El canal Nyhavn
photo by JC i Núria

Copenhagen (Danish: København; ) is the capital of Denmark and what a million Danes call home. This "Friendly old girl of a town" is big enough to be a metropolis with shopping, culture and nightlife par excellence, yet still small enough to be intimate, safe and easy to navigate. Overlooking the the Øresund strait, with Sweden just minutes away, it is a link between mainland Europe and Scandinavia, culturally and geographical, where old fairy tales blends with swanking new architecture and world class design. Where warm Jazz mixes with cold electronica from Copenhagen's basements and a place where you feel you've seen it all in day, but you can keep on discovering for months.


If you had dropped by Copenhagen the 11th century you would have found a small viking fishing hamlet, surrounded by a meadows with grazing cattle, and a host of small islets protecting the small fishing harbour from harsh weather. Though the earlist written accounts of the city only dates back the 12th century, when historian Saxo Gramaticus refers to it as Portus Mercatorum, which translated into Danish is Købmannahavn (today the Danish version of the city name is København) - meaning merchant harbor.

Around 1160 AD, King Valdemar handed over control of the city the archbishop of Roskilde, as the country's only city not under the kings control. The Bishop erected a castle on what is today Slotsholmen, the remains is still visible in the catacombs under the present day parliament, a church was also built, and Copenhagen quickly gained importance as a natural stop between what was then the two most important Danish cities, the old royal capital Roskilde and Lund in present day Sweden, and endowed by its location on the banks of the important Øresund strait, slowly but steadily surpassed them in the following years, greatly aided by entrepreneous trading with friend and foe alike, and prosperous fishing which provided much of Roman Catholic Europe with salted herring for Lent. With prosperity comes envy, and in the years to follow Copenhagen was laid waste and pillaged time and time again, mainly by the German Hanseatic league, which at one point completely destroyed the city.

But Copenhagen steadfastly kept rising from the ashes, and in 1443 during Denmark's reformation to Lutheranism, Roskilde lost its importance as a Bishopric under the holy Roman church, and the king after taking control of the city 20 years earlier, moved his residence to Copenhagen, hence making the city the new capital of the kingdom. Not wanting their new capital laid waste once more, successive kings build massive fortifications around the city - none more so than King Christian the 4th, who apart from building the ramparts that are still visible throughout much of the city to this day, also embarked on a building rampage, which includes much of the city's present day landmarks like the round tower. Since Copenhagen was besieged by the Swedes, and famously bombarded, set ablaze, and nearly destroyed - by the British vice admiral Lord Nelson, who in one of two battles for Copenhagen, famously responded to the admirals order to withdraw by saying "You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes" and then raised the telescope to his blind eye and toted "I really do not see the signal".


Copenhagen, as the rest of Denmark, has four distinct seasons. The best time to visit is definitely from early May to late August, where the weather is generally warm. The current weather forecast can be checked at the Danish Meteorological Institute website

Spring, while a bit risky, as no one knows quite when it sets in, can be the best time to visit the city. On the first warm day, usually in early May, the Copenhageners come out of their hibernation, and flock to the city streets, parks, outdoor cafes — in a veritable explosion of life, relieved that the country's dreary and dark winters are finally over. For many locals this is the height of the year.

Summers in Copenhagen are usually warm with an average temperature of some twenty degrees, and the days are long — reaching the peak on 21 June, when the day is almost eighteen hours long. If the weather becomes too hot, you can jump in one of the free pools in the cool harbor waters downtown — Copenhagen's harbor is often considered the world's cleanest urban waterfront. Most of Copenhagen's annual events are held during June and July, and when the sun is out there is always life in the streets.

Autumn and winter have a profound effect on the city. The vibrant summer life withers and the streets go quiet, as most Copenhageners go directly home from work. This is where the Danish concept of hygge sets in, roughly translating into coziness. It is the locals' way of dealing with the short dark days. Friends and families visit each other for home cooking and conversations by candlelight with quiet music on the stereo. In week 42 the Danes have an autumn holiday, with many events taking place, such as the night of culture. The height of winter is December, where Christmas brings some relief to the short days, with lights and decorations everywhere, in the streets, shops and in peoples' windows. Tivoli opens its doors for the Christmas markets, and most Danes go on a drinking rampage, with the very Danish and traditional Christmas lunches, with work and family.


