So, funny story…my husband and I had a big Europe trip planned for May 2020. Well, you can probably guess that it got canceled 🤣 Two years later, we finally made our way out there. This time, we scaled back our itinerary to only include one country, Denmark! Mostly Copenhagen, but we explored other areas as well. It was DEFINITELY the trip of a lifetime! Many of my readers enjoyed following along the journey and requested a guide about my trip and favorite spots. So here we goooooo! 🇩🇰
This guide includes:
- Where We Stayed
- Getting Around Copenhagen & Denmark
- Etiquette, Quick Facts, & Packing Essentials
- Things to Do & See
- Where to Eat & Drink
- Best Coffee Shops in Copenhagen
- Day Trips from Copenhagen
- Interactive Map
Where We Stayed
Normally my husband and I do the AirBnb route when traveling. But we booked our trip kind of late and not much was available. We ended up staying at Steel House Copenhagen in Vesterbro and I really liked it! It’s a “luxury hostel” which did make me a bit nervous because I usually associate hostels with being…not so great? But we got a private room and it was actually a great stay and clean with nice amenities.
- 5-minute walk from Central Station and right next to a park
- Laundry available
- Kitchen space you can rent
- Bikes for rent
- Pool and gym
- Small cafe with food/coffee/drinks
- Happy hours, activities, games, and tours available
- Strong WiFi
We got a Double Room which was TINY but worked for us and had the basics. It came to about $114 a night for our 7-night stay.
Getting Around Copenhagen & Denmark
It’s quite easy to get around Copenhagen! You probably know, but EVERYONE bikes here (more than 50% of Copenhageners cycle to work or school every day and there are over 700,000 bikes in the city)! There is not much car traffic in return 🚲
So renting a bike is always an option. There are bike lanes on almost all roads but it is kind of intense if you’re not used to it. You need to stay single file, keep to the right, obey traffic, use hand signals…stuff like that!
We mostly walked everywhere (make sure you pack comfy shoes; most people wear tennis shoes even with their work clothes!) and took the train/bus 🚆
I suggest buying a City Pass Small (available at train stations and at the airport) which gets you unlimited access to buses, trains, and the metro within the city. You can get a Large pass for a broader area outside of the city. Sometimes a worker would come around on the train to check our tickets, but not often. It felt kind of like the honor system sometimes 😂
We did rent a car one day (there is a car rental spot right next to Steel House!) to drive south a few hours for a day trip. It felt similar to driving in the US; steering wheel on the left and driving on the right. If you do this, you’ll need your driver’s license.
If you don’t get cell signal overseas like me, then you can download Google Maps offline so you can still navigate! It’s helpful to save spots to your map too. I have a map embedded below that you can use!
Etiquette, Quick Facts, & Packing Essentials 🧳
Just a few notes before we dive in…
- Tipping at restaurants/bars is not expected and is included in the price you pay upfront. Of course, you can always add a tip if you want!
- Copenhagen is rather cashless and you can just use your credit card everywhere. We only needed cash once and that was at the metro when our card randomly didn’t work on a machine. Probably a fluke! They use the Danish Kroner (1 DKK is currently about $0.14 USD) 💵
- Everyone speaks English and it’s taught in schools there so don’t worry about not being able to communicate. Some people might assume you speak Danish and start speaking it to you (maybe that was just me since I’m blonde and look kinda Scandinavian??), but they’ll quickly realize you don’t understand. Some menus were in Danish, but for the most part, you’ll see a lot of signs and menus in English too. It can’t hurt to learn a few phrases, though!
- You’ll likely be greeted with “hi!” which is spelled hej and is how they say hello. I usually responded with “hello” so they knew I only spoke English. What’s super cute is that their goodbye is pronounced: “hi hi” ☺️
- You can drink alcohol in public and walk around with open containers!
- The Danes seem particular about lines/queues/following street signs. Everyone seemed respectful of each other’s space and I’d suggest staying within crosswalks and following suit. Oh yeah, and do NOT walk in the bike lanes.
