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Quick facts


A small town but a big source of controversy
Noteworthy for: This place has long been a free zone for soft drugs. Despite attempts to crackdown by city authorities, cannabis is still openly sold on stalls.

Talk of the town: Bicycles with cargo trailers attached to their fronts, which you'll see all over Copenhagen, were invented in Christiania.

Christiania is a unique place - a self-proclaimed freetown for those with alternative lifestyles. It was founded in 1971 when hippies occupied an abandoned 85-acre military base, and the squat soon evolved into a self-governing, non-materialistic society with around 1,000 permanent residents.

The site consists of former military barracks housing cafes, galleries, music venues, and shops, whilst a warren of paths lead to colourful, ramshackle little houses and gardens filled with art and flowers.

Visitors are welcome at Christiania - indeed, it is Copenhagen's second most popular tourist attraction, after Tivoli - but do ask before taking photos. And be aware that, at night, the presence of drug dealers can give the atmosphere a bit of an edge.

Unsurprisingly, the progressive enclave has a complicated relationship with authorities. Residents are currently looking into collectively buying the land, but the future is uncertain. So, do visit while you can.
Address: Prinsessegade, Christianshavn
Phone: +45 3257 9670


Canals, cobbles and Europe's most famous commune
Word to the wise: In the summer, you can hire rowing boats to explore Christianshavn's waterways. Enquire at the cafe marked Baadudlejning (boat hire) on the canal Overgaden Neden Vandet.

Despite being extremely central, the pretty, Bohemian enclave of Christianshavn sees itself as distinct from the rest of Copenhagen. This sense of independence is obviously aided by the fact that the neighbourhood is a man-made island, built by King Christian IV to defend the city in 1622. But it's also a state of mind, most visibly realised by Christianshavn's self-governing commune, Christiania.

The vast commune may be the area's best known sight - indeed, it's one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city - but Christianshavn has a lot more going for it. The cobbled streets, laced with canals and bridges, are reminiscent of Amsterdam and equally well-suited to cycling and lazy afternoons in cafes. And for foodies, this is Mecca: the home of Noma, the world's best restaurant.


Make like a local and get on your bike
Noteworthy for: Copenhagen has stated its aim to become the world's best city for cyclists and is well on its way, beating Amsterdam for biking in several recent surveys.

Cycling is pretty much obligatory in Copenhagen. Almost every local does it and, so compact and cycle-friendly is the city, it doesn't take most visitors long to seek out a free rental bike. These are widely available at 125 locations: just pay a DKK 20 deposit and grab a bike.

Although the city's flat terrain and 350km of cycle lanes make cycling very easy, there are still some things to remember. Those used to cycling in aggressive cities like London need to adjust themselves to a more sedate pace: in Copenhagen, biking is more about style than speed.

Look out for mini traffic lights under the ones for cars: these allow bikes to get a head start. Be aware of one-way and pedestrian-only streets and try to avoid rush hour when you first start out: the sheer volume of bikes can be intimidating.

Inner City

Copenhagen's historic heart
Word to the wise: Stroget mostly consists of chain and department stores. Slip onto the parallel Straedet for more interesting shops and cafes.

Talk of the town: The area north of Stroget, Pisserenden, used to have a rather unsavoury reputation - the name means 'the urinal'. Today, it's a fashionable - and clean - hangout.

It isn't hard to imagine what Copenhagen looked like in the olden days: until the 1850s, no neighbourhoods existed outside the medieval, fortified district of the Inner City, or Indre By, which remains beautifully-preserved today.

The area's twisty cobbled streets and squares are still the hub of the city's commerce and culture, and buzz day and night, except on Sundays, when it's pretty deserted, as hardly anyone actually lives here.

All the main shopping streets are here - many of them known under the collective name Stroget, which claims to be the longest pedestrianised shopping street in the world - as well as the picturesque, touristy harbour area Nyhavn, Tivoli, Kongens Nytorv and the University. The old fortifications are still in evidence as a ring of lakes and parks.

Kastrup Airport

Welcome to CPH
Word to the wise: Unless you want to go to Sweden, be sure to take the train to downtown Copenhagen rather than Malmö.

Copenhagen's international airport is situated eight kilometres to the south of the city, and the process of getting into town from there will be your introduction to Danish efficiency.

Both train and metro cost the same - DKK 36 for a three-zone single ride - and which you take depends on where you want to end up. The train is for Copenhagen Central Station, whilst the metro whisks you to Kongens Nytorv and the Nyhavn area.

Both stations are in Terminal 3 and tickets can be bought at the DSB ticket office or, with cash only, from a machine. The journey to the centre of town takes around 15 minutes on the metro and half an hour on the train.

Bus number 25OS also stops at the Central Station, but can be slow-going and isn't recommended unless your destination is directly en route.

Taxis will take around half an hour to the centre and cost around DKK 220 and up.
Phone: Customer service: +45 3231 3231


Small but perfectly formed
Talk of the town: The City Circle Line is under construction and due to open in 2018. Circling the city centre, the new line will connect Østerbro, Nørrebro and Vesterbro to Frederiksberg and Indre By.

With only two lines and 22 stations - nine of which are shared - Copenhagen's Metro system isn't hard to get to grips with. It also runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, uses hi-tech driverless trains, and is fast and efficient - little wonder it was crowned the world's best Metro system in 2010.

It's a shame that, because the city centre is so well suited to walking and cycling, most visitors use the metro only to get to and from the airport (an easy 14 minute journey on the M2 line).

A single-ride, two-zone ticket costs DKK 24 and a 10-ride, two-zone pass DKK 145. A single-ride ticket from the airport to the city centre costs DKK 36. Tickets are available from vending machines at every station and the airport, and stations are marked at street level by a blue 'M' sign.


A diverse and exciting district
Noteworthy for: Much of the smash hit TV series 'The Killing' was filmed here.

If you moved to Copenhagen, you'd probably want to live in Nørrebro. Situated north-west of Indre By, it vies with Vesterbro as the city's hippest area: laid back, creative and multicultural (the latter not common in Denmark). True, it's slightly rough around the edges, but not nearly as dodgy as its local nickname, Nørrebronx, would suggest.

The area's main artery is Nørrebrogade, off which you'll find streets crammed with independent shops - try Ravnsborggade for antiques and don't miss the buzzing Jægersborggade, one of Copenhagen's coolest streets. There are a host of great restaurants and bars too - head for Sankt Hans Torv - as well as more kebab shops than you might think possible.

On Saturdays during the summer, a big flea market runs alongside the Assistens Cemetery; the leafy burial ground, final home of Hans Christian Anderson and Kirkegaard, is worth a visit in its own right.


Where the city began
Word to the wise: This "palace island" is separated by canal from the rest of Copenhagen. There are numerous bridges on which to cross.

Slotsholmen, right in the heart of Copenhagen, is a little island with a long and weighty history. It was here the city was born in 1167, when Bishop Absalon established a castle (a ‘slot’) on the orders of the King, and it has remained the base of power in Denmark ever since. The site of the original castle is now occupied by the austere bulk of Christiansborg Palace, seat of the Parliament, and surrounded by a dense concentration of historic buildings housing official institutions.

Many of the buildings can be visited, but even if you don’t have a keen interest in Danish politics, the island is well worth a morning of your time. Copenhagen’s social and cultural history is also represented here, with a host of excellent small museums ranging from the Danish Jewish Museum to the Royal Library, and there are several lovely parks.
Phone: +45 3395 4200


Copenhagen's primary transport system
Word to the wise: Remember to stamp your ticket at the yellow boxes at stations, otherwise you might be hit with a fine by inspectors.

It is Copenhagen's fleet of red S-trains, rather than the Metro, that forms the backbone of the city's transport system. The trains link central Copenhagen with its inner suburbs and carry around 250,000 passengers a day. There are 85 stations in the city and beyond; you'll spot them by the red 'S' signs outside.

Although owned by different companies, tickets for the Metro and S-trains (and the city's bus network) are interchangeable. Like the Metro, the S-trains put other European transport systems to shame - not only clean and efficient, but also with free Wi-Fi.

A journey out of the city centre will probably start from one of its two hubs, Central Station or Nørreport Station. Although you'll rarely wait more than 10 minutes for a train during the day, be aware that frequency can drop to every hour during weekend nights.

Ticket pricing is determined by zone - the city centre lies within zones one and two. If you're planning to explore further afield, look into a City Pass which allows unlimited travel on S-train, Metro, and the bus network over a certain time period.
Phone: +45 7013 1415


Once seedy, now swarming with hipsters
Word to the wise: Vesterbro has its own palm-fringed artificial beach, the pun-tastically named Copencabana. Find it in front of the Fisketorvet shopping centre during summer months.

Until quite recently, announcing you were heading over to Vesterbro for the evening would result in raised eyebrows. Now, you're more likely to get an approving nod. Once Copenhagen's red light district, this area to the west of Central Station has become the place for the young and the hip, and if a hot restaurant or cutting-edge gallery is opening in the city, chances are it'll be here.

Istedgade is Vesterbro's best known street, but it still carries traces of sleaziness, particularly at the station end. Best to head instead for the funky Oehlenschlagersgade and Vaernedamsvej, famous for its speciality food shops. When the sun goes down, head for the meat-packing area, Koedbyen - unappealingly translated as 'Meat City' - where discerning clubbers and bar flys will be spoilt for choice.

Amalienborg Palace

A palace fit for a queen
Talk of the town: When the flag is at full mast it means that the present monarch, Queen Margarethe II, is in residence.

The Royal Family have lived at Amalienborg Palace since 1794, when their previous home Christiansborg Palace burnt down. Built in French rococo style, it comprises of four buildings that form an octagonal courtyard, in the middle of which sits a statue of Fredrik V, the founder of the palace.

Amalienborg is foremost an attraction for royalists but if you're just passing by, try to do so at noon when you can catch the changing of the guard ceremony.

Despite the grandness of her house, Queen Margrethe II has a reputation for being down-to-earth and spirited - a keen painter, she illustrated an edition of Lord of the Rings under a pseudonym - and is hugely popular amongst Danes.
Address: Amalienborg Palace, Fredrikstaden
Phone: +45 3312 2186
Opening Hours: Jan-Apr, Nov-Dec, Tue-Sun: 11am - 4pm
May-Oct, Daily: 10am - 4pm

Assistens Kirkegård

A dead good hang-out
Noteworthy for: Famous residents of the cemetery include national heroes Hans Christian Andersen and Kirkegaard.

Although now a haunt of some of Denmark's most notable figures, this Norrebro graveyard was originally intended for ordinary folk, one of five such burial grounds hastily designated in the 18th century after a plague wiped out one-third of Copenhagen's population. 'Assistens Kirkegard' is the generic name for them all, simply meaning 'relief cemetery'.

