There is so much to see and experience in Copenhagen that it can be a challenge to choose from all the options available. That is where we come in! Our tour guides have all the local secrets but if you don't get the chance to get them directly on our tours, we'll give you a little sneakpeek here!
Our favorite secret spot in the city is the Royal Library Garden, hidden between the Royal Library, the Tøjhus Museum, ChristianIV's Supply Depot and Christiansborg Palace. The garden has been known for being one of the most tranquil spots around the city center. So, if you want some peace and quiet, away from the noise and the busy city life, this is the place to go.
Freetown Christiania, also known as Christiania, is a community of about 850 to 1,000 residents. Christiania is a mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues, cheap and organic eateries, and beautiful nature. However, it is still a society within a society but the area is open to the public.
Manfreds is a favorite among locals as it emphasises on 'farm-to-table'. Which means that every day they offer harvest fresh vegetables from the farm and they are served on the same day. As fresh as it can be!
Smørrebrød is a traditional open-faced sandwich that usually consists of a piece of buttered rye bread topped with commercial or homemade cold cuts, pieces of meat or fish, cheese or spreads, and garnishes.
The Copenhagen Harbour Baths are a system of recreational bathing facilities along the waterfront. The first and best-known is located at Islands Brygge but we also recommend Havnebadet Fisketorvet. Jump in for a cold swim!
If you want to get the best possible view of the city and the best photo you should head to Tårnet, the tower of Christiansborg Palace, as you will be able to see Copenhagen from a completely new angle. This is Copenhagen’s highest tower and a visit is free of charge and it is open every day (except Mondays).
If you are visiting Copenhagen and get a chance to try any of these recommendations, please let us know how it went. We love to hear what people think of our recommendations and even suggest other stuff. One man's secret is another man's treasure, right?!?
Traditional Danish Cuisine
Many Danish cuisine recipes nowadays originate from the Viking era. For Vikings it was a necessity to preserve almost all food—meat, fish, dairy, fruits and vegetables alike. Therefore their food was mostly salted, pickled, marinated or dried so that it would keep for a very long time. While Danish cuisine was inherited from the Viking era, it has been adjusted to the modern Danish taste buds. When visiting Denmark, especially Copenhagen, it is a must to pay a visit to a traditional restaurant, as Danish and Nordic cuisine has become increasingly popular worldwide and this is a great opportunity to sample some!
Restaurant Schønnemann is one of the oldest restaurants in Copenhagen, established in 1877. It is a lunch-only destination and is well known for its wide variety of choices, its delicious open sandwiches (smørrebrod), and for its seafood dishes. Another restaurant with typical Danish dishes is Restaurant Puk, which offers many exciting choices for those wanting to sample something traditional. Both these restaurants offer high quality food with medium prices, so expect to pay around 200 DKK for a meal.
New Nordic Cuisine
In recent years some Danish chefs have been part of the New Nordic Cuisine movement, which is an innovative way of cooking based on high quality and local production. The restaurant that took the lead and had a great impact on the success of the New Nordic Cuisine movement was the internationally acclaimed, two Michelin star restaurant noma (set menu: 2,250 DKK). Noma (short for Nordisk mad – Nordic food) was ranked the world’s best restaurant in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. Before it closed down in 2016 (in order to reopen with a new concept in 2018), it had two stars in Guide Michelin Nordic Cities for 2015 and 2016. After its huge success Noma opened a spin-off restaurant 108 (full tasting menu: 1,950 DKK) in 2016, which has already been awarded with one Michelin star.
Other Danish restaurants that follow the New Nordic Cuisine are Geranium, Restaurant AOC, and Radio. Geranium (set menu: 2,500 DKK) has a very dynamic style and its chef Rasmus Kofoed, considered one of the world’s best chefs, tries to involve all the senses in the restaurant’s dishes. Radio (set menu: around 400 DKK) was established by famous chef Claus Meyer and is focused on Nordic and organic cuisine. All ingredients are organic, Danish, and contribute to an extraordinary taste experience.
