Copenhagen Facts & Travel Tips
Copenhagen is Denmark's capital. It is the largest city in the country and home to the parliament ("Folketinget").
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy and the queen lives in Copenhagen at the castle Amalienborg.
Inhabitants: 1.145.804 (in 2007)
Area code: + 45
Language: Danish (many speak passable English)
Currency: Kroner ( 1 Euro = ca. 7.5 kr.)
The climate is temperate and unreliable due to the surrounding seas.
Copenhagen's international and domestic airport (CPH) is at Kastrup. The easiest and fastest way into town is by train. Train tickets are sold in terminal 3 (the international terminal), and the trains to Copenhagen or Sweden arrive and depart below the terminal. Going to Copenhagen's central station costs less than 30 kr. and takes less than 15 minutes. There's a train to town every 10 minutes or so in the daytime.
Copenhagen is connected to the European continent and Sweden by railway. There are regional trains as well. Timetables at www.rejseplanen.dk.
It is fairly easy to get around in Copenhagen by public transport. There are buses, metro and regional trains. You can find timetables ("køreplaner") and more at www.movia.dk.
Taxis can usually be flagged down everywhere in the city centre, but they are not cheap. Most of the year you can borrow a city bike. There are many bicycle lanes, and car drivers are used to look out for bicycles, but unless you're an experienced cyclist, I'd advice against biking in the city centre - you need two pairs of eyes and a sixth sense to stay alive.
Like in all big cities parking can be a nightmare. Most places you have to pay, and it is rather expensive (though a lot more expensive if you don't!).
There are many hotels in Copenhagen and some B & B's too. We usually stay at a hotel near the central station. The district is cheerless, and there are some shady characters, but we have always felt safe. Most hotels here are decent and reasonably cheap, and it is very central.
Restaurants in Copenhagen
There are restaurants of every kind and price level in Copenhagen. It is often said that eating out (or drinking for that matter) in Copenhagen is very expensive. That is true for some touristy areas (like e.g. Tivoli, Strøget or Nyhavn) or gourmet restaurants, but it is also possible to eat at very reasonable prices. If for instance you take a walk on Vesterbrogade away from the city centre, you'll find many ethnic restaurants with excellent food and fair prices. For instance we had an excellent lunch for 49 kr. per person in 2007 at a Turkish restaurant at Vesterbrogade 39. Their evening buffet cost 79 kr. - now that can hardly be called expensive.
When we're in Copenhagen, we want a treat, and here are a few of the restaurants we have tried and can recommend:
- We seem to return to Le Pave at Gråbrødretorv. It is a French restaurant with delicious food, and quality is consistently high. A 3 course menu will typically cost you 275 kr. Excellent value for money.
If you want to taste the traditional Danish quisine, Restaurant Nytorv at Nytorv 15, 1450 København K is an excellent choice. We often go there for lunch and have open sandwiches ("Smørrebrød").
If you like Yugoslavian food, Restaurant Dubrovnik is not a bad choice. I love their goulash soup and cevapcici that bring back memories from our trips to Slovenia. Despite being very central in Studiestræde 32 prices are very fair.
Another Balkan restaurant is Restaurant Mostar at Gl. Kongevej 41, 1610 København V. not far from the Planetarium. We have tried it only once, but it left a good impression.
Tips are included at all restaurants and bars. Tips are not expected, and nobody will think about it, if you don't tip. However if you are satisfied with the service, it is not unusual to pay a round figure or leave some coins as a token of thanks.
There are many worthwhile sights in Copenhagen, and a good place to start is the website www.visitcopenhagen.com.
The royal palace, Amalienborg, is high on many's list, but frankly it is rather dull unless you have children, who will enjoy the change of guards. If you are hot on castles Rosenborg Castle is much more exiting, and here you can also see the crown jewels. Or why not take the train to Elsinore and visit Kronborg, Hamlet's castle? The train ride takes about an hour.
Tivoli is a delightful place in the summertime. On a warm summer evening I can hardly imagine a better place to be. It is very beautiful and has lots of atmosphere. Restaurants are pricy though.
There are many museums and art galleries in Copenhagen. We have visited quite a few, but seem to return to The National Museum, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and The Workers' Museum. A museum little know to tourists is The Storm P. Museum at Frederiksberg Runddel (take a bus!). Storm P. was a Danish painter/writer who also made comic strips. If you don't understand Danish you'll miss some of the humour, but there are plenty of funny drawings and paintings where language doesn't matter. If you are in Copenhagen a Saturday don't miss the national museum's Victorian Home. It is a gem. We visited in 2007 and were really delighted. Guided tours in English, Saturdays at 11.
A harbour cruise is a great way to see some of the city, and a stroll down Strøget (Europe's longest pedestrian street) is a must. If the weather is nice and clear you can take a detour down Købmagergade, climb Rundetårn (209 metres walk to get up 36 metres) and enjoy the view. It was built in 1642 and has an observatory on the top. In October 1716 Tsar Peter the Great took the trip to the top on horseback, and his wife Katarina drove in a carriage.
When you have walked through Strøget, you end up at Kongens Nytorv (if you started at City Hall Square - Rådhuspladsen - that is). Turn right and visit the cosy Hviids Vinstue ("wine bar") from 1723 or cross the square and visit Nyhavn. There are some pricy restaurants here, but if the weather is pleasant, it is a great place to enjoy a beer outside by the canal.
Some years back we enjoyed a visit to the Carlsberg Brewery. There's a museum and stables with wonderful horses, and afterwards you can taste free beer samples. It is not in the city centre, but it is easy to go by bus or S-train.
For some reason The Little Mermaid is internationally associated with Copenhagen and named as one of the most important sights. I wonder why. Most people are disappointed, when they see how small she is, and I'd say it is a waste of time, unless you insist of having your picture taken with the sculpture in the background.
There are many more sights and things to do in and around Copenhagen, and maybe this served as an appetizer. For some of our experiences you can read my Copenhagen trip report 2007.
Banks and Money
A relevant point, because Copenhagen can be an expensive city to visit. A standing Danish joke goes like this:
"Are you going on holiday?"
The banks' opening hours are usually 09:00-16:00. There are lots of ATMs that accept the usual credit cards like MasterCard, Visa and Diners Club, and almost all shops accept credit cards.
"Well, where are you going?"
"Oh, can you afford that?"
A Copenhagen Card is a pass to public transport and many museums and attractions. It doesn't come cheap, but if you plan to see a lot it may well be worth the price, and it is convenient. See the link above for detailed information.
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Updated 2. June, 2018