This was the first one founded, at a time when Norrebro was outside the city, and is by far the most popular today - with the living, at least. Locals regard the space more as a park than a place for mourning, and when it's warm you'll see plenty of people nestled between the graves, reading, sunbathing or just hanging out.

On Saturdays in the summer, there's a good fleamarket just outside the cemetery walls.
Address: Kapelvej 4, Norrebro
Phone: +45 3537 1917

Canal tours

See the city from a new angle
Word to the wise: A kayak tour of the harbour and canals is also available - see for details.

We don't often recommend guided city tours, but if your time in Copenhagen is short a canal cruise is an excellent way to get your bearings in the city. It's also a rather pleasant jaunt - in fact, many Danes take the time to make an annual trip, so fond they are of the experience.

The Grand Tour begins and ends at either Gammel Strand or Nyhavn - the latter being the most popular - and takes in many of the city's sights including Christianshavn, the Opera House, the Little Mermaid, and Amalienborg Palace. The commentary is in both Danish and English. There's also a 24 hour hop-on, hop-off waterbus option, for those who want more independence, and jazz and dinner cruises.
Address: Ticket office, Nyhavn 3
Phone: +45 3296 3000
Opening Hours: Tours, Daily: four-six times an hour
Duration: 60 minutes

Christiansborg Palace

Denmark's power base
Talk of the town: It had to happen: a company has started a walking tour of locations used in 'The Killing', including Christianborg Palace. Google 'Peter and Ping' for details.

The spot occupied by Christiansborg Palace has been the centre of power in Denmark since the country's earliest days. It was here that Absalon's Castle was founded in 1167 and for centuries it was home to the Royal Family.

After Christianborg was destroyed by fire in 1794 the Royals relocated to Amalienborg Palace, and the Danish Parliament rebuilt the palace and moved in. They've been resident ever since, even if the building itself has changed; following yet another fire, the current Baroque-style palace was established in 1928.

Visitors can take guided tours around the palace, including access to the Royal Reception Rooms where the current-day royals still carry out official duties and which contain some nice tapestries. For our money, though, the most interesting part of the palace is the 12th century ruins of Absalon's Castle underneath the castle square.
Address: Prins Jørgens Gård 1
Phone: +45 3392 6492
Opening Hours: Daily: 10am - 5pm
Oct-Apr, Mon: Closed

Church of Our Saviour

One of the most beautiful churches in Denmark
Word to the wise: The climb to the top of the spire is not for the faint-hearted - the last 150 steps are outside, and it can get windy.

Talk of the town: Jules Verne came to Copenhagen in 1861 and the church is featured in his book 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'.

Thanks to the golden spiral staircase winding up its 90-metre spire, the Church of our Saviour in Christianshavn is one of Copenhagen's most prominent and beloved landmarks.

Most people visit in order to climb the 400 steps to the top and take in the stunning city views, but it's worth poking your nose into the church itself. Built in 1752 in the baroque style, the interior is dominated by a vast, ornately carved 17th century organ supported by two elephants (not real) and a striking alterpiece by Nicodemus Tessins.

The church's carillon system is the largest in northern Europe, and every hour tunes fill the air over the neighbourhood.

Address: Sankt Annæ Gade 29
Phone: +45 4166 6357
Opening Hours: Church, Daily: 11am - 3.30pm
Tower, Mar-Jun 22, Sep 17-Nov, Dec 6-9/14-16, Mon-Sat: 10am - 4pm
Sun: 10.30am - 4pm
Jun 23-Sep 16, Mon-Sat: 10am - 7pm
Sun: 10.30am - 7pm

Design Museum

A celebration of what Denmark does best
Word to the wise: Copenhagen's other major design museum, the Danish Design Centre, located beside Tivoli gardens, is also worth a visit.

As you may have noticed, the Danes are rather keen on good modern design, and those who share their enthusiasm will have an absorbing few hours at this museum dedicated to the art form. Housed in an 18th century former hospital, the collection showcases decorative and applied arts, crafts, and industrial design.

It's not all mid-20th century Arne Jacobsen chairs: there are artefacts here going back to pre-historic times. And unlike the Danish Design Centre, Denmark is not the sole focus of the collection: China and Japan are also well-represented.

Viewing some parts of the collection, such as the wonderful textiles, is by appointment only, but visitors who just drop in will find more than enough to keep them happy.
Address: Bredgade 68
Phone: +45 3318 5656
Opening Hours: Thu-Tue: 11am - 5pm
Wed: 11am - 9pm
Mon: Closed


The royal hunting ground
Word to the wise: Horse riding through the park is magical. See (Fortunens Ponycenter) for details of rides.

This lovely wooded sanctuary 10km north of Copenhagen is one of the most popular parks in Denmark, and easy to get to from the city by S-train.

Over 2,000 deer roam freely amongst the giant oaks and beechwood trees, and so can you. Red, fallow, and Asiatic sika deer are all found here, but be careful about getting too close: as a rule of thumb, if deer look at you, they feel threatened.

Those who prefer a human angle might like to visit the park's Occupation Museum. When the Germans occupied the country in World War II the Luftwaffe set up headquarters at Dyrehaven, and the museum tells the story of German activity in Denmark and Denmark's policy of collaboration. Housed in two air-raid bunkers, exhibits include an authentic Enigma machine.
Address: Dyrehaven, Klampenborg
Phone: +45 8652 2499
Opening Hours: Park, Daily, dawn - dusk
Occupation Museum: Check webpage as subject to change


There's always something to celebrate in CPH
Talk of the town: In 1967, Copenhagen celebrated its 800-year jubilee. How did the city famous for its design mark the occasion? By making the world's longest coffee table, of course.

Copenhagen hosts more festivals than any other city in northern Europe, so there's a good chance that there'll be something going on during your visit.

The big cheeses both take place in July: the world-famous Jazz Festival and one of the planet's largest rock events, Roskilde. But others are also worth bearing in mind, depending on your interests: the International Documentary Festival in November, the Art Festival and Fashion Week in February, Copenhagen Pride in August and, in September, Golden Days, a celebration of Denmark's history and heritage.

As you'd expect in such a foodie city, there's also a smattering of events aimed at the stomach, such as Copenhagen Cooking in August and May's ever-popular Beer Festival.

An edgier option is Distortion, a 'celebration of streetlife and nightlife' which, over the course of five days in June, moves between the city's neighbourhoods hosting street parties and events, often in unusual locations.

Frederik's Church

The largest church dome in Scandinavia
Word to the wise: The dome can be climbed every day during August, and at weekends only throughout the rest of the year.

Just behind Amalienborg Palace sits one of Copenhagen’s most beautiful landmarks, Frederik's Church. Nicknamed the Marble Church for its stone clad exterior, the building is reminiscent of St Peter's Basilica in Rome, with a vast 46 metre-high copper dome, which gives spectacular views across the city to Sweden.

The church was a long time in the making. Although the foundations were laid first in 1740 on the orders of King Frederik V, various issues meant that work was suspended for 100 years and the building was only completed in 1894.

Inside, silence is encouraged, all the better to appreciate the church's grand altar and the intricate decoration of the inner dome. Outside, you'll find bronze statues of notable Danes, including Kierkegaard.
Address: Frederiksgade 4
Phone: +45 3315 0144
Opening Hours: Church, Mon-Tue, Thu, Sat: 10am - 5pm
Wed: 10am - 6.30pm
Fri, Sun: 12noon - 5pm
Sunday service: 10.30am
Tower access, Daily during Aug, rest of year Sat-Sun: 1pm, 3pm, 5.30pm

Hans Christian Andersen’s Museum

The author's best-preserved home
Talk of the town: Andersen once visited Charles Dickens in England, but overstayed his welcome. Afterwards, Dickens wrote a sign: 'Hans Andersen slept in this room for five weeks, which seemed to the family AGES'.

This attic room, oddly located on the third floor of the department store Magasin on Vingårdsstraede, is the best-preserved home of Hans Christian Andersen, who lived here for a year between 1827 and 1828.

You'll hear a lot about Andersen during your visit to Copenhagen: more than just Denmark's most successful writer, he's a national hero. His children's stories such as 'The Ugly Ducking', 'The Emperor's New Clothes' and 'The Princess and the Pea' have been translated into over 100 languages, seized upon by Disney and woven into the Western world's cultural fabric, whilst another of his creations, 'The Little Mermaid', inspired Copenhagen's icon.

In truth, there isn't a vast deal to see in this modest room besides reconstructions of his furniture, but it's free and the accompanying exhibition is a valuable introduction to the great writer and his life.
Address: Vingårdsstraede 6

Hirschsprung Collection

A jewel of a gallery
Word to the wise: The gallery is very close to the Danish National Gallery, so art lovers can easily combine both in a visit.

This gallery is a favourite with locals, thanks to its lovely parkland setting and the quality of its work. Based around the collection of 19th century tobacco manufacturer and art patron Heinrich Hirschsprung, the pieces focus on the Golden Age of Danish art, from 1800-1850, when naturalism came to the fore.

You probably won't know most of the artists, but that won't matter. Hirschsprung's taste was superb, and the collection provides an excellent overview of what many consider to be the most accomplished period of Danish art. Many of the paintings capture Denmark's particular quality of light, as much in evidence now as it was 200 years ago.

The gallery is located in Osterbro, with the nearest metro station Norreport.
Address: Stockholmsgade 20
Phone: +45 3542 0336
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 11am - 4pm/5pm
Mon: Closed

Live music

Gigs galore
Word to the wise: Tickets for many events can be bought through

Copenhagen and live music go together like - well, like rye bread and herring. The jazz scene is particularly strong but whatever your tastes you'll find a venue to suit, whether it be a tiny bar back-room or vast concert hall.

Huset i Magstræde, in operation since the 70s, is a great catch-all music venue, running an eclectic programme of gigs over four floors. Vega is another big gun, its 1,500-capacity main auditorium having hosted everyone from Bjork to David Bowie. Mojo is the place to head for an evening of the blues, whilst Global does what it says on the tin, showcasing a wide range of world music.

Unsurprisingly, Christiania's venue Loppen specialises in non-mainstream acts, whilst Rust is the hotspot for dance and electronica fans - although those over the age of 30 might feel ancient.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

World-class art in a glorious setting
Word to the wise: The museum is in Humlebaek, a 30-minute train ride from Copenhagen followed by a 10-minute walk. At Central Station you can buy a combined train and admission ticket.

Talk of the town: The museum's name derives from the fact that the building's previous owner had three wives all named Louise.

It may seem odd to recommend a place 35 kilometres outside Copenhagen when the city itself has so much to offer, but we promise this museum is worth the time and the trek. Many locals - and, indeed, visitors - cite Louisiana as one of their favourite places.