Complete listings can be found in the appropriate districts

Entrance to most museums are free once a week, mainly on Wednesdays. While you can always count on the main attractions to be well versed in the English and German languages, and geared towards tourists, a good tip to see if the many, smaller museums, listed throughout this guide caters to non Danish speakers, is to see if the website has an English section - if it does, this usually means the museum has at least some English information throughout its exhibitions - of course if you have some interest in a particular subject, such museums can be interesting even if you don't understand the sign postings - and as Danes are usually fairly fluent in English - you can always try to ask staff if they could give you a brief tour.


If you are into the arts Copenhagen has a lot to offer, the natural starting point of which, is a visit to the Danish National Gallery (Statens Museum for Kunst), where you can feast the eye on blockbusters like Rembrandt, Picasso and Matisse. There are a number of paintings by Danish artists from the 'Golden Age'. Continuing in the classical arts a visit to Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, the spectacular building houses paintings from masters like Picasso, Leger and Matisse and a large collection of classical statues and sculptures, and the winter garden is a beautiful place to rest your legs on a rainy day. Both of these museums are conveniently located in the Downtown area. If you are hungry for even more classic art exhibitions an excursion north of Copenhagen to the beautiful Ordrupgaard, which offers you a chance to enjoy Monet, Renoir, Degas & Gauguin. There are several other options for classical paintings if you have not yet tired, but if you are ready for a change, head south to the Arken Museum of Modern Art for a world class exhibition of mainly Scandinavian contemporary modern art, as well as hugely popular temporary exhibitions. If you want to enjoy some local colorite on an art tour, The Hirspung collection on Østerbro features the top of the pops of Danish artists, with a special focus on the Skagen painters, and for something quintessentially Danish, breeze through the wonderfully quirky sketches of the much loved local personality, Storm P, at the aptly named Storm P museum on Frederiksberg.

Science & Natural history

If you want your vacation to be educational, or if you want to sneak some knowledge into the kids heads during the vacation, there are several options to consider. The best choice for kids is perhaps the hugely entertaining, and well renowned hands-on science museum, the Experimentarium North of Copenhagen. Another popular and well renowned institution, is the Copenhagen Zoo on Frederiksberg, counting both among of the best, and oldest, Zoo's in Europe. If you are more into stationary animals, the Zoology museum on Østerbro offers a different perspective on the subject, elsewhere on Østerbro, a little known attraction is a display of famous physicist Niels Bohr's study room, along with a setup of his experiments (but as this is not a museum, you should have more than passing interest in the subject to bother them). In Downtown, the University of Copenhagen runs two adjacent science museums, namely the Geological museum where the Dinosaur fossils, moon rock and glow in the dark minerals should sparkle some interest in the subject for even the most school wary kid, while the Botanical gardens on the opposite side of the street, is an excellent place for a stroll in the beautiful park, even if you are not botanically inclined, and the classical palm house is a nice place to relax if it is cold outside. If it is poor weather, Tycho Brahe Planetarium on Vesterbro is another option, part planetarium with an interesting astrology exhibition, part omnimax theatre, where they are usually screening science films.


An excellent start of any visit to Copenhagen, is to climb the unique 7.5-turn helical corridor leading to the observation platform of Rundetårn (the Round tower), one of Copenhagen's most iconic buildings, for an excellent view over the city, as any good starting point, it is smack in the middle of the city. If that is not high enough to get your bearings, head to Christianshavn for a climb up the circular stairs on the outside of the church spire of the Church of our saviour, It has always been regarded as somewhat of a manhood test to climb up and touch the globe on the summit, nearly a 100 meters up in the air. And now that you're in the area, head over the opposite side of the street, to Christiania, a self governing community that has been squatting an old naval area since the seventies, and their inventive, brightly coloured, homebuilt houses are spectacular, as is the relaxed atmosphere, it is truly one of Copenhagen's most unique and best attractions. Due south of Christiania, the districts old, crooked and brightly coloured buildings and soothing canals lined with masted ships, makes it an excellent place to continue a stroll. Other fine examples of classical architecture includes the impressive City hall and the massive dome of the Marmokirken colloquially known as the Marble Church, whose dome with a span of 31 meters, is one of the largest in Northern Europe. Both are in the downtown area.

