Once a fishing colony until the 12th century, the so-hip-it-hurts city of Copenhagen exudes cool. With stunning architecture, canals, castles, and cobbled streets, it’s no wonder this stylish city is on every traveller’s bucket list. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Copenhagen, from getting to and from the airport, to the best Copenhagen-themed shows, to local spots you should check out.
Public transit is available from Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport (CPH) to Copenhagen. The metro rapid transit system takes you into the centre of the city and is located above terminal 3. Cost is DKK 36 each way (approximately USD 5). There is a DSB ticket office and ticket machines in the Copenhagen Airport arrival hall.
The train is another option and the train station is located by terminal 3. The trains run every 10 minutes during the day and one to three times an hour at night. It takes less than 15 minutes to get from CPH to Copenhagen Central Station, close to Vesterbro.
Metered taxis are another option for getting to and from CPH and will take you about 20 minutes to get downtown. The cost ranges between DKK 200-300 (USD 29-44), depending on the time of day and your destination. Taxis usually wait outside terminals 1 and 3 and most will accept international credit cards.
Public transit: Buses are available in Copenhagen and cost DKK 24 (USD 3.50) for one trip, DKK 80 (USD 11.50) for a 24-hour ticket, or DKK 200 (USD 28.50) for a 72-hour ticket. If you have coins available, you can purchase a ticket on the bus. Otherwise, purchase your ticket in advance at the machines available at the train and metro stations. Buses and the S-train are available from early morning until late in the evening. The metro runs 24 hours a day.
Taxi: Metered taxis offer another option for getting around Copenhagen and a journey will cost between DKK 100 and150 (USD 14–21.50), depending on where you are going. In most instances you’ll also be able to pay with an international credit card.
Walking: This is a safe and great way to get around Copenhagen and see more of the city.
Bike: Another option for seeing Copenhagen is to rent a bike from your hotel or one of the many bike rental places in the city.
Experience Danish football culture and check out a FC Copenhagen home match at Parken Stadion. It’ll cost you between DKK 115 and 165 (USD 16–23.50) for a league ticket and tickets are available at the stadium, but listening to the fans sing is free.
Visit the hippy area of Freetown Christiania, an autonomous commune on the eastern side of Christianshavn. Established by hippies in the early ’70s, explore the car-free neighbourhood with its whimsical houses, beer gardens, art galleries, craft shops, and music venues. There are also guided tours run by locals.
Whether you love jazz, rap, or are a fan of classical music, Copenhagen has lots of festivals during the summer in the middle of the city. Some of the festivals include the Copenhagen Opera Festival, which takes place for a week over the summer, CPH Distortion, a celebration of Copenhagen nightlife, and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, which has year-round events.
Get in the mood for your visit and explore Copenhagen’s dark, tangled streets in the gritty Danish drama The Killing. Also worth watching is the television series Borgen, named after the house of Danish parliament, Christiansborg Palace, and the series The Bridge, which tells of a dead body found on the Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden.
The Danish Girl is about the world’s first transgender operation of changing a man to a woman. A Royal Affair takes place in the 1770s and is about the crazy King Christian the 7th and the affair between the royal physician Johann Struensee and the queen.
Listen to Danish duo Laid Dack, best known for their songs Sunshine Reggae and White Horse. Laid Back’s easygoing style of music is a perfect reflection of the Copenhagen lifestyle. Tom Waits’ Waltzing Matilda might seem like an odd choice, but Waits wrote this song after spending time in Copenhagen and meeting and falling in love with a Danish woman.
Lucas Graham is big right now and is a true Copenhagener, havng grown up in Christiania, the free city in Copenhagen, and has the real spirit of that district.
The Little Book of Hygge is a must-read. Hygge is an ingrained part of Denmark and lately the world has become interested in it, too. It’s all about how Danes seek out a warm atmosphere, where they are relaxed and with friends. Many people say that hygge is the reason why Danes are the happiest people in the world. Meik Wiking ends up with a “nice” recipe for obtaining hygge in your home, and even though a Dane would argue that your home is not more hyggelig with that DKR 5,000 PH lamp, the book provides a good starting point for someone who wants to start feeling a little better, all the time.
The Year of Living Danishly (it doesn’t take place in Copenhagen, but is really good coverage of Denmark in general) is about a British journalist who moved to Denmark for a year and made it her purpose to understand why Danes are the happiest people in the world. She talks to happiness professors and asks all she meets how happy they are on a scale from 1 to 10. Like in The Little Book of Hygge, she also ends up with a recipe to being happy (which you of course should take lightly). She makes some fun observations in her research and end up with a book of fun stories and surprising facts that would be interesting to Danes, people who have visited Denmark, or even anyone who has just thought about visiting.