Everything You Need to Know About Copenhagen
When you're holidaying in a new city it's almost impossible to truly get to know it; it's easy to fall into tourist traps and go where everybody else is going. And that's not how we want to experience a city, is it?
The NABO guides to Copenhagen are not for the typical tourist who wants to see a little bit of everything. No, the NABO guides are for the design interested soul who wants to get an experience of a more authentic Copenhagen.
If that's you, you can expect to get yourself familiar with the best places to go, what to see, where to eat and where to go shopping. There's also a FAQ of the more practical questions we've been asked from you guys on social media. The NABO guides pinpoint the places real Copenhageners are going.
Happy Copenhagen dreaming!
Planning your stay in Copenhagen
Okay, so you decided it's time to go. But where do you start when planning a trip? We understand that having all the practical bits in order makes more room for planning all the exciting stuff. That’s why we’ve created the a list of all the most frequent questions we get asked about Copenhagen.
If you're in doubt if Danes use euros, how you get from the airport to the city centre, if biking is a good idea, or what area is best for you then read on. We hope to save you time thinking about practicalities so that you can start making lists of all the things you want to experience while you're there.
What airport should I fly into?
Copenhagen Airport is the main airport in Denmark and it is located 10 km away Copenhagen city centre. It’s the airport you should fly in to if you’re planning on staying in Copenhagen or anywhere else on Zealand, the Øresund Region, and even a large part of southern Sweden.
The airport is well connected to every part of Denmark and it’s easy to access busses, trains and taxis both during the day and the night.
How do I get from the airport to the city centre?
You can get to the city centre by taxi or by train or metro. If you’re arriving during the day I recommend public transportation but if you arrive during the night a taxi is the most convenient option.
All public transportation run from Terminal 3. The train and metro take you from the airport to the city centre in less than 15 minutes and costs £4.5. (From zone 3 to zone 1)
Taxis are to be found outside Terminal 1 and 3. It costs is approximately £30 - £35 to go from the airport to the city centre by taxi and the drive takes 20 minutes.
Do Danes use Euros?
No, the official currency is Danish kroner, however, some of the bigger attractions, shops, hotels and restaurants may display prices in Euros as well. It really depends on where you’re going so be prepared to use a currency calculator while you’re there.
How do I get around?
The easiest and most authentic way to get around in Copenhagen is by bike. Almost every Copenhagener bike to and from work every day all year around. It’s also how we visit friends and family (if they aren’t too far away), arrive at a dinner party and our way of transportation when we need to go home at dawn.
If you don’t feel like hiring a bike you can easily get around by metro and train.
Where can I hire a bike?
A lot of bike shops offer bikes for hire so it’s worth checking locally. It’s also common for hotels to have a handful of bikes their guests can use during their stay, so I recommend you check with your hotel when you arrive.
Copenhagen also has its world famous city bikes that cost £3.5 on a pay as you go/hourly rate. This is a good alternative if you only need it now than then. You can read more about them here: https://bycyklen.dk/en/
What is the price for public transportation?
A 2 zone ticket covers all of Copenhagen (apart from the airport which is zone 3) and costs £2.8. It lasts for one hour from purchase and can be used on both busses, trains and metro. If you’re planning on mainly using public transportation a 24 hour ticket may be a better option for you as it costs £15 and lasts 24 hours from purchase.
Where should we stay?
Where you should stay depends on what you want from your visit and who you’re travelling with. Earlier this year we wrote a guide to Copenhagen’s neighbours so if you want to find out which neighbourhood is for you we recommend reading the guide to Copenhagen's neighbourhoods. You can find it here or if you scroll further down this page. The guide also pinpoints some of the more kid-friendly areas in the city.
Do you recommend airbnb or hotel?
Well, it depends what experience you’re after. Copenhagen has some lovely hotels which are nice if you want to get breakfast served and not having to think about much else than experiencing the city. Airbnb’s are good for living like a Dane - and luckily almost every Dane has bright and cosy homes with that Scandinavian feeling.
We'd recommend Airbnb if you’re travelling with your family - it’s just more convenient and if you’re lucky there are LEGO and Brio and other cool Scandinavian toys to play with.