Embrace the hygge!
According to Visit Denmark…
In essence, hygge is a Danish word that means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cozying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too. And there’s nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life.
(btw, it’s pronounced hue-gah)
Things to Pack:
- Comfy shoes
- Make sure you wear layers because the weather can shift abruptly. It never really gets above 65 degrees, even in summer, and prepare for rain and wind! An umbrella and rain jacket are a good idea.
- Don’t forget to buy adapters for your electronics because they have different outlets! I bought this 6-pack of plugs 🔌
Things to Do & See
Something I love doing when traveling is literally just wandering around the city and exploring! Copenhagen has tons to offer and the old architecture is simply stunning. Here are some attractions and landmarks to check out:
Assistens Cemetery: The most beautiful cemetery I’ve been to! They treat this as a park so you can walk around or have a picnic here and it’s not weird at all 🪦 Author Hans Christian Andersen is buried here.
Canal tour or rent a boat: We just walked up to one of the tour companies and bought a ticket and did an hour-long tour through the canals. There are some companies like GoBoat where you can rent your own private boat. I SO wanted to rent a floating hot tub but unfortunately, they were not operating at the time.
Christiansborg Palace: You can climb up the tower for a 360 view of the city. They also have old ruins under the castle.
Climb Church of Our Savior: Another city view and quite the leg workout! Also called Stairway to Heaven.
eBike tour to the Forgotten Giants: This was one of my favorite activities, even though we had nasty rainy weather. There are six wooden giants (by artist Thomas Dambo) scattered through the suburbs. It goes for about 3.5 hours but the bike is electric so you’re assisted. Also an opportunity to see what biking in Copenhagen is like and also get out of the city! You can book through AirBnb experiences here.
Frederiksberg Have: Soooo beautiful! 18th-century, English-style landscaped gardens that you can walk through.
Frederiksholms Canal: A scenic spot to watch boats go by or get some Instagram pics 😄
Freetown Christiania: If you’re up for an adventure! It’s an anarchist commune on a former military base with about 900 residents. You can grab a drink or food in here or go to Pusher Street for some…herbs 😉 You’re not really supposed to take photos in here so put the phone away!
Jump on the trampolines: I thought this was SO fun! There are little sidewalk trampolines along the Havnegade Harbour Promenade if you want a quick rebounding session. I dare you to not smile while doing it!
Kastellet: If you want to take a stroll through a park on a warm day! It’s a 17th-century star-shaped fortress and has a windmill in it. You have to go through here to see the Little Mermaid statue anyway.
Little Mermaid Statue: This is pretty famous (author Hans Christian Andersen was Danish) but it’s not really a MUST see in my opinion. I’d say go visit it, take your photo, and that’s it haha. I personally liked the nearby “Genetically Modified Little Mermaid” statue better 🧜♀️
Magstræde and Snaregade: More Instagram-worthy photo locations! These are old cobblestone streets with picturesque colorful buildings.
Nyhavn Harbor: This is the classic tourist zone in Copenhagen and a pretty spot for photos! There are also lots of restaurants along here but they’re kind of expensive since it’s a touristy area.
Rosenborg Castle: Very historic and you can see Life Guards protecting the grounds. It was built in 1606 as a summerhouse by the order of Christian IV. You can pop in for a tour or walk around the gardens which are gorgeous!
Sankt Pauls Gade: A neighborhood that’s enjoyable to walk through and has lots of colorful houses and buildings.
Stork Fountain: Also known as Storkespringvandet and is located in a bustling central square. It’s a popular place for new midwives to go and celebrate when they graduate!
Where to Eat & Drink
Gosh, Denmark has some amazing food! I’ve always heard that food in Europe tastes better because they have stricter regulations when it comes to ingredients. And I feel like it’s true after experiencing it! Things just taste…real? Like, here in America, everything is so processed, too sweet, and just kind of gross in comparison…not gonna lie!
