Denmark's capital is a city of romance, culture, fine food, festivals and, above all else, pure fun. Regularly ranked as one of the world's 'happiest' cities, Copenhagen will lift the spirits of everyone who visits.
Just walking (or cycling) around Copenhagen's cobbled streets and colorful neighborhoods is a pleasure in itself, but there are plenty of experiences to savor as well. Art lovers can lose themselves in the National Gallery of Denmark or discover a Danish national specialty at the Designmuseum. Fashion fans can shop at local labels like Bruuns Bazaar or Filippa K, while music lovers can time their visit for events like June's Distortion Festival.
There's something special to discover for couples, solo travelers, families and groups to enjoy in Copenhagen - one of Europe's most relaxed and welcoming urban tourist destinations.
Copenhagen has a wide range of attractions to explore. Highlights include the huge National Gallery of Denmark, the Designmuseum, the Nationalmuseet, and the royal collections of the De Kongelige Stalde.
Traveling around Copenhagen's attractions is a joy, thanks to the city's excellent public transportation network, compact city center, and streets that are safe for cyclists of all skill levels. With 24-hour subway services, it's also a great place to sample the local nightlife without worrying about being stranded late at night.
From the royal palaces in Amalienborg and the elegance of the Royal Theatre to colorful village suburbs like Dragør and modern architectural creations like the National Aquarium or the Maritime Museum - if you love architecture, Copenhagen is the place to be.
In Copenhagen, you can choose between hundreds of exceptional restaurants. There's fresh seafood at Fiskebaren, gourmet street food from Døp, and incredible steaks from Rex Republic.
Music is another huge attraction in Copenhagen. The huge Roskilde Festival takes place very nearby in summer, but the city itself hosts a plethora of events, from it's popular Jazz Festival to cutting-edge electronica at Strøm, and all-night street parties during the Distortion Festival.
Starting at Kongens Nytorv Square, walk the length of Strøget, Copenhagen's most famous shopping street. From its south end, find the iconic gate of the Tivoli. This antique of an amusement park has been beloved by locals and tourists alike since the 19th century, and lives up to its reputation. Enter the twilight zone into this unforgettable maze of rides and games. if you're lucky enough to visit around Christmas, the park transforms into a winter wonderland.
In a city of castles and palaces, this masterwork stands out. Dutch architecture with a fairytale twist stands assertively within the King's Gardens. The vast tree-lined promenades lead past historical barracks towards the alluring gates. Don't miss the Royal Gallery housing the Crown Jewels, or the more natural jewels outside in the Rose Garden and the amazing Botanical Garden nearby. The royal immersion continues at Amalienborg, and at Christianborg with its underground ruins.
This paradise for sculpture is free on Sundays, and visitors flock to the famous figures from Degas and Rodin, alongside highlighted Danish works. You won't be left wanting for painted masterpieces either, with Monet and Van Gogh lining the walls. The building itself celebrates pioneering Danish design, and the Free Museum Days continue on Wednesdays at the Danish Architecture Center, for those enthralled. And for a contemporary fix, take a trip to the Louisiana in the countryside.
This self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood sprawls vibrantly across former military barracks, now the motherland of Danish counterculture. Bright murals smother the walls of car-free streets and family-style cafés. The city ramparts offer beautiful waterside recreation zones where people truly come together. Further south along the water lie the charming Christianshavns Vold park and the Lille Mølle windmill.
The best time to visit depends upon your agenda. If you want to focus on sightseeing, avoid high summer (July and August) and beat the crowds with a trip in May or September. Music fans might prefer June or July, which see most of the festivals taking place, but there will be something to enjoy at any time of year.
Kastrup Airport (CPH) is Denmark's major entry point and there are daily direct connections to a range of North American cities. The fastest route into town is via the airport train, which costs kr36 and takes 12 minutes. However, check the subway map, as there's a direct subway service into the city center that also costs kr36 and may take you closer to your accommodation.
Many travelers enter the city via Copenhagen Central train station, which has links to Scandinavian cities like Stockholm, Oslo, and Malmö, as well as continental European cities like Paris and Hamburg. The station is located on Banegårdspladsen, right at the heart of the city.
If you are driving to Copenhagen from the south (the most common route into town) take the A7 Autobahn from Hamburg, then the E45 from the Danish border before changing onto the E20 towards Copenhagen. From Sweden, take the E65 across the bridge at Malmö.
There's no central bus station in Copenhagen, but plenty of international buses run to the Danish capital from cities like Stockholm, Berlin, Hamburg, and even Prague. Generally, buses stop at the central train station, but check the schedule to make sure you won't be dropped off in the suburbs.
Popular locations for accommodation include trendy and central Vesterbro and the even more central Indre By (inner city), where you'll find waterfront hotels like the Hotel Kong Arthur and very high-end places like D'Angleterre. For a cheaper, but still comfortable option, try the Savoy, while the Andersen is an excellent cozy boutique hotel in Vesterbro.
Indre By - Copenhagen's city center, Indre By hosts most of the largest museums, concert halls, and galleries as well as tourist highlights like the palaces of Amalienborg and the Marble Church. It's also home to Strøget, the city's shopping hub.
Slotsholmen - an island located just off the coast of Indre By, Slotsholmen is the oldest part of the city as well as home to the Christiansborg Palace (the national Parliament) and attractions like the Bertel Thorvaldsen Museum and the stunning Det Kongelige Teater.
Vesterbro - located just outside the city center, Vesterbro is Copenhagen's creative heart and its most bohemian neighborhood. Thanks to art stores like Art Rebels and design outlets like Bolia, it's a great place to shop for furniture, fashion, art, and ornaments, while Vesterbro also has restaurants from every corner of the world.
Copenhagen has one of the most reliable public transportation systems around. The best way to navigate the subway, trains, buses, and boats is with a day pass (kr80) or a 72-hour pass (kr200). Or, you could buy a Copenhagen Card for kr230 which also comes with free admission to most of the city's leading attractions. Alternatively, you could buy a rechargeable Rejsekort and travel like most locals by topping up whenever you need to.
Taxis are generally of a high quality in Copenhagen and won't be hard to find, but they aren't cheap either. Expect to pay around kr24 for the meter drop when you hail a cab, followed by kr15-20 per mile.
While driving in central Copenhagen isn't necessary (or easy thanks to expensive and scarce parking meters), it does help if you want to explore quaint suburbs like Dragør or head to the Roskilde Festival. Rental outlets include Avis, Enterprise, and Europcar and typical rates are kr200 per day.
Shopping for fashion, jewelry, furniture, art, and food is one of Copenhagen's greatest highlights (even if prices tend to be fairly high). The most popular shopping street is definitely Strøget in the center of town, where you'll find major brands as well as premium labels like Prada. Vesterbro has plenty of great art and design stores like Designer Zoo, while it also hosts the Halmtorvet flea market every Saturday - a great place to pick up offbeat fashions and antiques.
Shopping at supermarkets like Netto, Rema 1000, or Irma City is a good way to cut the cost of visiting Copenhagen, and you'll find stores all over the city. Expect to pay around kr25 for a gallon of milk or kr11 for a bottle of wine - roughly comparable to New York prices.
Whatever your culinary tastes, Copenhagen delivers. There are fabulous exponents of New Nordic cuisine like BROR, Kadeau, or Noma (currently ranked as the 5th best restaurant in the world by Michelin). There are high-end Italian eateries like Alberto K, great seafood places like Krogs Fiskerestaurant, as well as plenty of cheaper eats like the Shawarma Grill House. Expect to pay around kr1,800 for mains at gourmet restaurants, but as little as kr500 for an excellent kebab or hot dog.