Hostelworld Guide for Copenhagen

little mermaid

Copenhagen, the largest city and capital of Denmark, is hugely popular with visitors thanks to a mix of modern attractions and old school charm. From the Little Mermaid to the free-town of Christiania, this city has its own unique character, where historical buildings rub shoulders with slick shopping streets, and this is all brought together by a network of canals. It's an easy city to get around, with a particular fondness for bicycles and a great public transport system. Whether you're looking for a wholly cultural experience or something a little more hedonistic, Copenhagen will provide.



In this Guide...      

Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop

 The Essentials


Getting There

By plane: Copenhagen Airport is in Kastrup, a town 8km southeast of the city. Trains depart from the station at Terminal 3 for the city centre at regular intervals. The journey takes around 12 minutes.

By train: If you come to Copenhagen by train, you'll most likely arrive in Central Station. Frequent services connect the city with other parts of Denmark, as well as many European cities.

By bus: Central Station is also the main hub for buses arriving in Copenhagen. Services run from here to all over Europe, with Eurolines operating the bulk of these.

Getting Around

On foot: Copenhagen's a flat city, so it's easy enough to explore on foot. A lot of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other and the city centre.

By S-Train/Metro: The S-Train runs on 7 lines with all the trains on the network passing through Central Station. Metro services run daily from 5am-12pm, and all night on Thurs-Sat.

By bicycle: Public city bikes, lots of bike paths and flat roads, make cycling a great choice for getting around Copenhagen.

 Copenhagen facts

Name: Copenhagen, which is the capital of Denmark, is known as København in Danish.

Location: You'll find the city of Copenhagen on the island of Sealand, one of many islands that make up Denmark.

Population: Around 1.7 million people live in the Greater Copenhagen area.

Area: Copenhagen is the largest city in Denmark and covers an area of over 88 square kilometres.

Founded: The city was officially founded in 1167.

Copenhagen has a mild maritime climate, meaning it's generally cold in winter and warmer in summer. The coldest months are January and February, with temperatures sometimes dropping below zero. Usually, the city gets snow in winter. July is both the hottest and wettest month in Copenhagen. Highs tend to hover around 18ºC and there's about 71mm of rain. August and September are also wet months.

climate figs

 Good to know...

Language: Danish
Currency: Danish Krone (DKK)
Electricity: 220 Volts AC/50Hz, 2-pin plug.
Area code: +45 (Denmark), no city code.
Emergency codes: Ambulance 112, Fire 112, Police 112.
Time Zone: Central European Time (GMT +1)
Central Post Office: Tietgensgade 37
Main Tourist Office: Wonderful Copenhagen Tourist Information, Vesterbrogade 4A


USA: +45 3341 7100
Canada: +45 3348 3200
Australia: +45 7026 3676
South Africa: +45 3918 0155
UK: +45 3544 5200
Spain: +45 3542 4700
Germany: +45 3945 9900
Italy: +45 3962 6877
New Zealand: +45 3337 7702*
France: +45 3367 0100

*Number is for the General Consulate

Hostelworld Guide for Copenhagen

 Cheap Eats

 After Dark

Ems Deli, Frederiksborggade 10, Nørrebro Along with its breakfast and brunch offers, this café also has a wide variety of sandwiches, bagels, pastries and coffees. The music playing inside is quite lively, and a cup of coffee here is a great way to shake out the cobwebs first thing in the morning. Open Mon-Fri 7am-9pm, Sat-Sun 9am-9pm.

 Let them eat cake

Conditori & Café Hans Christian Andersen, Rådhusarkaden, Vesterbrogade 1 Denmark is known for delicious Danish pastries, and this café is a great place to try one. These, and other tasty treats, can be enjoyed with a pot of coffee, which can be refilled at no extra charge. Sandwiches and salads are also available. Open Mon-Thurs 8am-6pm, Fri 8am-7pm, Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 12pm-6pm.

Sunset Boulevard, Købmagergade 43, Strøget A great place for lunch, Sunset Boulevard serves hot and cold sandwiches, and a selection of salads. Meal deals made up of a sandwich, fries and a drink are good value. The interior's pretty funky too, with lots of places to sit. Open Mon-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 11am-9pm.

