One of our writers said Copenhagen is like sunshine on roses - beautiful and sophisticated, it makes your heart melt like butter on a hot pavement.
It really is hard not to fall in love with Copenhagen. From the colourful waterfront houses of Nyhavn, hipster-cool Nørrebro, quirky (and weed-crazy) Christiana, to streets teeming with two-wheeled commuters going about their lives effortlessly, Copenhagen can capture your heart without you even realising it.
For beer lovers
Copenhagen is home to Carlsberg, makers of ‘probably the best lager in the world’, according to their long-running marketing campaign. Whether you agree or not, it’s important to pay tribute, because in 1883 Carlsberg introduced the species of yeast still used to make pale lager and founder J.C. Jacobsen freely shared them with other breweries. Imagine an alternate universe where the yeasts weren’t shared – many of your favourite beers wouldn’t be around for you to enjoy today.
Along with lager, the city is also home to a burgeoning craft beer scene. Mikkeller and Friends, which partners with breweries in Holland, Scotland, Norway, and San Francisco, offers about 40 craft beer options, including the increasingly popular sour beers. There’s also Brewpub, whose Cole (porter) has rich tones of roasted coffee and chocolate, best paired with a juicy and unapologetically messy burger. Then that’s Nørrebro Bryghus, a haven for handcrafted organic beer. Its full-body ‘Dawg Quadruple’ (alc. 12% vol) is the star.
For Food lovers
Copenhagen is the best place to enjoy Danish pastries, known locally as wienerbrod. Sankt Peders, the oldest bakery in the city, serves light and flaky pastries and cinnamon rolls so delicious that after enjoying every bite, you just want to curl up on a sofa and purr with contentment.
Another excellent place for pastries is Lagkagehuset, which has many branches throughout the city. The must try here is Christianshavner tærte, aka Danish hazelnut cake with strawberry cream.
Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, Conditori La Glace, the oldest confectionary in Denmark, will tempt you to have a bite of one of its artistically styled cakes and pastries. This place is very popular, but be patient, because it’s really worth it.
You can’t leave Copenhagen without trying Smørrebrød (a Danish open sandwich). Two excellent places to try are Brdr. Price and Aamanns Deli. For more dining options, check out the Restaurants in Copenhagen guide.
Things to see in Copenhagen
Our Things to See in Copenhagen guide is packed with useful tips for first-timers as well as seasoned travellers. The first place most visitors flock to is Nyhavn, a strip of vibrantly coloured 17th and 18th-century townhouses which now host bars, cafes and restaurants. Here you’ll find the former home of Hans Christian Anderson, the Danish author famous for penning fairy tales like The Little Mermaid.
For something off-beat, we recommend Rundetårn, or “The Round Tower,” which is the oldest observatory in Europe. Climb to the top of the tower for good views over the city.
Packed with quirky home-grown labels and all the international names, Copenhagen is a shopaholic’s dream. Most of the big brands and department stores are clustered along Strøget – the longest (and one of the prettiest) shopping streets in Europe. Elsewhere, Nørrebro is a good place to look for up-and-coming names, while Værnedamsvej, tucked away between Vesterbro and Frederiksberg, is crammed with interesting lifestyle boutiques. For more shopping tips, turn to our Shopping in Copenhagen guide.
The city at night
Nightlife in Copenhagen starts late, usually after 10pm, and the areas of Nyhavn, Botlens Gaard and Vesterbro all offer good options. See our Copenhagen Nightlife guide for recommendations.
As you’d expect from a city famous for its passion for design, Copenhagen’s hotels are a stylish bunch. Many, however, come with a steep price tag. For budget travellers, Danhostel, listed in our Copenhagen Hotels guide, is a safe bet.