Where should we eat?
You should definitely try to get a table at Baar. Nærvær is also a great cosy place if the weather is nice.
Mother and Fleisch in the meatpacking district are also worth a visit.
Where is the best coffee?Some of the best coffees we've had in Copenhagen have been at 108, Apollo bar and Atelier September.
Still something practical you'd like to know? If your question hasn't been answered make sure you check out the journal for the full blog post with all the most frequently asked questions. You may find that we've covered it here. If not, don't shy away from sending us an email. We love to talk all things Copenhagen!
Getting to know Copenhagen's neighbourhoods
First things first: Copenhagen is a fantastic city! It's known for its coloured houses, historic buildings and biking residents, but it's so much more than that.
As all other capital cities in the world, Copenhagen has a lot of different neighbourhoods all with their own atmosphere. Some areas are for families, some are for young people and some are historic and charming. Knowing each area and which one is for you is difficult when you're visiting. That's why I crafted a guide to Copenhagen's neighbourhood to make it easier for you to locate what area is for you.
Copenhagen K is Copenhagen's city centre and the old historic part of the city. It is best known for Nyhavn, Tivoli amusement park and Strøget the main shopping street, but it is so much more than that.
In short: Historic, charming and busy.
Who's it for: Those who's into city history and museums, and for those who like to be in the centre of things.
You'll see lots of: Tourists and cobblestone streets.
Best thing about the area: There's pretty much something for everyone in Copenhagen K; there's all the well-known tourist attractions and highstreet shops and chains, but there's also cosy streets, independent shops, green areas, and nice restaurants.
Worst thing about the area: In peak season it can be quite touristy and it's easier to fall into tourist traps here than other areas of Copenhagen. But if you're determined to find smaller streets and alternative routes I'd guarantee you'll love Copenhagen K.
Best Streets: Store Strandstræde, Kronprinsesse Gade, Grønnegade, Pilestræde,
Larsbjørnstræde & The Latin Quater.
Best shops: Stilleben, Mads Nørgaard, Naked, Cinobber, Lubarol, Aiayu, Storm & Yvonne Kone.
Best green area: Copenhagen Botanical Garden and Kastellet
Best museum(s): Thorvaldsens Museum, Glyptoteket, and Kunsthal Charlottenborg are all great and worth a visit.
Where to eat: Winterspring, The Bridge's Street Kitchen, Barr, and Nærvær or go to Apollo bar at Charlottenborg Kunsthal.
Where to have your coffee: 108, The Coffee Collective and Atelier September
Where to sleep: 71Nyhavn is an understated hotel located right at the waterfront. It's filled with Danish design classics, has an excellent restaurant and great service. Another great (& sustainable) hotel is Babette Guldsmeden near Kastellet. You could also try the newly opened Hotel Sanders close to the Royal Theatre. You'll love it.
In short: Hip, raw round the edges, local feel
You'll probably see lots of: Hip young men, street art and vintage shops.
Who's it for: those who like a local vibe and a less polished city feel.
Best thing about the area: It's very down to earth and there's always something going on, new boutiques to browse or new art to look at.
Worst thing about the area: Like most bigger cities you'll come across people who live rougher lives than yourself, but don't worry, there's really nothing to worry about here.
Best streets: Istedgade and The Meatpacking District.
Best shops: Dansk Made for Rooms, A Door and Kyoto
Best green area: Sønder Boulevard and Skydebanehaven
Best museum: V1 Gallery - Ok, not a museum but this gallery has to be mentioned.
Where to eat: Mother and Fleisch in the meat packing district.
Where to have your coffee: Prolog Kaffebar in The Meatpacking District.
Where to sleep: 66 Guldsmeden Hotel is a cute boutique hotel located in Vesterbrogade. If you're travelling with kids I'd suggest an airbnb close to Sankt Jørgens Sø (The Lakes).
Østerbro is a large neighbourhood with lots of open space which attracts families with kids. There's also a thriving main street with well-known design shops and healthy dining opportunities.