Riz Raz, Kompagnistraede 20, Straedet Offering all-you-can-eat buffet specials, the difference with this restaurant is that its buffet is entirely vegetarian. You can choose from a huge range of hot and cold dishes, while there are also some meat dishes on the main menu. Open daily, 11am-12am.

Mama Rosa, Østergade 57, Strøget Found on Copenhagen's main shopping street, this restaurant offers mostly Mexican and Italian dishes. There are daily lunch specials, set 2-course tourist menus and 4 different 3-course menus. It's a colourful spot, with bright tablecloths and potted chilli plants continuing the Mexican theme. Open daily, 11am-12am.

The Scottish Pub, Rådhuspladsen 16, near Tivoli Check out the backpackers' nights held here on Mondays and Tuesdays to sample the drinks on offer and to meet travellers from all over the world. There's live music six nights a week and a DJ on Fridays and Saturdays. Brave souls might like to try one of the pipes, which hold four litres of Carlsberg, more than enough to have you dancing up a storm. Open Mon-Thurs 4pm-3am, Fri-Sat 4pm-5am, Sun 4pm-2am.

Vega Musikkens Hus, Enghavevej 40, Vesterbro Here you'll find both the Ideal Bar and Vega music venue and club. The Ideal Bar hosts events like poetry slam nights, which are fun even if you can't always understand what's being said. Lots of bands from all over the world play in Vega, making it one of the best places in the city to see live rock music. Open Wed 9pm-1am, Thurs-Sat 9pm-5am.

The Dubliner, Amagertorv 5, City Centre Live music every night of the week and TVs showing major sporting events are just part of what makes this such a popular bar. Inside you'll find a mix of long benches, tables and couches under a big dome skylight. You can take your beer to the seats outside too. Open Mon-Thurs 10am-2am, Fri-Sat 10am-4.30pm, Sun 12pm-1am.

 Gay/Lesbian Copenhagen

Copenhagen has a pretty large and lively gay scene. Some of the more popular places include Centralhjørnet (Kattesundet 18), which is the city's oldest gay bar, Rocco (Axeltorv 12E) and Cosy Bar (Studiesstraede 24), which is popular with both gay and straight people. VELA (Viktoriagade 2-4) is a bar specifically targeted at lesbians.

The Moose, Svaertegade 5, City Centre Slightly off the beaten path but still close to Strøget, this bar is small and smokey inside. It has a great atmosphere and friendly staff. Happy hours are long here, lasting from 9pm to closing time on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Open Mon-Wed 1pm-6am, Thurs-Sat 1pm-7am, Sun 1pm-3am.

Rosie McGee's, Vesterbrogade 2A, Vesterbro Spread over 2 floors, Rosie McGees has 4 bar areas and 3 dance floors, one of which vibrates. On Fridays, this bar offers a selection of drinks promotions. Check out the musician playing acoustic guitar inside daily. Open Mon-Fri 12pm-1am, Sat 12pm-5.30am, Sun 12pm-4.30am.

 Don't Miss

 Mark Your Calendar

The Little Mermaid, Langelinie The Little Mermaid, introduced to the world in 1913 and created by Edvard Eriksen, is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the world. Sculpted in bronze and based on the Hans Christian Andersen character, she's visited by around a million people each year.

Canal Tours Lasting about an hour, these canal tours are a great way to get a different view of Copenhagen. From the water you'll see some of the main attractions and learn lots of interesting facts. You'll also pass underneath some of the very low bridges stretching over the canals. Tours run from March-Dec, opening hours vary; admission 60 DKK.

The Round Tower, Købmagergade 52A, City Centre Completed in 1642, this tower is Europe's oldest functioning observatory and is 35 metres high. Walk up the spiral ramp, climb the last few stairs, and then step outside for great views out across Copenhagen. Open 7 days, May-Sept 10am-8pm, Oct-April 10am-5pm; admission 25 DKK.

Carlsberg Visitors Centre, Gamle Carlsberg Vej 11, Vesterbro Here you can see the largest collection of beer bottles in the world, which right now consists of around 18,000 bottles. Here you'll learn about the production of beer and the history of Carlsberg. End the trip by enjoying your two free drinks. Open Oct-June Tues-Sun 10am-4pm, July-Sept 7 days 10am-4pm; admission 65 DKK.

