MY FIRST TIME VISITING COPENHAGEN

You’ve probably seen photos of Copenhagen before and knew nothing about this enchanted Nordic city other it’s in the happiest country in the world, has a beautiful colorful pier and the little mermaid. I can’t blame you that’s pretty much the only things I knew about this city too. Before visiting Copenhagen I had many friends tell me this is their favorite city in the entire world, but it wasn’t until I got there that I fell in love with its charm, beauty, and hygge.

Copenhagen was one of those cities that I didn’t know much about nor was I expecting anything from it. But it turned out to be one of the best cities I’ve been to. Despite having the highest tax in the world there’s just something about this city that will make you fall in love with it. Must be something to do with hygge. The Danish word ‘hygge’ (pronounced ‘hooga’) translates roughly to ‘coziness’. The Danes consider it to be a recipe for a happier life. Oxford Dictionaries even shortlisted hygge as one of their Words of the Year in 2016.

So how exactly did I spend my first time in this lovely Nordic city?

ania-travels-at-nyhavn

 

Explore Copenhagen with Sandeman Free Walking Tours

When I get to a new city the first thing I do is check to see if they have a free walking tour. You learn so much about the city from a local, get familiar with the surrounding areas, and ask where the best places to go eat are.

I’ve done a few tours with this company before and was never disappointed. Copenhagen was no exception. Our tour guide was great. She told us the best places to go eat, took us to see the changing of the guards, brought us to the oldest street in the city, and told us the history of not only Copenhagen but also Denmark as well. She took us to the best areas of the city while keeping us entertained and engaged for a few hours. Highly recommend Sandeman for a free walking tour.

changing-of-the-guards-copenhagen

 

Get to know the underground scene of Copenhagen with an Alternative tour

I absolutely love a good underground tour. I feel you get to know so much about the city that you can’t learn from blogs/books or in any other tour that you do. The Alternative City Tour was the perfect combination of underground and information. Our tour guide was a very informative Dane that answered every question we had. We walked along the Vesterbro district, visited the Green and Red-Light District, meat-packing district and more. He even explained the state of welfare and the regulations of the Red-Light District. You really get to see a lot you wouldn’t see on a conventional tour.

copenhagen-bicycles

Visit the free city of Christiana

Free city, free state, commune, hippy nation, call it whatever you want I heard many different variations of names for this place called ‘Christiana’. It really is something I’ve never seen before.

Walking into Christiana felt like walking through Woodstock in the 70’s. They consider themselves a free nation outside of Copenhagen (they even have a sign that says “You are now entering/exiting the EU”, they fly their own flag and use their own currency) that is free from local and national laws. About a year ago they had crimes related to gang/drug violence and the place is slightly more under surveillance.

It was pretty neat to walk around and see this artsy hippy commune. Though I am thankful the Alternative City Tour walked us through here, because I don’t know I would be brave enough to walk through here alone.

Insiders Tip: Do not take any photos while here as it is one of their rules, I did manage to take a few snapshots with my phone, but it is not recommended.

christiana

Enjoy the beautiful Nyhavn district 

This is probably the most famous place in all of Copenhagen and it really is as charming as it looks. The waterfront has a ton of restaurants you can sit, enjoy some food, and people watch here. The weekend I was there they had a 2 weekend long Jazz Fest where my new friends and I sat around, listened to great music, and drank delicious beers.

Insiders Tip: This area is expensive to drink in. The food isn’t THAT pricey, there are much pricier areas for food than here, but it is expensive to drink in the neighborhood. You can go down the block to a 7/11 and purchase beers. Drinking in public is totally acceptable here.

Come see the Little Mermaid

Once in a while, I like doing super touristy things, especially when they’re FREE. Seeing the Little Mermaid was one of those times. She’s not as impressive as you might think she is but she looks great on photos. She looks nothing like the Disney character and her statue is actually quite sad. Do you know the REAL story of The Little Mermaid, why her statue is depicted to be sad? Read the real story here.

 

Enjoy a Relaxing Canal tour

I always love seeing a city from a different perspective other than by foot. Stromma Canal Tours lets you see beautiful Copenhagen via boat. I love being on the water so this was such a fun way to see the city (It was also my third tour back to back so it was lovely to sit and relax for an hour). The downside to this tour was that the tour guide provided the tour in three different languages so in an hour tour he had to speed things up slightly. But you really go into parts of the city I would have never gone into if I were just walking around which made the tour enjoyable. And can we talk about these awesome photo ops?
canal-tour

 

Where to eat:

Indulge in Danish delights with a Food Tour

You already know how much I enjoy a good food tour, especially when it’s local cuisine. This tour was the perfect combination of food, sightseeing, laughter, history, and beer. We went to several different establishments from street food to sit down restaurants trying many different local foods. We learned the history of each food then got to sample them. We tried a Danish hot dog, Smørrebrød (an open faced Danish sandwich), Frikadeller (fish cakes) and Flødeboller (chocolate covered marshmallows). Come early, come hungry.

