Denmark is often considered one of the happiest countries on the planet, while its lively capital, one of the world’s most liveable cities. Copenhagen is cool and cosmopolitan and I got to see what all the fuss is about first hand on my visit in November. There is no shortage of things to see and do and I’ve put together my top 7 below!
Eat around Copenhagen’s Food Markets
Copenhagen’s food scene is as eclectic and diverse as the city itself. Home to 16 Michelin-starred restaurants, including world-renowned Noma and Geranium, the city’s first three-starred restaurant, there is no shortage of quality offerings here.
If food markets are more your thing, Copenhagen has got you covered. Visit the mouth-watering collection of stands and shops at Torvehallerne on Frederiksborggade or eat your way around Papirøen island, home to the Copenhagen Street Food market (thanks to Becky from http://gotthepostcard.com/ for the tip!). In summer months, check out the Meatpacking District Food and Market (Kødbyens Mad & Marked) or try and pin down Rebel Food’s trucks around the city.
Check out my earlier post: Torvehallerne: Eating Around Copenhagen’s Best Food Market
Visit alternative Christiania
If you are drawn to anything “alternative”, then you can’t leave Copenhagen without visiting one of its edgiest areas.
Freetown Christiania started life in 1971 as a self-governing “social experiment” on the site of former military barracks in the borough of Christianshavn. Despite years of clashes with the government and the police, Christiania remains partly self-governed.
The area is open to visitors and there is plenty to see beyond the infamous Pusher Street and its hash dealers. Colourful murals, independent cafes and quirky shops await those who decide to explore this small corner of the city. Bear in mind that photographs around Pusher Street are not allowed.
Get your thrills at Tivoli Gardens
The 173 year old Tivoli Gardens is one the world’s oldest and most famous amusement parks. Located in the heart of Copenhagen, across the road from Central Station, Tivoli features rollercoasters, amusement rides, theaters and even an aquarium. There are frequent live music performances and fireworks in the summer as well as special events for Halloween.
The park gets a magical winter makeover every November for the famous Tivoli Christmas Market, with thousands of lights, pop-up stalls selling crafts and decorations and all the candy and mulled wine you can manage. The park reopens for 2016 on 6th April.
Visit world class museums
Copenhagen has a number of world-famous museums and due to its relatively small size, it’s pretty easy to get around a few of them over a weekend. National Museum of Denmark has an impressive Prehistory Collection and Viking exhibits while the nearby Glyptotek houses a mix of ancient and modern art. Christiansborg Palace, the home of Danish Parliament is on the nearby island of Slotsholmen.
The Design Museum is well worth checking out on your walk to The Little Mermaid statue and the 17th century Rosenborg Castle is an impressive former royal residence which currently houses the Danish Crown Jewels. Art fans should get up early and head to renowned Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, around 40 km north of the city.
I recommend purchasing a Copenhagen Card, which includes entry to over 70 museums, free public transport and a range of discounts.
Tour Carlsberg brewery
Learn about the history of one of the world’s largest beer companies in the world, with a tour around where it all started – the Carlsberg brewery in Vestebro set up by JC Jacobsen in 1847. Wander the old brewhouse, check out the largest beer bottle collection in the world and say hello to the Jutland horses in the brewery’s stables.
No visit would be complete without sampling the beer itself and it doesn’t disappoint, with various options on offer and even a chance to take some bottles home with you. I recommend the extended guided tour of the brewery, which is very informative. On your way out, take a detour and walk a few minutes to the iconic Elephant Gate, which marked the entrance to the New Carlsberg Brewery, built in 1901.
The colourful houses lining the canal in the 17th century port district of Nyhavn are a symbol of Copenhagen, even counting Hans Christian Andersen as one of its former residents. Today the area is full of restaurants and bars, tourists and locals alike enjoying a beer on a warm summer’s day or a mulled wine in the colder months.
Stroll down the pedestrian street alongside wooden sailing boats, listen to live music in one of the jazz bars or take a canal boat tour to learn more about the history of the area. The Royal Danish Playhouse, home to the Royal Danish Theatre is around the corner on the harbour front.
See Copenhagen on two wheels
Copenhagen has been regularly voted as one of the best cycling cities in the world, with its network of dedicated cycle lanes, an efficient bike rental scheme and availability of cycling trips in and around the capital. Cycling is very much a part of the culture here.
As many as a third of Copenhageners use a bike for commuting to work and the city is one of the safest for cycling. Grab a map from your accommodation and start exploring! Cycling Copenhagen offer group tours in summer months.