Once a low-key underrated city, for the past decade the Danish capital has been showered with superlatives. Polls claim it to have the world’s best quality of life and rate its citizens as the happiest people on the planet. Here’s our guide to where to stay in Copenhagen. Keen to explore other cool European capitals? Take a look at the best area to stay in Amsterdam.
The information in this article is inspired by Pocket Rough Guide Copenhagen, your essential guide for visiting Copenhagen.
Despite its new-found glory, Copenhagen remains a relaxed, homely place, with accommodation to match – though it doesn’t come cheap. Facilities offered at most places are ultra-modern, often beautifully designed with eco-conscious features.
There are also several excellent hostels that rival budget hotels in terms of value and style. Be aware that the latter are often packed with rowdy Swedish students during the summer holidays and availability can be an issue at these times.
Tivoli, Denmark’s most-visited attraction, may appear at first glance every bit as tacky as any other amusement park around the world.
But it actually has much more to offer than just its thrilling set of rides. Its 83,000-square-metre gardens have gorgeous flower displays and fountains, and there’s a romantic boating lake, exotic buildings and spectacular illuminations at night. All this beauty makes this area one of the best places to stay in Copenhagen.
A few paces away is buzzing Rådhuspladsen square, whose innards hold a fascinating astronomical clock. Hotels close to the sights of Tivoli are particularly expensive.
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Like accommodation in Tivoli, places to rest your head in the Inner City are pretty pricey. That said, you’re paying for an excellent location. This is Copenhagen’s heart and hub, its compact warren of narrow streets and cobbled squares home to the capital’s principal shopping district and countless bars and restaurants.
Historic buildings rub shoulders with modern but the area, bisected by the bustling pedestrianized thoroughfare of Strøget, is at its most atmospheric around the Latin Quarter, original home to the university.
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There are lot's of things to do in Copenhagen but we've collected a list of things you can do here for free.
Packed with busy bars and restaurants, canalside Nyhavn attracts thousands of visitors thanks to its pretty postcard setting. To Nyhavn’s north are the elegant Rococo houses of Frederiksstaden, built as a grand symbol of Frederik V’s reign. The huge dome of the Marmorkirken dominates the skyline, while three main streets divide the area.
Store Kongensgade is lined with galleries, restaurants and high-end shops, Bredgade is quieter, and cobbled Amaliegade bisects the palaces of Amalienborg. All three streets lead up to Christian IV’s impressive defensive fortress, the grass-bastioned Kastellet. Finally, perched on a lonely rock off the Kastellet’s northern edge, is the city’s most famous icon – the diminutive Little Mermaid.
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Copenhagen is a wonderful place for a family holiday. In our Scandi family escape guide you will find useful information about things you should do in Copenhagen with kids.
Christian IV’s Renaissance summer palace, the Rosenborg Slot, provides a real contrast with the crowded streets of the inner city to the east. To its west is an almost continuous string of attractive parks and gardens. Apart from being lovely places to stay nearby, they also house several significant museums, including the Statens Museum for Kunst and Hirschsprungske Samling, the city’s Botanical Gardens.
With its tight network of narrow canals and cobbled streets, Christianshavn is one of the city’s most charming areas. Water is omnipresent, unsurprising given that the island was constructed from reclaimed land in the 16th century to form a defensive arc around the city.
Its primary tourist interest is the unique “Freetown” of Christiania, home to one of the world’s most famous alternative communities. To the north, former naval base Holmen and its neighbouring islands have been re-energized after decades of disuse with post-industrial developments.
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The two neighbouring districts of Vesterbro and Frederiksberg couldn’t be more contrasting. Vesterbro was until recently a neglected working-class area. Urban regeneration projects over the past fifteen years have smartened it up, inflating the value of property, and attracting more affluent residents. They have brought with them a slew of edgy art galleries, restaurants and bars.
As one of the main arteries leading into the city, Vesterbrogade has been lined with restaurants and inns since the sixteenth century. Today, it offers access to the hugely popular nightlife of Kødbyen, and retains a bohemian atmosphere thanks to the large number of artists and musicians who still live here.
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Conservative Frederiksberg combines elegant tree-lined avenues, beautiful parks and grand villas – a stroll down Frederiksberg Allé to the romantic seventeenth-century Frederiksberg Have (gardens) and palace gives a flavour of its well-heeled opulence. The quaint little street of Værnedamsvej links the two districts with some superb places to eat and drink, exclusive shops and a neighbourly, outgoing feel.
One of the city’s most beautiful and romantic spots, Frederiksberg Have was originally laid out in the late seventeenth century as gardens for the recently completed royal palace. The gardens’ Baroque formality was remodelled in the English landscape style a century later, with winding paths weaving across undulating lawns, boating canals and numerous follies hidden among the trees.
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Beyond the city ramparts, the two neighbouring midnineteenth-century districts of Nørrebro and Østerbro are sometimes difficult to tell apart. This is despite deeply contrasting histories – Nørrebro’s one of deprivation and social struggle followed by more recent immigration and gentrification, and Østerbro’s characterized by traditional wealth and privilege.
Aside from Copenhagen’s most famous cemetery they lack standout tourist sights. They do, however, have plenty to offer when it comes to going out and having a good time with the locals.
Squares such as trendy Sankt Hans Torv and multicultural Blågårds Plads in Nørrebro, and laidback Bopa Plads in Østerbro, are alive and kicking day and night, as is the once grimy Jægersborggade, now one of the city’s most hyped streets, thanks mostly to the presence of a Michelinstarred restaurant.
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Planning a trip to Copenhagen but don't know where to start? Our day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Copenhagen will come to your rescue.
East Amager is part of Copenhagen and Amager Island with bridges over the harbour in the centre of Copenhagen. One of the main attractions in the summertime for locals and tourists alike is Amager Beach. Here, just 15 minutes from the city centre, you can have a great time. There are many green areas such as Amager Beach Park, Kastrup Sea Bath and the Copenhagen Rope Park.
Here you can also find the Blue Planet, the largest aquarium in Northern Europe.
This area is about beach life, fine restaurants and a high standard of living. If you want to do water sports, head to Amager Beach Park. Amagerbrogade is where you'll find plenty of places to dine, and it's easy to hide from the tourist crowds in the cosy, quiet streets.
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If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Copenhagen without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.
Ready for a trip to the Copenhagen in Denmark? Check out the snapshot Pocket Rough Guide Copenhagen or The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget. If you travel further in Denmark, read more about the best time to go, how to get to Denmark, how to get around the country and where to stay once you are there.
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