Why? Well, the setting is gorgeous, in a forest by the Oresund with views across to Sweden. The museum, too, is striking: more like a campus, with a series of low-slung buildings framing a sculpture garden. Its comprehensive, high-calibre collection of post-1945 work includes the likes of Picasso, Francis Bacon and Louise Bourgeois, and the temporary exhibitions are of international standard (recently: Andreas Gursky, Ai Wei Wei, and Elsworth Kelly).

However, the museum is more than a sum of its not inconsiderable parts. The place has a very serene, special atmosphere which few fail to be touched by.
Address: Gl Strandvej 13, Humlebæk
Phone: +45 4919 0719
Opening Hours: Tue-Fri: 11am - 10pm
Sat-Sun: 11am - 6pm
Mon: Closed

National Gallery of Art (Statens Museum for Kunst)

Denmark's largest art collection
Noteworthy for: The gallery is one of the few free attractions in Copenhagen.

This large, neo-Classical building in Østre Anlæg park is an appropriately grand setting for Denmark's national art collection. Covering over 700 years of international and Danish work, the sheer amount on display here can be a daunting prospect for even the most fervent gallery hound, so you're advised to hone in on one or two exhibitions or to plan several visits.

Three permanent Royal Collections showcase painting and sculpture, plaster casts and graphic art - the latter a particular strength of the museum - with some wonderful pieces from the likes of Rembrandt and Matisse and a focus on Denmark's Golden Age.

This being Copenhagen, though, there's space for the contemporary amidst the old masters: temporary exhibitions have included the paintings of Bob Dylan and a celebration of the work of experimental film maker Kenneth Anger.

Address: Sølvgade 48-50
Phone: +45 3374 8494
Opening Hours: Tue, Thur-Sun: 10am - 5pm
Wed: 10am - 8pm
Mon: Closed

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

One of northern Europe's largest collections of ancient art
Talk of the town: The hugely popular Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek receives around 350,000 visitors each year.

This museum was founded in the 19th century by brewer and art collector Carl Jacobsen, who came up with its slightly odd moniker by combining the name of his brewery, Ny Carlsberg, with the Danish word for sculpture collection.

Jacobsen's personal collection has now grown to over 10,000 pieces, focussing on sculptures from Egypt, the Middle East, Greece, and Italy dating from 3,000BC to 500AD. If your tastes are more modern, there's also a great selection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, including works by big hitters such as Gaughin, Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Renoir, plus important sculptures by Rodin and Degas.
Address: Dantes Plads 7
Phone: +45 3341 8141
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 11am - 5pm


A postcard-perfect patch of the harbour
Popular plate: Although it may seem obligatory to drink beer at Nyhavn, there are other options for sustenance: try the ice cream with “guff” (marshmallow heaven).

This highly photogenic stretch of Copenhagen harbour is lined with colourful 17th- and 18th-century houses, wooden sailing ships - and beer drinkers. Once the area was rather notorious, divided into 'nice' and 'naughty' sides, the latter swarming with sailors and prostitutes. Now, the dens of iniquity have been turned into expensive hotels and restaurants, and the pavement cafes are filled with a happy mix of locals and visitors (including a large number of Swedes, who cross over to Copenhagen for the cheaper booze).

Undeniably touristy it may be, but Nyhavn has held on to its charm and is definitely worth a stroll. Houses to note are number 9, the oldest in the harbour dating back to 1681, and the three residences of Hans Christian Anderson at numbers 18, 20, and 67.
Address: Nyhavn 1-71

Opera House

High culture in an ultra-modern setting
Noteworthy for: The Opera House is one of the most expensive such venues ever built, costing in excess of USD 500 million.

Like many vast, bold, and costly projects, Copenhagen's Opera House attracted some controversy when it opened in 2005, not least because of some unseemly squabbles over its design between architect Henning Larken and Maersk McKinny Moller, the billionaire shipping magnet who commissioned the building as a gift to the city.

All that's in the past, and now most consider the venue a great success. Magnificently positioned on the water's edge on Holmen, directly across from Amalienborg Palace, its vast, slender roof canopy is in striking contrast to its curved glass facade, which lights up the harbour at night.

Inside is just as impressive, with various stages ranging from a main auditorium seating 1,700 to the Takkelloftet, a tiny 'black box' theatre for experimental work. Currently home of the Royal Danish Theatre, the venue runs a diverse and high quality programme that's well worth investigating.
Address: Ekvipagemestervej 10, Holmen
Phone: Box office: +45 3369 6969

Rosenborg Castle

A Renaissance castle in the heart of the city
Word to the wise: Don't miss the museum in the castle's basement where the crown jewels are on display.

In 1606, King Christian IV gave orders for a summer residence to be built in a newly established park, Kongens Have (King’s Garden). A summerhouse befitting a King is no humble cottage, however, and the result was the beautiful, Dutch Renaissance-style Rosenborg Castle.

Royalty resided here for 300 years, and today 24 of the castle’s rooms are open to visitors, providing an insight into the daily lives of the Danish monarchy. The castle's draw-bridged moat is what remains of the original waterway surrounding the ancient city of Copenhagen.

Kongens Have is not only Copengagen's oldest park but its most popular, too. After sightseeing, make like a local and enjoy a picnic on the lawn.
Address: Øster Voldgade 4A
Phone: +45 3315 3286
Opening Hours: Jan-Apr, Tue-Sun: 11am - 4pm
May, Sep-Oct, Daily: 10am - 4pm
Jun-Aug, Daily: 10am - 5pm
Nov-Dec, Tue-Sat: 11am - 2pm/4pm


Make like a Little Mermaid
Word to the wise: Some of the pools at Islands Brygge are designated for children or for jumping. Ask the lifeguard if in doubt which one is suitable for you.

Until 10 years ago, it was ill-advised to take a dip in Copenhagen's polluted harbour. Now, after an extensive clean-up, outdoor swimming is viable - and hugely popular.

There are currently three harbour baths in the city, and on a hot day what seems like most of the city decamps to the one at Islands Brygge, which has five pools and a 600-person capacity. Also popular is Copencabana in Havneholmen. The baths are open in the summer months, usually between June and September, and are free.

If you prefer some sand between your toes, there are several good beaches to the north of the city in the area known as the Danish Riviera. Bellevue beach at Charlottenlund is a good bet, and accessible on the local S-train from the city.
Address: Charlottenlund
Islands Brygge

The Little Mermaid

Copenhagen's unassuming icon
Noteworthy for: The statue has been a target for vandalism, political statements and pranks over the years, from decapitation by Situationist artists in the 60s to being draped in a burka in 2004.

Be warned: your first sight of Copenhagen's famous mascot may be somewhat underwhelming. Sitting pensively on a rock at the entrance to the harbour, Edvard Eriksen's 1913 bronze sculpture is really rather small.

Still, it hasn't stopped the statue from becoming one of Denmark's most popular attractions. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's story of the same name, Carlsberg founder Carl Jacobsen commissioned the statue from Eriksen, and subsequently gave it to the city. The mermaid's face is modelled on Ellen Prince, a popular ballet dancer, whilst it's rumoured that Eriksen's wife Eline posed for the body.

From the statue, you have good views of both Holmen, the site of the city's new opera house, and Christianshavn, which sits on the opposite side of the harbour entrance.
Address: The Little Mermaid is located along Langelinie, about 2km from Nyhavn

The Round Tower (Rundetårn)

Europe’s oldest functioning observatory
Talk of the town: The Round Tower was a gathering spot for the city's intelligentsia during the 1600s.

Built by Christian IV in the 17th century as an astronomical observatory and defence fortification, nowadays The Rundetårn is famous as one of Copenhagen's best observation spots. From the top, looking out over the red tile roof-tops, it's easy to imagine the city's bygone days.

The climb up the 35-metre tower can be quite a challenge, as not only is there no elevator but also no stairs: as it was important to be able to haul canons up to the top, the path is constructed as a spiral ramp. This design feature has allowed people to reach the top in a variety of vehicles over the centuries - cars, bicycles, unicycles, and, in the case of Peter the Great in 1726, a horse - but today visitors are confined to their own two feet.
Address: Købmagergade 52A
Phone: +45 3373 0373
Opening Hours: May 21-Sep 20, Daily: 10am - 8pm
Sep 21-May 20, Daily: 10am - 5pm

The Royal Library and The Black Diamond

Culture on the waterfront
Talk of the town: The library was the scene of one of history's largest book thefts, when USD 50 million worth of rare material was stolen between 1968-1978. The culprit, a library employee, was unearthed in 2002.

Since its founding in 1648, Denmark's national library has amassed around 21 million books to become the largest library in Scandinavia: no wonder it's spread across four sites, including these two in Slotsholmen. The old library dates from 1906 whilst the adjacent building, the Black Diamond, was completed in 1999, the nickname alluding to its facade of black granite and glass.

Wonderfully positioned on the waterfront opposite Christianshavn, the Black Diamond has become a popular gathering place, hosting art exhibitions, dance, and theatre. To the rear of the library is the Royal Library garden, a leafy oasis for those seeking a moment's peace, whilst in the library itself visitors can avail themselves of free internet, newspapers, and information.
Address: Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1, Slotsholmen
Phone: +45 3347 4747
Opening Hours: Hours change monthly - check webpage

Tivoli Gardens

An amusement park and leafy oasis in the heart of the city
Noteworthy for: Tivoli, or Vauxhall as it was called originally, was built by Georg Carstensen in 1843 and is the second oldest amusement park in the world.

Tivoli Gardens is one of the most famous places in Copenhagen, with 4.5 million visitors yearly. Here you can find everything from the latest rides and activities to garden areas, a lake, flower displays, fireworks, performances, restaurants and cafes. Every night at sunset, over 100,000 lanterns and lamps light up the fountains, plants, and old buildings in the garden, and twice a week there's a firework display.

If you like action-packed rides, 'The Demon' - Denmark’s largest roller-coaster, where the cars have no bottoms - is a must. For a blast of nostalgia, try the world’s oldest roller coaster, built in 1914.

If you're in Copenhagen in December, don't miss the Christmas Market (and the yummy apple slices with powdered sugar and jam).
Address: Vesterbrogade 3
Phone: +45 3315 1001
Opening Hours: Apr 12-Sep 23, Sun-Thu: 11am - 10pm/11pm
Fri: 11am - 12.30am
Sat: 11am - 12midnight
Oct 12-28, Nov 16-Dec 30: Check webpage

Aamanns Etablissement

If you can't get into Noma...
Talk of the town: Aamann's has just opened a branch in New York, the first gourmet Danish restaurant to hit the city.

