top of page

top five guide: copenhagen, denmark

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Colorful Buildings along Nyhavn Canal Copenhagen Denmark

Copenhagen was my first taste of Scandinavia, and it certainly lived up to its globally pristine reputation. With ample bike traffic, beautiful design, enviable street style, and general utopian vibes, it is no wonder that Denmark is listed as one of the happiest places in the world. I must warn you: a visit to Copenhagen might have you pondering moving there, and I would probably be packing my things right now if only the weather was a bit warmer and the food a bit less…fishy. But I still could get over that because this place is too damn good.

here are my top five tips for a trip to COPENHAGEN:

Aperon Apartment Hotel Indre By Copenhagen Denmark

1: where to stay

When looking at a map, it might not be immediately obvious where you should base yourself on your first trip to Copenhagen. After research, we opted to stay in the Indre By neighborhood, a centrally located and bustling area with easy, walkable access to most major attractions. I would recommend this neighborhood to anyone, especially for a first visit. We particularly enjoyed staying in the Scandi-aesthetic, well-equipped digs at the Apēron Apartment Hotel. These are modern serviced apartments with minimal contact that are an ideal place for a medium- to longer-term stay.

Nyhavn Colorful Canal Houses Copenhagen Denmark

2: nyhavn

Similar to Amsterdam, Copenhagen is famous for its beautiful, historic, house-lined canals. The most well known canal that you will probably recognize from photos is Nyhavn. This 17th-century district is lined with colorful houses that make for an excellent photo spot. It is a can’t miss viewpoint and also an ideal spot to hop aboard a canal cruise to see more of the harbor.

Paludan Bog Cafe Copenhagen Denmark Library Bookshelves

3: eats & drinks

Unfortunately, traditional Danish food (think: herring) isn’t really my thing. The good news, however, is that you can find something to please all appetites here. For delicious Danish pastries on a pleasant street, visit Sct. Peders Bageri (try a cardamom bun). For indecisive foodies like me, head to Torvehallerne (try Coffee Collective and Grød), or the Reffen food stalls (open seasonally). Paludan Bog Café (pictured) is a cozy brunch spot nestled in a library. Also, don’t miss stopping by one of the ubiquitous hot dog stands for Copenhagen’s favorite snack. A night at Ruby is a must for vibey cocktails, or you can go for lower key hygge at Halvvejen.

Colorful Art in Freetown Christiania Copenhagen Denmark

4: freetown christiania

Right in the heart of Copenhagen lies a mysterious little community: Freetown Christiania. This independent commune was founded in the 1970s out of an abandoned military base, and has been home to a unique group of hippie-ish folks who adopt an alternative way of life. It's free to roam, and don’t expect to find chain stores or unsightly ads here. Instead, you’ll find vibrant street art, community gardens, quirky cafes, and the rather infamous “Pusher” Street where marijuana is openly sold, despite it being illegal in Denmark. Be respectful and only take photos where permitted!

Colorful Cobblestoned Street in Malmo Sweden

5: day trip to malmö

If you are like me and can’t help but check as many countries off your list as possible, then you’re in luck: Denmark's neighbor, Sweden, is just a 30 minute train ride away. Just across the Harbor lies, Malmö, Sweden's third largest city. With a similar Scandinavian aesthetic to Copenhagen, this city's colorful buildings, cobblestoned streets, and quirky design shops make for a pleasant and easy day trip. Don't miss a stroll through picturesque Gamla Väster in Old Town, as well as a visit to Malmö Saluhall, a modern, buzzy, and delicious food hall.

Have a great trip! Feel free to leave a comment with your own favorites. You can also find these recommendations (and more!) in map format by following me on the Out of Office app.


bottom of page