 

Head to Papirøen (Paper Island) before a night out.

Paper Island is one of the best Street Food Markets (next to Camden Market in London) that I have been to. It’s located in a huge warehouse right on the water that you can easily get to once you cross the bridge from Nyhavn. They have a huge selection of foods and drinks from Korean BBQ, Grilled Cheese, Vegan, and more. The warehouse is located right on the water too, so it’s a great place to grab some food, a glass of beer and people watch before a night out.

paper-island

Tight restaurant

I didn’t get a chance to eat at many restaurants during my visit here but I’m saving this one for last. Copenhagen, you were TIGHT, and so was this restaurant. This adorable hygge restaurant located in a chic part of town hit the spot right from the entrance. With beautiful ambiance and décor to the perfectly prepared dinner, followed by very friendly staff, it was an amazing experience overall. I totally loved that they had my favorite wine on the menu (Malbec) and the actual food was out of this world delicious too. They know what’s up!

I hope you get a chance to visit this beautiful city for yourself sometime and can have as great of an experience as I did. If you’ve been, is there anything you recommend that I have not seen?

Xoxo Ania Travels 💜

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Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Tight Restaurant, Stromma Canal Tour, and Sandeman Food Tour. I paid for my additional tours and food myself. As always, all opinions are my own. This post contains some affiliate links which will earn me a few cents to contribute to the running of this site if you make a qualifying purchase at no extra cost to you.

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  • Like you I was also not much aware about your Copenhagen. Thank you for recommending Sandeman free walking tours.

  • I have yet to go to Copenhagen, but I have it on my shortlist for when I head back north eventually! I too have heard sooo many people say that Copenhagen is their favorite city, or at least that they loved visiting it. It looks like you really enjoyed it too!

    One of the first things I do in a new city is look for walking tours as well. I’ve also have good experiences with Sandemans, glad you have too! Also, I’m definitely down for an evening on Paper Island, it just sounds like an awesome atmosphere. I love street market style eating and drinking. It’s a great way to get in the mood for a night out!

    Funny though, the word “Frikadeller” is veeeery similar to the northern German word “Frikadelle”, which is kind of like a patty-shaped meatball…very similar to the Danish version, just with meat!

  • Jhilmil Bhansali

    I never heard of Copenhagen as a travel destination seriously, but you have stated it so beautifully. Really every part of the world has a charm in itself.

  • Marianne Turkson

    Thanks for sharing such detailed information. It’s great to learn about new places

  • Hang Around The World

    Considering that I’m going to explore Copenhagen next winter, this post is perfect for me! I know it’s a really cold place.
    Thanks for your info, they will be helpful for me 🙂

  • JM

    Wow…. Copenhagen is really beautiful. This place is also in my bucket list and i am really impressed with your photos. Super jealous right now

  • Leigh Candice Dorkin

    Pinned this! Seems like everyone is visiting Copenhagen at the moment. it looks so so beautiful. Ill definitely use this to plan the holiday!

  • Rachel Silverwood

    What a beautiful city! Loved reading your post, so informative!! Especially regarding different tours that you can join in the city… The alternative tour certainly looks like a great you to see another side of the city 🙂

  • Your photos are stunning! I’ve never been to Copenhagen before but I’d like to visit someday. I’d be interested in one of those walking tours.

  • Rose Mont

    I have seen many pictures from Copenhagen and they never disappoint. The row house are so pretty.

  • Justyn Gourdin

    I haven’t been to Copenhagen but I really really want to go! I love everything that you shared – especially everything about the food though. Because I am all about that. When I go I am definitely following your tips.

  • We were about to book a trip to Copenhagen last year, but for some reason in the end we couldn’t make it. This article remembered what we gave up! I’ll show it to hubby, but I’m already sold! Food tour? I’m in, I’m in!!

  • Rambles and Runaways

    My BFF went to Copenhagen last year with her momma and I was so jealous!! This is definitely on my list. Great post! Walking and eating are my favourite things about traveling.

  • Chandresh Jain

    It’s surely feels like a piece of heaven everyone must visit once in lifetime ..