Attached to the deli where chef Adam Aamann made his name reinventing smorrebrod, this stripped-down restaurant offers innovative Nordic cooking at surprisingly decent prices, and is a pretty good alternative to you-know-where.

Gourmet smorrebrod rules the menu at lunchtime, whilst in the evening the focus turns to sharing plates along the lines of beetroot and smoked cheese, and pressed pig's head fried in breadcrumbs with brussel sprouts. Naturally, this being Danish fine-dining, ingredients are local, organic, and sustainably sourced, and presentation is chic and immaculate.
Address: Oster Farimagsgade 12
Phone: +45 3555 3310
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 12noon - 4pm (last order: 2.30pm)
Wed-Sat: 6pm - 11pm (last order: 9.30pm)

Alberto K

Iconic design, gourmet food, great views
Noteworthy for: Alberto K is located in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, conceived in the 50s by legendary architect Arne Jacobsen and believed to be the world's first 'designer hotel'.

Talk of the town: The restaurant uses Jacobsen-designed cutlery, chosen by Stanley Kubrick for '2001: A Space Odyssey' for its futuristic appearance.

Yes, this landmark restaurant on the 20th floor Radisson Blu Royal Hotel is expensive, but you get a lot of bang for your buck: not only the pleasure of being surrounded by iconic design but spectacular views across Copenhagen and serious gourmet food.

Dishes are Italian-inspired and ingredients largely locally produced. The menu changes regularly, but think along the lines of cucumber salad with scallops, horseradish and dill and organic veal with onion, mushrooms and smoked marrow. We recommend either the five or seven course menu, and pushing the boat out with the matching wines.
Address: Hammerichsgade 1
Phone: +45 3342 6161
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 6pm - 12midnight (kitchen closes 9.45pm)


Eccentricity and English breakfasts
Talk of the town: 'Bankerat' translates as bankrupt - what the owner's friends told him he'd be if he opened a cafe like this.

We all love Danish style but, after a few days in the city, the chic, understated look favoured by Copenhagen's cafes and restaurants can get a bit, well, familiar. An antidote can be found at Bankerat, a cafe decorated in gloriously larky and downright dodgy taste.

Stuffed animals in costume are a major feature, alongside gargoyles and decapitated dolls-heads used as lamps. If it sounds like a Goth's wet dream, fear not: the clientele are a mixed, normal bunch and the atmosphere is not even slightly dark and moody.

The menu is suitably eclectic, ranging from Spanish tapas to English fry-ups or, at the other end of the scale, the De Ville breakfast: a large coffee and three cigarettes.

Address: Ahlefeldtsgade 27-29
Phone: +45 3393 6988
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 9.30am - 12midnight
Sat-Sun: 10.30am - 12midnight
Kitchen open daily until 9.30pm

Café Victor

A glamorous institution in the heart of town
Word to the wise: Put on your best threads if you want to blend in - the diners here are a well-heeled bunch.

For decades, this classic, Parisian-style bar and brasserie on Ny Ostergad has hosted a lively, glossy crowd. When night falls, the older day-time set gives way to the young and hip, the mirrored walls making it an ideal spot for surreptitious rubber-necking.

Eating options are flexible: drop in for a morning espresso, an afternoon sandwich, or a full blown meal. The all-day menu ranges from simple bites such as soups, salads, and pickled herring to the luxurious likes of lobster and Coq au Vin.
Address: Ny Østergade 8
Phone: +45 3313 3613
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed: 8am - 1am
Thu-Sat: 8am - 1.45am
Sun: 11am - 12midnight

Café Wilder

A local favourite in Christianshavn
Noteworthy for: The restaurant's trademark is an arresting nude portrait of Anita Ekberg, painted by Copenhagen artist Lars Helweg.

Whilst international foodies make a pilgrimage to Noma, just down the road, the residents of Christianshavn content themselves with steak-frites at local haunt Cafe Wilder.

Established for almost 30 years, the bistro serves value-for-money French and Italian dishes and excellent coffee, and is picturesquely located on a cobbled street near the canal.

Despite the laid-back atmosphere this place is fiercely popular, so do make a reservation, especially in the second half of the week.
Address: Wildersgade 56
Phone: +45 3254 7183
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed: 9am - 11pm
Thu: 9am - 12midnight
Fri: 9am - 1am
Sat: 10am - 1am
Sun: 10am - 10pm


Simply-done seafood in the Meatpacking District
Word to the wise: It's most fun to sit at the bar in the middle of the restaurant.

The name, which translates simply as Fish Bar, indicates the unpretentious nature of this popular Kodbyen haunt. That's not to say the industrial-style restaurant and its customers aren't chic - this is Copenhagen, after all - but you won't feel embarassed if you rock up in your sensible shoes.

And rock up here you should. The menu changes according to the catch of the day but everything is ultra-fresh and simply prepared - mackerel with pickled root vegetables, for instance. And rest assured, the jellyfish in the restaurant's vast cylindrical aquarium are not for dinner.
Address: Flaesketorvet 100
Phone: +45 3215 5656
Opening Hours: Tue-Thu: 5.30pm - 12midnight
Fri-Sat: 5.30pm - 2am
(Kitchen: 6pm - 10.30pm)

formel B

World-class French cuisine in Vesterbro
Word to the wise: After receiving their Michelin star the chefs extended the restaurant to twice its original size, but you still should book well in advance.

This ultra-stylish, Michelin-starred place in the former red-light district is a fail-safe for a special occasion treat. Chefs Kristian Møller and Rune Jochumsen are known for their dedication to local, seasonal ingredients, growing vegetables on their own farm for their French-inspired dishes.

Portions are delicate and diners invited to choose around four courses each. The menu changes regularly but think along the lines of salted scallops with Danish berries and tarragon cream and Danish fallow deer with pumpkin and vadouvan.
Address: Vesterbrogade 182
Phone: +45 3325 1066
Opening Hours: Daily: 6pm - 1am (kitchen closes 10pm)

Granola Cafe

Sweet treats in a ravishing retro setting
Word to the wise: If you feel inspired by Granola's 1950s style, you can pick up some great vintage dresses at nearby boutique Tiger Lily.

Granola is a much-loved institution: indeed, the cafe recently moved to larger premises across the street in order to accomodate demand.

The gorgeous 1950s-inspired interior - industrial lighting, teak countertops, vintage enamel signs, period music, an old-fashioned cash register - accounts for part of its enduring popularity, but the food and drink here are as pleasing as the atmosphere.

As you'd expect from the name, they serve a good breakfast - and the place is open unusually early, from 7am - but we recommend throwing health-consciousness to the wind and getting stuck into an ice cream sundae. Make sure you get a scoop of the salted caramel.
Address: Værnedamsvej 5
Phone: +45 3325 0080
Opening Hours: Daily: 7am - 7pm


A porridge bar - but more exciting than that sounds
Word to the wise: A foreigner attempting to say the word 'grød' will make even the most reserved of Danes smile. Suffice to say, it's not pronounced how it's written.

The term grød, or porridge, doesn't do justice to the delicious comfort food produced by this miniscule cafe on Jægersborggade. An oatmeal dish might contain freeze-dried sea buckthorn, pear and mint syrup, or mango chilli compote and pumpkin seeds, and the combination of healthiness and tastiness has made it a popular breakfast spot for the hip Nørrebro crowd.

In the evening the menu's scope is broadened to risotto and stews, but it's the mornings Grød is made for.
Address: Jaegersborggade 50
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 7.30am - 9pm
Sat-Sun: 10am - 9pm

Ida Davidsen

The birthplace of the open sandwich
Word to the wise: Only lunch is served here and you should book ahead for a table.

Popular plate: Some of the sandwiches here are named after Danish celebrities: the best is the Ritt Bjerregaard, a tasty combination of lamb and scrambled eggs created in honour of the former Lord Mayor of Copenhagen.

If you've gone native and developed a taste for smørrebrød, the Danish open sandwiches - and really, what's not to like? - then hot-foot it to this bustling cafe just off Kongens Nytorv square.

Something of a mecca for the snack, it was here in 1888 that smørrebrød was invented by the wife of a wine merchant. The cafe is still owned by the same family and run by the eponymous Ida, who presides over 250 varieties.

True, it isn't cheap - but you're buying a little piece of Danish history with your slice of bread.
Address: Store Kongensgade 70
Phone: +45 3391 3655
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 10.30am - 5pm (kitchen closes 4pm)

Krut's Karport

Coffee, cake, and the green fairy
Word to the wise: The absinthe served here is 'only' 68 percent proof but still, think long and hard about having a third glass.

You may argue that a cafe that specialises in hard liquor should really be called a bar, but we're sticking with our classification.

Despite late opening hours and a fevered interest in absinthe (they make their own) and whisky (over 100 varieties are stocked), this oddly named but distinctly cosy Osterbro venue has a relaxed, day-time vibe. Good coffee, cake, and light meals are also available and, if you're lucky, you might catch some live music.
Address: Oster Farimagsgade 12
Phone: +45 3526 8638
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu: 12noon - 12midnight
Fri-Sat: 12noon - 2am
Sun: 2pm - 7pm

La Galette

Every day can be Pancake Day
Word to the wise: Only cash is accepted, and those with a healthy appetite should budget for two galettes to fill them up.

Danish pancakes are sweet affairs but, as the name suggests, this cosy place near the University deals in the Gallic type, suitable for both savoury and sugary fillings.

Those French heroes Asterix and Obelix are the restaurant's mascots and each gets their own buckwheat galette on the menu, with ingredients befitting their relative statures: the Asterix is a modest ratatouille, the Obelix a hefty beef, egg, and salad.

Sweet fillings range from basic sugar and lemon to indulgent concoctions such as coconut ice cream, pineapple, chocolate, and Chantilly.
Address: Larsbjørnsstræde 9
Phone: +45 3332 3790
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 12noon - 4pm, 5.30pm - 10pm
Sun: 4pm - 10pm

Magstræde 16, Spiseri & Enotek

Back-to-basics Italian
Popular plate: Try the Signature Pizza, invented by guest chefs. Ingredients change regularly but at the time of writing included veal sweetbread, pickled mushrooms and lovage.

Even an average meal in Copenhagen can put a fair old dent in your wallet, so places like Magstræde 16 - both very good and relatively inexpensive - should be treasured.

Simplicity is the name of the game here, both in the cosy but basic surroundings and the menu, which is Italian and based around pizza. There may be a limited choice but who cares when they're this tasty: with thin, crispy bases and the freshest of toppings they're amongst the best in the city. The wine list is similarly well-considered.
Address: Magstræde 16
Phone: +45 3316 1292
Opening Hours: Sun-Thu: 5pm - 10.30pm
Fri-Sat: 12noon - 11.30pm

Meyers Bageri

The best bakeries bar none
Word to the wise: Claus Meyer is something of a Danish Jamie Oliver: a celebrity chef and empire builder. He also owns a chain of delis you might spot around town.

