Travel better with our tourists' guide to Copenhagen
Hello and welcome to our Copenhagen Travel Guide. We're here to help you travel better in this delightfully charming city and learn about all the things to do in Copenhagen.
The capital of Denmark, it is the hub of Scandi art and culture, and with so much to do in Copenhagen, it's no surprise that it's the most visited part of Scandinavia. It's the home of the inspiration behind Disneyland (read on to learn more), and was voted the most bike-friendly city in Europe (insert 'on your bike' pun).
But before you head off on your Danish holiday, we think it helps to get the lowdown on all of the city's hidden gems, such as where to get the best food in Copenhagen and how to beat the queues. Fortunately, you're in the right place to be in the know and make the most of the things to do in Copenhagen.
In our Copenhagen Travel Guide, we'll cover:
- How to get to Copenhagen
- The best ways to travel around Copenhagen
- What to eat in Copenhagen
- Things to do in Copenhagen
- How to make the most of your money in Copenhagen
- Do I need to be able to speak Danish to enjoy Copenhagen?
So grab your camera and phrasebook, and come with us on a tour of history, food, mermaids and all manner of Scandinavian charm!
How to get to Copenhagen
We found the easiest way to get to Copenhagen from the UK was by aeroplane. Copenhagen Airport is the largest in Scandinavia, and the third largest in Europe - serving the whole of Denmark and some parts of neighbouring Sweden. The airport is on the island of Amager, which is only 5 miles out from the city centre.
While you're at it, be sure to check out an airport lounge, which we think is a great place to indulge in some peace and quiet while flicking through your Danish phrasebook.
When it comes to getting to the centre of Copenhagen from the airport, you're really spoilt for choice. Here's some our our top picks.
How to get to Copenhagen from the airport by bus
To get to Copenhagen by bus, take the 5A from the airport, which stops at central station. The journey takes about 35 minutes, and bear in mind that fares can only be paid in coins, not notes. If this conjures nightmarish images of an increasingly irate queue forming behind you as you fumble around for the right change, fret not, you can purchase tickets before you board at machines located at most bus stations.
How to get to Copenhagen from the airport by metro
Metro trains from Copenhagen Airport to the city centre depart every 4-6 minutes during the day and every 15-20 minutes at night, meaning no matter when your flight arrives, you'll won't have to wait long for the next one. And don't worry about boarding the wrong train, all metro trains from the airport going into town, so you'll be going in the right direction!
Metro and train platforms can be found at Terminal 3. For more information, head to info.parkering.cph.dk/en/metro.
How to get to Copenhagen from the airport by taxi
You can of course just hop in a taxi and be in Copenhagen city centre in about 20 minutes, but bare in mind that this will set you back around 300kr (about £36), so it's definitely one of the more premium options when it comes to hitting the town. Alternatively, why not get about in style and book a hire car to explore the city's surrounding area.
What are the best ways to travel around Copenhagen?
Now you've dropped your bags off at the hotel and maybe treated yourself to a Akvavit from the minibar, it's time to start exploring all that Copenhagen has to offer. Here's some of the best ways to get around the city.
Should I travel through Copenhagen by bike?
If you want to try living like a local Dane we recommend renting a bike. Copenhagen is one of the most bike friendly cities in europe, so grab a bike from one of the many places you can rental stops, get in the cycle lane, and go and tour the city in one of the most authentic ways possible.
If you decide to explore Copenhagen on two wheels, make sure to download the Donkey Republic app, which allows you to hire a bike right from your phone almost anywhere in the city. Each bike is unlocked with bluetooth, so just select your location, find your numbered bike and away you go.
Should I travel through Copenhagen by public transport?
If riding a bike isn't your cup of tea, fear not! Copenhagen does have a reliable public transport network, but there's only two lines that run across town (east to west), so admittedly it's not the most efficient way to get around. We were still happy to use it when the weather got a tad ropey!
Copenhagen is split into several zones, so you need to purchase a ticket for the number of zones you're going to cross. 2 & 3 zone tickets are valid for an hour's travel so long as you stay within the 3 zone limit. This ticket will cost 24kr (£2.80).
A 24-hour City Pass giving unlimited travel is available for 80kr which is only worth it if you plan to spend a lot of time on the metro. If you're travelling as a family, 2 children under 12 can travel free with each City Pass holder.
What to eat in Copenhagen
If you're a foodie, Copenhagen is the perfect destination for you.
Denmark is the center of the New Nordic Cuisine movement and for good reason, it's home to 28 Michelin-starred restaurants, and 15 of these are right here in Copenhagen. Danish cuisine tends to be quite seasonal, so what's on offer really depends on what time of year you're visiting. All the more reason to keep coming back to sample all the city's culinary delights!