In short: Quiet, calm and family-friendly
You'll probably see lots of: mums with buggies and brunch devotees on weekends.
Who's it for: for those who want to get a look into local life (with kids).
Best thing about the area: This area feels very safe, there's plenty of good cafes and green areas - you'll find Fælledparken, Copenhagen waterfront, Svanemøllen beach park and The Lakes all within walking distance. It's a great place to experience living as a Danish family.
Worst thing about the area: To someone who come to Copenhagen to experience a lot this area may feel a bit mundane.
Best streets: Kartoffelrækkerne - a village within the city. Go for a walk here and imaging living in one of the charming houses. If you come in Spring/summer time you get to experience kids playing in the streets and the little gardens in full bloom.
Best green area: Svanemølle Beach Park and The Lakes.
Best museum: Enigma.
Where to shop: Østerbrogade.
Where to eat: Geranium or Grød.
Where to sleep: I'd suggest finding an Airbnb to get a taste of local life in Østerbro. Choose one of the quieter streets off Østerbrogade and you're most likely to find an apartment with high ceilings and interiors on point.
Nørrebro is within walking distance to central Copenhagen, however, it's very different to all the other areas of Copenhagen.
In short: Multicultural and vibrant.
You'll probably see lots of: young people and different cultures living side by side.
Who's it for: Friends travelling together.
Best thing about the area: It's arguably the most diverse area of Copenhagen. You'll find lots of international grocery shops and cultural specialities.
Best streets: Jægersborggade, Elmegade, Blågårdsgade and Ravnsborggade
Best shops: Acne Archive and the vintage shops in Ravnsborggade
Best green area: Assistents Kirkegården cemetery
Best museum: Assistents Kirkegården cemetery as mentioned above - a beautiful historic cemetery, burial place of many famous people.
Where to have your coffee: The Coffee Collective, Jægersborggade
Where to eat: Tapperiet Brus, Grød in Jægersborggade if you're in the area in the morning, Relæ or Kiin Kiin if you're in the area after noon.
Where to sleep: Airbnb is your friend in Nørrebro - you'll find many reasonable priced flats to rent in this area. Expect well-designed cosy homes.
Frederiksberg is located next to Vesterbro but appears a bit different: it's the most posh part of Copenhagen with green spaces and beautiful buildings.
In short: Posh and family-friendly
You'll probably see lots of: nicely dressed elderly people
Who's it for: Those with taste for good quality
Best thing about the area: Frederiksberg feels very different to central Copenhagen - there's a slower pace here. It's like a little village with everything you need just around the corner including great bakeries, designer shops, and restaurants.
Worst thing about the area: Frederiksberg can be a bit pricey
Best streets: Gammel Kongevej and Værnedamsvej
Best shops: Sirin, Studio Rov, Limonade, Wood Wood, Filippa K, Ganni, Nue Notes, and Shop DORA
Best green area: Frederiksberg Garden.
Best museum: Bakkehusmuseet
Where to eat: Les Trois Cochons and Falernum both located on Værnedamsvej.
Where to sleep: Bertrams Hotel Guldsmeden is another cute boutique hotel ideal if you like Frederiksberg (however, this hotel is not ideal with kids).
Hopefully this short overview has given you a good idea of what the different neighbourhoods are like and maybe you already have an idea of what neighbourhood is for you. Every area is worth a visit but we all know it's nice to spend time in areas that reflect who we are and what we like.
Copenhagen's best independent interior shops
Denmark is often associated with the old classics and sadly it's often the big shops that attract people who visit the city, however, there are plenty of great smaller shops that are worth a visit.
If you're in Copenhagen you must visit these shops:
1. DANSK Made for Rooms is a cool interior shop who sells a mix of their own furniture (do check out the DANSK shelves and tables), Scandinavian and international design. You'll want to own everything they have in store.
2. Sirin is a must-visit for those who like concept stores. The idea behind SIRIN is to offer a very personal design selection, mixing languages, cultures and styles. They stock the very best and inspiring brands such as Astep, Friends and Founders and Please Wait to be Seated to name a few. Go, go, go.