Copenhagen has more than its fair share of bakeries but when Claus Meyer, the co-owner of Noma, decided to open his own in 2010, the foodie world got understandably hot under the collar.

It lived up to the hype and now there are two tiny branches, in Nørrebro and Store Kongersgade. Breads are justly famous (they produce their own flour) but visitors will not feel short-changed by a pastry. We recommend the cinnamon bun or hindbærsnitten, a typically Danish raspberry sandwich biscuit, but you can't really go wrong. Be prepared to queue.

Address: Jægersborggade 9
Store Kongensgade 46
Phone: +45 2510 1134
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 7am - 6pm
Sat-Sun: 7am - 4pm


The holy grail for foodies
Noteworthy for: In 2010, 2011 and 2012, the British magazine 'Restaurant' rated the two Michelin-starred Noma the best restaurant in the world.

The hottest restaurant on the planet is dedicated to the cuisine of one of its coldest regions. Noma is short for nordatlantiskl mad, or North Atlantic food, and chef Rene Redzepi is fanatical about ultra-fresh Nordic produce, sourcing fish from Iceland and Greenland, vegetables from local farmers, hunting out obscure grains and foraging for berries and herbs.

Over a 20-course set menu, diners are treated to creative and sublimely delicious flavour combinations, belied by simple descriptions such as oyster and gooseberries and duck and beets.

In the very likely event you can't get a table, you can go and stare longingly at the building, an old Christianshavn warehouse once used, appropriately enough, for storing Nordic produce for trade.
Address: Strandgade 93
Phone: +45 3296 3297
Opening Hours: Tue-Sat: 12noon - 4pm, 7pm - 12.30am (kitchen closes, lunch: 1.30pm, dinner: 10pm)

Nørrebro Brewery

There's more to Danish beer than Carlsberg
Tipple of choice: Need you ask? The beer menu changes regularly, so check out the website.

Word to the wise: If you're serious about beer and can gather a like-minded group, book the brewmaster's table for a special multi-course, beer-inspired meal for a minimum of eight people.

Occupying two floors of a former metal foundry in Nørrebro, this award-winning microbrewery is a one-stop shop for beer fans. There are home-brewed concoctions to try, of course - up to 10 different varieties at a time - and free tours of the brewery from which they produce up to 20,000 litres every month.

However, the place is more than just a haven for beer connoisseurs. Its restaurant is highly rated for its tasty, experimental food which, you won't be surprised to hear, often counts beer as an ingredient. If it's on, try the cauliflower soup flavoured with oatmeal stout.
Address: Ryesgade 3
Phone: +45 3530 0530
Opening Hours: Restaurant, Mon-Wed: 5.30pm - 10pm
Thu-Sat: 5.30pm - 11pm

Paté Paté

A great all-rounder in Vesterbro
Tipple of choice: Fans of the film 'Sideways' might like to try the Hitching Post Pinot Noir, a favourite of the wine buff character played by Paul Giamatti.

Beer connoisseurs have the Norrebro Brewery; wine lovers, Paté Paté is your place. Owned by wine-seller brothers Kenn and Dan Husted, this buzzy Vesterbro bistro has an extensive, imaginative list alongside excellent modern European food and a candle-lit, industrial chic interior that epitomises the hipper end of Danish style.

The menu is appropriately heavy on meat: the restaurant is named in honour of its former life as a liver paté factory and meat-packing warehouses still survive in Vesterbro amidst the trendy haunts that have crowded in.
Address: Slagterboderne 1
Phone: +45 3969 5557
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed: 9am - 12midnight
Thu: 9am - 1am
Fri-Sat: 9am - 3am
Sun: Closed


The new Noma?
Word to the wise: Take time to explore Jægersborggade - the pretty cobbled street is currently having a 'moment' and is full of great shops and a creative buzz.

Popular plate: A four course set menu is the order of the evening here, with an equally good vegetarian option.

The second hottest table in town right now is at this unassuming basement restaurant in Norrebro, voted the city's best new opening of last year. Why? Well, it's run by two chefs who earned their spurs at Noma and has a similarly innovative approach to food, yet is (relatively) inexpensive.

However, Relae is no mere Noma-lite. Although also based on a creative approach to ultra-fresh Nordic produce, here the cooking has an Italian streak courtesy of co-founder Christian Puglisi, who in 2011 was voted one of the world's top 10 best young chefs by the Wall Street Journal.

Add a refreshingly unpretentious approach to dining - you're expected to use the same glass for red and white wine - and it's no wonder this place is such a hit. Go while you can still get a table.
Address: Jægersborggade 41
Phone: +45 3696 6609
Opening Hours: Wed-Sat: 5.30pm - 12midnight (last order: 9.30pm)

Restaurant Fischer

Small but perfectly formed Italian
Word to the wise: The menu on Mondays is different to the rest of the week - Fischer often serves a single dish such as osso bucco.

In an expensive city with a Michelin-starred restaurant on (almost) every corner, the challenge isn't finding an extraordinary culinary experience but one which will delight your taste buds without making a dent in your children's inheritance.

This tiny, unmarked Osterbro trattoria fits the bill. Owner David Fischer has a pedigree in Italian food, having worked at Rome's only three Michelin-starred restaurant, and offers a short menu of unfussy and perfectly cooked pasta, meat, and fish in an intimate and informal setting.

Lovely food, reasonable prices, limited seats, and a billiards table in the basement - we hardly need add that reservations are highly recommended.
Address: Victor Borges Plads 12
Phone: +45 3542 3964
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 12noon - 12midnight
Sat-Sun: 10.30am - 12midnight

Sticks 'n' Sushi

Fresh and authentic Japanese food
Word to the wise: You can gorge yourself safe in the knowledge that all fish used by the company is from sustainable sources.

This slick Japanese chain offers high-quality - if not inexpensive - sushi, sashimi, and yakitori (meat skewers, hence the 'sticks').

There are nine branches throughout Copenhagen, including a new one at the top of the Tivoli Hotel with stunning views of the city and uber-stylish design, such as black leather swings in the cocktail bar.
Address: Tivoli Hotel, Arni Magnussons Gade 2
Phone: +45 8832 9595
Opening Hours: Sun-Wed: 10am - 11pm
Thu: 10am - 1am
Fri-Sat: 10am - 2am

The Coffee Collective

The best brew in town
Talk of the town: The Coffee Collective hosts regular Latte Art Throwndowns, 'Denmark's most ferocious steamed milk-pouring event', in which baristas compete to create the perfect cup.

A speciality micro-roastery run by four coffee experts, this outfit has a simple aim: to ethically source, roast, and sell the finest coffees in the world. If your aim is equally straightforward - to find the best cup of coffee in Copenhagen - then head straight here.

The original Coffee Collective cafe on Jaegersborggade is intimate and unfancy, reflecting their unwavering focus on the product - rather than sofas, the small space is dominated by a roasting machine. A second branch has recently opened in the city's impressive new food hall, Torvehallerne (see separate article).
Address: Jægersborggade10
Phone: +45 6015 1525
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 7am - 8pm
Sat-Sun: 8am - 6pm

The Log Lady

Trendy Twin Peaks tribute
Talk of the town: Catherine Coulson, aka the Log Lady, was the only Twin Peaks cast member not to be a professional actor: she was a camera operator when David Lynch spotted her.

You can be assured of a damn fine cup of coffee at this hip new cafe, named in homage to David Lynch's brilliantly surreal 1990s TV series.

The Twin Peaks theme is worn lightly - there are no dwarfs nor corpses of prom queens to be seen - but fans will notice a few references in the decor. Others will see a comfy yet chic room with mismatched seats, a spot of taxidermy, a laid-back vibe, and a young, stylish clientele who flock here for DJs and live music in the evenings.
Address: Studiestræde 27
Phone: +45 2627 9362
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 1pm - 11pm
Sat: 2pm - 11pm

Wokshop Cantina

A lot of Thai for your buck
Word to the wise: The menu doesn't detail spiciness levels - and some are seriously hot - so ask a staff member before ordering.

In Copenhagen, a friend casually suggesting, 'Shall we grab a bite?' can lead to an emergency call to your bank for an overdraft extension, so it's good to know about places like Wokshop Cantina.

With reasonable prices and two central locations - one very close to Kongens Nytorv - this small Thai chain is in the Wagamama mould, with long shared tables, a young, trendy clientèle, and speedy service - oh, and very good, fresh, noodle-based dishes. Downsides are its popularity and no-bookings policy, which lead to queues at peak times.
Address: Ny Adelgade 6
Gammel Kongevej 122
Phone: +45 3391 6121
Opening Hours: Ny Adelgade, Mon-Sat: 12noon - 10pm
Gammel Kongevej, Sun-Wed: 12noon - 9pm
Thu-Sat: 12noon - 10pm


Masterly mixology in a swanky setting
Tipple of choice: The Cucumber Yum Yum won first prize at the 2009 Danish Cocktail Championships: inspired by Heston Blumenthal, its bright red colour belies the cool cucumber flavour.

Word to the wise: The people behind 1105 have recently opened another ace cocktail bar, the art nouveau-inspired L'Etoile (

This downtown joint is stylish in the extreme, the place to go if you want to feel like you're in an expensive spirits advert. The striking interior features black walls and a long black bar, behind which barmen in immaculate white jackets create classy concoctions for a well-off, 30-something crowd.

1105's award-winning mixologist, Wolverhampton born Hardeep Rehal, takes his job very seriously indeed. producing innovative concoctions such as his famous Cucumber Yum Yum, made with Danish aquavit, and Snap Fever, made from sugar snap peas, bay leafs and gin. Getting your five-a-day has never been so enjoyable.
Address: Kristen Bernikows Gade 4
Phone: +45 3393 1105
Opening Hours: Wed-Thu, Sat: 8pm - 2am
Fri: 4pm - 2am

Bakken i Kødbyen

Happening bar with great DJs
Word to the wise: It pays off to arrive here early - beer is discounted until 11pm.

The Meatpacking District is the centre of Copenhagen's nightlife, and Bakken is its most popular and best known hot-spot. Which makes it, in our book, the place to be, especially if you want to get sweaty to banging music alongside a young, pretty and wildly up-for-it crowd - and who wouldn't?

The music policy is eclectic, but whichever night you pitch up on will invariably be cool. After all, this is where hipster magazine Vice hold their bashes.
Address: Flæsketorvet 17-19
Opening Hours: Thu: 9pm - 3am/5am
Fri-Sat: 11pm - 5am

Byens Kro

Party like it's 1783
Word to the wise: If you loathe cigarette fumes, this isn't the place for you. Smoking is allowed indoors, and you can cut the air with a knife.