  • Jess Harling

    So close to my hometown (london) and so cheap to fly there yet I’ve not been yet ! I know it’s pretty pricey once you get there though but like you said there are other options like going to the 7-11. Great write up 😊

  • Stephanie Ippolito

    Love it! I’m disappointed you weren’t able to take pictures in the free city. I’d love to know what that was like. I like your tattoo! Boat tours are my favorite, I will have to check out the beautiful canal!

  • Taiwo

    I’ve heard Copehagen was absolutely beautiful and your pictures definitely just cemented it! I’ll definitely have to check it out 🙂

    Taiwo // http://www.madeinnigeria89.com

  • Such a lovely part of the world and I really enjoyed reading this post and looking at your photos. My fiance has some family in Norway and the Netherlands that we are planning to visit next year so we might as well drop in here as well to have a look while in the area.

  • Kris M.

    Great post! I didn’t realize Copenhagen had canals. The free city area sounds really interesting. Do you have any idea how the government feels about them declaring themselves independent? I can see that being somewhat controversial.

  • I’ve wanted to visit Copenhagen for a while now. A walking tour sounds right up my alley! Sounds like you had a wonderful time – I’m glad you got to experience it.

    P.S. Your photos are lovely. 🙂
    Christie’s Take on Life. xx

  • Jewels

    Copenhagen looks so pretty! I love starting my trips with walking tours, it’s gives me a great overview of the city and helps me plan the rest. The Tight restaurant looks yummy. Your picture of salmon made me hungry!

  • Jeenu Pillai

    I didn’t know much about Copenhagen. I thought it is just a city that is there. But as they say every city has its own history and charm. I am amazed by these interesting things you shared about the city. Thank you posting it.

  • Ariane Petit

    Copenhagen seems to be such a beautiful city, with all those coloured houses. I definitely have to visit sometime soon. Loved your read! 😉

  • I absolutely love Copenhagen and fell in love with it as soon as I first went there, there’s so much to do as well x

  • Chandni Patel

    Copenhagen looks like such a amazing place… the pictures definitely does it justice! Loved reading this posts 😀

  • I have never been to Copenhagan before but it is so beautiful. I like the sound of the free walking tours (especially if you are on a budget like me) and paper island is so beautiful too x

  • I’ve also done a couple of sandesman tours (Lisbon and Amsterdam). They’re great aren’t they?! There looks to be lots to do in Copenhagen and I love that you went to Christiana. Safe travels.

  • I would love to see the mermaid statue! When I was in South Korea, there was one close to the beach that I got to see. Mermaids are everywhere, lol.

  • Tara Siudy

    I as there last summer! It was such a great place! Great guide!

  • Copenhagen looks like a wonderful place to visit. Thank you for the tip on free tours. I’ll definitely have to try those if I ever find myself in Copenhagen.

  • Hal Yusuf

    i remember getting advised by a local about taking a pic there – i was thinking jeez its a wall..but sounds like your trip was as good as mine – top city !!!

  • Impressive tour of Copenhagen and nice photos taken. I plan to take a trip myself to this beautiful town.

  • Copenhagen looks stunning through your pictures. I would like to do free tour at Christina city. View of colorful canals while cruising in canal is so picturesque.

  • Mayuri Saxena

    Wow! You have captured Copenhagen beautifully…this city is my Bucket list for long. I guess this is time to go this year…

  • Laura Dove

    Ahh this is totally on my list of places to visit! What a gorgeous place, the little mermaid looks like something my girls would go crazy for! Gorgeous photos!

  • Maria Salomonsen

    Glad you liked my capital 🙂 I just visited the Paper Island street food market for the first time recently and it is so awesome.!

  • Oh the little mermaid! I have always wanted to go visit Copengagen and see her! Your pictures of the city and its details are beautiful, by the way!

  • Looks awesome! I am a fan of free tours, so, I will do one for sure in Copenhagen. I have notice “alternative” tours are popping around several European cities but I have not done one yet. This city looks like so much fun! #feetdotravel

  • kathryn Maher

    I have never been to Copenhagen but after reading your post I’ll be putting it on my bucket list. This commune called Christiana that you talked about I had never heard of before. Didn’t even think it was legal to invent your own currency …very curious about it. Loved the story behind the little mermaid by the way.

  • David Elliott

    So cool with all the different foods and places to visit in Copenhagen. They do have such amazing things there from what I have been told, and I love all your pictures. Very beautiful even the buildings and architecture.

  • Rose Mont

    I would love to go around visiting new places and tasting the varied menus! I would be a little concerned about being in an area I can’t take pictures in. Grabbing my camera is second nature.

