By Laura Lovette
Copenhagen, originally a small Viking fishing village created one thousand years ago, is the capital city of Denmark, a frequent winner of ‘the happiest country in the world’.
This is partly due to their world-renowned welfare model, including excellent health care and education, and partly due to Hygge. Pronounced hoo-gah (or maybe not, there is a lot of debate on this) Hygge has no direct translation in English, but it encompasses a feeling of cosiness and togetherness and is deeply ingrained into the Danish culture.
Why do I like Copenhagen so much?
I found Copenhagen to be a warm and friendly place, where you can’t help but feel happy. Whether you want to discover delicious food venues, find famous sights or need to get back to nature, Copenhagen has something for everyone. Combine all of that with an excellent transport system and laid-back atmosphere and it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with the city.
15 things to do in Copenhagen
There is plenty to see, lots to do and heaps to eat in Copenhagen. With so much going on, I booked four nights to try and soak up as much of the city in one trip as possible.
One of the most photographed spots in Copenhagen, you will have likely have already seen an image of Nyhavn. The colourful waterfront is now a popular tourist attraction. Canal tours regularly depart from here or you can choose to hang around and sit in one of the many restaurants lining the sides.
I’m not usually a big shopper on holidays, but as I visited during November the many shops on offer in the city centre, such as Tiger, Lego and an array of fashion shops, from high street to designer, provided a welcome relief from the cold.
3. Meatpacking District
The meatpacking district has become one of the city’s cool places to be. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from during the day and plenty of bars to hop around during the night, keeping the chic hipster happy from dawn till dusk.
4. Rosenborg Castle & Gardens
Rosenborg castle was originally built as a summer house in the 17th century by Christian VI, one of the most popular Danish Kings. The surrounding gardens are the oldest royal gardens in the country and provide the perfect place to walk around and relax in during the warmer summer months.
5. Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park in the centre of the city, was one of my favourite things to do in Copenhagen. As I visited during Autumn the park was fully decorated for Halloween, with pumpkins and giant spiders’ webs everywhere. There is enough of a variety of rides to keep both kids and adults entertained.
6. The Elephant Gate
The gate was built in 1901 by Carl Jacobsen as a water tower for the New Carlsberg Warehouse. I was surprised to stumble upon this giant gate with elephants adorned with swastika symbols, but I discovered that Carl Jacobsen originally trademarked the swastika as a logo in 1881 but stopped using it after it lost its meaning during the second world war.
Sondermarken was another favourite spot of mine. It is a perfect location for an autumnal walk, and I imagine it is full of people having picnics and throwing frisbees during summer. It is right next to Fredericksberg Palace & Gardens and contains the cisterns, the underground art exhibition venue.
8. Fredericksberg Palace & Gardens
You can take guided tours around the palace year-round or explore the gardens by yourself. The gardens around the palace are one of the largest greenspaces in the city, originally perfectly symmetrical until they got an English twist at the start of the 19th century.
9. The Cisterns
The Cisterns got transformed from a water supply system to a museum of modern glass art to a cool underground art exhibition venue. I really enjoyed visiting the Cisterns, partly because I am a big Harry Potter fan and it felt a bit like I was in the Chamber of Secrets.
10. Vestre Cemetry
Vestre cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in Scandinavia. It might seem like an odd choice of place to visit, but with its large grounds the cemetery is a popular choice for locals to go on walks. The grounds are beautiful, with spots such as the tree gallery regularly attracting photographers.
There are plenty of museums to choose from in Copenhagen, including the Museum of Copenhagen, the National Museum of Denmark, Thorvalsdens Museum and NY Carlsberg Glyptotek. I visited the National Museum of Denmark, located within Prince’s Palace, to learn a bit more about the history of the country. The museum covers the Stone Age, the Viking Age and modern Danish history, amongst other time periods.
12. Freetown Christiania
Christiania is an alternative neighbourhood with a colourful and dark history. Cannabis has previously been tolerated there, but I don’t think it is technically allowed now. The gangs, who you might not initially spot amongst the colourful stalls and walls, will stop anyone taking photos within the main area but despite their presence, there is a laid back and relaxed atmosphere, with a complete mix of people turning up to enjoy food and a drink.
13. The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid statue is one of the most famous sights to see in Copenhagen, although I must admit I actually missed it myself. It’s based on ‘The Little Mermaid’ fairy-tale story written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.
14. Christianborg Palace
A palace and government building located in the centre of the city, Christianborg Palace is used by the monarch and home to the Danish Prime Minister’s Office. I only walked around the outside of the palace, but you can buy tickets to explore the inside.
15. The Food
There are plenty of places to eat at in Copenhagen, from fresh bakeries to cosy restaurants. Some of my favourites included Mad & Kaffe’s, a tapas style brunch venue, Tommi’s Burger Joint, with a help yourself topping station, and Conditori La Glace, a justifiably pricey hot chocolate and cake café.
A couple of years ago I discovered the quickly trending term Hygge. The term came into the wider public knowledge through the book ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. The Danish way of life intrigued me, and I quickly made plans to visit Copenhagen in Autumn, the most Hygge season of them all.
I stayed in an Air BnB, which allowed me to experience first-hand a traditional Danish home, complete with a yoga corner and a window nook. A lot of the restaurants and cafes are built with Hygge in mind, featuring candles and simple furniture.
I have recently bought a house and I am currently in the process of redecorating the whole place. I have taken a lot of influence from the Danish hygge style: think lots of lamps, bags of blankets, copious amounts of cushions and candles and plenty of plants. I love how our travels stay with us in this way. I can’t wait to spend my first autumn in my fully decorated home, watching old movies and sharing food with friends.
Travel & Lifestyle Blogger
Laura is a travel and lifestyle blogger from Manchester.
Her passion for travel inspired her to quit her full-time day job in favour of freelance work, enabling her to travel the world while working.
She loves all forms of travel, from European city breaks to solo travelling around South East Asia. She is about to hit her goal of visiting 30 countries under 30 years old (27 and counting).
Laura originally started her blog a few years ago casually as an outlet for her creativity. She writes about her travels, places to eat, fun lists and lifestyle issues.
Laura loves colour, which you can see in her photos and clothes. She is the human Mother of two pet ferrets, loves animals, food, running, reading and Harry Potter.
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How To Get There
Flights to Copenhagen
With Copenhagen being the capital of Denmark, there are plenty of flights from different countries to choose from.
Budget airlines that fly into Copenhagen are Norweigan Air, Ryanair and Easyjet.
Transport from Airport to City Centre:
From the airport it takes 15 minutes to arrive into the city centre on the metro or train.
The cost is 38 DKK, which is approximately:
$5.73 (US dollars)
£4.40 (GBP pounds)
To get a train or metro into the city centre, you’ll need to go to Terminal 3.
There are also buses, and actually which mode of transport that you choose will very much depend on what part of the city you need to arrive to.
Train: Copenhagen Central Station
Metro: Nørreport, Kongens Nytorv
Money saving tip:
Copenhagen Card – this card entitles you to free transport but also free entry to a total of 87 museums and attractions.
Of course depending on the time you arrive and your plans for the first day and evening, it may not make sense to buy it that day. You can see the prices here for the Copenhagen Card.
Plan your trip a little bit in advance at least to take advantage of this very useful money saving Copenhagen Card.