Also, yes this blog is called “Organically Becca” but when I travel, I do NOT try to be perfect or hold back. I ate tons of pastries this trip and have zero guilt! Plus, I got about 20,000 steps each day so all that walking works up an appetite.
American Pie Company: I had to stop here because it’s owned by a Wisconsinite 🥧 They offer both sweet and savory pies. Mmmmm!
BRUS Brewpub: This place was awesome! Craft beer on tap, natural wines, and tasty food. We got fermented potato fries, beef tartare, and rhubarb ice cream for dessert. It’s located in an old iron foundry and locomotive factory.
Conditori La Glace: The oldest patisserie in Copenhagen (1870!)
Den Økologiske Pølsemand: I’m not a huge hot dog person, but this organic hot dog stand was soooooooo good! They taste more like brats but are smaller like a hot dog 🌭
Grød: Lots of locations around the city. This is a porridge bar and on the healthier side. You can get oats, açai bowls, risotto, salads, and more.
Isoteket Organic Gelato: Made from scratch with high-quality ingredients and grass-fed milk!
La Banchina: The best place to hang out on a warm, sunny day. You can sit outside on their dock by the water. They have biodynamic food, natural wine, beer, and coffee. And a sauna on-site that you can book ahead of time and then take a cold plunge in the water after!
Lidkoeb: A cocktail bar tucked away in an alley. They have a cozy outdoor seating space with blankets and a fireplace on a chilly day.
Lille Bakery: Located in Refshaleøen off the beaten path. They try to source organic and local ingredients 🥐
Madklubben Vesterbro: We went here for a nice dinner and loved it. Make sure you make reservations for restaurants because locals tend to spend 2-3 hours dining. And this is one of the most-visited restaurants in CPH! They have a mix of Danish dishes and international flavors.
Reffen: Located in Refshaleøen, this is a cool street food park made from old shipping containers with vendors that offer cultural foods from around the world. You can find basically anything here!
Sankt Peders Bageri: The oldest and most iconic bakery in Copenhagen from 1652!
Torvehallerne: An urban public market with all sorts of vendors. You can buy fresh produce, fish, meat, coffee, sweets, you name it. I got some fiskefrikadeller (Danish fish cakes) from Boutique Fisk.
Warpigs Brewpub: A BBQ joint with lots of beer. Not very traditionally Danish, but fun nevertheless! It’s in the meatpacking district which is a cool industrial part of town.
If you want to save some money or have a picnic in the park somewhere, you can hit up a grocery store! One thing to note is that you are expected to bring your own bag. Otherwise, it will cost extra to use a plastic bag. You might also have to scan your receipt to exit the store!
Best Coffee Shops in Copenhagen
This was my main priority when planning 🤓 and I MUST research the best coffee before traveling! Yes, I’m a snob. These were some of the coffee shops I went to and enjoyed. Believe it or not, there were more that I didn’t get a chance to visit!
Some things I noticed about the coffee shops:
- They’re not very big on iced coffee (iskaffe) or cold brews…maybe it’s not hygge enough? Some places had them though!
- Don’t expect super sugary flavored lattes or frappuccinos! The menus are more traditionally European (espresso, plain latte, americano, cappuccino, etc.) and the sizes are MUCH smaller than our grande and venti drinks here.
- I didn’t see a lot of non-dairy milk alternatives FYI; maybe oat milk one or two times, but mostly just regular milk!
But I did see a couple of Starbucks if that’s your thing 🙃
Coffee shops I enjoyed in Copenhagen:
- Andersen & Maillard: This is up in Nørrebro and more of a place that locals go to! Lots of delicious bakery items and tasty filter coffee. I ate a pistachio croissant cube there and it was to die for!
- Cadence: This place is adorable and chic! You can do takeaway coffee and pastries or sit down for a meal (I wasn’t able to try the food, just coffee). The menu is modern and something you’d see in the US (avocado toast, coconut yogurt, gluten-free goodies, green smoothies, mushroom latte, bone broth, bulletproof coffee, etc.).
