In the north of Europe, where winters are long but the summers shine bright, the city of Copenhagen was such a sweet surprise. This Danish capital stole my heart from the second I touched down. With the cleanest streets I’d ever seen, bicycles wizzing by (Copenhagen is constantly ranked as one of the most bike friendly cities in the world), and outdoor cafes; I was hooked. Having heard that Copenhagen was “outrageously expensive”, I avoided the city for far too long it seemed. Now having been, yes – it’s expensive; but it’s comparable to cities like Chicago, New York, and Boston. So if you keep that in mind, it’s definitely doable and not a reason to avoid visiting.
I spent three whole days in Copenhagen, and whilst I could’ve stayed forever, I will just have to return another day. Below you’ll find my top recommendations when it comes to visiting Copenhagen.
A Complete Guide to Visiting Copenhagen
After reading through this post, you’ll notice a free guide to Copenhagen at the bottom of this post, simply by signing up for my email list! This is a no fuss document, with all of the research I had done before visiting the city.
If you’re interested in traveling the Nordic countries, don’t miss:
How to Get to Copenhagen
You can easily reach Copenhagen by both train and by air. If you’re traveling from another country in Europe (mainly Germany or Sweden), your best option is to travel by train to Copenhagen Central Station. When searching for train options, I prefer to use Omio.
If you’re flying into Copenhagen, you’ll fly into Kastrup Airport. I prefer to use Skyscanner when searching for flights. From the airport, you can easily take the train into the city. Simply purchase a ticket from one of the machines in the airport (these machines are near where the train departs from), and hop on the train. The ride is around 20-minutes depending where you’re going in the city.
If you want a private driver waiting at the airport for you upon arrival, you can book that here.
The Best Time to Visit Copenhagen
Because Denmark is so far north, winters are long and dark and summers are short… but bright! In the summertime, Copenhagen experiences an average of 15-17 hours of sunlight from June-August. I personally think that even though this is Copenhagen’s “tourist season”, it’s truly the best time to visit.
If you do visit Copenhagen in the summer, because it’s so far north, temperatures are much more mild. You might want to consider bringing a light jacket just in case.
Getting Around Copenhagen
While you can easily walk around Copenhagen, it’s also a bit more spread out than other cities in Europe I’ve visited. Luckily, Copenhagen is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world, so you can always get around by bike. Or there’s a great metro system that can also get you around quickly and cheaply.
If your hotel doesn’t have a bike rental option, you can rent bikes from Rent a Bike for about $20/day.
As far as taking the metro, there are currently 4 lines in Copenhagen. All trains are run on frequency (versus exact times), and some lines have trains coming and going every 90 seconds. It’s truly one of the most efficient train lines I’ve ever been on. The way tickets are priced are based on how many zones you travel through, with the maximum of being charged 3 zones. You can buy tickets for a period of time (and travel with one ticket within that period of time) or buy single use tickets.
If you do need a taxi, you can hail one off the street or download the app Viggo. Currently, Uber does not operate in Denmark.
Where to Stay in Copenhagen
When I visited Copenhagen, I stayed in the neighborhood Indre By at 25Hours Hotel Indre By (which I highly recommend). Not only was the hotel incredible, but the location was also spot on near great restaurants and tourist attractions.
By the way, Indre By translates to “inner city” and is also referred to as Copenhagen’s “city center” or “downtown” area.
The Best Bars & Restaurants in Copenhagen
JUNO THE BAKERY – Bakery
I went out of my way to visit this famous bakery to try out the cardamom buns (something that Juno is WELL known for). And I have to say, although I’ve never had a cardamom bun before, these little loaves of sugar and butter were well worth the journey.
Of course, there’s a variety of other pastries to try which is why I would suggest making a stop at Juno the Bakery if you have a sweet tooth when you’re in Copenhagen.
LES AMIS – Coffee
While wandering around the Christiania neighborhood, I stumbled upon this quaint coffee shop Les Amis. I would highly recommend a stop for a good pick me up while exploring Copenhagen.
KAYAK BAR – Outdoor Bar
This riverfront bar is the place to be on a nice, sunny day. While you can purchase food alongside your drink, I wouldn’t suggest it. Instead, I would come for cocktails and go elsewhere to eat.
