Copenhagen: What to Know Before You Go
Copenhagen is a city full of beauty, great food and drinks, and smart and friendly people. The brightly colored buildings and cobblestone streets are immediately inviting to tourists and locals alike. Copenhagen is a unique city with lots to see and do – and it’s very easy to get around! Learn from our mistakes and our research about “what to know before you go” when planning your next journey to the Danish Capital.
Getting There and Getting Around:
At the Airport
- Copenhagen’s airport is outside of the city. However, it’s very easy to get into the city by metro, train or by taxi – metro being the least expensive. Their metro system (located right above Terminal 3) is incredibly easy to use, very clean, and very efficient – so I recommend it! At the airport, there will be multiple ticket machines where you can buy single passes, 24 hour city passes (80 DKK), 72 hour city passes (200 DKK), or 7-day flex passes. The city passes allow you unlimited access to all Copenhagen public transportation. Choose whatever works best for you – it’s a great value and includes your trip from the airport into the city. For a full summary of public transportation options, click HERE. This website tells you about available passes, costs, and how to purchase tickets (online, app, ticket machines). It’s super easy. Trains leave to the city center every 4-6 minutes and the journey takes about 13 minutes.
- You can also catch a train into the city. The train station is located above Terminal 3 as well and will run to central station. The journey takes about 13 minutes and trains depart every 10 minutes. The ticket counter and ticket machines are in the station and in the airport.
- Buses are also an option for travelers, but the journey takes a little bit longer – about 30-35 minutes to get to Central Station. Buses leave every 10 minutes, but minimally at night. Tickets can be purchased at ticket machines in terminal 3 OR you can buy tickets on the bus.
- If you prefer a taxi, you can catch a cab outside terminals 1 and 3. This will get you to downtown Copenhagen and will take approximately 20 minutes (so – public transport is actually faster AND cheaper). The taxi should cost between 250-300 DKK.
Travel Within the City
- If you’re in Copenhagen to do some serious sight-seeing, you may choose to opt for the Copenhagen Card. This card gives you unlimited access to public transport as well as free entrance into more than 72 attractions and museums around the city. Additionally, you get discounts on several restaurants, sights, rentals, and more. This can be purchased online in advance or upon arrival at the airport. Alternatively, you can catch a taxi from the airport to your hotel.
- Copenhagen’s public transportation is very efficient and inexpensive to use. As outlined above, you have a variety of options for getting around town – trains, buses, metros, and taxis. I recommend using public transportation and purchasing a 24 hour or 72 hour city pass. This gets you unlimited travel from the time of purchase. You can purchase tickets online, via an app, at the airport, and at train stations. You can purchase tickets HERE.
- Everyone here speaks Danish and English – at the very least. Most citizens are quite fluent in 3 or more languages. It’s crazy. We were informed that it’s slightly insulting if you ask Danes if they speak English, as they perceive themselves to be quite international. This is a good thing to know because in France, for example, it’s rude to assume they’d speak English (since it’s not their national language). It’s amazing how different things are from one city to the next!
- It gets really cold here. It is in the North, so this makes sense. Dress in layers and definitely bring winter attire if you’re traveling during the colder months. Even when it’s not super-duper cold, the wind can be biting, so it makes it feel that way!
- For you beer lovers out there, Copenhagen has a great craft beer scene – there is an almost-unlimited amount of options in terms of craft beer establishments, restaurants, and shops.
One of Copenhagen’s Many Local Breweries:
- Demark is very expensive. They use the Danish Krone. $1 USD is equal to 6.69 Danish Krone (at the time of this post). Conversely, 100 Danish Krone is equal to just under $15 USD.
- Hotels are therefore also expensive. Check your usual booking sites, but also check AirBnB and don’t be scared to stay slightly out of the city center. It’ll save you TONS of money (still expensive), and public transport is super quick and easy, so it’s an easy commute into the city!
- There is a blossoming food scene in Copenhagen. What once was a city that seemingly didn’t care about food is now a haven for hipstery establishments offering cuisines from all over the world. Copenhagen has created a whole new dimension of food – called “New Nordic” cuisine. New Nordic food refers to restaurants and innovative chefs who cook with good, local, organic, and seasonal produce. The epitome of New Nordic food is served at Noma – for many years, named the #1 restaurant in the entire world! Good luck getting a reservation, though. If you’re really dead set on eating here (and it looks phenomenal), start saving your pennies and visit their website to book 3-6 months in advance!
- Like I said, Copenhagen is an expensive city to travel to. BUT does that mean you have to spend an arm and a leg here?! No. An easy way to spend less is to enjoy some of Copenhagen’s street food and indoor food markets – and the food is actually BETTER than at most restaurants. Check out Copenhagen Street Food, located in Papiroen near Norreport. This is one of my favorites. The whole place (an old paper factory) is made up of recycled materials, containers, and food trucks. Sounds super hipster, but ALL ages and types of people eat here. It’s especially awesome if you’re in the market for some good-quality ethnic food. Fancy a pulled duck burger dredged in BBQ sauce, some Korean Bibimbap or some spicy Mexican tacos? Then you’re in the right place. AH. So good. Craft beer is at the back if you’re in the mood for some bubbly with your food.
Copenhagen Street Food:
- Looking for more traditional foods? Head to the Torvehallerne food market. This is a massive indoor-outdoor market with farmer’s market goods as well as sit down restaurants. If you’re after traditional Danish cuisine – head here!
Traditional Food at Torvehallerne:
- Can anyone say street meat?! Seriously. You can eat on the cheap by filling up on delicious, iconic, Copenhagen street-meat! Hot dogs. Sausages. Some wrapped in bacon. Mustard? Onion? Relish? Whatever – go for it. It’s totally worth it!
- Lastly, tours. There are a variety of tours available for tourists to take to learn all about Copenhagen. SANDEman offers free walking tours of Copenhagen, as well as a variety of paid tours. You can check out their options HERE.
- Alternatively, you might like to take a relaxing boat tour of Copenhagen. It’s reasonably priced, allows you to sit in a covered boat (with the option of going outside), and you get a lot of great information about the city. Here’s a list of available boat tours.
Overall, Copenhagen is an easy city to travel in. It’s beautiful, clean, progressive, and fun. There are TONS of interesting things to see and do. Getting around is easy and so is communicating. What have I missed? Have you visited Copenhagen? What did you think, and what advice would you give to future traveler?