Copenhagen continues to top the charts as the happiest city in the world, and for good reason.
In recent years Copenhagen has become a Mecca for hipsters, and for those seeking Insta-fame.The city’s colourful buildings and cobbled streets mean that it’s the perfect location to capture a selfie or two!
Denmark is not a cheap country to visit. Whilst the flights don’t have to be overpriced, the cost of living in the Scandinavian hot spot can be prohibitively expensive. But it is possible to have an unforgettable time in the nation’s capital without breaking the bank. Here are our top tips for staying cool in Copenhagen:
Hit The Shops
Ever shopped in Ikea? Of course, you have! Everyone has! Ikea is a stand-out example of the popularity of Scandinavian design brought to the mainstream, and many of the concepts it borrows from originating from smaller designers in its original Sweden as well as in Denmark.
When visiting Copenhagen, one of my favourite things to do is hit the city’s exceptional range of unique interior design stores. One of the most popular interior stops in Copenhagen is Hay: an upmarket store which is set up like a sophisticated apartment where everything inside is available to purchase.
Other interior hot spots not to miss include Ferm Living’s showroom (a spot so exclusive that you need to book an appointment before you visit, and Illum, which is one of the most famous shopping gallerias’s in Denmark.
As well as stocking an enviable array of interior design, you’ll also find books, fashion, and high-end skincare products.
Not a big fan of Denmark’s trademark modern and minimalist design? Don’t worry, there are still plenty of shopping opportunities for you! Visit Beau Marche, which is a design store packed full of vintage treasures, as well as the design details you’d expect from the country.
Even if you don’t buy anything, the delightful cafe and restaurant in the backyard of the store are the perfect place to relax, unwind, and enjoy a little people watching.
Seek Out The Little Mermaid
Every city has that one must-see tourist attraction that it’s essential you seek out, no matter how long or short your stay is. In Copenhagen, that attraction is The Little Mermaid.
This bronze statue sits at the heart of Copenhagen harbour and was cast by celebrated Danish artist Edvard Eriksen in 1913. Why The Little Mermaid? To celebrate the fairy tale of the same name, written by the most universally famous Dane of all time: Hans Christian Anderson.
You’ve no doubt read many of Anderson’s tales, and they have also provided the inspiration for several Disney movies, but the reality of Anderson’s stories often have darker overtones, perfect for scary midnight tales on your trip to Copenhagen.
The Mermaid statue is considered to be the symbol of the city, completely synonymous with the vision of Copenhagen. In recent years, it has also become a popular target for defacement (she has often been decapitated) which only adds to its gravitas as a tourist attraction.
Taking a photo of the Little Mermaid statue is an absolute must for anyone taking a trip to Copenhagen.
Relive Your Childhood in The Tivoli Gardens
One of the most popular attractions in Copenhagen is the Tivoli Gardens. The park opened on 15 August 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, maintaining much of its original charm whilst still regularly updating with new rides and attractions.
The Tivoli Gardens welcomes around 4 million visitors every year, and if you’re spending any time in Copenhagen at all, you should definitely be one of them. Many people might mistakenly think the Tivoli Gardens is a day out just for kids, but the reality is that there’s so much on offer for fashion-forward grown-ups too!
Part of the eternal attraction of the Tivoli Gardens is that there is something for everyone. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a music lover, a fan of unusual architecture or enjoy exploring nature at a gentle pace, you’ll be able to spend the day here and love every minute.
Amongst the many attractions within the theme park, some of the ones that you really shouldn’t miss out on include:
-The Wooden Roller Coaster. First constructed in 1914, this entirely wooden roller coaster is one of only seven in the world which still has a brakeman on board every train. This ride is incredibly popular, and jumping on board is sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.
-The Demon. This relatively new attraction was only launched in 2017 and is the first virtual reality ride in the park. Board a rollercoaster train and you will journey through a Chinese universe with fire-spitting dragons and exploding fireworks, allowing you to enter a whole new world.
-Enjoy the Coral Reef. Within the theme park is a small, but beautifully themed, aquarium which features over 1,600 fish. It is the perfect place to duck inside and explore if it rains during your stay.
-If you visit Copenhagen during the summer then it may interest you to know that the largest classical music festival in Scandinavia is hosted at the park, featuring 50 separate music events, as well as free rock concerts every Friday throughout the summer months.
If you’re a big fan of Disneyland, it may interest you to know that Walt Disney visited the park several times whilst planning and designing the original Disneyland Park. Hans Christian Anderson was also a regular visitor to, and a big fan of, the park.
Finally, if you’re on a date in Copenhagen then the Tivoli Gardens are the perfect place to visit, particularly during the evening when the grounds are illuminated by thousands of coloured lights, designed to create a fairytale atmosphere that is completely unique. It really will be a date you’ll never forget.
I love to eat: planning to eat in a new city’s finest restaurants is one of my favourite parts of any vacation. Whether you have a passion for food or not, eating in Copenhagen is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip!
Its harbourside location means that plenty of raw and smoked seafood is the norm in Copenhagen, often served on smorgasbord platters and in open sandwiches. You don’t have to travel far, or spend big bucks, to find delicious fish in Copenhagen.
