I arrived into Copenhagen by train, after travelling through the evening from Sweden. Clear skies and a biting cold welcomed me as I stepped out into the sunshine the next morning. I travelled in winter, including the city as a stop in a mini Scandinavian solo trip that also took me through Sweden. In winter prices are a little lower, and an upcoming spell of good weather prompted me to escape the UK for a bit.
As with most places in Northern Europe, you occasionally have to contend with the weather. However, rain or shine, Copenhagen is an architectural beauty and is rich in culture and intriguing places to explore.
Currency | Euro
Time needed | 2 days – 1 week
Seasons & Weather | Cold in winter, mild to warm in summer. Rain and clouds can be common! Visit anytime, but summer should guarantee better weather.
Languages | Danish, but English is widely spoken
How to say Hello | Hej
How to say Thank you | Tak
Transport | Walking and bicycle are best!
Nearest Airport | Copenhagen Airport (Københavns Lufthavn)
Nearest Train Station |Copenhagen Central Station (Københavns Hovedbanegård)
Things to Visit, Places to See
Like most European cities, Copenhagen is perfect for walking around, although hiring a bike is a great way to try out true Danish culture! There’s so much incredible architecture to see, if you have the time, just wander along the waterways, harbours and streets and you’ll come across plenty of places that will catch your eye.
However if you’re on a tight schedule, read on for some of the best experiences and top sights of Copenhagen.
Take a boat trip in the harbour | It’s a great way to admire some of the incredible structures that line the waterways, from Christiansborg Palace and the futuristic Opera House, to a beautiful view up towards Frederik’s Church. It’s also a great way to see lots of the iconic sites in one go if you’re short on time or can’t cover a lot of distance.
The Little Mermaid Statue | A small but popular statue. The Little Mermaid is a tale we’re probably all familiar with, but many might not know that it was based on a fairytale by Danish writer, Hans Christian Andersen. This statue is one of many small tokens devoted to his memory and charming storytelling.
Nyhavn | One of the most recognisable features of Copenhagen, and perhaps Denmark. Nyhavn is a beautiful harbour waterfront, lined with colourful townhouses. It was built in the 17th century, and is chock full of cafes, restaurants and bars. It was also once the home of Hans Christian Andersen!
Visit Tivoli Gardens | I visited during the winter and it happened to be closed for the season (such a shame!). But it’s enormous, and the 2nd oldest theme park in the World! With gardens, rides, food halls and other attractions. You could easily spend a weekend there.
Walk along Strøget | One of the longest pedestrianised shopping streets in Europe, if you’re looking for something, you’ll likely find it here. Don’t forget to wander down narrow offshoots and smaller streets to discover smaller independent gems!
Explore impressive Museums | From North Atlantic House which explores the culture and relationship of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and Denmark. To SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst (or ‘art’).
Visit Castles & Fortresses| From the harbour front fortress of Kastellet, to the incredibly elegant Rosenborg Castle. Grab a coffee or hot chocolate and wander around the gardens and waterways that surround these structures.
Hire a bike | Denmark, like many European cities is famous for its bike culture. There is a collection of bike hire shops at the end of Nyhavn. It’s a great way to explore the outer edges of the city for the day if your feet are feeling a little weary!
Places to eat
Denmark is famed for it’s style and simple and honest approach to food, so naturally Copenhagen is full of chic bars and cosily styled cafes, serving hearty but healthy dishes.
For Coffee | Forloren Espresso ($ Independent), Espresso House ( $$ a popular Scandinavian chain), The Coffee Collective ( $$ Independent) and, Sonny ($$ Independent) among so many others!
Cafe Norden | £ – ££ | Great for breakfast, but serves meals all day. Sitting out on Strøget whilst sipping coffee in the early morning sunshine was absolutely beautiful.
Momo Wok Box | £ | Chinese cuisine. Another place on Strøget, they have vegan and vegetarian options, and a busy but friendly atmosphere, perfect to stop at for a quick lunch or dinner.
Minimer | £-££ | Great option for lunch and even dinner, with vegetarian options, Minimer creates and serves recipes from excess stock picked up from supermarkets in their mission to reduce food waste.
Il Buco | ££ | Mostly organic and hearty Italian cuisine near the harbour front area of Islands Brygge (the other side of the water to the main city). Vegetarian and gluten free friendly options too!
Kompasset (The Compass) | ££ – £££ | Situated at the end of the Nyhavn waterfront. It’s at the pricier end of the scale, but a perfect place to try Danish Smørrebrød (open sandwiches) and dine on Nyhavn. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options too!
Places to stay
Copenhagen is a little on the pricer side when compared with other European countries. But there are still affordable options, whether you’re on a budget or not.
Budget | £
Generator Copenhagen | A city hostel with a perfect location in the centre and shared dorms or private rooms. It’s simple but stylish, and affordable option, and a perfect place for solo travellers!
Woodah Boutique Hostel | Stylish shared dorm rooms, and close to the train station (perfect if you’re arriving from Malmo, Sweden) and easily walkable from the city centre.
Saga Hotel | Comfortable, clean and cosy and extremely friendly staff, it’s also very close to the train station and centre!
Mid-range | ££
Rye115 Hotel | Minimalistic but super chic, private rooms a little North of the centre but very close to a metro station.
Ascot Hotel | Extremely elegant but also affordable, it leaves you right in the heart of Copenhagen, close to Tivoli Gardens and the train station.
Luxury/Special Occasion | £££
Nimb Hotel | Exceedingly pricey, but you definitely get what you pay for… located in Tivoli Gardens, this hotel is incredibly quirky and elegant, and also doubles as a spa. Also pets are allowed, so you know, that’s great!
With so many beautiful side streets, museums, parks, waterways and grand architecture, Copenhagen is the perfect city to just walk through without a heavily planned itinerary. You’ll come across chic, independent boutiques filled with books on sustainability and design, as well as minimalistic and nordic inspired homewares. You’ll wander past numerous flower shops (Blomsterbutiks), and see ornate spires singled out on the skyline.
I can’t wait to visit again during the summer months, so I can make the most of the daylight and lounge in the parks eating Smørrebrød.