What is Smørrebrød?
Smørrebrød is a traditional Danish dish that we couldn't get enough of. Essentially an open sandwich, they're piled high with delicious toppings and have become a staple of Danish lifestyle. For a light lunch on your travels, Smørrebrød can't be beat.
What is Pølser?
Pølser are essentially the Danish hot dog. Especially popular are the long, skinny red-dyed pork hot dogs called Rødpølser, prepared any number of ways at your local Pølsevogn, or hot dog stand.
What is Wienerbrød?
If you fancy something sweet whilst exploring Copenhagen, Wienerbrød are the ultimate Danish pastries. Forget what you think you know, as these sweet flakey delicacies will blow your mind!
Things to do in Copenhagen
Now you've arrived, settled into your hotel and tasted some amazing Danish food, it's time to take a look at why you've come; all the awesome things to do in Copenhagen. There's too many to list them all here (if we've forgotten your favourite, please let us know), but here's some our favourite things to see and do in this incredible city.
If you're visiting Copenhagen with children, or if you just want to entertain your inner 'big kid', then a trip to Tivoli Gardens is definitely a must.
Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park in the heart of Copenhagen, it opened in 1843 and later was the inspiration behind Disneyland. The park is full of rides, games and stalls - including our favourite - Gallopen. It's especially beautiful in winter, at halloween and Christmas, just make sure to wrap up warm.
If a little bit of pomp and circumstance is more your thing, then Amalienborg Palace is not to be missed. Pop by at midday to watch the changing of the guard and witness some living Danish history.
For an alternative experience of Copenhagen, we can't think of anywhere better to visit than Freetown Christiania.
This unique community is an autonomous district of about 900 people where many of the normal rules do not apply. It's a fascinating experiment in anarchism where residents don't own their own homes and some even openly sell substances that may not exactly be legal.
Freetown Christiania might not be to everybody's taste, but if you're looking for a real adventure, there's nowhere quite like it in Europe. One word of warning, put your camera away, locals do not like being filmed here as we were quick to find out!
The Little Mermaid Statue
Located off the Langelinie promenade, Edvard Eriksen's statue of the Little Mermaid is one of Copenhagen's most famous and celebrated landmarks and should be near the top of anyone's 'to visit' list.
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land, it's no wonder that millions of people flock to Copenhagen every year to see this enchanting piece for themselves.
Like most capital cities in Europe, there's a huge variety of museums to enjoy in Copenhagen, ranging from the the National Museum of Denmark to the wonderfully creepy Medical Museion. However it's worth remembering that many of the city's museums are closed on Monday.
How to make the most of your money in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is known for being a little on the pricey side, so here's our top tips for making the most of your money on your Danish travels.
What currency is used in Denmark?
Denmark uses the Danish Krone, not Euros. You can of course use all debit and credit cards here just remember to tell your bank before you travel. Alternatively, if you're still unsure about using your credit or debit card in Copenhagen, it might be a good idea to pick up a currency card, such as the FairFX money card before you leave. You can load the card up with your travel money before you set off for Copenhagen, meaning all your funds are readily accessible wherever you are.
How much did we spend in Copenhagen?
Here's a breakdown of some of the costs* of our Copenhagen trip:
- Flights - £130
- Hotel - £260 per room for 3 nights
- Travel insurance - £18.75 per person with Holiday Extras
- Latte - 35kr (£4)
- Pastry - 27kr (£3)
- Burger meal - 109kr (£13)
- Entrance into Tivoli Garden - 117kr (£14)
- Unlimited ride ticket - 285kr (£34) per adult
*Rate of exchange correct on 09/02/18.
Should I tip in Copenhagen?
Service staff in Denmark are paid quite well. So tipping really isn't a thing here, however if you're feeling generous and the service has been pretty awesome then leave some extra money!
Do I need to be able to speak Danish to enjoy Copenhagen?
We found that most restaurants and tourist attractions in Copenhagen spoke English, so you don't need to become fluent in Danish overnight. With that being said, we think it's a good idea to learn a few key phrases and words to help immerse yourself in the culture and authentically enjoy all the things to do in Copenhagen. It also never hurts to show off your linguistic skills to friends and family!
- Hello - Hej
- How are you? - Hvordan går det?
- What's up? - Hvad så?
- One - En
- Two - To
- Three - Tre
- Four - Fire
- Five - Fem
- Thank you - Tusinde tak
- Goodbye - Farvel
And that's a wrap on our time in Copenhagen. We hope we've given you a taste of just some of the amazing things to see and do in this spectacular city. But reading about it and experiencing it first hand are two very different things, so treat yourself and travel better to Copenhagen. If you enjoyed this, why not check out our travel guides to other Vancouver, Tenerife and Venice.
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