Creative, culturally rich, and cosmopolitan, Copenhagen is easily one of the top travel destinations across the world. From breathtaking natural beauty to enchanting castles, there are countless reasons to visit the Danish capital.
As the centre of the Danish colonial empire, the capital city has a long and impressive history. The first settlement dates back to the eleventh century. The city is filled with cobblestone narrow streets, timeworn timbered houses, prehistoric palaces, and ancient castles. The majority of the historic sites can be found at the ‘museum island’ of Slotsholmen, nestled around energetic shopping streets, surrounded by waterways, and linked to the Indre Byen by nine bridges. Here in this little islet are the ancestries of the city and the current power base of the nation. The parliament of Denmark and the original ruins of Absalon’s Castle are located here along with the stunning Thorvaldsens Museum.
Copenhagen has grown from a humble fishing town to the centre of Denmark. The city strikes a great balance between being historic and modern. Nowadays, it is known as a cultural centre, a design hub, and a dream destination for foodies. It is also regularly ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world and the happiest city globally.
Copenhagen is one of the most cycling-friendly cities in Europe. There are nearly 350 kilometres of safe bicycle lanes following the roads in the city. Each lane built above the road level as an added protective measure for cyclists. You will definitely encounter more locals biking than driving cars in the city streets.
While public transportation is efficient, cycling is one of the best ways to explore the charming city. Tourists can easily rent a bike since there are rental shops all over the city. Pro-tip: you can hire motor-powered electric bikes fitted with GPS tables for easier navigation.
Stay environment-friendly while saving cash by not buying bottled water everywhere you go. The water in Denmark is held to the highest standards and is potable. Just refill whenever you can to stay hydrated while touring the city!
Copenhagen is a highly walkable city. Not only is walking great for the body but also for the pocket especially since taxis can be quite expensive. Many attractions and main accommodations are within reasonable distance. If you ever find yourself in need to pass time, just take a leisurely walk along the canals and parks.
The city is expensive. There is no denying that. If you want to spend more on experiences over a five-star accommodation, you may want to consider booking through an Airbnb. You can also stay with a local by couch surfing. Of course, if you follow this course to cut your expenses, make sure to plan and book way ahead of your trip dates.
If you only have a couple days to spend in Copenhagen, here are the things you must try!
Apart from being free, these tours are an insightful way to get introduced and acquainted with a new city. The local guides are knowledgeable and personable. They can point out the main attractions along with its history and background. They may even give you tips on what street food to try or where to get drinks. There are no set fees but the guides earn from tips given by tourists.
The size of Copenhagen makes it easy to explore by foot. But if you are pressed for time, joining a guided walking tour ensures you get to see the most significant sights while knowing the stories behind them.
A grand tour of Copenhagen gives visitors a glimpse of the key landmarks, which often include the following: The City Hall, Christiansborg Palace, Nyhavn Harbour, The Royal Opera, The Royal Palace of Amalienborg, and more.
There are also free walking tours of Christianshavn. Just make sure to book ahead to make the most out of your weekend.
You cannot miss seeing one of the most recognised statues in the world. The ‘Little Mermaid’, created by Edvard Eriksen, is the main tourist attraction in Copenhagen. More than a decade old, the more than a decade-old sculpture lies atop a rock by the Langelinie promenade. Ride your bike from the city centre or take the canal cruise.
The rows of vibrant and colourful buildings in Nyhavn are iconic. Nyhavn literally translates to ‘New Harbour’, is one of the most well-known areas and probably the most photographed spot in Copenhagen. The 17th-century waterfront is an entertainment district. The streets are lined with quaint cafes where you can relax and great restaurants where you can order a hearty seafood meal. In Nyhavn, anyone from locals to excited travellers can have a great time. This is also where you can book a scenic and fascinating boat tours along the canals.
The Kompagnistraede and Laederstraede, known as Copenhagen’s “food street”, has a number of good restaurants where a hearty meal with a beer will not break the bank. Want to sample some street food? Head on to Paper Island which houses a large warehouse where you can find dozens of stalls selling a wide variety of cuisines including Danish and Asian food. Going fancy? Book months ahead to get a seat at Nobu—a gastronomic mecca considered as one of the world’s best restaurants. Renowned chef René Redzepi runs the two Michelin star restaurant.
Oh, and whatever you do, don’t forget to try Smørrebrød, a traditional dish similar to an open-faced sandwich. The buttered rye bread is topped with a combination of seafood, meats, cheese or cold cuts.
The Rundetårn or round tower in English is a 17th-century tower set in central Copenhagen. Considered the oldest functioning observatory in Europe, the historical monument provides the best sprawling views of the city. You’ll have to go through a long, tiring walk through the spiral stairs leading to the top though but the reward of stunning vistas is worth it.
Explore the Freetown of Christiania, one of the most distinctive parts of Copenhagen. The story behind it is quite interesting. Established in 1971 by a group of hippies, the first settlers set their own rules completely independent from the government of Denmark. There is a mishmash of homes, art shops, galleries, music venues, workshops, and organic restaurants. From here, you can take the metro to Norreport and another connection straight to the central train station.
Spend at least a night out in the city! Danes love to drink and have a tendency to stay out in bars until the wee hours. Copenhagen has many pubs, lounges, and trendy clubs. Whether you want to dance your heart out or have cocktails with your friends, you won’t run out of choices for places to go.
CLB Global Travel will create a holiday that is tailored fit for you with every destination, sights and experiences you are looking forward to. Email [email protected] or call +44 (0) 7484 703 647 to get your trip off to a perfect start
Charles is a world traveler having lived in 44 states and 11 countries and traveled to dozens more. He and his wife spend time between London, Ireland, Canada, and the Philippines.