3. A Door is a lifestyle shop selling skincare products, ceramics, jewellery, magazines, plants and coffee. Swing by this little shop and have a look at their beautiful products.
4. Frama. This is technically not a shop; it's a showroom in the former home of the St. Pauls Apothecary showcasing Frama's understated pieces of furniture.
5. Shop DORA is an interior and design shop in Vesterbro, Copenhagen. It's owned by Frida and Sara, mum and daughter, who showcase hand-picked design pieces and vintage furniture.
6. Stilleben was started by the two designers Ditte Reckweg and Jelena Schou Nordentoft back in 2002. They focus on good craftsmanship and peculiar objects and showcase art and design from all over the world.
7. The Apartment is 20th century furniture, contemporary art and design in the most beautiful 18th century apartment.
8. Beau Marche Located in central Copenhagen Beau Marche is a boutique and cafe in one. Expect a taste of French charm.
If you're interested in knowing more you'll find more images and addresses in the blog post "The Best Independent Interior Shops in Copehagen".
The Best Museums in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is full to the brim with museums; some of them well-known some of them not so known. It can be hard to find out which museums are worth a visit and which aren’t so this guide is a list of recommendations from one picky design enthusiast to another.
When gathering this list of museums we wanted to make sure that it included the creme de la creme. Therefore we've had to add a short lists of museum just outside Copenhagen that you have to explore. So if doesn’t mind leaving the capital scroll down the page for our recommendations.
1. Design Museum Denmark
If you’re interested in interior design and especially the old Danish masters such as Finn Juhl, Arne Jacobsen and Wegner among others this is your go to place. It doesn’t fall short on eyecandy and you’d want to take each and every piece of furniture home with you.
Remember to check out their museum shop which offers you the very best books on design - and that’s the best souvenir right.
Find it here:
1260 Copenhagen K
Nikolaj Kunsthal is located in St. Nikola Church, one of Copenhagen’s oldest churches. The old Church of Saint Nicholas is dating back to the 13th century but is transformed to a contemporary art museum popular for its video art festival and cultural media exhibitions. You can experience Danish as well as international contemporary art and the setup is rather magical in these unique historical surroundings. It is right in the city centre so it’s easy to get here when you feel a little arty.
Find it here:
Nikolaj Plads 10
1067 København K
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
This museum was originally founded by Carl Jacobsen to house his personal art collection; Jacobson was the founder of Carlsberg Brewery and one of the most prominent figures in modern Danish history.
The museum has two main departments and my favourite is the Modern Department which showcases Danish painting and sculpture from the 19th and 20th centuries. The building itself is worth a visit, which is nice for someone like me who finds that a huge part of an art and museum experience is in the building itself. I’d call this an architectural masterpiece.
There’s a spacious Winter Garden with a cafe, beautiful arched side galleries filled with life size sculpture.
Find it here:
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Dantes Plads 7
I used to come here a lot when I studied by BA degree in Copenhagen. It’s a museum dedicated to Bertel Thorvaldsen’s outstanding sculptures and there’s just something about the building, the architecture and its colours. You can’t help but stop and stare when you pass by this yellow building. Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll’s, who’s the man who designed the building, designed it so that light hits the museum’s galleries and is itself a work of art.
Definitely worth a visit.
Find it here:
Bertel Thorvaldsens Plads 2
1213 København K
The Bakkehus Museum
The Bakkehus Museum is a historic home museum originally the home of Danish critic, author and publisher Knud Lyne Rahbek and his wife Kamma Rahbek. The building itself is considered to be the oldest building in Frederiksberg. Knud and Kamma’s home became a cultural hub for artists and literary greats of the Danish Golden Age including Hans Christian Andersen, N.F.S, Grundtvig and Adam Oehlenschlager. so it’s no lie that a trip to this museum is a step back in time.
The house is preserved to look much like it did when the couple passed away and it truly an authentic experience. You feel as if you breathe the same air as the famous people who visited before you.
A plus is that there’s a cosy garden in the back and a glasshouse cafe for the hungry ones.
