidewalk cafes ideal for people watching. To get a great view of the street, head to HAY House furniture store and walk up to the second floor where you will find a huge window that offers a spectacular view. Alternatively, head to Illum rooftop, walk through the cafe at the corner and you will find a balcony to admire the view from there.
Explore Copenhagen By Bike
One of the most fun things you can do in Copenhagen is getting onto a bike and cycling around the city. You see so much of Copenhagen when on bike, especially when you have time restraints.
The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is a famous statue by Edvard Eriksen, hailed as an iconic landmark in Copenhagen. The bronze sculpture sits on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade, depicting a mermaid becoming human. The statue has been inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale about a mermaid who sacrifices everything for her prince on land.
The Tower At Christiansborg Palace
For another spectacular view point in Copenhagen, head to The Tower at Christiansborg Palace where you can take in the scene from 106 meters high. The observation deck is free to enter and most of the ride up is via elevator. There is also a restaurant there.
The Black Diamond
The Black Diamond is a modern waterfront extension of The Royal Library, named after its black granite cladding and glittering angles. Although the architectural masterpiece is highly impressive from outside, the interiors of the library are even more beautiful. With open shelving, suspended balconies and a bridge that connects the old library to the new, visiting the inside must not be missed.
Where To Eat & Drink In Copenhagen
Copenhagen is a mecca for foodies. There are so many food halls, food markets and restaurants dotted around the city, each offering something different. Here are my favorite places to eat and drink in Copenhagen.
One of the best food halls in Copenhagen is Torvehallerne. Torvehallerne is a glass market in the centre of Copenhagen filled with food stalls and fresh produce and flowers to purchase. If you are looking for a classic Danish open faced sandwich then head to Hallernes Smørrebrød. For tacos, I highly recommend Hija de Sanchez launched by former noma pastry chef, Rosio Sanchez. For thin crust pizza, Gorms is the place for you. There is something for everyone at Torvehallerne.
For the best pizza in Copenhagen, you have to go to Bæst. Bæst's pizza is possibly one of the best pizza's I have had outside of Italy. Their dough is soft and fluffy, and their sauce is simply delicious. This place gets really busy so definitely make a reservation beforehand. I highly recommend the passata, garlic, stracciatella, and oregano pizza.
If you like In-n-Out or Shake Shack then Gasoline Grill is a must when visiting Copenhagen. Gasoline Grill is a burger joint with multiple locations, but head to Landgreven 10 for the original location, which is a former gas station. They open from 11am until sold out and I recommend the Butter Burger! Be prepared to wait in line for a while. We waited around thirty minutes.
Møller Kaffe & Køkken
Møller Kaffe & Køkken opened in the summer of 2015. The concept is great - you get a paper menu, with all the dishes described, and you cross of the items you would like for your brunch. This way you only get the food you actually want to eat and you can create your own spread depending on how hungry you are. They only serve brunch dishes and are open until 16:00 (kitchen closes at 15:00). Møller Kaffe & Køkken take no reservations so prepare to wait.
Craving something warm, hearty and so typically Danish? Then head to GRØD for breakfast and enjoy a hygge start to the day in porridge paradise. They have a wide variety of both sweet and savory flavors with multiple locations.
Copenhagen will spoil you with excellent pastries and coffee, but if there is one place you visit for baked goods, let it be Hart Bageri. Everything Hart Bageri offers is nothing short of delicious, and it is seriously hard not to be impressed by their servings. It's created by Richard Hart, who worked as head baker at San Francisco's famous Tartine Bakery, who sources sustainable ingredients to create their menu. Do not miss Hart Bageri when you next visit Copenhagen!
Manon Les Suites
Head to Manon Les Suites for a drink on their sun filled roof terrace. Manon Les Suites is a one-of-a-kind hotel with an eclectic style that varies between Balinese tropics and an Ibiza beach club. When heading up to the roof terrace, take a peak from the top floor inwards for a striking view of the pool.
Andersen & Maillard, Nørrebro
Andersen & Maillard is a specialty cafe in Nørrebro serving seriously good coffee and delicious baked goods. They roast their beans on-site and are famed for their sourdough bread. Cycle to Andersen & Maillard to burn some calories before indulging in their seriously amazing croissants.
No trip to the Danish capital is complete without visiting the best cafe in Copenhagen - Atelier September. Atelier September serves traditional brunch options that are healthy, with excellent coffee. The cafe aesthetic is clean and the kind of place you fall in love with. I love sitting by the window with a book when visiting alone, or at the big communal table in the centre when with friends. It's always busy and you may need to wait for a table.
If you're looking to have brunch in Copenhagen, then head to Kompa'9. Kompa'9 is a cozy and quaint gem on a quiet street in the heart of the city. They have a really good selection of healthy breakfasts and the cafe is the epitome of hygge with its warm interior.
The best place to drink in Copenhagen is BRUS. BRUS is a microbrewery in the hip area of Nørrebro with a spacious bar, excellent kitchen and friendly vibe. BRUS has over thirty craft beers and kegged cocktails with large oak barrels and fermentation tanks in view, but this spot is great even if you're not a beer drinker. The food is outstanding and so experimental in its offering. If you make dinner reservations at Bæst, then this is a great spot for pre-dinner drinks as it's right across the street.
Mikkeller & Friends
For beer lovers, head to Mikkeller & Friends where you will find all trendy beer buffs. Mikkeller & Friends has bars across the city and serves over forty types of beer.
Another microbrewery not to miss in Copenhagen is Nørrebro Bryghus. Nørrebro Bryghus is where organic craft beers meet gastronomical masterpieces with different vibes on the different levels. The basement has a brewery feel with leather loungers to chill in and dart boards to keep you entertained. Up a level feels like a high end gastropub with all the hipster vibes the Nørrebro hotspot offers.
Planning a trip to Copenhagen in 2021? Then pin this post for later!