Looking for something a little more substantial than a prawn sandwich (no matter how delicious?) then the city will spoil you with options!
For lunch head to Sonny, a trendy hangout that attracts Copenhagen’s stylish crowd (and more than its fair share of hipsters) thanks to their incredibly photogenic array of sandwiches. The Sonny Combo and the avocado sandwich are two of the most popular dishes on the menu.
If you want to try a traditional Danish smorgasbord then head to Aamanns 192. This light, bright and airy restaurant is owned by Adam Aamann who is famed for being Copenhagen’s “the king smørrebrød”). You’ll find traditional versions of the dish, as well as creative remixes, meaning that there’s sure to be something for everyone.
Finally, if you want to impress as dinner time approaches (regardless of whether you’re alone or want to show off your good taste to a date) then head to the meatpacking district. It’s almost impossible to find a bad restaurant here, so be guided by your nose and your personal menus preferences.
Prefer to dine with a recommendation? The Asian tapas from Kiin Kiin Bao Bao is delicious without being too fussy and the setting is laidback whilst still having the required level of formality to impress someone now.
Are you a carnivore with a craving for some meat? Peder Oxe is the only place to visit! Tuck into a delicious steak the size of your head! It’s definitely a menu designed for (and by) men with hearty appetites!
Visit A Hippy Commune
If you’re looking for an activity that is the very definition of cool to enjoy in Copenhagen then why not enter the original hippy commune, Christiania? Christiania is often referred to as Copenhagen’s ‘free town’ and is an area of the city surrounded by contraversy.
First founded in 1971 when an abandoned military area was taken over by squatters, the area is now lush, green, and loaded with idealistic values!
The whole area is a car-free zone and is home to several incredibly well-respected art galleries. You’ll also find inexpensive organic cafes and awesome evening music venues here. Many of the buildings are covered in beautiful, floral-inspired graffiti which of itself is worth visiting for.
Christiania has its own currency, it’s own set of rules (a list of do’s and don’ts is posted at the entrance to the town) alongside a sign advising visitors that they are now leaving the European Union. Talk to the people that live here and you’ll leave in awe of their incredible way of life.
Residents don’t pay taxes, but contribute to the society in other ways: each resident takes responsibility for helping the community to both survive and to thrive.
Visiting here can feel like you’re entering the set of a 1970s movie, and it’s true that part of the town can feel a little ‘gritty’ but thanks to their zero tolerance policy towards violence, you’ll be perfectly safe exploring the community, no matter what the time of day or night.
Visiting Christiania is an experience unlike any other and, even if you don’t have much time in the city, it’s definitely worth dedicating an hour or two to visiting here. The best, and easiest way to visit it by bike; this is the only form of transport that can take you all around the town with ease.
Hire a Bike
Want to blend in with the locals and explore the beauty of Copenhagen at your leisure? Then what you need to do is hire a bike!
There are actually more bikes in Copenhagen than permanent residents, making cycling one of the easiest (and most enjoyable) ways to get around the city.
Copenhagen is one of the few cities in the world designed specifically with cyclists in mind. The city is covered by 350km of cycle paths and lanes which are raised from the road so that you don’t have to ride alongside motorists.
Some city junctions are also equipped with flashing lights so that when cyclists approach they warn drivers to wait before they turn.
Not only is cycling around Copenhagen a great way to explore and uncover hidden gems that you might not have found otherwise, it is also a great way burn off the extra calories you’re sure to consume when you’re enjoying your daily smørrebrød!
Not sure you’ve packed the right clothes for a bike ride? Anything goes when cycling in Copenhagen! Because cycling is such a normal part of everyday life in Denmark, it’s not unusual to see men and women riding their bikes wearing formal suits, heels, and even evening wear. Anything goes here, so wear what you want: You won’t stand out!
Visiting Copenhagen during the warmer months? Copenhagen is perfectly set up for summer cycling.Take a short ride north or south of the city and you’ll find fantastic beaches, forests, parkland and other attractions, all perfect for exploring in the sunshine!
It may also interest you to know that, if you simply can’t be bothered to cycle back to your hotel after a full day of fun on the beach, you can take your bike on the metro or on the train in the special bike-friendly carriages. So riding a bike won’t ever have to limit your transportation options!
Scandinavia in general and Denmark, in particular, is notoriously expensive to visit as a tourist. This certainly isn’t a place to visit for a two-week vacation, unless you have a lot of money to spend!
But the beautiful harbourside scenery, laid-back way of life, friendly people, and general overwhelming sensation of hygge make Copenhagen an incredible city that everyone should visit at least once in their lives.
It is the perfect place to visit for a city break or mini break. Beautiful in the glow of the summer sun, don’t overlook the idea of visiting the city in the winter.
Whilst the temperatures may drop well below freezing, the city looks incredible in the snow (particularly with the fairy lights of the Tivoli Gardens twinkling) and has a wonderfully festive feel.
We love Copenhagen, and its low-key, laid-back style. Because it isn’t an obvious European tourist destination you’ll find that the people are friendly and welcoming and that it’s easy to live like a local for a few days.
Want to go something unusual for your vacation this year? It really is a great choice!