Traditional with a twist
Kadeau (set menu: 1,800 DKK) is a restaurant that was initially established on the island of Bornholm. It offers high class dishes inspired by Bornholm specialties and Danish ingredients. The menu and opening hours change according to the season so be sure to check beforehand!
The Standard is a Michelin awarded restaurant situated right next to the main Copenhagen canal. It offers food from the Nordic kitchen. In Almanak (set menu: 1,195 DKK) you can eat ”food that a grandmother would have made if she had known what we know today”, or you can have a taste experience like never before in Studio (set menu: 1,300 DKK), with dishes that represent Danish nature.
Of course, Danish cuisine is not only about fancy restaurants. The Danes also love their street food. There are hot-dog stands (Pølsevogne) all over the centre of Copenhagen. On Amagertorv 31 there is an organic hot-dog stand called DØP (Den Økologiske Pølsemand) (30-50 DKK). It was established in 2009 by Claus Christiansen; all bread and sausage recipes are his own, and his hotdogs are said to be the best in town! In Denmark there is an obsession with sausages (pølser in Danish), maybe even as much as in Germany. Rød-pølse (red sausage) is one of the local favorites and you can find it at any hotdog stand.
There are also many food halls in Copenhagen. A popular and very central one is Torvehallerne. There you can find stands with traditional Danish food such as Smørrebrød, but also different cuisines from other countries. Another food market, which opened in 2017, is Tivoli Food Hall – a great way to enjoy lunch in Copenhagen from all over the world and have fun in one of the oldest amusement parks in the world!
If you prefer a more rough setting you should check out Reffen Street Food market.
Even though Denmark is one of the most environmentally conscious countries in the world, it is also one with the highest meat consumption per capita in the world (even though it has been falling continuously). Of course, this means that in almost all traditional Danish dishes there is some kind of meat. However, vegetarians are just as easily able to find something to eat too! An example of vegetarian restaurants would be Veve (set menu: 750 dkk). It offers a special experience to its customers and its menu is inspired by kitchens from all around the world.
Some of the most traditional Danish dishes, can probably be found in any traditional Danish restaurant. Smørrebrod (an open sandwich) is one that Danes love, and eat at any time of the day. It is rye bread buttered and garnished with a variety of ingredients—meat, fish, eggs, vegetables etc. Stegt flæsk med persillesovs (fried pork with parsley gravy) is not as well-known to the outside world, but it is considered Denmark’s national dish. Another favorite is frikadeller, which is fried meatballs (pork) or fishballs (fiskefrikadeller).
One of the most well-known pastries is a “Danish”. What is surprising however, is that a “Danish” is not Danish! The Danes call it Wienerbrød because it actually originates from Vienna. The danish came to Denmark in 1850 during a bakers’ strike. Bakery owners had to hire bakers from abroad, especially Austrian bakers, who started making Wienerbrød. The Danes liked it so much that they started asking for it even after the strike and the recipe was adjusted to the Danish liking.
Lagkagehuset is a pastry house, with locations all around town, where you can find many pastries, bread, cakes and desserts if you are hungry while walking around Copenhagen! Lagkagehuset is also located at our walking tour start point - try it out!
Lakrids (liquorice) is relished by the Danes! It comes salty, sour, sweet, fruity, chili or chocolate coated. So many different flavors! The best lakrids you can find is at Lakrids by Johan Bülow(from around 80 DKK).
Danes like to have a drink during their meals. Usually, and especially during celebrations, they have “snaps”. In Denmark Akvavit (in Latin this means water of life, how ironic…) is always used for “snaps” and is considered the national drink. Don’t forget to “Skål!” (cheers) whenever you drink “snaps”!
Denmark also has a long history of beer brewing. It has Carlsberg (probably) the best beer in the world, Tuborg (which is beloved, especially for its annual Christmas beer), and many microbreweries that are growing in number and strength. A great place to try some beers would be Brus or BrewPub, which also has a restaurant and a great courtyard to enjoy a beer during the sunny summer days in Copenhagen!
