A design wonderland, Denmark's capital city blends cutting-edge, modern architecture alongside medieval castles and watchtowers, creating a uniquely special aesthetic. The opera house (one of the most modern in the world) sits opposite the iconic 17th-century waterfront Nyhavn.
Copenhagen's currency is the Danish Krona DKK. 10 DKK = £1.13 / €1.44 / $1.45 (as of 2022).
Top 5 things to see
Denmark's capital is full of winding canals creating pockets of beauty. Nyhavn is its most famous - the buzzing hub of the city. The 17th-century canal is lined with gorgeous shops and bars (naturally, some are quite touristy). Some of the buildings are still residential - in fact, the lucky people living in Number 20 walk on the same floors as Hans Christian Andersen, the great Danish fairytale writer. The pastel townhouses and compact boats are postcard perfect and you'll be drawn back again and again.
Two Passports Top Tip: Nyhavn is always bursting with people, especially when it's sunny. To get some space, walk eastwards towards the river and walk toward the Royal Danish Playhouse, then north along the riverfront. You'll be greeted with spectacular views of the opera house.
Rosenborg Slot (Castle)
An early 17th-century palace surrounded by lush gardens and a moat, Rosenborg Slot is picturesque from every angle. Its striking brick work draws you in and entices you to wander chronologically-arranged rooms to gaze at the priceless paintings and opulent Crown Jewels. The gardens are perfect to sit with a coffee and pastry from nearby Torvehallerne, an urban market with food stalls and fresh produce.
Tickets cost 125 DKK for adults and free for kids (0-17). This is also free to enter with a Copenhagen Card (see below).
The oldest amusement park in the world, built in 1843, Tivoli Gardens is an enchanting space with antique roller coasters and dreamy architecture bursting with character in the middle of Copenhagen. The park is open from April to September; if you visit after dusk, the fairy lights are switched on and it transforms into a romantic atmosphere that'll make you forget you're in a major city centre.
Entrance costs 145 DKK.
South-east of Copenhagen's city centre is Amager Strandpark, a 4-mile man-made beach stretching along the sea. On a hot day in the summer, join the locals and enjoy some water spots on the sea or the lagoon opposite. On clear days, you may even be able to see Saltholm island!
The city is built on canals weaving and flowing throughout the city. Nyhavn is its most famous due to the pretty buildings lined by it, but there are many other picturesque canals. Canal tours are well worth doing to observe Copenhagen's intricate patterns first-hand. There are plenty that start from Nyhavn - we used Stromma Canal Tours that leave from Nyhavn.
Tickets start at 99 DKK.
The Copenhagen Card provides a plethora of top attractions throughout the city, as well as access to the city's public transports guidebook and an app. Access is only granted once per attraction.
It sounds expensive, but I would recommend this if you're looking at packing a lot in.
1 day = 446/245 DKK adults/children.
2 days = 654/349 DKK adults/children.
3 days = 803/431 DKK adults/children.
4 days = 930/505 DKK adults/children.
5 days = 1,056/565 DKK adults/children.
Where to eat and drink
Copenhagen's gastronomy is growing from strength to strength. It's innovative and diverse, fusing international cuisines to create spectacular restaurants. Fine dining experiences are world renowned, and chic street food markets are becoming the best in Europe. Copenhagen has a strong coffee culture and they're called Danish pastries for a reason.
Two Passports Top Tip
To fit in with the locals, order yourself a Smørrebrød; these are open-faced sandwiches (using rye bread specifically, and piled high with a mountain of toppings. The most popular is herring, but there are plenty of other options too!
Skt. Peders Bageri is the number one bakery in Copenhagen - no doubt about it. And if that wasn't enough of a reason to visit, it's also Denmark's oldest bakery too! The cinnamon buns are legendary and the perfect start to your day with a bold coffee.
Juno the Bakery, north of the city centre, was started by the former pastry chef of Nova (see For Dinner) and is serving the same quality for breakfast!
Grød, spread across Copenhagen, is for those visiting on a bitterly cold day and want funky porridge to warm them up. Spiced cinnamon and apple is their best seller!
Bastard Cafe serves up light lunches alongside a mountain of board games. Don't ask us about the name though...
Torvehallerne is an urban food market complex. Its restaurant stalls and cafes are set indoors, whilst fresh fruit and vegetables are outside. Check out Hija de Sanchez serving the best Mexican food!
