City guide: Copenhagen - this is what you must experience is written by The editorial staff, RejsRejsRejs.
Worldwide tribute to Copenhagen
Copenhagen is also extremely popular abroad. In 2023, our capital was named by the magazine The Economist as the world's second best place to live in – only surpassed by Vienna – and at the same time, the Port of Copenhagen, with its many water activities, was named the world's fourth coolest neighborhood by Time Out magazine.
The New York Times had Copenhagen as one of their recommended travel destinations in 2020, and Lonely Planet voted our capital as "Best City to Visit" in 2019. In their justification, culinary experiences such as 'new Nordic' in Jægersborggade and Noma are highlighted, of course.
Copenhagen's architecture is also celebrated in the form of the iconic Rundetårn and colorful Nyhavn – and not least Kødbyen, which according to the description is both cool and 'indie'. In continuation of the nice words and the warm recommendations from Lonely Planet, here we give a number of alternative suggestions on how to go exploring in our incredibly lovely Copenhagen.
This is a city guide both for those who have not yet explored Copenhagen and for those who are already familiar with this beautiful city.
In the middle of Copenhagen is Denmark's most visited tourist attraction, Tivoli. The amusement park with its long history is the second oldest of its kind in the world; surpassed only by Bakken North of Copenhagen. The famous garden contains more than 30 rides for different age groups and has a wide selection of restaurants, cafes and small shops.
The garden is open seasonally, with the summer season being the longest. In the summer, you can also experience various theater performances and live music, while every Friday evening Friday Rock is held on the Plænen.
In the month of December spread the magic of Christmas above Tivoli where the garden is decorated with Christmas lights, snowy landscape and Christmas markets. In recent times, Halloween has moved into Tivoli Gardens every autumn with large pumpkins, haunted houses and witches to spread the spookiness.
Come and get your adrenaline rush, listen to some good music or enjoy a delicious dinner - Tivoli has it all.
It is difficult to say "must see in Copenhagen" without mentioning Christiania. Fristaden - or simply Staden - as the area is also called, is a district of Christianshavn. The area stands out from the rest of Copenhagen and can feel like a completely different community; a kind of village in the middle of the big city.
Christiania is known for the more alternative ways of living, a green and car-free environment, gravel roads and eye-catching architecture. Christiania is also known for the particularly pronounced hash trade, which takes place in particular in the famous and infamous Pusher Street.
During the year, several concerts, lectures and parties are held in the Den Grå Hal concert hall. During the summer months, concerts are held every Sunday at the Nemoland restaurant and venue. Over half a million tourists visit Christiania every year.
Nyhavn is often Copenhagen's external brand in various travel magazines and brochures. Quite deserved, because Nyhavn is something very special. The many colorful townhouses in a row give Nyhavn its charm, while the many restaurants and sidewalk cafes along the canal give the area a completely unique atmosphere.
For many years, Nyhavn has been one of the most visited attractions in Copenhagen. Many of the very interesting houses are over 300 years old. The oldest is from 1681. On a sunny day, Nyhavn is the perfect place to eat lunch, drink a cold beer or enjoy an iced waffle from one of the well-known waffle bakeries.
From Nyhavn you can go on a canal cruise in Copenhagen's harbor and canals. Every year for St. Hans, a big bonfire is lit while the Midsummer Carol is sung.
If you are a true animal lover, you should take a trip past Copenhagen ZOO in Frederiksberg. Here is Denmark's largest zoo, which is also one of Europe's oldest, founded in 1859. In the ZOO you can meet 230 different exciting animal species from all over the world. You can get up close to the animals and learn a lot about them by visiting the various stands.
In addition to the many animals, you will also find a number cozy restaurants and stalls distributed around the garden. There is also ample opportunity for play and exercise for the children on various playgrounds and obstacle courses. Also take a trip up the iconic ZOO tower.
At the latest at 10 o'clock every day, the day's program is published on ZOO's website. Here you can see, for example, the times when the animals are fed.
Amalienborg is located in inner Copenhagen and is the main residence of the monarch and the royal family. The castle consists of four almost identical mansions. Christian IX's mansion is Queen Margrethe's residence, while the crown prince couple resides in Frederik VIII's mansion.
You can visit the other two mansions, Christian VII's and Christian VIII's mansions. Here, the Kongernes Samling will let you get up close and personal with the royal history of the past 250 years. Experience, among other things, the Amalienborg Museum and the sumptuous knight's hall.
The queen appears every year on April 16 on the balcony of Christian XI's mansion in connection with her birthday. At other special events, the royal family also appears on the balcony.
Every single day at 12.00, the Lifeguard has a change of guard at Amalienborg, where the guards come marching from Rosenborg Castle to replace each other. This event attracts thousands of tourists, so you will never be alone in the castle square at noon.