However for real architecture buffs, the city's main claim to fame is the modernist architecture and its native masters. Jørn Utzon (of Sydney Opera house fame) and son is behind a trio of buildings on Østerbro's northern harbour, known as the Paustian complex, there is a fine - but expensive - restaurant in one of the buildings. You can enjoy Arne Jacobsen's work by either sleeping, or sucking in the atmosphere (and great views) of the top floor lounge bar, in the Royal Hotel, one or the the Inner city's very few tall buildings, or head north to Bellavista, a residential complex and theatre near the beach, where there is even a restaurant featuring both his famous furniture and his name. Lastly Henning Larsen, famous for his iconic buildings in Riyadh, is behind Copenhagen's new Opera house, overlooking the habour on Christianshavn, from where you can also catch a view of Copenhagen's latest iconic contraption, The Royal library known to locals as the black diamond, from its shiny polished black granite walls.


Visit the Nationalmuseet in downtown for many exhibits relating to Danish history, Viking weapons, Inuit costumes and stone age tools. If you want something more local the Museum of Copenhagen on Vesterbro have exhibitions on the city's development since the middle ages. Another option is Frilandsmuseet in the northern suburbs, a huge and attractive open air museum with old buildings collected from all over the country, or visit the old town of the tiny fishing hamlet of Dragør on the southern tip of Amager, with its fantastic old yellow buildings and cobblestoned streets, for a live version of old Denmark. And for something different paddle up the small Mølleå river in the northern suburbs through the old charming 18th and 19th century mills

Royal Copenhagen

The four identical classicist palaces of Amalienborg, is the main residence of the royal family, the octagonal courtyard in the centre is open to the public, and guarded by the ceremonial Royal Guard. The relief takes place every day at 12 o'clock noon, and is a highlight for any royalist, there is also a small royal museum on the premises. Rosenborg Palace is a small, but pretty, renaissance palace, surrounding by the lovely King's Garden, which is one of the most lively parks of the city. The palace both serves as a museum of Royal history, and as a home for the crown jewels, which is on display in the catacombs beneath the castle. Unusual for a well founded democracy, the palace that houses the parliament, Christiansborg, is also a royal palace. It is usually possible to visit the Royal reception rooms, stables and the old court theatre here. And for entertainment of royal stature, you can try and arrange tickets to watch a play in the beautiful Royal Theatre facing the Kings New Square. All of these sights are in the inner city. If you are hungry for more, head north, where the park around Sorgenfri palace is open to the public, or have a picnic on the huge open plains in front of the Eremitage Palace in the Dyrehaven park, which used to serve as the kings hunting castle.


Denmark is world famous for its design tradition, and while the term Danish design has been victim of inflation over the years, it is still a world recognized brand. The natural starting point is a visit to the Danish Design Center in downtown, with temporary and permanent exhibitions, showrooms and workshops relating to the world of Danish design, in a building designed by famous architect Henning Larsen. Not too far away, Kunstindustrimuseet is home of a nice collection relating to the study of design and its history in Denmark, Also in the district Royal Copenhagen runs a museum display of its famous porcelein from the early beginnings at its flagship store. Meanwhile Cisterne on Frederiksberg is an enticing museum showing modern glass art, in the intriguing catacomb like cisterns under a large park. Meldahls Smedie on Christianshavn is run by the Royal Danish school of architecture, which organizes changing exhibitions including final project's from students of the school here.