This little inn opened in 1783 and has barely changed since, with its dark, unfancy interior and good, inexpensive beer. The place has an artistic bent: the walls are filled with work by talented students from the Royal Danish Art Academy, often for sale at reasonable prices, and young artists prop up the bar beside the old-boy regulars.

It serves a large assortment of international draft and bottled beers, as well as its own brew from the small Danish brewery Svanneke Bryghus, Byens Øl.
Address: Møntergade 8
Phone: +45 3312 5589
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed: 3pm - 2am
Thu-Fri: 3pm - 5am
Sat: 8pm - 5am

Cafe Bopa

Have a bop in Østerbro
Word to the wise: The leafy Bopa Square is a lovely place to hang out on summer days. Grab an outside table and watch old gents playing petanque.

This cosy little place is named after its location, Bopa Square in Østerbro, but it's an appropriate moniker. On weekends, as midnight approaches, the unassuming cafe transforms into an upbeat club, the dancefloor remaining packed until 5am with a good-natured young crowd.

The polar opposite of ultra-exclusive, of-the-moment clubs such as Simons, this is an unpretentious, neighbourhood option - the place to go when you fancy a boogie after a few beers, rather than the focal point of the weekend. An added advantage is that, after a few hours' kip, you can return to the scene of the crime for an excellent brunch.
Address: Løgstørgade 8
Phone: +45 3543 0566
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed: 9am - 12midnight
Thu: 9am - 2pm
Fri: 9am - 5am
Sat: 10am - 5pm
Sun: 10am - 12midnight

Copenhagen Jazz House

A world-class jazz club, with after-hours flirting
Word to the wise: Jazz fans should also check out the recently opened Jazzhus Montmartre, and keep an eye on the line-up at Huset i Magstræde.

Copenhagen has a thriving jazz scene and this institution has long been at the centre of it. An eclectic, imaginative programme has high-quality concerts most evenings, showcasing Danish and international musicians.

The live music ends at around midnight, after which, at weekends, the DJs boot up for a disco, with a mixed, up-for-it crowd getting down to soul, funk, and pop until the small hours. The club has a reputation for flirtiness, so those up for getting friendly with the locals are in the right place.
Address: Niels Hemmingsens Gade 10
Phone: +45 3315 4700
Opening Hours: Daily: 8pm - late
Jazzhouse disco, Fri-Sat: 12midnight - 5am


Yes, it is named after the Dolly Parton song
Noteworthy for: Jolene has a great music policy, with big name DJs on the roster. Weekdays are more electronica-based whilst at weekends, hip-hop takes over. Thursday nights are predominantly gay.

If you want to join the younger Danes at play try this louche Meatpacking District spot, popular with a fashion-conscious, student-age crowd: the kind who might be photographed on the street by style magazines.

Owned by two Icelandic women and housed underground in a former slaughterhouse, Jolene is wildly cool in a laidback, rather down-and-dirty way. Leave your high heels at home and order bottles of beer and tequila shots rather than a martini - as a sign above the bar helpfully reminds you, 'this is not a f***ing cocktail bar'.
Address: Flaesetorvet 81-85
Phone: +45 3585 6960
Opening Hours: Sun-Thu: 5pm - 2am
Fri-Sat: 5pm - 3am
(subject to change)


Cocktails and contemporary art
Noteworthy for: If you're confused by the toilets, don't worry - they're something of a conceptual joke.

Tipple of choice: Choose a Keyword Cocktail and the bartender will create a unique drink, based on three keywords. Less conceptual is the Mario Mantequilla, which tastes like a liquid version of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The project of artist Jeppe Hein, this Kødbyn bar has contemporary art on the brain. We're not just talking about work on the walls: here, even the pieces of furniture are gallery-worthy, such as the lamps currently on display, each commissioned from an international artist. The quality is high, too: amongst those who have been involved are art superstars such as Dan Graham, Maurizio Cattelan, and Olafur Eliasson.

Those not into art might think it sounds rather pretentious and, well, maybe it is. But it's also original and great fun: the staff and vibe are friendly; the cocktails and music excellent; and the young, trendy crowd appealing to gaze at. There's a decent restaurant, too.
Address: Flaesketorvet 57-67
Phone: +45 3321 5509
Opening Hours: Bar, Thu: 8pm - 12midnight
Fri-Sat: 8pm - 4am
Restaurant, Thu-Sat: 6pm - 10pm


There is always a party in the kitjn
Tipple of choice: Rum-based drinks are the thing here, from classics like the Dark 'n' Stormy to the Tongue Tickler, a novel blend of rum, cucumber, elderflower, and Chartreuse.

Located in a residential area off the beaten track, Kitjn has to work harder to win custom than the city-centre cocktail bars, so the fact that it's constantly buzzing is testament to its impeccable cocktails and relaxed, good-natured atmosphere. And, perhaps, the fact that it's got a really nice smoking room.

The decor is simple but effective, with bare-brick walls, sofas, and a glimpse of the kitchen out back from which the bar takes it name. No food is served but, cheekily, the cocktail menu is arranged under Starters, Main Courses, and Desserts.
Address: Århusgade 14
Opening Hours: Wed: 6pm - 12midnight
Thu: 6pm - 1am
Fri: 4pm - 3am
Sat: 6pm - 3am


Argentinian wine all the way
Tipple of choice: A nice Malbec, naturally - ask your waiter for his recommendation.

In this world of dizzying choice, it's rather nice occasionally to have one's options limited. The wine bar-cum-shop Malbeck sells only Argentinian wine (although not just Malbec - that might be going too far) and the quality and range is so good you won't feel you're missing out.

Over 120 varieties are stocked, sourced from independent producers, with around 20 sold by the glass. Light meals are available and the bars have a lively vibe, helped by an excellent choice of music and imaginative design details.

Of Malbeck's two locations, in Norrebro and Vesterbro, we recommend the latter: the bar is located in one of the area's oldest pubs.
Address: Istedgade 61
Phone: +45 3331 1970
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu: 4pm - 12midnight
Fri-Sat: 4pm - 2am


Classic drinking and a homely feeling
Tipple of choice: The fame of Ruby's invention, the Rapscallion - a Scottish version of the Manhattan with Talisker whisky - has spread, and it's now on the list at hip New York bar PDT.

Opened in 2007, Ruby was one of the first bars in Copenhagen to take cocktails really seriously and has remained at the front of the pack.

The venue itself is pretty special: an apartment in a canal-side, 18th century building, filled with antiques and Chesterfield sofas, that manages to be both grand and homely. And unlike some venues in Copenhagen it's not too-cool-for-school, but rather larky and welcoming.

As for the drinks - head bartender Julian Johansen was a finalist in the Havana Club International Grand Prix, and he sure knows his spirits. Whether you plump for a classic or one of their seasonal, avant garde concoctions, you'll be happy.
Address: Nybrogade 10
Phone: +45 3393 1203
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 4pm - 2am
Sun: 7pm - 1am


Party with the fabulous crowd - if they let you in
Talk of the town: As the name suggests, the club's promoters are both called Simon. Their claim that everyone else who works there is also named Simon should perhaps not be trusted.

A Scene with a capital S, Simons is the place where Copenhagen's young, gorgeous, and uninhibited head to revel in their own fabulousness.

Housed in a former art gallery, the club's music policy leans towards electronica but you don't really come here for the soundtrack - rather, to gawp at the wild crowd, buy extremely expensive drinks from the dwarfs serving behind the bar (yes indeed), and congratulate yourself on getting past the notoriously picky door people.
Address: Store Strandstræde 14
Phone: +45 2823 8709
Opening Hours: Fri-Sat: 11.30pm - 5.30am

The Jane

Slip into the world of Don Draper
Noteworthy for: The Jane's decor is inspired by the TV show 'Mad Men'.

With its old-school ambience - a series of rooms are clad in Chesterfield sofas, wood panelling and antique bookshelves - this relatively new club in Gråbrødretorv Square is rather more sophisticated than the norm.

As you join a female-heavy, sharply-dressed crowd sipping Old Fashioneds made by dapper mixologists, even non-smokers might find themselves longing for a cigarette-holder.

Hang around long enough and you'll witness the opening of a secret door in a bookcase, leading to two further rooms and a dancefloor.
Address: Gråbrødretorv 8
Phone: +45 6969 6000
Opening Hours: Thu-Sat: 8pm - late

Ved Stranden 10

Lovely wines, and the location isn't bad either
Word to the wise: On Wednesday evenings the bar hosts wine tastings.

The seriously good, biodynamic wines on offer at this canal-side bar have made it something of a connoisseur's favourite, but it also has appeal for those who don't know their Sancerre from their Sauvignon Blanc.

Its location, right opposite the Parliament building, is lovely - jump on an outside table if you spot one - whilst the bar itself is a showcase of classic Danish design. Wine is very much the thing here, but the small range of simple snacks are high quality, too - a glass of something and a Croque Monsieur here is a lunch fit for the gods.
Address: Ved Stranden 10
Phone: +45 3542 4040
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 12noon - 10pm


One-stop shop for music-lovers
Word to the wise: Vega is extremely popular with Swedes over from Malmo for the weekend.

This vast Vesterbro venue is a nightclub, concert hall, and lounge in one, with original 60s Danish decor thrown in for a kitschy vibe.

Two main rooms - the 1,500-capacity Store Vega, and Lille Vega, with space for 500 - host acts ranging from the likes of British pop wunderkind Ed Sheeran to avant garde legend Thurston Moore. Meanwhile, the ground level Ideal Bar hosts what it describes as 'slightly crooked' music and events - an evening celebrating Lou Reed's 70th birthday, for example.

At the weekend, Lille Vega transforms into a club pumping out eclectic tunes to an enthusiastic crowd.
Address: Enghavevej 40
Phone: +45 3325 7011
Opening Hours: Club, Fri-Sat: 11pm - 5am
See website for gig listings


Have a rummage with the locals
Word to the wise: The summer markets are the most fun but if you want to bag a bargain out of season, try Rovsingsgademarkedet in Osterbro, open every weekend year-round.

Fleamarkets are a big deal in Copenhagen. On any given weekend there'll be one on somewhere, and in warmer months it can seem there are piles of antiques, records, bric a brac, and vintage clothes at every turn. This being Denmark, quality is high - unlike in, say, Britain, dirty Barbie Dolls and broken toasted sandwich makers are not the standard.