Find if here:
Rahbeks Alle 23
The National Museum of Denmark (SMK)
Ok, this is a must-visit for art lovers. SMK is Denmark’s national art museum and has a extensive collection. I’d say it’s the number one museum to visit if you’re interested in art, but if you’re not it may be a bit tiring (this place is huge!).
Anyway, it features collections of both Danish and international art from the past seven centuries; Royal Collections, performances, modern sculptures, concerts, festivals, and special exhibitions. It’s furthermore a great place to bring kids as they do guided tours for both young kids and young adults.
I recommend that you take a look at their website to see what’s on their agenda before you start planning your visit, there may be a concert or event that you don’t want to miss.
Find it here:
1307 København K
And now for a couple of museums outside Copenhagen. Yes, they are worth the trip.
Rudolph Tegners Museum
Rudolph Tegners Museum is one of the lesser known museums in Denmark, however, it certainly doesn’t lack on beauty. The first time I visited was when I was on holiday in one of the cities close by a handful of years back and it’s a lovely place to revisit. It doesn’t feel like any other museum in Denmark.
The Rudolph Tegner Museum is dedicated to the oeuvre of the sculptor Rudolph Tegner. As an architect, he decided himself on the museum’s design both aesthetics and functionality. It became a very visionary museum as it’s one of the earliest existing concrete buildings, where concrete is used for both construction and decorations.
The museum itself is set in the middle of a protected area just south of Dronningmølle on Zealand's north coast, some 50 km north of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Find it here:
Rodulph Tegners Museum
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
I don’t like to play favourite with museums (or anything else) but Louisiana is definitely on the top of the list of the best museums I’ve ever visited. It’s well-known in Denmark and abroad and there’s a good reason for that. You can spend a whole day here (literally, they’re open to 10PM) wandering the beautiful buildings and gardens, and explore art from the best Danish and international artists.
There’s a lovely restaurant overlooking Øresund and on a sunny day you can go to their beach for a skinny dip. Make sure to visit the museum shop with a lovely range of Danish design. All that only a short train ride from Copenhagen.
Find it here:
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Gl Strandvej 13
Finn Juhl’s House
This may be the last on the list but it’s one of the places I love the most.
Finn Juhl was a Danish architect and furniture designer and built the architecture from inside and out. All the furniture in the house is designed by Finn John and many are the handcrafted furniture that was made by cabinet Niels Vodder for the Cabinetmaker’s Guild Exhibition in 1937. In the house you’ll find some of Finn Juhl’s most iconic designs. This gives me goosebumps.
Find it here:
Finn Juhl’s House
How to spend 24 hours in Copenhagen
Sometimes we have very little time in one place before we're heading to the next. If that's the case, don't worry, I got you covered. If you're lucky to have 24 hours in Copenhagen here's how to spend it.
9AM breakfast at Atelier September. Food is simple, coffee is great and the interior is spot on. Take a window seat and look out on the street as Copenhageners pass by on their bikes.
10.30AM after a slow breakfast it's time to be a little arty. Luckily there are many places around the corner from Atelier September, but the one you should head to is Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Grab a cup of coffee from Apollo Bar before you leave.
12PM OK, so now it's time for resting your mind and browsing some shops.
Here are some (!) of my favourites in central Copenhagen. They're all carefully curated shops, and I promise you, you will not leave empty-handed.
Shops that are worth a visit
File Under Pop Showroom
2PM Lunch at Sonny.
4PM OK, now it's time for a little zen and a break and for that there's no place like Copenhagen Botanical Garden.
6PM From the Botanical Garden make your way to BRUS in Guldbergsgade on Nørrebro.
8PM dinner at Fleisch, a butcher, bar and eatery in the Meat Packing District.
10PM ...And the beauty of it all, if you fancy going out after dinner you can stay in the Meat Packing District till dawn.
24 hours isn't long if you want to experience Copenhagen, but if you're interested in art, design, interiors the suggestions above is a very good starting point.
There's much more to read about Copenhagen on the NABO journal. See the 'continue reading' list below and dig into the topic that interests you most.
Here's a list of all our Copenhagen content on the NABO journal