The Danes have made food an experience and a pleasure for the senses. If you are wondering what to eat in Copenhagen and you are a foodie you shouldn’t miss visiting at least one of the places listed above or trying some of our traditional Danish foodsuggestions. You won’t be disappointed!
Everyone should spend New Year’s Eve in Scandinavia at least once. The cold crisp air, and the lingering of Christmas lights twinkling in the dark make the frozen North an enchanting place to countdown to New Year’s (and since Scandinavia is known as a nature and health hub, it’s probably a good place to kick-start your new year’s resolutions!)
Sometimes visitors to Scandinavia have difficulties distinguishing between the Scandic countries, owing to their many shared cultural and linguistic similarities. On New Year’s you can spot these although each country still has their distinct traditions too.
All across Scandinavian, they love their New Year fireworks as much as most countries do (actually, now that we’re thinking about it, where does the ‘fireworks at New Year’ tradition come from?!), and in most cities across the region you will be able to venture out into the cold night and watch the sky sparkle and explode with colour at midnight. In fact, the locals love getting out into the fresh air for New Year’s and will certainly not stay copped up inside for the evening just because of the cold. Join the fun, but just make sure you dress up warmly, as your beer-jackets won’t really do the trick when the temperatures are well into the minuses! Just remember that there is a saying in the north: there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes! So rug up!
In Finland, Helsinki’s Senate Square is where all the firework action will be, and it will certainly be a sight to see, especially against the backdrop of one of the most magnificent settings in the capital. In Sweden, it’s actually Gothenburg, the second largest city, where the best firework action is considered to be. Head down to the river for a true visual feast, or to Götaplatsen which is known for it’s wild and friendly festivities. In Stockholm, one of the biggest events of the early evening is concert at Storkyrkan in Gamla Stan and at midnight the big tradition is the reading of Tennyson’s ‘Ring out Wilds Bells’ at the Skansen. In Oslo you’ll want to head to the Town Hall and in Copenhagen the Town Hall is also where all the action will be, although it has big competition with Tivoli. Be careful though because even though the setting off fireworks in banned in many public spots, at the peak of merriment the locals can often forget this and set of fireworks haphazardly around the adjoining streets.
One quite big distinction between the Scandic countries at New year is that in Norway the focus is on spending the evening with family. In Finland and Sweden however, it is mainly spent with friends (since Christmas was dominated by family and thus NYE is a chance to get away from Uncle Bob’s appalling jokes and awkward conversation!) and many will hold big parties and invite all their friends to celebrate with them. In Denmark, it’s a bit of both. Interestingly, Denmark has quite the set of rituals to follow before the clock strikes midnight. The Queen’s televised speech to the nation earlier in the evening is something that most people will watch, and many will cluster around Amalienborg to watch the Royal Guard Parade. After that the jokes begin, and there is a bit of a Halloween theme as the Danes play pranks on their neighbours and friends, coating trees in toilet paper and smashing china plates on doorsteps! Norway also has a slight Halloween twist on New Years! In Finland, one of the best traditions of the evening is fortune telling! To celebrate the general theme of new opportunities in the new year, the Finns try to predict the future by interpreting shapes formed by molten tin. Of course, the shapes and their fortunes are always positive and you are bound to have a great coming year!
Food is also a pretty important component of New Years, alongside the warming (both physically and metaphorically) beverages consumed. Each country has their own set of dishes that are traditional New Year’s fodder! In Sweden’s Jansson’s Temptation (Janssons frestelse) is a solid favourite. Also popular at the Christmas table, this is a creamy potato dish which takes most of its flavour from cheese and anchovies. It’s delicious, even if its description sounds a little dubious! It’s also super popular in Finland, although there it is called Janssoninkiusaus. Cold cuts are also popular in Finland at this time of year, and so you’ll probably find offerings of cold-smoked reindeer and roast beef all around. In Demark cod is the favourite dish of the evening, but this should also be accompanied by a marzipan ring cake (Kransekage), which is so delicious that it will have any marzipan lover begging for seconds (and thirds, and fourths). In Norway, rice pudding is a favourite treat to see in the new year, and similar to a Christmas plum pudding, they bake it with a hidden silver penny. The idea is that the person who gets the silver penny in their helping will have fantastic luck for the coming year.
