Copenhagen City Guide
The picturesque city of Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and the biggest city in Scandinavia. This city is situated on the entrance to the Baltic Sea and is located partially on Denmark's largest island, Zealand, and partially on Amager, another island located in the Øresund, a busy channel of water that separates Denmark from Sweden.
Copenhagen, originated as a fishing village and went on to become a major port of trade after it was fortified in 1167. The city then went on to become a royal city when Frederik III declared himself as an ‘absolute monarch’.
Owing to its strategic location, Copenhagen has always been a commercial epicenter, which has been home to industries like machinery and shipping. However in recent years, this city has grown to become an important regional hub for culture, business, media and science, which is home to industries like Life Science, information technology, shipping, design and research and development. The city’s prominent business profile thus attracts numerous business travelers to its shores.
Aside from industry and commerce, this city is considered to be in the ranks of cities that offer the best quality of life. It has much to offer for vacationing tourists as well in the form of incredible architecture, excellent restaurants and shopping and exciting nightlife and cultural options. It is no wonder then that more than 2 million tourists, book a vacation to Copenhagen annually to enjoy its many diverse attractions.
Where to stay in Copenhagen
Near Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn
This area is traversed by a central canal and hosts 18th century buildings. It was once the domain of sailors and tattoo parlors. Today however Nyhavn is a trendy section of the city that plays host to a wide range of hotels that range from mid-range hotel properties to discount hotels and budget accommodations.
Near Rådhuspladsen and Tivoli Gardens
Most of Copenhagen’s luxury hotels are located in the area around the city’s Town Hall Square( Rådhuspladsen) ,Tivoli Gardens and the Central Railway Station. This area is a highly coveted destination in the city as it is close to all public transportation and various attractions.
On Helgolandsgade and Colbjørnsensgade
This area is located behind the railway station and used to be known for nefarious activities in the 1970s. However the area has undergone much gentrification in recent years and offers a wide array of well priced hotels which are definitely worth considering for the convenience that the area affords.
The Southern Harborfront
The harborfront of Copenhagen is currently being actively developed. The area today hosts many luxury and business hotels and is becoming exceedingly popular as an accommodation option for visitors to the city as it is close to attractions like the Little Mermaid and various shopping options.
Places to see in Copenhagen
Tivoli Gardens is one of the world's oldest amusement parks, which dates back to 1843. Copenhagen’s showpiece summer attraction attracts hordes of visitors annually. The park is equipped with theaters, band stands, restaurants, bloom-filled gardens and old world rides including an ancient wooden roller coaster called Rutsjebanen, which is still operational until today. This enchanting and magical park is also home to the world's tallest carousel and hosts various other attractions in the form of open-air stages and a concert hall where free music concerts are held often during the five months of the year when the park is open.
Five streets in the heart of the city have been merged to provide the world's longest pedestrian mall, running between Rådhuspladsen and Kongens Nytorv, which are packed with historic gabled buildings, dynamic department stores, stunning shops, restaurants, pavement cafes, theatres, and world-class museums and galleries.
Danish Design Center
The Danes are known the world over for their avant-garde design sensibilities. You can view many examples of their renowned style at the Danish Design center, located on Hans Christian Andersens Boulevard bang opposite the Tivoli Gardens. The design center is housed in a building that has been designed by world famous Danish architect Henning Larsen and it showcases exhibits of famous Danish designers, including the god father of Danish style – Arne Johnson. The center exhibits include displays by fashion forward Danish companies like Bang and Olufsen, Bodum and Lego, which are renowned for their clean lines and simple but elegant style. The Danish center also has a café and a store where you can buy a stylish souvenir to take home with you. The Danish Design Center is definitely a must-do attraction for all design enthusiasts on a visit or vacation to Copenhagen.
The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid which sits on a rock in the Lanelinie Harbor is Copenhagen’s most famous attraction. This sculpture, which was installed in 1913, was designed by sculptor, Edvard Eriksen, who used the image of ballerina Ellen Price to model the mermaid’s head. It is estimated that the mermaid is visited by nearly a million people every year.
This palace, which is known for its Rocco design, was built as the winter retreat of the Danish royal family in 1784. The palace is actually made up of four individual mansions, which each face a cobblestone courtyard. The mansions have identical facades but distinct interiors. The palace offers 12 rooms for public viewings and tours.
The Dutch Renaissance style Rosenborg Castle, which is surrounded by stately gardens was designed by King Christian IV and was his residence until he passed on in 1648. Today the castle is a museum, which chronicles the history of Denmark’s royal family and hosts the Crown Jewels and other royal artifacts that are housed in its cellars and can be viewed by the public.
Copenhagen is renowned as a city that has a rich heritage of art and design. It accordingly hosts numerous museums and galleries, which offer countless exhibits that illustrate this rich heritage. Some of the best museums in Copenhagen include the Museum of Decorative Arts (this museum chronicles the history of Danish design), the Louisiana Museum of Modern art, the National Gallery (whose permanent collection offers 8000 artworks that hail from all corners of the globe and depict every period and style) and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (which offers displays of antiques, French impressionist art and contemporary Danish art).
