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Copenhagen might not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re planning your next European adventure, whether that’s because it’s a bit further afield or because Denmark is traditionally quite expensive. But this Copenhagen Guide aims to give you my top 10 Copenhagen tips to make the most of your trip to Copenhagen. These tips include everything from Copenhagen budget tips, to meals you should try, and where to stay during your Copenhagen visit.
1.Buy a Copenhagen Card
My number one tip for Copenhagen is to buy a Copenhagen Card. These tickets are perfect for a short trip to Copenhagen, whether you’re visiting for a day, a long weekend or a whole week. You can buy a card to cover 24, 48, 72, 96 or 120 hours. The Copenhagen card includes free public transport, free admission to over 80 attractions and activities, discounts on restaurants and a free guide book in the app.
I purchased the 72 hour card for my 3 days in Copenhagen which cost me 102 euro. During this time I visited six attractions, took public transport all over the city each day plus took a regional train out to Frederiksborg Castle, hired a bike and went on a canal tour, all for the price of this ticket.
Visit the Copenhagen Card website and you can calculate which tickets you want to buy and how much money you will save.
Example itinerary for 3 days in Copenhagen using the Copenhagen Card:
The Round Tower
The National Museum
Public transport for three days
Without the card you would pay 164 euro for all of this. With the card, you only pay 102 euro for the price of the 72 hour card. This is not including other discounts you might get on restaurants, bars, bike hire or tours.
The Copenhagen Card is great value for money for a short trip to Copenhagen.
2. Hire a bike
Hiring a bike in Copenhagen was my favourite way to explore the city. I got a discount on bike hire with my Copenhagen card at City Tours Nyhavn Bicycle.
The usual price is 90kr for half a day (£10) or 120kr (£14) for a full day. With the Copenhagen Card, I got the full day bike hire for 100kr (£11).
I know cycling around a foreign city is not everyone’s idea of fun, but the great thing about Copenhagen, and Denmark in general, is that most people get around by bicycle so cyclists are well respected on the roads and there are also very wide and well-maintained cycle lanes on most roads and cycle paths throughout the city.
I used my bike to explore some of the neighbours around Copenhagen and I also spent a lovely afternoon cycling along the waterfront to see the famous Little Mermaid statue.
3. Stay in an Airbnb
This was not only a money-saver but also a change to experience that Danish hygge feeling in a beautiful Copenhagen apartment. If you’re visiting with a partner or friends then this is definitely the best accommodation option compared to the high prices of hotels in Copenhagen.
We stayed in a great neighbourhood called Frederiksberg which I would definitely recommend, it’s cheap to stay in, the area is lovely and it’s only 8 minutes on the train to the city centre which you can ride for free with your Copenhagen card.
Our Airbnb also had a kitchen so we were able to save some money and have some of our own meals there too.
You can use my link to get $69 AUD/$40 USD off your first Airbnb stay.
4. Take the train from Copenhagen to Sweden
Did you know Sweden is just a short train ride from Copenhagen? You can take a day trip to Malmö, Sweden from Copenhagen for just £20 by taking the train which crosses the famous Øresund Bridge. The journey only takes half an hour and who doesn’t love being able to include another country on their trip this easily?!
Malmö is a small town with beautiful architecture. Make sure to check out Lille Torg, the square in the old town, where you can grab a drink or some lunch and watch the world go by.
Head to Malmö Castle and explore the gardens too. Don’t miss the beautiful Castle cafe/Slottstradgardens Kafe for a light snack.
St Peter’s Church is another sight to visit with its imposing gothic architecture.
And in contrast, look out for the ultra-modern Turning Torso building. His high rise building looks like it’s a tower block that’s been twisted out of shape.
5. Walk along Nyhavn
Did you go to Copenhagen if you didn’t walk along the colourful waterfront of Nyhavn? Nyhavn is hard to miss, it’s in the city centre and the colourful buildings are filled with cafes, bars and restaurants all full with people meeting and socialising, even in the colder months!
I spent a long time here, not only taking pictures of the colourful buildings but also taking in the atmosphere.
It is a very expensive area of the city though so while I wouldn’t recommend eating here, but a drink in the sunshine and taking in the atmosphere is definitely on the top 10 for Copenhagen.
6. Eat Smørrebrød
What once began as a very basic meal for the working people, is now a Danish staple and you’ll find variations of this meal all over Copenhagen and Denmark.
This traditional Scandinavian meal is basically an open sandwich on rye bread with various toppings like cheese, cold cut meats, spreads and other garnishes.
You’ll find cheap pub versions and high-end five star versions, but they make a great lunch meal and are definitely worth trying while you’re in Copenhagen.
7. Spend an afternoon exploring both sides of the waterfront
A body of water runs through Copenhagen which flows from the sea and out again. The city covers both sides of this body of water with plenty of bridges or water taxis running across it.
This is a recommendation for while you have your bike, although you can walk these routes too.
Along the west waterfront, start from Nyhavn and walk or cycle north. This will lead you past Amalienborg Palace where you can see the changing of the guards at midday. Continue up along the waterfront, enjoying the scenery until you reach Kastellet. This is a unique star-shaped fortress which is free to enter and often has free events or concerts.
Continue a little further north and you will reach the famous Little Mermaid statue. It is possibly the most famous attraction in Copenhagen although I have to say, it was much smaller than i expected!
When you walk back to Nyhavn, walk or cycle across the pedestrian-only Inderhavnsbroen bridge. This side of the waterfront is a lot more industrial and you’ll find cool and quirky art galleries, pop-up stores, cafes, bars and waterfront restaurants to spend the evening in.
8. Explore Freetown Christiania
Freetown Christiania is an independent community in Copenhagen which is self-governing with its own laws and lifestyle.
Christiania was set up in 1971, originally by homeless people in an old military area. Now it’s home to over 1000 members and they are independent from the Danish government. They have no taxes and operate on rules of fairness and equality. There are also other rules, the most important being non-violence, no running, no cars, no photographs. They promote an eco-friendly lifestyle and try to live sustainably. With creative classes, yoga and meditation, quirky cafes and marijuana use, it is viewed as a ‘hippy’ commune but one that is often admired by other Danes as a successful attempt to create a new society.
There is a lot of street art, decorations, colourful buildings and vibrant activity, it really is a happy place to visit.
People are very friendly and welcoming here, unless they think you’re taking photos, which are strictly prohibited. So put your phone away, grab a local coffee and explore Christiania.
9. See some live music
Perhaps not something you would typically associate with Copenhagen, but it was one of the most fun and authentic nights of my trip. We accidentally stumbled upon a small pub called Hvide Lamb (the White Lamb) which has local bands playing jazz every night of the week. It’s a small, smokey, laidback bar in the city but it was so much fun and everyone was so friendly and excited for us to see the band play.
Look out for pubs or bars around where you’re staying to enjoy some local music.
10. Visit Tivoli Gardens
Probably the most famous attraction in Copenhagen. Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park and gardens, showing performances, concerts and events throughout the year. The summer months is famous for Tivoli’s rides and attractions as well as outdoor performances. Over winter, the Christmas lights are really spectacular.
The park is open May - early January, so if you’re planning to visit during January - April, bear in mind that you won’t be able to visit Tivoli.
The cost of the Tivoli ticket is free with a Copenhagen Card
Let me know if you go to Copenhagen and use these tips!
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