Copenhagen Travel Guide
For a capital city its size, Copenhagen sure has a way of captivating visitors. The abundance of beautiful design shops, a happening restaurant scene and colourful 17th-century houses in Nyhavn draw people to this cool, Scandinavian epicentre. In recent years, the Danish capital has caught the attention of the world mainly due to chef René Redzepi’s revitalization of Nordic cuisine at Restaurant Noma. But Copenhagen offers much more than the fabled restaurants and well-trodden places one continuously reads about in travel guides. Wondering what to do in Copenhagen? Hop on your rented bike and discover the trendiest neighbourhoods, the cosiest coffee shops, the best Nordic restaurants, as well as the coolest places to update your wardrobe.
The best hotels in Copenhagen
In a city strongly influenced by stunning design and impeccable taste, every aspect of visiting will reflect this effortless take on décor, including a stay at a hotel.
Located by the harbour in Islands Brygge on the island of Amager, STAY offers apartments that will have you waking up in minimalist, Scandinavian surroundings. Designed by HAY, rooms are kept in an all black and white colour theme. Each space is equipped with a kitchen, and the gourmet bakery and organic supermarket on the ground floor of the building make it easy for guests to feel at home.
Copenhagen is a city of fairy tales, and many are told in Tivoli Gardens, one of the city’s most well-known attractions. Hotel Nimb, located inside the theme park, boasts 17 unique and individually decorated rooms all with a garden view. Styled with antiques, open fireplaces and large bathrooms, these luxury rooms in Central Copenhagen blend tradition with the latest in interior design.
The newest hotel on this list, Hotel SP34 is a boutique hotel decorated with Danish design classics and custom-made furniture. The style is typically Scandinavian, but with a warm and welcoming feel. Perfectly located in the Latin Quarter in Central Copenhagen, this cool hotel offers friendly staff, two great restaurants, and a rooftop terrace with a view to the famous colourful houses in the city centre.
Things to do in Copenagen
Copenhagen is a city of many architectural gems, both old and new. One of the most striking of Copenhagen points of interest is Grundtvigs Kirke (Grundtvig’s Church), situated atop a small hill on the outskirts of the city. The light colour of the bricks used inside the church, and its monumental feel attracts visitors from all over the world, cameras at the ready. Another must-visit is Rundetårn (The Round Tower) originally built as an astronomy observatory and now a site where a climb up its spiral stairs is rewarded with a stunning view of central Copenhagen.
With more than 80 vendors, Torvehallerne is a haven for food lovers
Where to eat in Copenhagen
The city’s compact size means you have the chance to get a good look around its different neighbourhoods, whether you’re on foot or bike. The most popular area for visitors is Central Copenhagen, where you will find most of the city’s shops, great cafes and restaurants and some of the oldest and most colourful classic Copenhagen houses. Restaurant Höst near Søerne (The Lakes) offers affordable New Nordic cuisine in a setting that was recently awarded The Best Designed Restaurant in the World. Not far from Höst is Torvehallerne, two large covered markets. Established in 2011, Torvehallerne has become a popular place amongst locals and visitors alike. With more than 80 vendors in the glass and steel halls bathed in natural light, this is a haven for food lovers. A culinary hot spot, you will find quality foods, delicacies, drinks and smaller kitchen utensils here. In summer the outdoor areas with vendors serving delicious drinks, tasty tacos and local specialities fill up with people, making it a great place to spend a Friday afternoon.
The Latin Quarter, not far from Torvehallerne, offers many gems among its narrow streets and colourful facades. Restaurant BROR, founded by former Noma chefs, treats patrons to honest food, made with the best in-season, regional produce. A walk along the streets Larsbjørnsstræde, Studiestræde and Sankt Peder Stræde is an excellent way to experience one of the most charming parts of Central Copenhagen.
North of the city centre lies hip and culturally diverse Nørrebro. Walk over Dronning Louises Bro (Queen Louise’s Bridge) on a sunny summer day, and you’ll be astounded by the amount of hipsters providing it with its nickname ‘The Hipster Bridge’. Some of Nørrebro’s finest include restaurants such as the Michelin-starred Relæ, Manfreds and Bæst, all created by world-renowned chef Christian Puglisi. All three serve no-nonsense gastronomy with fresh, local produce, the former two with an emphasis on Nordic cuisine. The recently opened Bæst serves Italian food with a heavy focus on organic meats and produce.
Both Relæ and Manfreds are located on Nørrebro’s most charming street Jægersborggade where you will find a string of independent shops selling interior design, fashion and delicacies such as chocolate, coffee and cheeses. Jægersborggade is also home to the original outfit of The Coffee Collective. This collective has helped put Copenhagen on the international coffee map with their exceptional roasts and quest to improve the living conditions of farmers across the globe.
A quick bike ride from Nørrebro will take you to Frederiksberg and Vesterbro. In Frederiksberg, mostly known for its beautiful townhouses, picturesque avenues and green spaces, you will find Restaurant Radio. This welcoming space is decorated as a stylish cabin with wooden walls. Innovative Nordic cuisine, made from produce delivered fresh from farms every day, has made this place a foodie favourite.
We continue our trip west to Vesterbro, which boasts many great restaurants and cafés and is popular with a slightly more mature audience than Nørrebro. Young families with strollers blend in with tattooed men on their ‘fixie’ bikes and on a sunny day, life is lived on the sidewalk. Vesterbro is also home to the Meat Packing District, a great place to spend an evening out. At the Bib-Gourmande recommended Fiskebaren (The Fish Bar) you’ll be treated to raw fish and seafood, as well as cooked dishes, with produce sourced from the waters around Denmark. If you’re in the mood for French and Spanish inspired cuisine in beautiful surroundings, opt for Paté Paté, located in a former paté factory. For after-dinner drinks, the options are plentiful, and if you’d like to visit in daylight, the local food market Kødbyens Mad Og Marked has vendors selling everything from tacos to roast pork sandwiches. Don’t miss the heavenly porridge from Copenhagen darlings GRØD.
If you’re in the mood for the famous Danish ‘smørrebrød’, head to Øl&Brød, a lunch place opened by the Danish microbrewery Mikkeller. The smørrebrød is innovative, the place beautifully decorated with Danish design classics, and the beers world class.
The Latin Quarter, not far from Torvehallerne, offers many gems among its narrow streets and colourful facades
Shopping in Copenhagen
Shops are scattered all over town, and even though many are found in the centre, the different neighbourhoods have their fair share of places to drop your cash. On Istedgade, one of Vesterbro’s main streets, you will find recently opened gallery Ekely. This beautifully designed space sells carefully curated art books, special editions, prints and sculptures from some of today’s most prominent Danish and International artists.
Also in Vesterbro and worth a visit is Nibble Shop, featuring a large variety of national and international magazines, as well as books about gastronomy and lifestyle. For a taste of Danish graphic design, visit Playtype on charming Værnedamsvej. This fabulous little shop sells notebooks, cups and posters with characteristic Danish typography.
Just a stone’s throw away, also on Værnedamsvej, Summerbird sells some of the best handmade chocolate Copenhagen has to offer. Their ‘flødeboller’, Danish cream puffs, are an absolute must-try. For menswear, try one of the most notable fashion successes in Denmark, the Henrik Vibskov Boutique. It combines his trademark colourful designs with Danish and international brands with an emphasis on playfulness, graphic design and prints.
Photo: Nana Hagel
Øl&Brød | Photo: Nana Hagel
Photo: Nana Hagel
Grundtvigs Church | Photo: Nana Hagel
Radio | Photo: Nana Hagel
Höst | Photo: Nana Hagel