After the New Year’s countdown, for those wanting to extend the festivities into the early hours, all across Scandinavia you will be able to find clubs, restaurants and bars that will keep the party going. Make sure you have a look at what’s on offer and book a place, as these parties can get pretty busy. If you’re really in the partying mood, you can even enjoy double New Year! The towns of Haparandra in Sweden and Tornio in Finland and only 5 minutes drive from each other, but they are in different timezones, so celebrate an hour apart. So, you can celebrate first time around in Finland and then an hour later celebrate all over again in Sweden!
We absolutely recommend that you spend New Year’s Eve at least once in your lifetime in Scandinavia. It’ll be something you remember forever! If you need a good outdoors activity to help you recover the next day, our tours run across our Scandinavian cities on the 1st of January! Finally, you’ll need to be able to wish everyone around you a Happy New Year when the clock strikes midnight and we’ve got you covered for that too!
How to wish people a Happy New Year in Scandinavia. These are the sayings:
Finnish: Hyvää uutta vuotta!
Swedish: Gott nytt år!
Danish: Godt nytår
Norwegian: Godt nytt år
Here we‘ll offer a few YouTube videos on some of the most popular Christmas songs in our destinations. They might be a bit different from what you're used to but we‘re sure you‘ll enjoy them all the same. We‘ll give you a little introduction to the origin of the languages, some of them might be hard to learn whereas others might be easier. It depends on where you come from and how quick you are to pick up these exotic new words. Let‘s see if you can learn the lyrics and sing along, loud and clear for all to hear!
Finnish, or Suomi, is spoken by the majority of the people of Finland and about five million people speak the language, most of them reside in Finland. FInnish is a member of the Finnic group, that is part of the Uralic family of languages. Included in the Finnic group is Estonia (see below) and other Baltic countries. The language is believed to be originally a Proto-Uralic language from the boreal forest belt around the Ural Mountains region or the end of the middle Volga. This is thought to be the case because there are many similarities in the structure and the grammar.
Have a listen to this wonderful Christmas song. It is sung by Katri Helena, one on Finland’s best-selling female soloists.
Merry Christmas: Hyvää joulua!
Swedish is a North Germanic language and it is the official language of Sweden. There are around 9.6 million people that speak the language natively and it is very similar to Norwegian, and to some extent with Danish. The North Germanic language is part of the Indo-European language group and is the most spoken language out of the North Germanic languages. The origin of Swedish can be traced to Old Norse, from the Viking Era. The Old Norse evolved into two similar dialects: Old West Norse and Old East Norse. The Old East Norse covered Sweden and Denmark.
Today, Swedish has many traces of the English language, so if you speak English you might be able to catch some of the words that are being sung in this popular Christmas song; Mer Jul. The song is written and sung by the band Adolphson & Falk.
Merry Christmas: God Jul!
Danish is, like Swedish, a North Germanic language and is a descendant of Old Norse. Dansih is the official language of Denmark and around six million people speak the language, it is also spoken widely in Greenland and the Faroe Islands due to the fact that the two countries are an autonomous constituent of Denmark. Well into the 17th century, German and Latin were the most important written languages in Denmark and that is why traditional Danish dialects have almost disappeared completely. The language has changed between generations and today it only has remnants of a former case system. Danish is often considered a difficult language to learn because of the vowels, difficult prosody and “weakly” pronounced consonants. We encourage you to try out some of their pronunciations.
This video is a private recording of the Danish folk star Lars Lilholt - a master of the Danish language :-)
Merry Christmas: Glædelig jul!
