9 1/2 things you need to know before visiting Copenhagen

As I discovered this weekend, Copenhagen is a fantastic city. Denmark’s capital is a perfect city break destination and I fell in love with the place for so many reasons.

I get the feeling I will be waxing lyrical about this Scandi gem for weeks to come, but before you pack your bags to join me in this state of post-CPH euphoria, here’s a few things about the Danish capital you should know…

Nyhavn

Nyhavn

  1.        No eating after 10pm

This is a particular concern if you land at Copenhagen Airport in the evening, as we discovered…

Denmark is a relatively early country and so it’s impossible to find a restaurant open past 10pm, and quite a struggle after 9pm. The best solution? Do as the Danes do and have tea around 6pm.

  1.        Copenhagen is FAR cheaper than anyone lets on

The biggest surprise of Copenhagen by far was just how affordable everything was. Sure, it’s easy to blow a load of money if you eat out in upscale restaurants every night, but with minimal effort, you can find food for the price you’d pay in Manchester.

Some bargains:

  •          all-day hop on/hop off boat pass: £8 (75 DK)
  •          croissant and hot chocolate from a bakery: £4.50 (40 DK)
  •          bottle of cider in a Nyhavn cafe: £5.50 (49 DK)
  •          3-hour guided bike tour (inc. bike hire): £33 (299 DK)

I really don’t understand why people put it on a par with places like these.

  1.        Danish Kroner are unfathomable

Why are the numbers so small???

Sankt Peders Straede - my favourite street in CPH

Sankt Peders Straede – my favourite street in CPH

  1.        Danish people are absolutely lovely

We were greeted with nothing but smiles the entire time we were in Copenhagen (we were asked for directions about 10 times). The people we spoke to were incredibly friendly, every tour guide we had was hilarious and everyone seemed so keen to show off their country – even a ticket inspector at the Central Station was suggesting places for us to visit.

  1.        It’s not easy being green

It’s no secret that Copenhagen is a green city (this year’s Eurovision is going to be the greenest in history) but I had no idea how green. The city aims to become the first carbon-neutral city with over 1 million inhabitants by 2025. Unfortunately for the meantime that means quite a few road works to fit more efficient pipes underground – but all in the name of a good cause!

  1.         “The Latins of the North”

As our tour guide explained, the Danes are pretty chilled; shops don’t stay open late, the trains don’t run on time and people aren’t always punctual (all of which we experienced first-hand). This has apparently earned them the nickname of “the Latins of the North” among their straight-laced German neighbours.

P1010948

Points for effort…?

  1.        The perils of visiting off-season

Our flights to CPH were an absolute bargain… for one key reason: the tourist season starts in April. This brings one main drawback – the infamous Tivoli Gardens are closed. We were pretty gutted not to be able to visit, but we still had plenty of things to keep us occupied.

  1.        The perks of visiting off-season

Despite Tivoli gardens being shut, I would definitely recommend hitting Copenhagen off-season: we had brilliant weather (a definite chill in the air, but very sunny), Nyhavn wasn’t swarming with people (we even had a beer garden all to ourselves) and the tours were quiet (we were the only two on our bike tour and we didn’t have to queue for more than a few minutes for a boat).

  1.        No need for the metro

There is literally no need to travel by metro in Copenhagen. Denmark’s capital is one of the best cities in the world for cycling, it’s hugely walkable and has fantastic boat tours. Walk, sail or cycle – there’s no need to disappear underground.

9 ½. There is a city beach called Copencabana

We didn’t go, I just thought it was worth mentioning.

Don’t forget to check out my snaps from Copenhagen here.

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11 responses to “9 1/2 things you need to know before visiting Copenhagen

  1. You just have to make me go to Copenhagen, don’t you? 😀 It was actually one of the destinations I’ve considered for my first holiday this year, but the flights and the accommodation in July were over my budget 😦

      • The cheapest flights I found were over €200, we don’t have any low-cost flights. (Though, to be fair, our low cost airlines don’t always have low-cost prices). But that Malmo-Copenhagen trip I’ve twitted about seems doable. I just need to convince my friends, they said it’s too early to talk about it now. (I want it at the end of the year, haha)

  2. Good to hear that it’s not as pricey as you’d think – I’ve been seeing lots of posts about Copenhagen recently and everyone loves it, might have to see if I can squeeze in a weekend trip sometime this year!

    • I would definitely recommend it – such a beautiful city, with a lovely calm vibe. Accommodation is pretty pricey but I couldn’t believe some of the low prices you can find. It definitely doesn’t deserve to be grouped in with Oslo.

  3. Aside from the boat tour, everything else still seems pricey. $9 for a hot chocolate and a croissant? You’ll pay half of that in NYC. Prices aside, this is still on my must-visit list.

    • While Copenhagen definitely isn’t ‘cheap’, I found prices to be really reasonable. A hot chocolate in Starbucks in the UK would cost around £3-4, I’d say…

  4. John,

    I ended up on this blog post when I was searching for a good photo of “Sankt Peders Stræde”. I have my own small blog (mostly about music) and I lived in Denmark end 70s/beginning 80s for many years (and have visited many times since). Unfortunately, for some strange reason, I don’t have a really good photo of said street.

    I’m preparing a lengthy post about “Sneakers”, a popular Danish band and want to end the post by highlighting one of their evocative songs from 1984, “Skt. Peders Engle” (Katbeat, 1984) which is, obviously, a song dedicated to Sankt Peders Stræde and the area around it. It also happens to be my favorite song of theirs.

    So, I was wondering if you would allow me to use a smaller version of your photo (the width of photos on my blog is 900px), sans the black frame, to illustrate the song.

    Of course, you would receive credit in the photo caption.

    Volkher (greetings from Germany, just across from Karlsruhe)

  5. John,

    thanks for your kind reply.

    I’ll send you my mail address after I posted this comment. Just in case you have to root around your spam folder for it, it’s got my moniker (deus62) in it.

    Again, thanks!

    Volkher (deus62)

  6. Pingback: 5 cities I’d revisit any day | Continental Breakfast Travel·

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