The most popular - and expensive - market is at Gammelstrand in the city centre; it specialises in antiques and Royal Copenhagen china. Other locations include Nørrebrogade; Frederiksberg City Hall, which concentrates on clothes; and Israel Plads, the oldest fleamarket in the city, where 30-somethings flock to find quirky objets d'art for their apartments.

As a general rule, markets are open from 8am to mid-afternoon on weekends between May and September, and it pays to arrive early. Listings (in Danish) can be found here.

Galleri K

Where great architecture meets great shopping
Word to the wise: The first and last Sunday in every month is 'Shopping Sunday', when Galleri K opens between 11am and 4pm.

If your interest in Scandinavian style veers more towards threads than tables, this small, slick 'design mall' should see you right.

Located in the town centre near Strøget, the arcade - architecturally rather bold, with modernist design incorporated into existing historic architecture - houses a stable of Danish fashion brands such as By Malene Birger, as well as international labels like Agent Provocateur.
Address: Østergade 32
Phone: +45 7022 9601
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 10am - 7pm
Sat: 10am – 5pm
Sun: 11am - 4pm (first and last in every month, depends on season)

Hay House

Danish design heritage in a contemporary setting
Noteworthy for: Hay's Prince chair was created for a competition to make a seat for the Crown Prince of Denmark. It didn't win, but is now on display at MOMA in New York.

Danish product design has been accused of not moving on from its mid-century heyday, and the people behind this shop, hip design company Hay, are determined to set things right. Their mission statement is "to encourage Danish furniture design's return to the innovative greatness of the 1950s and 1960s but in a contemporary context".

What this means in real terms is a range of highly covetable furniture, accessories, and textiles, both from Hay's own line and other designers, arranged over two floors of a lovely, grand apartment on Østergade: what your own place might look like if you had more money and better taste.
Address: Østergade 61, 2nd floor
Phone: +45 4282 0820
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 11am - 6pm
Sat: 11am - 4pm

Henrik Vibskov Boutique

Avant-garde a go-go
Word to the wise: If you love Copenhagen so much you want to smell like it, pick up a bottle of Vibskobv's scent inspired by the city.

Safe to say, Henrik Vibskov is something of an acquired taste. Not short on ego or ambition, the Danish designer is a self-styled visionary who is a musician and artist on the side and claims not just to make clothes but also to create 'a multitude of twisted yet tantalizing universes' with each collection.

The clothes he makes can be rather wonderful, though, and fans of high fashion will want to check out his flagship Copenhagen boutique, which showcases his designs as well as pieces from other avant-garde designers.
Address: Krystalgade 6
Phone: +45 3314 6100
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu: 11am - 6pm
Fri: 11am - 7pm
Sat: 11am - 5pm

Illums Bolighus

Homewares heaven - bring a credit card
Word to the wise: The name's confusing similarity to department store Illum is no coincidence - they used to have the same owner.

Visits to Copenhagen invariably lead to a resolution to make one's own home far more stylish, pronto - and Illum Bolighus is a one-stop-shop to indulge your Scandi design desires.

The main shop, slap bang in the middle of Stroget, is a four-floored treasure trove of covetable Scandinavian furniture, homeware, textiles, kitchenware, and ceramics; there's a section for fashion and jewellery as well. If you somehow manage to avoid spending next month's rent here, you have another chance at the branch at Copenhagen Airport.
Address: Amagertorv 10
Phone: +45 3314 1941
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 10am - 7pm
Sat: 10am - 6pm
Sun: 11am – 5pm

Inge Vincents

Fantastic ceramics on Jægersborggade
Word to the wise: If ceramics are your thing it's also worth checking out Stilleben, a shop run by potters at Niels Hemmingsensgade 3.

Fancy tucking a little piece of contemporary Danish design into your hand luggage? You could do a lot worse than one of Inge Vincents' exquisite ceramics.

Each piece is hand-thrown or hand-built in paper-thin, highly translucent porcelain - 'thinware', she calls it - transforming everyday objects into delicate works of art that will be appreciated by anyone with aesthetic sense. The 'baggy vase', which mimics a slightly crumpled white paper bag, is our favourite.
Address: Jægersborggade 27
Phone: +45 4070 1750
Opening Hours: Mon-Tue: call to check
Wed, Fri: 10am - 4pm
Thu: 10am - 6pm (first Thu in month: 12noon - 8pm)
Sat: 11am - 3pm

Magasin du Nord

The grande dame of Danish department stores
Talk of the town: On the third floor of the store there's a door leading to an attic where Hans Christian Andersen lived for several years (see separate entry in Museums).

Covering six floors in a vast turn-of-the-century building on Kongens Nytorv, Magasin du Nord is Denmark's largest and best-known department store, the equivalent of Harrods in London or Bloomingdales in New York.

It may not be the hippest store in town but the building wears its long history on its sleeve and its old-fashioned air is rather appealing. Although the bulk of floor space is given over to men and women's fashion, the splendid basement food hall and homeware department are, in our opinion, the places to head.
Address: Kungens Nytorv 13
Phone: +45 3311 4433
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu, Sat: 10am - 7pm
Fri: 10am - 8pm


Small in size, big on style
Word to the wise: Oehlenschlægersgade has some great fashion boutiques, too: don't miss Mania and Oehl.

This little basement design shop is situated a block away from the major shopping artery Istedgade, but it's well worth a short detour. The stylish assortment of carefully-chosen new and retro items includes furniture, gadgets, and gifts - and, unlike some other temples to Scandi style, it doesn't take itself too seriously: there's a touch of wit and playfulness to their selections and displays.
Address: Oehlenschlægersgade 32
Phone: +45 3331 0056
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 11am - 5.30pm
Sat: 11am - 3pm

Normann Copenhagen

Inventive, beautiful, and useful homewares
Noteworthy for: The company's most famous product is Danish design classic, the Norm 69 lamp.

We make no apology for recommending a lot of interiors shops - design is Copenhagen's raison d'etre, after all. And Normann Copenhagen deserves a mention not only for its witty yet functional homeware - a flexible rubber washing up bowl, for example - but also for helping to alert the world to contemporary Scandi style through canny marketing.

Since starting out in 1999, the company has expanded rapidly, and its products are now available in 77 countries. The large flagship store on Østerbrogade sells 38 of their own designs as well as a wealth of other products from other designers, from bikes to egg beaters.
Address: Østerbrogade 70
Phone: +45 3555 4459
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 10am - 6pm
Sat: 10am - 4pm

Pede & Stoffer

Kit yourself out, CPH-style
Word to the wise: Pede & Stoffer has two side-by-side boutiques, one for men and one for women.

A good one-stop shop for the trendy Dane look, Pede & Stoffer stock their boutiques with the pick of the hottest Scandinavian and international fashion brands, from big names such as Vanessa Bruno and Helmut Lang to Danish label-of-the-moment Won Hundred.

Although they now cater for both sexes, Pede & Stoffer built their reputation on men's clothes: if you want yourself, or your boyfriend, to emulate the well-groomed boho style of the hip Danish male, here's the place to buy that vintage man bag and lumberjack shirt.
Address: Klosterstræde 15-19
Phone: +45 3333 8830
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu: 10.30am - 6pm
Fri: 10.30am - 7pm
Sat: 10.30am - 5pm


Bargain antiques and more in Nørrebro
Noteworthy for: On Sundays in summer, Ravnsborggade transforms into a fleamarket as the antiques shops move their wares out onto the street.

Word to the wise: The antique shops often have quite limited opening hours: aim to visit in the middle of the day to be safe.

If we had to pick just one street to browse in Copenhagen, it would be this one in Nørrebro. Admittedly, it helps if you're into second-hand furniture and homewares - there are over 30 antique and vintage shops here, ranging from top-end to bargain bin - but in recent years these have been joined by a selection of very cool boutiques and cafes, and the street has a lovely, lively yet relaxed vibe.

All the shops here are worth a look, but don't miss Roxy Klassik and Midsummer Gade Antiques for interiors and Stig P and Frederiksen for fashion. Stop for a cuppa at cafe Kind of Blue, or grab a cocktail at Kung Fu.

Roxy Klassik

A den of Danish design
Word to the wise: There are two branches in town: the main one on Faelledvej in Norrebro and another in Frederiksberg.

This interiors shop, specialising in mid-century Danish design, makes it all-too-easy for visitors to kit out their homes, Copenhagen-style: they'll deliver your purchases straight to the airport or arrange international shipping. All you need to do is provide a hefty wad of kroner and decide on which Arne Jacobsen chair, Hans J Wegner sideboard, or Kaare Klint sofa should grace your abode.

There is an excellent range of ceramics, too, for those who prefer to bring their spoils home in their hand luggage.
Address: Fælledvej 4
Phone: +45 3537 4142
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 12noon - 6pm
Sat: 10am - 2pm

Rue Verte Plus

A lifestyle concept store that offers the best of everything
Noteworthy for: In 2009, Rue Verte Plus was named one of the world's 55 best shops in the book 'Luxury Stores - Top of the World'.

It requires considerable willpower to leave this hugely stylish and eclectic lifestyle store without a shopping bag, whether it contains a statement lamp, a unique objet d'art for your apartment, or a 'wow' dress for Friday night.

Those familiar with the famous Parisian store Merci will recognise the concept here: a mixture of unusual and ravishing lifestyle and fashion pieces, with a juice bar in which to recover should the goods on offer make you feel faint with longing.
Address: Ny Østergade 11
Phone: +45 3312 5552
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu: 10am - 6pm
Fri: 10am - 7pm
Sat: 10am - 4pm


Design, art, and fashion under the same roof
Noteworthy for: In 2008, Storm was voted "best retail space" at the Dansk Fashion Awards.

You may never be as innately cool as the Danes but you can steal - or, rather, buy - their style at this achingly trendy 'concept store'. High fashion is the main event - along the lines of Peter Pilotto, Dries van Noten, and Ann Demeulemeester - but you'll also find beauty products, music, magazines, and art books.

Storm's steep prices might kill your budget but it's still worth a browse, to see what the cutting edge looks like these days and to marvel at the beautiful staff and customers.
Address: Store Regnegade 1
Phone: +45 3393 0014
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu: 11am - 5.30pm
Fri: 11am - 7pm
Sat: 10am - 4pm

Strøget and around

The city's main shopping drag, and its cooler alternatives
Word to the wise: In general Copenhagen is a super-safe city, but the few bad apples tend to congregate on Strøget during high season. Be aware of pick-pockets and scammers.

Strøget, the city's main shopping artery, stretches between Rådhuspladsen and Kongens Nytorv and purportedly the longest pedestrianised street in Europe. It's actually more a collection of streets offering countless opportunities to empty your wallet, from designer boutiques and grand department stores such as Magasin du Nord and Illums Bolighus to generic high street brands and souvenir shops, as well as endless bars, restaurants, and kebab stands.

