Travel to Copenhagen

Amalienborg Palace with a view of St Frederik's

I’ve been to Denmark more than 30 times, and most of the trips have been in and around Copenhagen. This guide for travel to Copenhagen is based on my many visits, mostly for work. However, some years have passed since then including two covid-19 pandemic years. Therefore, unfortunately some of my favourite restaurants and hotels are no longer there.

So, what makes Copenhagen such a wonderful city to visit? First, it is located along the North and Baltic seas, which means it has coast and harbours on three sides of the city. Second, there is a good mix of traditional and modern architecture which complement each other. For example, the modern Opera house built in 2001 is just across the water from quaint Nyhavn. Third, the city is a paradise for foodies. There are many amazing casual and up-scale restaurants to choose from. Fourth, there is a good balance of city and green spaces. Finally, it is walkable and safe, which makes getting around easy. On the less positive side, the prices can be expensive for accommodation, food and especially alcohol. I really can’t wait for the next time I can travel to Copenhagen!

Quaint Nyhavn
Quaint Nyhavn
Copenhagen Opera House
Copenhagen Opera House
Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens

Highlights

Before you go

  • Most people speak English in the city, so you are unlikely to need any translator apps
  • Summers are amazing and bright with long days, though the weather can always change so be prepared with layers. Also look for special events such as outdoor concerts.
  • In contrast, the winters can be cold and very dark. You can expect rain or snow quite often.
  • Cycling is a common mode of transport. However, you should know the road rules before cycling. And, as a pedestrian, be aware of cycle lines parallel to the sidewalk as cyclists can travel very fast!
  • Noma restaurant won the best restaurant in the world award multiple times. It is still a notable place to go if you have the budget. However, there are many other places to try for delicious food for all budgets
  • Alcohol can be expensive because there are high taxes on it. Therefore, you may consider bringing your own duty-free wine, beer or spirits if you’ll be staying for awhile
  • Some of the palaces such as Amalienborg can sell out, so you may want to book tickets online in advance
  • Lego comes from Denmark and the Lego store is worth a visit to see the creations of the moment
  • Consider the Copenhagen Card if you are going to be visiting a lot of the tourist attractions for one or more days. It also includes the local transport
The Little Mermaid statue, Copenhagen
The Little Mermaid statue, Copenhagen
Church of Our Saviour
Church of Our Saviour
Round Tower, Copenhagen
Round Tower, Copenhagen

Transport

  • Copenhagen airports is one of my favourite airports to be stuck in, and that has happened once or twice. It’s small but there are a number of good restaurants inside, as well as the delicious Lagkagehuset Bakery. In addition, there are many good shops to wander through and pass the time. From the airport there are many public transport choices to get into Copenhagen including train and metro.
  • One interesting tip is that Business class flights between London (and some other cities) and Copenhagen are very cheap. It is only a two-hour flight. However, for a small additional charge, you can check in luggage, have access to the business lounge, and be served food and drinks.
  • Taxis are available from the airport to the city centre if you want to save time. However, they are expensive
  • Within the city, I usually took either the train or metro. For work, I might take a taxi if I had luggage or was running short of time. There are daily passes for transport so see the DSB site and app
  • Additionally, there are many trains to Sweden from Copenhagen, including an overnight one to Stockholm which I had the pleasure of taking once

Accommodation

  • Comfort Hotel Vesterbro, not to be confused with Comfort Inn from the USA, had a renovation in the mid 2010s. It was great to stay there in 2016. Comfortable, central, simple and clean.
  • Axel Guldsmeden and 66 Guldsmeden are part of the same chain. Boutique hotels with healthy, natural breakfasts and chic décor
  • Imperial Hotel is a large and central hotel with a great buffet breakfast. My only complaint is that some beds are too soft
  • Wakeup Copenhagen is a budget-friendly hotel and simple. It was not the most comfortable and is located slightly out of the main centre near the water
  • Wakeup Copenhagen Borgergade is similar in the budget-friendly Wakeup chain. This one is slightly north of the city centre but near Rosenborg Castle
  • Copenhagen Marriott is a luxury hotel along the water. It is more expensive but worth it if you want
  • Best Western Hotel Hebron is very central, and mid-range. Comfortable and good breakfast
  • Hotel Kong Arthur is an upscale four-star hotel with stylish décor. Located near the lakes
National Aquarium Denmark Den Blå Planet
National Aquarium Denmark Den Blå Planet
Copenhagen Botanical Garden
Copenhagen Botanical Garden
Cool decor at Axel Guldsmeden Hotel
Cool decor at Axel Guldsmeden Hotel
Paté Paté French restaurant, Copenhagen
Paté Paté French restaurant, Copenhagen
Herring at Frk. Barners Kælder, Copenhagen
Herring at Frk. Barners Kælder, Copenhagen
Tartare and cucumber at Huks Fluks
Tartare and cucumber at Huks Fluks
Kød Og Flæskehal
Kød Og Flæskehal aka Fiskebar, nice for seafood and drinks
Pizza at Mother, Copenhagen
Pizza at Mother, Copenhagen

Food

When I looked back at my trip photos, I was disappointed that I did not take more photos of my meals in Copenhagen. Since I was often out with work colleagues, I felt a bit self-conscious to be taking food portraits of every dish. In any case, there are a few photos to share and a lot of recommendations! I’ve tried to update this list based on what is still open in 2022. Sadly the pandemic closed down a few favourites, including Relae!

In general, I recommend to try some of the traditional Danish foods. These include rye bread, either on its own or as an open-faced sandwich. Also, the pickled herring are traditional and unique, though not to everyone’s taste! My favourite place to have herring is Frk Barners Kaelder, and they usually give you a side shot of aquavit! Seafood is plentiful in the cuisine, but there are vegetarian and meat options available in most places. Another typically Danish restaurant is Karla. Madklubben has excellent steaks amongst other hearty dishes.

Danish bakery pastries and breads are amazing. In fact, the large bakery called Lagkagehuset has come over to London branded as Ole & Steen. Another local favourite is Sankt Peders Bageri.

One of the coolest food areas in Copenhagen is Kødbyen, the old meat-packing area. Mother pizza is a favourite, as well as the French Paté Paté or Fiskebar for seafood. Also, for more casual fare and drinks, Warpigs Brewery and Gorilla are both fun and tasty.

Of the casual chain restaurants I recommend Joe & the juice for sandwiches and smoothies or Sticks & Sushi for Asian. For quick food, it is also a good idea to visit the markets such as TorvehallerneKBH.

Surprisingly, there are some Asian food choices around the city. A few of my favourites are Poonchai Thai, Nibon-Ya sushi, and A hidden gem was The South Indian in Vesterbro, authentic and delicious!

Finally, for finer dining I first have to mention Noma, which has been named the best restaurant in the world on multiple occasions. I have not yet been there and the price is steep, but those I know who have gone were impressed. For pricier, but still affordable upscale dining, I have a few suggestions. Marv & Ben offers dishes made from locally sourced ingredients in a minimalist and open setting. For upscale Italian, one can visit L’Enoteca di Mr. Brunello. The restaurant KöD is especially known for steak and has a great atmosphere! Finally, both Retour and Pastis are classy French restaurants with memorable dishes.

FAQs

Q: Do I need a tour guide?

A: No, it is safe and easy to find your way around the city

Q: Do people speak English?

A: Yes almost everyone speaks English. Even at the post office, the man at the counter asked in perfect English if I needed any help.

Q: Is it a walkable city?

A: Yes the city centre is walkable and if you get tired, you can use the bus and metro systems.

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