KEYSER SOCIAL KOBENHAVN – Asian-Nordic Fusion
If you want to dive into Nordic food, but don’t know where to start, this Asian-fusion restaurant is the perfect place! Not only is the food delicious, but they also offer a tasting menu so that you’re able to try multiple different dishes.
NENI – Israeli
Located inside of 25Hours Hotel Indre By, NENI is a fabulous choice for a night out. The Israeli food is delicious and the atmosphere is impeccable.
REFFEN STREET FOOD MARKET – Food Market
Located on the water, this outdoor street food market is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner! There are so many different kinds of foods to choose from (special shout out to the deliciousness at Cheesy Dreams), and oftentimes they have live entertainment as well! You could spend a large part of your day here lounging on the beach and eating different types of street foods.
Please note, Reffen is closed part if the year so make sure to check if it’s open before visiting.
SELMA – Danish
If you want to try the famous smørrebrød – open face sandwich – then you’ll definitely want to head to Selma. Awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Nordic Guide Michelin in 2019, Selma is also ranked as “the best lunch in town”. If you only have time to eat out at one restaurant, Selma should be it.
TORVEHALLERNEKBH – Food Market
Another incredible food market in Copenhagen is TorvehallerneKBH. There are so many incredible restaurants to choose from, or just come for a drink! TorvehallerneKBH is an indoor/outdoor space so it’s the perfect place to be even if the weather isn’t desirable.
The Best Things to See and Do in Copenhagen
When I set out to explore Freetown Christiania, I was met with confused looks. You see, Freetown Christiania was established in 1971 and is now an intentional community, micronation, and commune in the Christianshavn neighborhood of Copenhagen.
While this area is supposed to operate within the laws of Denmark, they are known for pushing the envelope (weed is illegal in Denmark but it’s openly sold in Freetown). I wanted to check out this artsy area to see what all the fuss was about. I highly enjoyed walking through this part of Copenhagen, and would recommend it (during the day).
One of the more unique things I did while in Copenhagen was take a tour with Hey Captain. Hey Captain is a “social” cruise so it’s more about chatting with others and getting to know people while seeing Copenhagen by boat. While you can choose a one hour tour, I chose the “hidden gems” for two hours and would highly recommend it. I definitely got to see a different side of Copenhagen and learn so much about this fascinating city.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF DENMARK
When I travel, I love to get a sense of the history of wherever I am and the National Museum of Denmark did not disappoint. This museum is huge, you could spend hours here, but I recommend starting on the third floor where they take you through the history of Denmark. It’s incredibly fascinating and the museum was well thought out.
Of course, a visit to Copenhagen wouldn’t be complete without walking by the famous Nyhavn street. This is the street you’ve probably seen splashed on social media with the colorful houses in front of the water. While I would recommend checking it out, I would not suggest eating around this area as it’s very touristy.
Practical Tips/FYI About Visiting Copenhagen/Denmark
Below you’ll find practical tips about visiting Copenhagen and Denmark in general. These are always my “go-to” tips when traveling to a new country, and I figure that everything else can be learned along the way!
- Language: Danish; but you are able to get by just fine with English as most of the population is fluent
- Currency: Danish Krone (DKK); everywhere I went accepted debit/credit, so you don’t need to get cash out (unless you want to). When paying with a card, always pay in the country’s currency (in this case DKK), to avoid fees.
- Visa: Americans traveling to Denmark do not need a visa, but because it’s a Schengen country, you’re only welcome to stay for 90-days visa-free
- When traveling abroad, I highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover your trip in case anything were to happen. I use and and recommend SafetyWing.
- You will need a converter in Denmark; I use this one
- In case of emergency, the number for police in Denmark is +45 114
To date, Copenhagen is one of my favorite cities. It’s incredibly clean, safe, and overall just a fun and comfortable place to be. I hope that visiting Copenhagen is at the top of your bucket list!
For a more visual look at Copenhagen, and more ideas on what to see and do, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel and search “ppindenmark” or look for my “Denmark” highlight
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