Things to do

Guided tours

The Association of Authorized Guides is the semi official entity, which offers an academic approach to ensure their guides are qualified, they offer "authorized" guides to take you through the city in 24 languages. History Tours gives special focus on history and the historical sights throughout the city. Visitors who enjoy doing things in their own pace, will appreciate the approach of Audiowalks who allow you to follow a pre-recoded tour using a mp3 player though themed pod casts. If you want to see a different side of Copenhagen, other than the usual monuments and museums, CPH:COOL offers you personal tours to see the best of the city's shopping, design and culture, that tourists don't usually get to see. Another option is to go on one of the guided Canal tours (see details in the Get around section), or for the ecologically aware, talk to one of the many bike taxis that is lined up in the inner city during the summer, the bikers are often very knowledgeable about the sights, and can give you a good alternative tour of the city, and you can negotiate the price for longer trips.

Beach life

In the inner habour, water quality has improved so much in recent years that it is possible to go for a swim, from early June to late August, in one of the two harbor baths; Copencabana on Vesterbro or Havnebadet at Island brygge on Amager. When it is sunny, during the summer, they are packed with people from all walks of life, enjoying the sunshine, and taking a dip. The municipal administration has put alot of money in effort in to the facilities, so they are quite good, and it is an excellent opportunity for blending with the locals, at their best. If you fancy a proper beach, the closest of these are located at Charlottenlund Fort in Charlottenlund, and the newly erected Amager Strandpark (The Lagoon), on Amager near the Lergravsparken metro station. If the weather is not going your way, you can opt for DGI Byen - a leisure centre and excellent swimming pool near the central railway station, or the Østerbro swimming pool, modelled after a Roman bath (on Østerbro)

Amusement parks

Amazingly the two oldest still functioning amusement parks, with the two oldest still running roller coasters, are both located in Copenhagen, and they are distinctively different. Bakken or Dyrehavsbakken are the oldest of the two, the setting in a beautiful beech forest near Klampenborg north of Copenhagen, gives it a special atmosphere - and it is a lot less touristy than its counterpart - Tivoli - which is located smack in the city center, in a beautiful park surrounding a lake.

Annual events

  • Copenhagen Fashion Week Held in February and August. Copenhagen is fast emerging as a global fashion centre, with a host of up-and-coming, and already well established names. Two weeks of the year over a 1.000 exhibitors and 50.000 guest come together and celebrate their accomplishments with lavish parties, catwalks at the city's landmarks and 3 trade fairs.

  • CPH:PIX (Copenhagen International Film Festival) Held in April. Is a brand new film festival, and the result of a merger between Copenhagen's two popular long running festivals - The Night film festival and the Copenhagen International Film Festival It will feature 170 screenings competing for the grand prize of 50.000 Euro.

  • International Workers day Held on May 1st, is a major event in Copenhagen. The main festivities are held in Fælledparken on Østerbro, and attracts over a 100.000 visitors, in what has these days have become a 50-50 mix of gigantic party, and a political rally - with speeches, happenings and concerts. Two travelling amusement parks also sets up their gear for the day, one by the main entrance at Trianglen, and one in the eastern part of the park.

  • CPH Distortion Held in the first week of June, is longest and wildest party you have ever been to. Over 60 parties in in 5 days in each of the city's districts, outdoors on the city's streets and squares, in the clubs, and 3 seriously huge parties. Over 32.000 people usually partying away between Wednesday and Sunday.

  • Zulu Sommerbio Held in July and August, Danish television station 'TV2 Zulu' plays open air movies in various parks and squares of Copenhagen. There are movies in both Danish and English and they are free to watch. You can buy beer and popcorn.

  • Copenhagen Jazzfestival Held in early July, 10 days of jazz everywhere in Copenhagen. In parks, cafes, clubs, theatres. Usually have a few headline acts on the program, but there are more than 800 concerts to choose from, and the real attraction is often the obscure concerts you bump into randomly in park or square somewhere in the city.

  • Grøn Koncert Held in late July. Is a one day music festival in Valby parken near Åparken station. It is a major event in Copenhagen, with over 40.000 spectators. There is usually a international headline act, along with several major Danish bands, and the atmosphere is quite unique with people having picnic and beers on the huge field of grass in the park. Tickets are sold through Billetnet, both online and at post offices.