Hungarian is a Finno-Ugric language but it’s no longer certain that it is a valid group for Hungarian. Hungarian is the official language of Hungary, and it belongs to the same family as Finnish and Estonian; the Uralic language family. However, throughout the 18th and 19th century there have often been debates on whether the language might be more related to the Turkic language. Today, Hungarian is part of the 24 official languages in the European Union.
In this Christmas video, you are able to see the lyrics, which might make things easier for you, but we will not promise anything. The band, T.N.T, is a pop band that gained a large popularity in Hungary in the 90s.
Merry Christmas: Boldog Karácsonyt!
Estonian is a Southern Finnic language and it’s the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million. The language is in the branch of the Uralic language family, closely related to Finnish, and the interesting thing is that they are not related to their nearest geographical neighbors and Indo-European language speakers; Swedish, Latvian and Russian. Estonian has borrowed up to one-third of its vocabulary from Germanic languages, even though they are not considered to be related from that origin, and from the Russian language. Estonian, Hungarian and Finland are three out of four official languages of European Union that aren’t from the Indo-European origin.
In this Christmas video, you’ll hear the wonderful song Jõuluingel, which mean Christmas Angel. It is a popular Christmas song in Estonia and has been performed by many artists.
Merry Christmas: Häid jõule!
´Tis is the season to be jolly! There is nothing better than the smell of Glühwein, roasted chestnuts and Christmas carols to get one in the Christmas spirit. These, and so much more, can be found in our favorite Christmas markets in our destinations across Europe. Here, we have gathered some of our favorites and we hope that you‘ll be able to enjoy them as much as we do.
The city of Vienna is well known for its christmas markets andIt’s no wonder!. The christmas markets are an old tradition that can be traced all the way back to the year 1298!! Unsuprisingly, these markets have really changed since then (although still have a traditional vibe!) and nowadays you can find over 20 christmas markets in the city. Our favorite market is The Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of the City Hall. Inside the City Hall you will find an area dedicated to children, where they can learn how to bake christmas cookies and make candles. Another great market is the Christmas Village in the Former General Hospital. This market is smaller and has a very traditional Viennese atmosphere to it and this is where you will find amazing Glühwein.
For more information on opening hours and markets: https://www.austria.info/uk/things-to-do/skiing-and-winter/christmas-markets/christmas-markets-in-vienna
In Prague, Christmas markets can be found almost everywhere across the city, from the famous Old Town Square to Náměstí Republiky. The biggest and the most popular market is by far the Old Town Square. There you will find daily carols being sung, stalls selling traditional Czech crafts and of course a huge Christmas tree. If you are a foodie and want to try Prague‘s festive food we recommend that you check out the market at Náměstí Republiky. Remember to try Becherovka, a herbal liqueur that is usually mixed with coffee, and Pražská Šunka, prague‘s famous Christmas ham.
For more information on opening hours and markets: http://www.myczechrepublic.com/prague/christmas-markets.html
This beautiful city transforms into a winter wonderland during the Christmas season. Our favorite Christmas market is The Basilica Christmas Market which is located on the square in front of St. Stephen‘s Basilica. You will find more than 150 stalls with beautiful hand-made products, especially those made by the skillful members of the Hungarioan Folk Artists. You will have to try a Hungarian delicacy called the Chimney Cake in English, which is sold in many of the stalls in the market and is wonderful to eat while you stroll through the market! Right in the middle of the market there is an ice-skating rink that is wonderful for the children to try and is free for those under the age of 14.
For more information on the opening hours and markets: http://budapestchristmas.com/budapest-basilica-christmas-market
If you are visiting Copenhagen in November or December you must visit Copenhagen‘s famous Tivoli Gardens. The theme park transforms into a winter wonderland and inside you will find a Chrismas market, incredible Christmas lights displays, trees covered in snow, Glühwein sold on every corner and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a reindeer or two! The market itself has over 60 stalls that sell gifts, decorations, arts and crafts and yummy snacks that will get you into the Christmas spirit. This year, the Nutcracker will be shown in the Tivoli Concert Hall and it is a show that is not to be missed.