DØP is one of many hot dog stands across the city. It's Copenhagen's light snack and drunk food option. Get a creative hot dog at DØP for a cheap midday meal!
Gasoline Grill, a small chain in Copenhagen, is serving up the best burgers in north Europe (according to Bloomberg). The flagship occupies a disused petrol station on Landgreven - a popular street in the city. The burgers are all freshly made on site and are reasonably priced too!
Noma is regularly voted the best restaurant in the world. If you want a truly exceptional dining experience in Copenhagen and happy to pay for it, Noma is the one restaurant to visit. It's tucked away in the Holmen district, as are other fine-dining experiences in the city, such as Alchemist.
Reffen, by the water of the former shipyard district Refshaleøe north-east of the city centre, is a trendy food court sprawling with fabulous food embracing Danish and international cuisine along with live entertainment. In the summer, grab your chosen dish and sit by the water.
Morgenstedet is a rustic vegetarian-only restaurant/cafe in the middle of Freetown Christiana. It'll feel like you're invading a residential area, but stick with us! Its food is well-known in the city.
Punk Royale is the restaurant to go to for a truly immersive experience in the city. The dimly-lit speakeasy shadowed in neon lights and fog serves up 15 courses in the most extraordinary fashion.
For the adults
Bar Somm near Torvehallerne is an intimate wine bar serving tasty small plates too.
Warpigs, located in København V, is a microbrewery pouring locally-produced pints from Denmark. Peckish? Order the incredible American-influenced BBQ.
Paté Paté is an intimate wine bar down the road from Warpigs, serving up French, Spanish and Moroccan-inspired food alongside its wine. The oysters are out of this world!
Café Mønten is a dive pub off Nyhavn. It's the most reasonably well-priced pub in the city centre where locals visit and play pool. A fun atmosphere!
Tipping is not required in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is an extremely safe city to walk around in and use its public transport services. It has a very low crime rate, but it's still always important to be careful with your belongings in busy areas.
Two Passports Top Tip: There is no Uber!
Simple as that really! There's no Uber in Copenhagen, so if you're planning to use a taxi, you'll need to book one. TAXA is the preferred company by locals and tourists, so use them.
When to Go
Low Season: October to February
The winter days are short and darkness sets in early. The weather can be bitterly cold too - many attractions close for winter, such as Tivoli Gardens. Though you will find deals on flights and hotels.
Shoulder Season: March to May and September
Days get longer and the piercing sun begins to appear more often, but rain (and snow) is common. Attractions open up across the city which opens early April each year. Tourists begin flocking to Nyhavn.
High Season: June to August
The city gets extremely busy and Nyhavn is only manageable early in the morning. However, the weather is perfect to walk around and the city at golden hour is spectacular.
How to Get There
Copenhagen Airport (CPH)
You'll undoubtedly travel into CPH, one of Scandinavia's largest airports, with flights from LA to Tokyo and everything in between. It's only 7km south of the city centre and, in typical Scandinavian fashion, it has various quick and frequent transport means into Copenhagen: buses, trains, taxis and metros.
CPH is made of three terminals - Terminal 3 (T3) is where you can find all the transport (though T1/T2 has bus connections too!). We recommend the metro; CPH sits at the end of the Yellow Line and is frequent, easy and cheap!
By train: The DSB takes 15 minutes and costs 36 DKK.
By metro: The Yellow Line take 19 minutes and costs 36 DKK.
By buses: The 2A and 5A takes 35 minutes and 36 DKK.
Malmo Airport (MMX)
Yes, we know it's in Sweden, but MMX does provide easy links into the city over the impressive Øresund Bridge.
The simplest transport option is the 45-minute Flygbussarna into Malmo city centre for 119 DKK, then change at Hyllie Street and either catch the Kiruna or DSB 029 (65 DKK / 40 minutes) direct train into Copenhagen.
Travelling in the city
Copenhagen is entirely walkable, especially the areas with its tourist attractions. However, its famous aquarium and Amager Strandpark are best to travel to via Yellow Line on the metro - stop at Kastrup St. The Yellow Line is the same metro route to/from the airport.
There are 4 metro lines - M1 (Green), M2 (Yellow), M3 (Red), M4 (Blue). Kongens Nytorv, by Nyhavn, is the meeting place for them all and spiral throughout the city.
You can buy individual metro tickets at the station at easy-to-use machines. With the Copenhagen Card mentioned above you have unlimited use of all the public transport (as well as tickets for attractions).