 All thrills, no spills

Tivoli Gardens, Vesterbrogade 3 Tivoli Gardens is one of the world's oldest amusement parks. It boasts the highest carousel in the world, 40 restaurants, 3 open-air stages and an aquarium. Opened in 1843, the park is visited by around 4.5 million people annually. Open 7 days at 11am Apr 17th-Sept 21st, Oct 10th-19th, Nov 14th-Dec 30th; admission 95 DKK.

February - Copenhagen Fashion Week The Danish Fashion Institute organises this event, where established and emerging Danish designers can showcase their work. Another Fashion Week takes place in August.

March-April - NatFilm All of Copenhagen's cinemas take part in this festival where Danish distributors show everything from Hollywood blockbusters to small indie movies. Retrospectives and Danish films are important to the festival too.

June - Distortion Distortion is billed as a 'celebration of Copenhagen nightlife' and runs over 5 days. It was founded in 1998 and showcases some of Copenhagen's different cultures, including music and fashion. The club and street scenes are also on display, with lots of parties held across the city.

July - Roskilde Festival Famous international acts take part in this well-known rock music festival alongside up and coming Nordic bands. Roskilde has been around since 1971 and today, bands play on 7 different stages over 4 days.

July - Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2008 marked the 30th anniversary of this festival. It has grown to encompass over 900 concerts in 100 venues, with more than 200,000 visitors.

July-August - HamletScenen Every year Kronborg Castle hosts a selection of performances of some of Shakespeare's best-loved works.

August - Kulturhavn The Kulturhavn, or Cultural Harbour, festival takes place each year and provides locals and visitors with a wide range of activities to take part in. The festival lasts for 3 days, covering music, dance, theatre and more.

August - Copenhagen Cooking Over 10 days you can sample some of the most delicious cuisine Copenhagen has to offer. The festival also includes wine tasting sessions, a cooking competition and other special events.

September - Golden Days This major festival takes place at locations across the city. It was designed to promote Copenhagen's cultural side, from music to film to dance to museum visits.

November - CPH:DOX This is Scandinavia's biggest documentary film festival. For 10 days, the city plays host to documentaries from all over the world. Seminars and forums also take place.

Hostelworld Guide for Copenhagen

 Neighbourhood Watch

 Retail Therapy

Hellerup A short trip from the city centre on the S-Train, this part of Copenhagen is filled with things to see and do. You can visit the fun science centre called the 'Experimentarium', walk along by the sea, or check out the many exclusive boutiques and stores along the tree lined streets. There's a good choice of places to eat and drink here too.

 This is our town

Christiania This 'free town' has been in existence since 1971 and is built on the concepts of communal living and alternative lifestyles. You'll find many stalls here, offering handmade jewellery, scarves, food and drink, and more. There's a large stage area too, where many different bands play. Tours Sat-Sun all year at 3pm, Jun 26-Aug 31 every day at 3pm; admission 30 DKK.

Nyhavn A more touristy area, Nyhavn canal leads out into the harbour and is flanked by lots of restaurants. At one time, writer Hans Christian Andersen lived here. Why not join the locals, and sit beside the canal with a traditional sausage from one of the many 'pølser' stands nearby.

Charlottenlund The beautiful beaches in Charlottenlund, just outside the city and close to Hellerup, are only a small part of this area's considerable charm. Here, you can also take a walk in the Charlottenlund Park or stop by Danmarks Akvarium. This aquarium houses over 300 species from sharks to anemones.

Vesterbro Not just the home of the red-light district, Vesterbro has a lot going for it in terms of popular spots to eat and drink, as well as places of interest. Along Enghavevej, you'll find a mix of small shops, cafés and bars. While in this area of the city, you can also visit the Carlsberg Brewery, one of Copenhagen's most popular attractions.

Illum, Østergade 52, Strøget In operation since 1891, this huge department store is a treasure trove for serious shoppers. Spanning five floors, it's home to over 450 Scandinavian and international stores. And for those worried about the bank balance, you'll be happy to hear that shopping in Illum is tax free. Open Mon-Thurs 10am-7pm, Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-5pm, 1st Sun of every month 12am-5pm.