The main drag is touristy, generic, and not particularly charming, especially at the 'cheaper' end towards Rådhuspladsen. For general browsing you're far better off slipping onto the parallel, more interesting thoroughfare Strædet and exploring the side streets. On Kronprinsensgade you can find cool Danish fashion labels; Silkegade, Larsbjørnsstræde, and Studiestræde also have some great independent shops, cafes and bars.
Address: Fredriksberggade/Amagertorv/Østergade


Fulfil your upmarket foodie fantasies
Talk of the town: Torvehallerne was built to revive the food-selling tradition of nearby Israel Plads: for decades the square hosted a thriving market until competition from supermarkets killed it off.

Strange to say, given its culinary status, but until late 2011 Copenhagen didn't have a dedicated food hall. Most agree, though, that Torvehallerne has been worth the wait: housed in two modernist glass structures beside Nørreport Station, it's an upscale foodie's dream, with over 80 shops and stalls offering high quality and hard-to-find produce.

Which vendor you head to depends, of course, on your desires - anything from fresh sushi to reindeer meat to kitchen knives are available - but we recommend a macchiato at Coffee Collective, a duck sandwich at Ma Poule, and fish and chips at Fiskerikajen.
Address: Frederiksborggade 21
Phone: +45 7010 6070
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu: 10am - 7pm
Fri: 10am - 8pm
Sat: 10am - 6pm
Sun: 11am - 5pm

Welcome to Copenhagen

Until fairly recently, Copenhagen was not cool. Socially progressive – yes. Design conscious – certainly. But hip? It felt too refined, conformist and, dare we say it, dull, to be fashionable.

In the past decade, however, the city has come out of its shell, like the quiet secretary shaking out her hair (but leaving on her black-rimmed glasses) to become the most desirable woman in the office. And its ‘moment’ shows no signs of abating. Danish food is now in the international spotlight, a reservation at Noma as coveted as an original Arne Jacobsen chair, and Copenhagen’s bourgeois reputation has been seen off by cutting-edge art, fashion and music scenes, seeded in gritty neighbourhoods such as Vesterbro.

For all its innovation, at the heart of Copenhagen’s character lies an innate sense of quality, subtlety and fairness. You can see it in the city’s architecture: a considered, people-friendly blend of historic and contemporary buildings, cobbled streets and waterways. An aesthetic sensibility runs through its veins – the humblest cafe looks fit for an interiors magazine, toddlers are better dressed than you and, at night, residents leave their curtains open so passers-by can admire the ‘hygge’ (or stylishly cosy) scene within.

Nowhere’s perfect, of course. Aside from the multicultural Nørrebro, it’s a pretty white city and there remains a certain level of conformity. The weather can be shocking. It’s expensive, although no worse than London or Paris. Nonetheless, Copenhagen's new-found position as Europe's coolest city looks safe for the forseeable future.

Avenue Hotel

Charming three-star in trendy Nørrebro
Talk of the town: The hotel was voted Best Small Hotel in Denmark at the 2011 European Travel Awards.

Word to the wise: Ask for a room at the back: those on the street side can suffer from noise.

Perhaps the best mid-range choice in town, this boutique hotel doesn't rely on gimmicks to pull in the punters: rather, good, old-fashioned virtues such as warm and accomodating staff, homely yet stylish decor (bedspreads are from Missoni), and famously vast and delicious breakfasts.

It's a good 15 minutes walk to the city centre and the hotel has no restaurant, but that needn't bother you, since Nørrebro is packed with good places to eat and drink. On Wednesdays, the hotel hosts the Yellow Lounge, an evening of DJs mixing classical music which has earned quite a following: the Pet Shop Boy's Neil Tennant has even dropped in to spin some discs.

Bertrams Hotel Guldsmeden

Sweet boutique in a happening neighbourhood
Word to the wise: It's worth paying a little extra for a room facing the garden.

Noteworthy for: Vesterbrogade is full of good, inexpensive ethnic restaurants. For Vietnamese, try Lê Lê Nhà Hàng at number 40, whilst the misleadingly named Columbia Pizza and Restaurant at number 125 serves great Indian food.

A lovely boutique three-star at the Frederiksberg end of Vesterbrogade, Bertrams is well worth the 15-minute stroll from the city centre. Besides, hip Vesterbro is hardly a dull suburb: with lots of great restaurants and bars, and this cosy hotel to head back to, it'd be easy not to leave the neighbourhood at all.

The 47 rooms are decorated in a Balinese style, complete with Persian carpets and kimonos - a refreshing change from the ubiquitous Scandi design - and there's a leafy garden courtyard equipped with blankets for late night drinking and star-gazing.

Copenhagen Admiral Hotel

Location, location, location
Word to the wise: Room choice matters here: if you can afford it, upgrade to a waterfront view.

Bang opposite the Opera House and a short stroll from Nyhavn, the Little Mermaid, Kongens Nytorv, and Strøget, the Admiral's location is unbeatable if you're in Copenhagen to 'do' the sights.

The hotel, a converted 19th century warehouse, is rather lovely, too. The building has retained a sense of history and character - rooms have their original beams - whilst furnishings follow contemporary Scandi design lines.

It's not cheap, and, in the past, service has left something to be desired, but the management now appear to have pulled their socks up.

Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers

Comfort with a green conscience
Word to the wise: The hotel is located close to the airport and runs a free shuttle service for guests. It's also very convenient for trips to Malmo.

Part of a vast multinational corporation and aimed at business travellers, Crowne Plazas are not the kind of hotels we usually recommend. In one important area, though, this newish addition to the chain can put hipper, boutique hotels to shame: its forward-thinking green policy.

Eco-friendly solutions have been integrated into every aspect of the building's design, from biodegradable toothbrushes to an innovative ground-water cooling and heating system that reduces energy consumption to 10 percent of that of other Copenhagen hotels.

The 366-room establishment also has the mod cons and slick service you'd expect from a four-star, and, despite being located out of town, is right by a metro that'll whisk you to Strøget in eight minutes.

Hotel CPH Living

It'll float your boat
Word to the wise: Try a river taxi: there's a stop five minutes' walk away that will take you to Nyhavn.

Popular plate: Floating restaurants have almost as bad a reputation as floating hotels, but the place next door, Viva, is very good.

Often, hotels on boats can be a bit grotty - the Botel in Amsterdam springs to mind - but trust Copenhagen to make theirs a classy joint.

Moored opposite Christianshavn, the hotel has 12 stylish, bijou rooms, each with floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies overlooking the water, the Black Diamond, and the Old Town. Rooms come equipped with TV and wi-fi and the residents-only sundeck is a lovely place to hang out in nice weather.

Although the barge is stable you can definitely feel you're on water, so it's not one for the easily queasy - nor for those who like to be waited on hand-and-foot (breakfast is a simple, self-service affair). But if you're up for something a bit different at a price that won't break the bank, look no further.

Hotel Fox

Art in every corner
Word to the wise: Check out the rooms on the website and specify your favourite when booking. It's all down to taste, of course, but we like the eye-boggling 302.

This eccentric 'art hotel' caused a bit of a stir when it opened in 2005. In contrast to the sophisticated, restrained decor of many of the city's hotels, here artists were given free reign to design and furnish each of the 61 rooms. The results are, needless to say, wildly varied: from Manga designs to kitsch Heidi fantasies to all-white decor (and that's including the TV).

Although now a bit frayed around the edges, Fox is still a good choice thanks to its sense of fun, relatively inexpensive rates, and location 10 minutes from Tivoli and Norreport station.

NEEDS UPDATING /// Hotel d'Angleterre

The last word in genteel luxury - when it's open
Noteworthy for: In operation since 1755, this is one of the world's oldest - and swankiest - hotels.

The grand dame of Copenhagen hotels is closed for refurbishment until May 2013, but it feels wrong not to mention it - like leaving Claridges off a list of great London lodgings, or the Crillon off one for Paris.

Occupying a prime spot on Kongens Nytorv, this five-star pile has for 250-years been centre stage in Denmark's history, hosting the rich, famous and influential from Kierkegaard to Grace Kelly, Winston Churchill to Whitney Houston.

It's a safe bet that the refurbishment won't mess with the hotel's winning formula of refined, marble-and-gilt luxury - additions of 'egg' chairs and industrial lamps are unlikely - but instead add some state-of-the-art mod cons to the stately grandeur, as well as new restaurants, bars and a spa.

Nimb Hotel

Luxurious and romantic bolthole beside Tivoli
Word to the wise: Tivoli is not open all year round: check before booking.

Talk of the town: As of May 2012 the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant, Herman, relaunched with a new executive chef, Allan Poulsen, and a new name - Nimb Louise.

The quaint, magical Tivoli theme park and gardens are one of Copenhagen's most cherished attractions, so it's no surprise that the 14 rooms at this five-star boutique hotel are so coveted - and so pricey.

The gardens are, essentially, the hotel's backyard: along with stunning views from rooms, guests have their own private entrance and unlimited complimentary access. The hotel itself is spectacular: the white, Moorish-style building is festooned with strings of lights and furnished with antiques and mid-century design classics. Service is as good as you'd hope for such a no-expense-spared establishment.

Radisson Blu Royal

The original design hotel
Word to the wise: Room 606 is kitted out in Arne Jacobsen's original 1960s designs. Ask to have a look round - or splash out and stay there.

Noteworthy for: Design aside, the hotel has another claim to fame: it was the first skyscraper in Denmark and for decades the country's tallest building.

We like to steer away from those generic corporate hotels - especially when they're outside the city centre - but the Radisson Blu Royal is something special. Conceived and built in the late 50s by Denmark's most famous architect and designer, Arne Jacobsen, it has a legitimate claim to be the world's first design hotel.

Jacobsen decided on every element of the building, from the 20-storey facade to the cutlery used in the restaurant. Although most of the original furnishings have now been replaced, his spirit and designs live on, notably in the top floor restaurant Alberto K, which also has stunning views over the city.

STAY Copenhagen

Why have a room when you can have an apartment?
Word to the wise: In the summer, you can swim at the nearby Havneparken harbour baths.

These serviced apartments are well worth considering if you're more interested in experiencing the Copenhagen way of life than ticking off the sights. Situated a stone's throw from the water in Islands Brygge - off the beaten track, although the city centre is easily accessible by bike or metro - the complex consists of 15 apartments, all different sizes but all achingly cool and some not costing more than a modest hotel.

Minimalism is the name of STAY's game: think white, raw concrete and a few choice pieces of art and furniture by famed designers HAY. There's also a roof terrace, a gourmet supermarket downstairs, and the promise of an impromptu happening nearby: this is the kind of the raw, buzzy area where the arty crowd gathers.