Best time to visit Copenhagen
Copenhagen experiences four distinct seasons and its weather pattern is affected by the Atlantic low pressure systems which introduce a touch of unpredictability to the city’s weather. Summers in Copenhagen are characterized by temperatures that average approximately 68F (20C) while in the winter months the city generally experiences temperatures that hover just above or below zero.
A summer vacation to Copenhagen is recommended for those tourists who want to enjoy the many delights of the Tivoli Gardens, the city’s famed amusement park; though a vacation to Copenhagen can also be magical in the winter months, when the snow covered city hosts its fantastic Christmas market at the Tivoli Gardens.
Getting around in Copenhagen
The city of Copenhagen is served by its Copenhagen International Airport (Kastrup), which is situated five miles south east of the Copenhagen city center. The Copenhagen airport is served by a wide range of legacy and low cost carriers, which make getting to Copenhagen relatively easy. In fact we at Fare Buzz often announce tempting flight deals for Copenhagen. If you are looking for cheap air tickets for a Copenhagen vacation, you would do well as to check back with Fare Buzz often to snag cheap air flights for your holiday.
The Copenhagen International airport is linked via an Air-rail train link to the Central Railway Station that is located in the heart of Copenhagen. The airport is also served by buses and taxis, which provide convenient connections to the city center. Copenhagen is in fact served by an excellent and inexpensive public transport system that is made up of the metro, buses, communal bikes and cycle taxis.
Most of the city’s main tourist attractions are situated with one square of the city center and these are easily navigable on foot. Visitors to Copenhagen don’t usually rent a car when they are on vacation in the city. Moreover the city center is quite congested and parking in the city is complicated and expensive.
Where to shop in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is renowned as a center for design and style. As a result, the city is littered with many chic stores that offer numerous opportunities to max out your credit card. Copenhagen’s main shopping area is focused on Europe's longest pedestrian shopping street, Strøget, and the streets that surround it. Strøget aims to cater to all budgets with its many diverse stores.
Strøget runs through the heart of Copenhagen, extending from Kongens Nytorv to Rådhuspladsen. Located along Strøget, are Copenhagen’s famous department stores like Det Ny Illum and Magasin du Nord, a huge outpost of the popular budget fashion brand H&M, and various stores belonging to luxury retailers like Mulberry, Marlboro, Lanvin and Hermès. Located nearby at Amagertorv, are several upscale stores offering collectibles like silver and porcelain wares. Amagertorv, leads on the city’s second largest pedestrianized shopping street, Købmagergade, which is home to several mid-market stores as well as smaller, independent boutiques.
Other popular locales for shopping in Copenhagen include areas like the city’s Grønnegade quarter, home to several stylish lifestyle and furniture stores. Also worth perusing is Kronprinsensgade, a street known for its many fashion-forward boutiques. The Latin quarter of the city is the spot to head to if you want to look for bargains in the Danish capital.
The area around the Amalienborg Palaca is known as the Royal District and accordingly plays host to various upmarket antique stores, art galleries, high end furniture and ceramic stores. As for mall shopping, Copenhagen plays host to two large malls, both of which are situated minutes away from the city center. These Copenhagen malls include Fisketorvet, located beside the harbor and the Frederiksberg Centret Shopping Mall on the outer rings of the city. Both these malls offer a plethora of shopping, dining and entertainment options.
Flea markets are hugely popular in the Danish capital. In Copenhagen, the flea market season usually commences in late May and extends through early October. The city’s most popular flea markets include the canalside Gammel Strand, Frederiksberg and Israels Plads.
Shops in Copenhagen stay open for business from 10 am to 7pm, during the work week. The city offers shorter retail hours on Saturday from 9am to 3pm. On Sundays, most stores are shut excepting for bakeries, florists and souvenir stores.
Where to eat in Copenhagen
Ever since the city’s Nordic cuisine restaurant, Noma was bestowed the title of the ‘best restaurant in the world’ in 2010, the Danish capital has come to be regarded as a food mecca. Home to some of the world’s best chefs and Northern Europe’s biggest cooking festival, Copenhagen Cooking, Copenhagen, today hosts a slew of Michelin starred restaurants. The list of these starred eateries includes Noma (two stars), Geranium (two stars), Grønbech & Churchill, Relæ, Den Røde Cottage, AOC, Kokkeriet, Era Ora, Formel B, Kiin Kiin, Kong Hans Kælder, Søllerød Kro and Kadeau.
However it’s not all about high end dining in Copenhagen, for the city also offers more affordable dining at eateries like Harry’s Place and Døp (both for hot dogs) , Fiskebaren (seafood), Aamanns (open sandwiches) Rex Republic (Danish Steaks), and Mêlée (French food).
Nightlife in Copenhagen
Fancy a night on the town? That’s what you do in Copenhagen, where beer bars and breweries, cocktail lounges, sport bars, pubs and nightclubs line the city streets. Popular nightlife haunts in the city currently include hotspots like Bakken and KB3 (both clubs located in Copenhagen’s Meatpacking district), Hive, Jolene and the Jane (nightclub and bar), the Karriere (bar in the Meatpacking district) Rust and Culture Box (both live music venues).