Art Gallery Charlottenborg
Directly opposite the colorful buildings in Nyhavn is Kunsthal Charlottenborg, which is an exhibition venue for contemporary art. It is home to a range of events and festivals throughout the year, which each make use of the building and the urban space in their own way. There are both free and paid events here, and over the course of a calendar year, everyone should be able to find something that suits them.
In late summer, the Copenhagen Summer Festival presents classical chamber music from home and abroad, where both budding talents and seasoned award winners give samples of their art. The art festival Chart Art Fair also invites Nordic galleries to present their most sublime contemporary art.
In the spring, Kunsthal Charlottenborg will, among other things, be the headquarters for the documentary film festival CPH: DOX, which offers a sea of political, philosophical and experimental documentaries supplemented by debates, talks and various events. Kunsthal Charlottenborg functions as one of the most prominent flagships for cultural life in Copenhagen.
Vegetarian food, night club, greengrocer, cozy cafés and bars. The street scene is largely occupied by the local businessmen, and it can be an art to navigate around vegetable boxes, trinkets, potted plants, cyclists and cafe guests.
At the bars in Blågårdsgade, the bartenders take their time, and the slow indoor pace stands in noisy contrast to the otherwise busy and chaotic pedestrian street.
Approximately in the middle of the street is the gallery and art shop Limited Works, where vernissages are held, while works are exhibited and sold. It is also one of the galleries in Copenhagen where visitors do not need extensive professional artistic knowledge to feel welcome.
As an alternative to Blågårdsgade, hip Jægersborggade can also be mentioned, which also contains many cozy shops, trendy bars and relaxed cafes.
Copenhagen's main library in Krystalgade
As a library, the main library in Krystalgade does not function optimally – the lending facilities are challenged, the indoor climate is poor, there is a lack of table space, and the amount of self-service has exceeded what is good. But as a guest in the city, it is fortunately not something you need to worry about.
Instead, you should take a seat – if you can find one – and enjoy the building for what it is; a hub of activity that lends itself to observing people on a level similar to what you can do on the Queen Louise Bridge.
At the Main Library, it abounds with stressed single-subject students, job seekers, university students, pensioners, hobbyists and reading enthusiasts. It is a quiet and noisy oasis, where you can seek shelter from the Danish weather, and where you can get a cup of tea and a croissant at Democratic Coffee on the ground floor.
The Glyptothek is a collection of marble bodies and paintings, mummies and a Mediterranean atmosphere. Here there is room for contemplation surrounded by culture and civilization seen through 6.000 years of art.
Artists often sit here and draw sculptures, while primary school students run around, and there is generally a high level of activity. Still, one can easily feel alone with the majestic sculptures, aesthetic surroundings and archaeological artefacts in the pleasant, relaxed atmosphere.
There is a sea of diverse events such as Slow, which are recurring Thursday events with alternating themes, and where the hectic pace of everyday life is replaced by art's own slow pace.
On Tuesdays, the Glyptoteket is the dating center for students in Copenhagen, as there is free entry to the permanent exhibition.
Whether you want to navigate around Free Tuesday or take advantage of the excellent offer is up to you. If you want to be in peace, skip the Glyptoteket on Culture Night in October, where the place will be overrun.
Refshale Island genius loci is without a doubt the many clear relics from the time as a shipyard. Everything exudes industry and poisonous grounds, but if you get carried away, there are plenty of opportunities to explore disused bunkers, find good angling facilities and secret bathing places.
The fish, seafood and vegetarian restaurant La Banchina offers the dish of the day with bathing and sauna all year round for the fresh. During the summer, there is a secret signature drink and informal beer at Baby Baby Bar surrounded by white sculptures and waterfront.
At Scenografisk Værksted, most of the scenography, scenery and props for the Royal Theatre's plays, operas and ballets are produced. It happens that they hold stock sales where you can acquire costumes, props and scenery. One of the better public secrets Copenhagen has to offer.
Fantastic food markets in Copenhagen
Lonely Planet suggests the Reffen food market on Refshaleøen – it's very popular during the summer. Alternatively, you can visit Broens Gadkøkken, which manages to deliver an informal atmosphere outdoors without forcing it.
At Broens Gadekøkken, they have figured out how to serve unpretentious street food without trying to recreate an authentic, oriental side street. The food served is of delicious quality, and you get a lot for your money.
However, the location of the food market just across the bridge from Nyhavn is not optimal. The combination of crossing pedestrians and cyclists coming at a high speed over the Inderhavnsbroen creates chaos to say the least - but you can't get in a bag and in a sack.
In general, you should probably consider holding off on promoting Copenhagen as a cycling city, as it can eventually be experienced as almost life-threatening with the amount of tourists on semi-motorized vehicles on cycle paths and bridges.
Copenhagen is full of little public secrets, and new places are constantly popping up. And in fact, Copenhagen is also something of a wine city excellent wine bars in all the different neighborhoods of the city. So go exploring in the capital and find your own favorite places.
Good trip around Copenhagen