  • Copenhagen Pride held in late July each year, Is a lavish LGBT parade. The week leading up to the parade, is usually full of community events and party's. Count on the City hall square (Rådhuspladen) changing its name to Pride Square during the week, and hosting live acts, concerts and debates.

  • Stella Polaris Held in late July is a big, free, chill out event in one of the city's parks. Top international DJ's spins chill-out tunes on the decks, while people are chilling in the sun and drinking beer. And the afterparty in one of the major clubs, usually attracts some international headline acts.

  • RAW Held in early August, is Scandinavia's largest clubbing event. The organisers rightly pride themselves in carefully selecting high quality acts and more importantly the broad range of genre's represented, to make this an event for everyone in the Copenhagen night life.

  • Strøm Held in August, is an annual electronic music festival, running on its 3rd year, as a gathering of the best promoters and vibrant venues Copenhagen has to offer mixed up with events at squares, concert halls or unusual locations throughout the city.

  • Night of Culture (Kulturnatten) Held in mid October, on the last Friday before the school holiday in week 42. You buy a badge for DKK 70 and get access to major museums, exhibitions, churches, libraries, schools, organizations, the parliament, etc. also some places that are not open to the public the rest of the year. Open from 6PM to midnight. Attracts about 100.000 people.

  • Copenhagen Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Held in Week 43 (usually October). 10 days of gay and queer cinema at its very best with more than 130 screenings of the worlds best feature films, short films and documentaries with gay or queer relevance, culminating in a champagne party on the final day, where the best film of the year is awarded.


A large beer costs 40-50 DKK or so most places in central Copenhagen, but some places only charge DKK 20-30, especially on weekdays or early hours. Unless you come from elsewhere in Scandinavia don't frighten yourself by trying to work out what this costs in your home currency. At most places the beer on tap is either Carlsberg or Tuborg. In either case there will be a choice of the normal pilsner, and then a slightly redder Special or Classic. Some might also offer wheat or dark beer.

If you are on a budget you could follow the example of local teenagers and get primed with bottled beer from a supermarket or kiosk (3-7 DKK for a 330 mL bottle). It is legal and very popular to drink beer in public (not on public transport, although it will be accepted if you are not showing drunk behaviour), so buy a beer, sit on a park bench or Nyhavn and enjoy the Danish life.

As for where to drink, most tourists head straight for Nyhavn, but while indeed pretty, the high prices here makes it a bit of a tourist trap, in good weather imitate the locals on by buying beer from a kiosk and dangling your legs over the water, or head elsewhere to get your drink on. The many side streets north and south of the strøget pedestrian street is a good starting point. Other good areas are Vesterbro, west of the central station - along Vesterbrogade and Istedgade and in the meatpacking district. On Nørrebro the cluster of bars and clubs around Sankt Hans Torv and Blågårds Plads, just after the lakes is another hotspot. For a coastal city Copenhagen has surprisingly few places where you can enjoy a water view with your beer or coffee.

  • Cafés are equally ready to serve coffees or beer and wine, but they usually close around midnight and music is subdued to allow for conversations.

  • Bodegas are your average local watering holes, somewhat equivalent to a pub, with prices often much lower than bars and cafés. the clientèle is often a bit shady and you may have people staring at unfamiliar customers - but behave nicely and they usually warm up to you - try to have someone teach you the local Træmand, Majer or Snyd dice games for a fun night.

  • Pubs are just that, pubs, the familiar English, Irish and Scottish themed exports, that often does not have much in common with the pubs of those countries than export beer and interiors.

  • Bars is what locals tend to call everything with loud music that doesn't charge a cover fee, packed on Weekends, more quite the rest of the rest of the week.

  • Clubs or discotheques as they are often still referred as here, are bars who charge a cover charge, fortunately the only places that can generally get away with that, are the ones with a dance floor. Often only open Thursday-Saturday.

