A city full of grateful people, and best of all, EVERYONE SPEAKS ENGLISH!
If you’re asking yourself WHY you should visit Copenhagen, then you DEFINITELY should go. The gateway to Scandinavia is modern, exceedingly friendly, compact, outrageously beautiful and let’s not even get into the food scene (which has sustained as one of the top culinary hubs in the world.) With clean water, a plethora of organic markets, and an abundance of top-notch restaurants led by forward-thinking chefs; eating your way through Copenhagen is a foodie’s dream. Be prepared to break the bank though, the city is expensive, to say the least.
Because Copenhagen is so small, you can get so much out of it without feeling like you need to spend two weeks of discovery. Just a 3 to 5-day stay is enough to cover The Little Mermaid, Tivoli Gardens, Christiania, Nyhavn…and so many more. The party scene and cocktail bars are outstanding as well, you’ll probably end up befriending everyone working in these places since this metropolis still contains a certain sense of a small-town connection.
Unlike Parisians who love to complain, folks in Copenhagen barely whine about how much they’re taxed. They’re grateful, for everything the system has given back to them that they never feel cheated out of how much they put out. It’s quite astonishing, actually, to see most Danes across the board, truly appreciating their way of life. Here are some tips to help you plan your trip. Remember to budget well, and soak in the local vibes!
How many days should you stay there for?
Copenhagen is quite a small and compact city (86.39 km2 or 33.36 sq mi,) it’s perfect for a weekend getaway or a 5-day trip if you want to experience literally EVERYTHING.
When is the best time to visit?
Unless you truly LOVE the cold, then spring time (May to August) is the best time to visit. Locals are happy that the sun is out, and nothing beats a drink in the soleil by the water. There are quite a few festivals during summertime (June/Distortion, July/Copenhagen Jazz Festival, August/Strøm and Copenhagen Pride.) So expect crowds, and lots of foreigners in the small city. Many restaurants will also be closed during summer months in July & August. Autumn is also a lovely time to visit Copenhagen, as the temperature is mild. From November through February, the weather is cold and snowy but you can see the beautiful markets during Christmas.
Do you need a visa for a layover?
EU citizens can travel freely to Denmark. If you travel to Denmark from outside the Schengen agreement area, you may also need a visa. Check your country’s visa requirement with EU Schengen countries.
A visa grants you the right to spend a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period in the Schengen region. If you remain in Denmark after your visa expires or if you attempt to use your visa stay to obtain permanent or long-term residency in Denmark, you can be given a penalty period of three or five years.
How to get there?
Flying: Welcome to one of the coolest airports in the world! Copenhagen has a modern and delicious airport, which makes sense since it’s one of Scandinavia’s busiest. It’s located 9km away from the city center in Kastrup.
Driving: You can drive to Copenhagen from Sweden. There are two major highways: E20 and E47.
Boating: You can reach Copenhagen from Norway by boat via ferry services. From Germany, there’s a train-ferry service. From Poland, there’s a bus-ferry service.
Train: You can take the train into Copenhagen from Hamburg (with ferry in between,) Oslo, Poland (bus-ferry), and Sweden (bus-ferry).
How do you get around the city?
Biking around the city is the best way to get around. The city is compact with wide bike lanes that make bicycling an utmost enjoyable experience. You can rent local Smart Bikes, called: Bycyklen, they come with touch screens, electric motors, GPS and locks. You can only pay for the bikes using a credit card though. If cycling isn’t your jam, then walking around the city is an absolutely delightful experience. The city is extremely walking-friendly and you can reach to most landmarks by foot.
Most travelers aren’t driving in Copenhagen, but it’s not stressful if you do opt for a rental car. Taxis are great but far more expensive than other destinations (you’re in Copenhagen, not South America.) Fares start at Dkr 37 (USD $5.30) and is more expensive per kilometer after 11pm on weekends. Uber is a great option if you can’t find a taxi available.
There are only 2 metro lines in Copenhagen with Line M2 connecting to the airport. Buses and trains are also available, so check the tourism office or your hotel reception for more detailed info.
How should you budget your trip?
Copenhagen is EXPENSIVE. So be prepared to shell out $$$ and budget ahead of time. Good news though, most places will take credit cards (including: American Express!)
Budget backpackers: USD $120/day can get you by with hostels, inexpensive food at markets, metro card and bike rental.
Standard explorers: USD $220/day can cover your mid-range hotel room, indulge in nice restaurants and money leftover for drinks by the water or museums.
Luxurious jetsetters: USD $220+/day will get you a nice 4 to 5-star hotel, meals at renowned restaurants and shopping at high-end stores.
What’s the tipping situation?
In hotels, restaurants and taxis, a service charge is already included. But in bars, although they don’t directly say they prefer tipping, it felt like it was expected. I added an additional 10-15%.
Is the city safe?
Besides looking out for pickpockets in touristy places, Copenhagen is generally very safe.
Is English enough to get around?
Yes. Practically EVERYONE speaks English very well in Denmark, which is such an outstanding bonus for international travelers. To top if off, they’re incredibly friendly and helpful!