- Coffee Collective: They have multiple locations around the city and roast beans for a lot of nearby places.
- Cub Coffee Bar
- Democratic Coffee: They had two types of cold brew here! Soooooooo good.
- Prolog Coffee Bar: This was my FAVORITE coffee shop! I had an iced coffee and THE most delicious peach granola yogurt. Still dreaming about it! I bought some beans to take home as a souvenir.
- Studio Rikiki: Located in a precious courtyard (next to Rist) and also is a little eclectic shop where you can buy clothes, kid clothes, gifts, and home goods. I had a chai latte and it was literally one of the best I’ve ever had, no joke. My husband got a matcha latte which was equally amazing.
I’m not a huge fan of shopping but there are some places to check out! Copenhagen actually has Strøget which is one of the longest pedestrian shopping streets in the world! It’s over 1 km long and you can find all sorts of stores. I did see a Vivobarefoot store which is a minimal shoe brand I like. Even if you don’t plan to shop, this is a fun place to stroll through and hear some musicians along the street!
And I ALWAYS have to scope out the clean beauty stores when traveling! I popped into Ara’kai Beauty which is a skincare studio and boutique. You can get facials there but they carry natural beauty brands like Salt & Stone, Josh Rosebrook, Ilia, Odacité, David’s Toothpaste, and more.
Day Trips from Copenhagen
This won’t take a full day; it’s about a 15-minute train ride to the airport, then a 20-minute bus ride to Dragør. It’s a quaint, old 18th-century fishing village with cobblestone streets and well-preserved historical buildings. It’s a quiet community and a little escape from the hustle and bustle of the city! There is a fort, beach, and public swim area. It has some cafes and shops too.
The third-largest city in Sweden! You can buy a ticket at Central Station and it’s about a 40-minute train ride over the bridge. Make sure you bring your passport just in case, although ours were never checked.
Things to do in Malmö:
- Eat at Siesta (we had traditional Swedish meatballs and Janssons Frestelse which is a potato anchovy casserole dish)
- Explore old town squares Stortorget and Lilla Torg
- Malmö Castle and museum (this wasn’t *that* exciting IMO but kids might like it)
- Ribersborgs open-air bath which is a sauna and area to cold plunge. We wanted to do this but the weather was really bad!
- Turning Torso tower
- Visit Malmö Saluhall, a market with a bunch of food vendors
You can take the bus even further to Lund which is supposed to be a charming medieval area with cobblestone roads and half-timbered houses.
Møns Klint & Skovatarnet
I LOVED this day trip! We rented a car and drove out to the countryside and passed through small Danish towns. It was about a two-hour ride south to Møns Klint, a 6 km stretch of chalk cliffs along the eastern coast of the island of Møn in the Baltic Sea. The cliffs are stunning and the sound of walking on the rock beach is something else! You can drive right to the visitor center and see the lookout, or visit the northern side and hike through a pasture and take the stairs down to the cliffs (I vote doing both!).
On our way back we stopped at Skovatarnet (forest tower). Super cool! This is about an hour from downtown Copenhagen. It’s a 45-meter-high tower in the middle of the woods that spirals up 12 circles. It’s part of a place called Camp Adventure which also has glamping in yurts, a climbing obstacle course, flower farm, and ziplining. You can stop here to eat and have a drink too!
If we had more time, we would have loooooved to visit Aarhus which is the second-largest city in Denmark and looks sooooooo charming! It’s about a 3-hour train ride.
Interactive Map 🗺
Here’s a handy dandy map view of all the places from this guide!
Writing this guide totally makes me want to go back 😩 Denmark is truly a special and unique place. It was at the top of my bucket list for a while and I’m so thankful we were finally able to make it happen. I hope this guide was helpful if you’re planning a trip yourself! ✈️