  • Morgenværtshus, If you can get away with pronouncing this when you'll need it, you will be asking directions to shady establishment, full of people hell bent on not ending the just night yet, resulting in a quite peculiar atmosphere - they usually open around 5AM and "classics" includes the 24 hour Hong Kong in Nyhavn, Det Rene Glas on Nørrebro, Café Guldregn on Vesterbro, and Andy's in downtown.


You can check for club listings in the various districts

The clubscene is vibrant in Copenhagen, but most clubs are only open Thursday to Saturday. Note that most locals have a party at home with friends, or frequent their favourite bars, before they head out for the clubs, so they rarely get going until after midnight and doesn't close before around 5AM. Most clubs have a 40-80 DKK cover charge and the ones that don't are rubbish more often than not, also expect an additional 10-20 DKK for cloakrooms, . Most clubs maintain a minimum age of 20 or 21, although they are not required to do this by law. Expect a draft beer, or basic drinks, to set you back 40-50 DKK - a bit more expensive than what bars usually charge.

Visitors who wants to indulge between Sunday and Wednesday will probably have to hunt around to find a place with some action going on, but there are some options:

  • Sunday - Rub'a'dub Sundays is a popular dancehall/reggae club which at the moment is hosted on Loppen on Christiania.

  • Tuesday - Elektronisk Tirsdag (Electronic Tuesday) plays nice electronic tunes on Gefährlich on Nørrebro

  • Wednesday - You could either go for Midweek Brakes at Kødboderne 18 on Vesterbro or the popular International Night for resident exchange students on Stundenterhuset in downtown.

  • Thursday is tricky, there is no set place to go, but most clubs and bars will be open, and often offering discounts on beers and cocktails and free entrance.

Gay & lesbian

For its size, Copenhagen has a rather large gay scene with a good handful of bars and dance clubs located in the center of the city within walking distance from each other.

  • Be Proud, Open Friday and Saturday from 11PM, Jernbanegade 9, The city's biggest dance venue for the younger gay/lesbian crowd.

  • Rocco , Axeltorv 12E, Big monthly electronic dance party that takes place on the first Saturday of the month and on special occasions. Usually attracts a more mature crowd.

  • Cosy Bar, Open every day of the week and is extremely busy in the weekends. The fun usually never starts until 4-5AM when other places are closed., Studiestræde 24, A small late night bar/club with a very mixed clientele.

  • VELA, Open Wednesday - Saturday from 9PM., Viktoriagade 2-4, Copenhagen's only bar and lounge that is targeted at lesbians.

Live Venues

Mosts of the music venues in Copenhagen also doubles as nightclubs - so watch for them under the club sections in the different districts. Tickets for almost every even in Denmark and Copenhagen are sold through Billetnet which both has online sales, and a counter available in all post offices. But apart from headline acts, tickets are usually also sold at the entrance. Expect to pay from 100 DKK and upwards.

The Major music venues in Copenhagen are Parken stadium on Østerbro for the biggest stars. In Downtown, Copenhagen Jazzhouse obviously hosts Jazz concerts and The Rock is the spiritual home of the local rock and heavy metal scene. Vega on Vesterbro is one of the major venues, with concerts of almost every genre, by major national and international acts. Nørrebro has two venues; Rust's stage is mainly host for mainstream rhythmic music, and Global is its name would imply, provides a stage for world music. Southwards on Christianshavn, it is no surprise that the Operahouse plays Opera, and not to be missed, the different venues of Christiania is a powerhouse of Denmark's alternative and underground culture.


Copenhagen offers all kinds of accommodation but like the rest of Denmark, prices are high. Most hotels are located in Indre By (e.g. the Radisson-SAS which was designed by Arne Jacobsen). Special rates are sometimes available on the internet or from travel agencies, so look around.


