Copenhagen is regularly named the world’s most liveable city, and after just a short time wandering through its historic centre, or better still cruising by bicycle, it’s easy to see why. Read more.
Copenhagen is regularly named the world’s most liveable city, and after just a short time wandering through its historic centre, or better still cruising by bicycle, it’s easy to see why.
Compact and charming
The beauty of Denmark’s capital is its size, with many of its key attractions in easy walking distance. Head to the Designmuseum Danmark to get see examples of the country’s world-renowned contemporary design, then stroll through the historic canal quarter of Christianshavn. The alternative community of Christiania can be found here too, established in 1971 when young and homeless people moved into a group of abandoned military barracks and proclaimed it a ‘free city’. Soft drugs are openly sold down the community’s central street, although photos are forbidden. Also in the heart of Copenhagen is Denmark’s most popular attraction, Tivoli Gardens. Opened in 1843, the charming theme park has an array of rides, both historic and modern, as well as entertainment venues. At night enjoy a show at the open-air pantomime theatre beneath strings of lanterns and fairy lights. In summer it’s easy to cool off at Copenhagen’s beach, Amager Strandpark, or in one of the city’s two outdoor swimming pools, then in winter rug up warm and explore the traditional Christmas markets.
Food, glorious food
Copenhagen’s food scene is flourishing, so you’ll have no trouble finding sustenance as you explore the city, whether it’s the wienerbrød pastries piled high in bakery windows, or smørrebrød, traditional Danish open rye bread sandwiches stacked with toppings like salty corned beef, smoked fish, tangy horseradish sauce and herbed potato salad. If you fancy a picnic in the botanic gardens, stock up at the Torvehallerne Market, where a huge range of stands offer specialty produce from both local and international suppliers. The market is spread across two impressive glass and steel-framed halls, where patrons settle in at high counters to sample anything from fresh cod cakes and organic wine, to tapas, specialty cheeses, and jewel-like macarons. A tip: go with a full purse and an empty stomach. Start a night out with a local microbrew at the Nørrebro Bryghus, then make your way to Kødbyen, the old Meatpacking District - a cluster of modernised factory spaces that are now home to a bunch of lively restaurants, bars and clubs.
Where to stay
Relax in upmarket Østerbro, full of wonderful cafes, or in the canal quarter, Christianshavn, to the east of the city centre, sometimes called ‘Little Amsterdam’. If you’re looking for a livelier neighbourhood, try Vesterbro, packed with cafes, bars, and ethnic restaurants, or multicultural Nørrebro, with its mix of artists, students and immigrants.
In the European Green Capital for 2014, crowds of cyclists throng the wide bike lanes. Join them by renting a bike from any one of a number of outfits around the city. You can also take advantage of the city’s comprehensive public transport network, combining trains, buses and the metro to get you around in no time at all. The airport is a handy 15 minute trip from the city centre.
Landmarks in Copenhagen
- Tivoli Gardens (95)
- Freetown Christiania (47)
- The Little Mermaid (22)
- Gefion Fountain (22)
- The Deer Park (20)
- National Museum of Denmark (99)
- Nyhavn (48)
- Grundtvig's Church (20)
- Thorvaldsens Museum (96)
- Rundetårn (92)
- Vega (52)
- Statens Museum for Kunst (50)
- Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (98)
- Rosenborg Castle (56)