Strøget Made up of streets like Købmagergade, Østergade, Amager Torv and Frederiksberggade, Strøget is the main shopping area in Copenhagen. Packed with tourists and locals, there's a huge number of well-known brands including Mango, Foot Locker, Puma, and Monsoon.

 Let's strike a bargain

Flea Markets, various locations You could find genuine antiques nestled on tables alongside china and old Smurfs figurines at one of the city's flea markets. The Gammel Strand market is a little pricier than some of the others, but has a great location alongside the canal. Near Nørreport Station at the Israel Plads market, sellers offer bargains on everything from second-hand books to ceramics.

Magasin du Nord, Kongens Nytorv 13, near Nyhavn A huge department store with a long history, Magasin du Nord is located right in the heart of Copenhagen. Every year around 20 million shoppers stroll through its doors. Here you'll find everything from clothing and toiletries to things for the house. Open Mon-Thurs 10am-7pm, Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-4pm.

Østerbrogade This long street is located in the Østerbro area of Copenhagen. There's a great range of smaller stores here, with places selling everything from clothes to shoes to sunglasses. Shops also offer a great selection of second-hand items.

 Copenhagen For Free

 A Day in Copenhagen...

Walk around the King's Gardens Beside Rosenborg Castle, this large park was created in 1606, at the same time as the castle was built. Filled with trees and flowers, it's also home to a large number of interesting statues. The gardens are visited by millions each year. Open 7 days, 7am-9pm; admission free.

Wander through the Statens Museum for Kunst The Danish National Gallery is home to around 10,000 paintings and sculptures by both Danish and international artists including Rembrandt and Picasso. It was initially opened to the public in 1896. Open Tues, Thurs-Sun 10am-5pm, Wed 10am-8pm, closed Mondays; admission free.

See Hans Christian Andersen's grave Visit the Assistens Cemetery in Nørrebro to see the final resting places of notable Danish citizens like author Hans Christian Andersen and physicist Niels Bohr. Filled with trees and plants, it's also a peaceful park to wander though on a sunny day. Open Nov-Feb 8am-4pm, Mar-Apr Sept-Oct 8am-6pm, May-Aug 8am-8pm; admission free.

Visit Trinitatiskirke (or Trinity Church) on Købmagergade Inside you'll find high ceilings elaborately decorated with hanging chandeliers. At the back of the church, a huge organ faces the altar. Choral performances and concerts are often held here. Open Mon-Sat 9.30am-4.30pm; admission free.

 All about artefacts

Check out the National Museet At Denmark's National Museum you'll learn about the Danish people from the Ice Age to the present day. The Eskimo display is a must-see, from the harpoons to the animal hide underwear. There's also a toy exhibit here, with teddy bears, dollhouses and more. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm, closed Mondays; admission free.

Start the day in one of the city's many cafés, like the Conditori & Café Hans Christian Andersen. Try one of the delicious Danish pastries with some coffee.

From here, why not hop on board one of the canal tours. See the city from the water and learn a lot about the history of Copenhagen.

sausage stand

Pick up a tasty lunch from one of the many sausage stands (see above) scattered throughout the city and enjoy it while sitting alongside the canal in Nyhavn.

Wander along by the harbour where you'll find the Little Mermaid statue. After that, catch the S-Train back to the city centre.

Walking distance from Central Station is the National Museum. It's well worth a visit for its displays of weird and wonderful artefacts, from dolls to ceremonial masks.

After all that culture check out Strøget, Copenhagen's famous network of shopping streets. Designer names to local brands, there's plenty here to tempt your wallet.

Many of the streets and narrow lanes off Strøget are filled with great places to eat. Stop at one of these for dinner, like Riz Raz on Kompagnistraede.

Have a drink in The Moose on Svaertegade. Small but with a lively atmosphere, this is a great place to start the night, especially during its long happy hours.

If you're looking for somewhere with a bit more space to dance, head to Rosie McGees on Vesterbrogade, which has 4 bar areas and 3 dance floors.

Hostelworld Guide for Copenhagen