For more information on opening hours, prices and events: https://www.tivoligardens.com/en/saesoner/jul
Copenhagen is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. This is understandable as the city is super flat, making biking very easy. Copenhagen is also covered with around 350 km of designated bike lanes, which are raised from the road and are very safe to ride on.
Even though Copenhageners love to complain about the weather, that doesn’t stop them from riding their bikes every day, no matter how bad the weather is (below zero, rain, snow, and wind). Copenhageners just love their bikes!
A third of the population commutes to work every day by bike. The bike culture is so strong that bikes have not only outnumbered cars in Copenhagen, but also people! There are 40,000 more bikes than people in central Copenhagen. So what better way to explore this wonderful city than by bike? Let’s see what is important to know when biking in Copenhagen for the first time.
Find a bike in Copenhagen
The first thing to do is to find a bike! There are many options for renting a bike in Copenhagen such as bike shops and online rentals. If you are staying in Copenhagen for longer than two weeks even buying a second hand bike wouldn’t be a bad idea!Rent a bike in Copenhagen The average cost is around 90kr for a day’s bike rental in Copenhagen and 350kr for a week. Always have a test drive before leaving the bike shop to make sure it’s working properly!
Here are some bike rental options to check out:
Biking rules in Copenhagen
It’s very important to be aware of cycling rules when biking in Copenhagen if you want to stay safe, not get a fine, and don’t want to hear any curses from the locals!
#1 You must keep on the right side of the lane
#2 Before you stop, you first have to raise your hand to warn cyclists behind you
#3 Give hand signals to the left or right before turning
#4 Watch over your left shoulder before overtaking cyclists
#5 Always overtake other cyclists on the left
#6 Do not ride against the traffic flow or on sidewalks/pavements, pedestrian crossings or pedestrian streets
#7 Cycling is not allowed in parks in central Copenhagen
#8 To turn left at an intersection you must first cross to the opposite right corner of the intersection where you stop and wait for the traffic light to change before continuing
#9 A short ring on the bell is often a signal that a cyclist wants to pass – so please keep to the right
#10 From dusk to dawn, bicycles must be equipped with both front and rear bicycle lights
#11 It is prohibited to ride more than one person on a bicycle unless it is a cargo bike or a bicycle with a child seat or a bicycle trailer
#12 Watch out for the bus stops. Always stop when people are about to disembark from the bus!
#13 Use of phones while biking is not allowed. Same goes for headphones.
Wearing a helmet is not compulsory in Denmark. If you would like one though, you can rent them at all bike shops. It is also very important to lock the bike at all times! There are more bike thieves than you would expect in a city where there are more bikes than people!
Bringing a bike on the metro or train in Copenhagen
On the s-train bikes are always allowed free of charge. The only exception is Nørreport Station, where cyclists are not allowed to take their bikes on or off the train during rush hour.
On the metro, cyclists have to buy a ticket (13kr) for their bike. Also, during rush hour, bikes are not allowed in any metro station.
Taking the bike on the buses also allowed. However, there is only space for two bikes on each bus, but you need to also be aware of prams,and rush hour , as buses are usually very crowded. A bike ticket (13kr) is needed, but you can only buy this in the train or metro stations.
Cargo bikes are not allowed on any means of public transportation.
Rush hour is Monday-Friday 07:00-09:00 and 15:30-17:30.
So now that you know everything about biking in Copenhagen, grab a bike and explore all Copenhagen’s attractions on two wheels!
Wondering what to do in Copenhagen? If you would like to have a bike tour and get to know the city through the eyes of a local, Nova Fairy Tales offers one of the best bike tours available in Copenhagen!
On our blog you will find travel tips and inspiration across our destinations. You'll find anything from food and drink recommendations to must-see attractions, hidden gems and seasonal events.