They call it Wonderful Copenhagen, a city, that for decades, has served as a cultural and geographic link between mainland Europe and the rest of Scandinavia. It is here that you’ll find the perfect blend of old historical buildings and world-class sights, alongside modern boutiques, chic bars, and high-end design houses. It’s edgy, it’s hip, and it’s always buzzing with activities. It’s a perfect city to visit for those young, young at heart, and curious to discover more about its “hygge” (the Danish way) vibe.
Our visit to Copenhagen last year served as a wonderful reminder of all the reasons that made me fall in love with Copenhagen back in 2011. And there was no denying that Copenhagen still has what it takes to charm even the pickiest traveler, say someone like Max.
If you ever wondered if Copenhagen is a place worth adding to your itinerary, consider Lonely Planet’s 10 Reasons to Love Copenhagen. Whether you travel to play, or love discovering new cuisines, or simply enjoy explore the city on a bicycle, Copenhagen might just be the ideal destination for you.
Best Time to Visit Copenhagen
Despite being overrun with visitors, Copenhagen is a great place to visit in the summer. The city comes alive as the cafes spill onto the sidewalks, and streets become filled with festivals and music.
According to USA Travel News, June, July, and August are the warmest and most comfortable months for a visit to Copenhagen. At this time of the year, the city boasts temperatures ranging from 20°C during the day and 11-13 °C at night. Keep in mind though that July is the peak summer holiday month for the Danes. A lot more people and a lot more activities fill the streets of Copenhagen during this time of the year. If you are after a relaxing holiday, this may not be the best time for your visit.
Fall in Copenhagen is beautiful, though a lot colder that one might expect. Pack lots of layers and be prepared to brave temperatures below 10 °C. If the cold weather doesn’t scare you, plan your visit to Copenhagen in December, when the city fills up with holiday spirit and the Danish hygge spirit comes into full effect.
Top Things to Do in Copenhagen
There is no shortage of activities and sights in Copenhagen and luckily, most of them are conveniently located within walking distance away from the city centre. Start your sightseeing with the major sights and attractions, like a stroll along Strøget, the world’s longest pedestrian shopping street and a climb to the top of the Round Tower for beautiful views of the city from above.
Visit the Tivoli Gardens, the city’s famous amusement park, that’s just as fun for adults as it is for the kids, and of course, the city’s famous Nyhavn waterfront, canal, and entertainment district. But take our advice and don’t fall for the cozy but overpriced cafes and restaurants that line the waterfront. The best way to experience Nyhavn is by packing your own lunch and watching the action from the curb. After all, that’s what the locals recommend.
While getting around on foot is a great way to see the city, be sure to hire a bike to see even more! One of our favourite areas to explore in Copenhagen was the Freetown Christiania, conveniently located a short 10 min bike ride away from the city centre. Don’t miss the Church of Our Saviour and a chance to explore Pusher Street for some truly unique shopping.
You can’t come to Copenhagen and not admire its art scene. Even if museums are not your thing, trust us, you’ll enjoy visiting any of these Top 10 Art Museums in the city.
Those with a particular interest in the royal history of Copenhagen will enjoy visiting any of the castles, palaces, royal statues, and monuments scattered around the city. Visit Copenhagen has a great list of Top 9 Royal Attractions to get you started.
When sightseeing starts getting a bit tiring, why not set up a picnic or go for a stroll in one of Copenhagen’s Top 10 Gardens and Parks. The Rosenborg Garden was our favourite.
Staying in Copenhagen can be a bit pricey, but luckily its beauty and a lot of its attractions can be enjoyed for free. Start with a Free Walking Tour of Copenhagen, or check out many of the other free things to do in Copenhagen as suggested by Visit Copenhagen. For a few more ideas, check out Rough Guide’s list of Ten Things to do in Copenhagen for Free and CN Traveler’s list of Top 10 Free Things to do in Copenhagen.
Where to Stay in Copenhagen
Picking the right neighbourhood for your stay in Copenhagen can turn a good stay in Copenhagen into a great one. Pick your accommodation location based on the area that suits you the most. Are you more of a hipster Vesterbro type or would you fit in better in an alternative Christiania? Maybe you are looking for a family-friendly area like Østerbro that will suit you better?
Hotels.com has a great travel guide to Copenhagen’s neighborhoods that will help you choose where to base yourself for the duration of your stay.
We based ourselves in the Tivoli district and really enjoyed our stay in City Hotel Nebo, located just behind Copenhagen Central Train Station. It was close to all the main attractions and easy on the wallet.
For other budget accommodation options, we suggest looking through the Guardian’s Top 10 budget hotels in Copenhagen, USA Today’s list of the Best Youth Hostels in Copenhagen, or simply browsing through available options on Agoda or Booking.com.
Those on an ultra low budget should note that there are also a few basic camping grounds available in and around the city that become a very popular option with budget travelers in the summer.
If you are planning to stay in Copenhagen for more than 1-2 days, consider looking into accommodation on Airbnb. There are some really great options available including Matador Network’s list of these 12 Best Airbnbs in Copenhagen, or these incredibly stylish 20 Beautiful Airbnb Rentals in Copenhagen. Of course, some of these are pricier than others, but you can score a private room for as little as $30-40/night.
Don’t have an Airbnb account yet? Sign up now and receive USD $20 to put towards your first Airbnb stay!
Where to Eat & Drink in Copenhagen
Copenhagen may be renowned for its high-end Michelin star restaurant scene, but there are plenty of choices in the city for those traveling on a budget as well.
A great starting point is Visit Copenhagen’s list of the Top 10 value for money restaurants in Copenhagen, as well as USA Today’s list of Copenhagen’s Best Value Restaurants. Those looking to dine on a dime will appreciate the tips from HostelWorld’s Local’s guide to eating out on a budget in Copenhagen in which their latest guest blogger Alex Berger, shares his cheap and healthy-ish budget friendly ideas for dining in Copenhagen.
When it comes to having a drink in Copenhagen it can be pricey, especially if you plan on visiting these Copenhagen’s 10 Impossibly Cool Bars & Drinking Spots or these Top 10 Cocktail Bars. But, according to Visit Copenhagen, going out for cocktails in Copenhagen does not have to blow your budget. You just have to know where to go and when. They suggest visiting these Top 10 Happy Hour Bars to start off your night.
How Much Time Do You Need in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is one of those cities that you can see in 2-3 days, but you can spend years discovering. We only spent a few days exploring this beautiful city, but would love to come back for more.
If you are like us and can only get away for a weekend, follow Viator’s 3 Days in Copenhagen Itinerary or Telegraph’s suggestion for a Weekend Break in Copenhagen. But if time and budget permits, we would strongly advise staying for a few days longer.
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