If you are looking for something unique, Copenhagen has a few surprisingly little known options - fancy sleeping in an old fort? look no further than Flakfortet on its very own island out in the sound. Stylish rooms, classic and rather tastefully integrated in the environs of the old fort, but staying here excludes spending your evenings in the city, as the last ferry leaves late afternoon - you can also opt for the Dragør fort on Amager, though they haven't pulled it off quite so nicely. In the same area, consider the old and historic beach front Dragør Badehotel which gives you good views, a historic building, a great view over Øresund and a nearby by beach, but also a great deal of transportation to the city centre (albeit it is close to the airport). In the same genre - and with the same drawbacks - is Skovshoved Hotel in the Northern suburbs - historic beach hotel, with nice views and a fantastic restaurant. Opening in 2009, you can get even closer to the water on the floating houseboat hotel. If you're a rad hipster, and would rather sample some of the design, for which the city is rightly famous, consider Hotel Fox where young Danish and International artists have individually decorated and furnished the rooms, or the other just generally hip options of Hotel Twentyseven and Skt Petri Hotel, which are all naturally located near the arty fartsy cocktail lounges of the downtown area. Or you could always max out your credit card and splurge at timeless 5 star classics of D'Anglerre or Hotel Nyhavn.

On a budget

Copenhagen is an expensive city, but it is possible for budget travellers to find reasonably priced accommodation. For the ultra low budget there are two free, but completely basic, camping grounds along the Mølleå river where you can camp for one or two nights, while camping elsewhere is no big sin, it is not legal either - there are plenty of commercial camping grounds available, but if you are not used to Scandinavian price ranges, even those could seem expensive (50-200 DKK). The closest camping sites are at Charlottenlund Fort in Charlottenlund, and there is also a summer only camping ground in outer part of Nørrebro, within the city proper. If you prefer modern comforts consider one of the Hospitality exchange networks, couchsurfing.com for instance, has more than a 1000 available hosts in the city, and gives you the added bonus of having a local pointing you to the great spots.

There are a few Hostels available, the cheapest are two summer only (July-August) hostels on Vesterbro YMCA Interpoint and Sleep in fact where you can overnight in basic dormitory bunk beds from as little as 100 DKK, on Nørrebro the two Sleep in hostels are slightly more expensive, but still a bargain compared to the general price range. The national hostel system - Danhostel which is part of Hostelling International run 4 hostels within reasonable distance of the the centre, but they are not exactly party locations if that is what you are looking for.

For Hotels consider the Cab Inn chain, they have 3 hotels in Copenhagen. One is just a short walk away from Tivoli and Kobenhavn H and the other two are at Frederiksberg. Rooms go from €71 (single) to €103 (triples). The rooms are quite small but a TV and private shower and toilet are included.

Gay & Lesbian

There are several hotels in the city that caters specifically to the GLBT community. (expand)

  • Carsten's Guest House , 453-314-9107, Christians Brygge 28, 5th floor

  • Copenhagen Rainbow , 453-314-1020


Mainstream shopping

Check out Strøget , a pedestrian mall linking the streets of Østergade, Nygade, Vimmelskaftet, and Frederiksberggade that runs through the center of the city from Rådhuspladsen to Kgs Nytorv and Nørreport. You won't find any Copenhageners here who aren't working in the shops or just passing through, and the place is very touristy - but also loaded with excellent up-scale Scandinavian fashion shops and design stores (e.g. Georg Jensen, Illum and Royal Copenhagen)

Visit Fields , the biggest shopping centre in Scandinavia. Take the train to the Airport (Kastrup/Airport) or Malmö and get off at Ørestad Station or go by the Metro to Vestamager and get off at Ørestad station (though it should be noted that most, if not all, of the shops at Fields can be found on Strøget as well).

Good bets for quality one-stop shopping in the inner city: department stores Illum (on Amagertorv on Strøget, at the end of the shopping street Købmagergade which runs south from Nørreport st.) and Magasin du Nord (on Kongens Nytorv at the end of Strøget; you can enter direct from the Metro station).


For less mainstream shopping, or rather some of the best shopping, try some of these areas;

The quarter of small narrow streets surrounding Strøget in the old city, colloquially known as Pisserenden and the The Latin Quarter, has fantastic eclectic mix of shopping from quirky century old businesses to the ultra hip, in a wide range of fields. It is also much less crowded than Strøget, though no less expensive.

Vesterbrogade and Istedgade on Vesterbro, due west of the central station, although you'll need to go a few blocks before hotels/sex shops/thai restaurants turn into more interesting territory. Right at the border of this area, Værnedamsvej and Tullinsgade are also good bets.

On Nørrebro, Ravnsborggade is well known for its huge number of antique stores that are excellent for bargain hunting, and the next street to north, while kind of modest has some awesome tiny independent Elmegade fashion boutiques.

For out-of-hours shopping (apart from the ubiquitous 7-11 and small kiosks), the shops at Central station (offering books and CDs, camping gear, photographic equipment, cosmetics, gifts) are open until 8PM, 7 days a week. Large shopping centres and department stores are open on Sundays around once a month (usually the first Sunday, right after everyone gets paid) and more often at peak sale periods. The immigrant grocery stores on Nørrebrogade on Nørrebro also tend to be upon until very late in the evening.

While Denmark is not big on plus size clothing, you can try H&M (Fields and Strøget), Nannaxl in Fisketorvet, or Venus & Mars XL in Fields. Søstrene Nielsen is a upmarket store a few blocks off the upmarket end of Strøget.

Flea markets

The Nørrebro Flea Market is Denmark's longest and narrowest. It stretches for 333 metres on one half of the sidewalk by the wall of the Assistens Cemetry on Nørrebrogade. Here you may find a Royal Porcelain Christmas Plate, a Chesterfield chair or plain, down right rubbish. 4 April - 31 October 2009 every Saturday at 06:00 - 15:00.

The oldest flea market in Copenhagen is the one on Israels Plads, close to the Nørreport S-Train Station. Here private individuals as well as professional dealers put all kinds of old stuff, antique furniture, His Masters Voice grammophones, and objets d'art up for sale. In 2009 the flea market celebrates its 35 year anniversary. 18 April - 10 October 2009 every Saturday at 08:00 - 14:00.


Copenhagen used to be one of the safest cities in the world, and while the situation has deteriorated in recent years, it is still generally a safe city compared to other cities the same size. Like any metropolitan area, Copenhagen does experience its share of crimes, and recent times has seen an increase in very violent gang related crimes on Nørrebro. While crime against strangers is mostly of the non-violent type, such as pickpocketing and petty theft, one should take the necessary precautions, in particular around busy tourist attractions, in the train stations and inside the train to the airport. Due to the gang related conflict precaution is advised in the neighbourhood of Nørrebro and in the western suburbs, i.e. those municipalities located to the west of Copenhagen proper. However there is no evidence that gang members have targeted tourists.

While racism is nowhere as rampant as certain reports will have you believe, it can occasionally be a problem for people of African or Middle Eastern descent. However, the only place you are likely to encounter this as a tourist is in the city's nightlife. If you are unfortunate enough to experience racism, it is important not to get yourself involved in a heated argument, as people who have not seen the incident will usually be quick to support the offender, due a surge of problems with violence related to immigrant community gangs, who feel alienated by a closely knit Danish society. Instead walk away, and if you feel a need to react, report the incident to authorities, who are required to investigate such cases. Other ethnic groups on the other hand, are not likely to encounter any problems. Of course, prudence in behavior and politeness will in most cases avert any problems and present you as the offended part, not the offender. In fact, educated Danes in major cities will in many cases interfere and defend ethnic minorities experiencing discrimination.

Get out


  • Malmo, Sweden, Sweden's third largest city, with a lovely historic city centre and cosy squares is just a short and convenient train ride away.

  • Elsinore (Helsingør) The old city centre with well preserved houses is one of the biggest in Denmark, and famous Kronborg castle, home of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

  • Hillerød - A small town dominated by it's huge palace, but also offers baroque gardens and a laid back city centre.

  • Roskilde - Denmark's ancient capital and a World Heritage site, with a famous cathedral full of the tombs of ancient kings, and the fantastic Viking museum. Home to one of the Big Four European music festivals, Roskilde Festival, which attracts up to 110.000 visitors each year in July.

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