  • Kim Gammage

    I can’t wait to visit Copenhagen, it looks absolutely amazing. Just the other day I was watching something about Christiana, it’s such an odd concept just right in the middle of the city, I remember them saying one of the rules is no running because it freaks people out that the police are coming! Found that very amusing.

  • Tara Siudy

    I was just in Copenhagen last summer and it was such a great city to explore! Your pictures made me reminisce!!!

  • Grey World Nomads

    No better way to explore a city than with a walking tour. I love Copenhagen and its coziness.

  • Lana Chunnar

    wow! never been to Copenhagen before! but it’s definitely on my list to visit soon! your photos are stunning!! Loved how detailed this post is, the best way to explore Copenhagen without visiting it is through your posts! Thanks for sharing!

  • Céline CLudik

    Loved reading your post, so informative. I have heard so many people saying that Copenhagen is they loved visiting it. This city is also in my bucket list and you have captured Copenhagen beautifully 🙂

  • Chelf Chelfdom

    I would love to visit copenhagen especially during fashion week when they have so many fun events! I loved your post, the food looks amazing!

  • Beautiful pictures! I probably would have spent all my time at Paper Island. I looove trying new street food. I pretty much go on vacation to eat. lol. Everything looks great.

  • I’m hoping to make my way to visit Denmark because I just adore the architecture there. I’m a big fan of having locals and off the beat tours show me the city in ways I just wouldnt get if I took the traditional route…although those are fun too.

  • I love taking free walking tours with that company! I first learned about them when I visited Madrid last summer for a stopover. They’re such a great use of time to jampack in a lot.

  • I smile actually off to copenhagen in a few weeks to visit a friend, so this post has come truly in hand. A great post.

  • philandgarth

    I love Copenhagen!! so stylish and great food. Agree about Sandemans, we recently took one of their tours in Amsterdam, really good too.

  • Goodness Ania I can TOTALLY see why Denmark is the happiest country on earth. Me and my wife flew through earlier this year. We did a 5 hour layover at the airport in Copenhagen. The employees at the airport were the most *genuinely* happy we came across, anywhere on earth. Not because being happy was their job. But because they were happy people, first, whose happiness bled into their job. Great pics!

  • Ana Ojha

    Copenhagen is a dream destination! I too like doing the walking tours on my trips as it gives a great chance to know about the history and iconic points of any city!

  • Love that post! Copenhagen is on my bucket list! Thanks for sharing it with us! <3

  • sliva

    Really enjoyed your post, brought back wonderful memories. I have visited Copenhagen few years ago and love it! It is a really beautiful city worth visiting.

  • Aisha Sylvester

    This is a really comprehensive guide to Copenhagen, thanks for taking the time to put it together. I hope to visit when I’m in Europe next year so I’ll be saving this to help me plan my time on the ground 🙂

  • 1AdventureTraveler

    Copenhagen looks so amazing with your lovely photos! I like the idea of looking for free walking tours and looks like they didn’t disappoint. Also listed are some great places to visit. I have yet to visit Copenhagen but I saved your pin for my trip. Thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel

  • You are a very good photographer. The colour contrasts are awesome. We want to visit Copenhagen, great list of places to visit – thanks 🙂

  • Loi Diaz

    They have a really busy port. I love the fact that cycling is very much supportive in the region. Cycling is a better transportation alternative during travel because you get to see more of the local. (Gee Villaruz)

  • Vyjay Rao

    Copenhagen is a lovely and charming place. The place seems to come alive in vivid colour in your post. Loved it.

  • I’d love to visit Paper Island – visiting food markets is one of my favorite things to do when we travel! Copenhagen looks incredible, and I’d love to explore the different neighborhoods by foot and boat.

  • Copenhagen looks so beautiful and stunning! I absolutely loved the colored architecture there and glad to see such unusual walking tours happening more and more. Would love to visit there some day! 🙂

    xx
    http://realgirltalks.com/

  • Kate AndKris

    I’ve never heard of Christina. How interesting. We also love food tours, they are a great way to experience local food.

  • Rhewi Montemayor

    Sounds like you had an awesome day there and the photo was look amazing and beautiful it makes me want to go there

  • Sara Essop

    I haven’t been to Copenhagen yet but I would love to go someday, especially after seeing your post. You did a good combination of tours. I also look for the free tours first when going to a new city. Despite being “free”, the guides are very knowledgeable and you can learn alot from them.

  • Sara Essop

    I haven’t been to Copenhagen yet but I would love to go someday, especially after seeing your post. You did a good combination of tours. I also look for the free tours first when going to a new city. Despite being “free”, the guides are very knowledgeable and you can learn alot from them

  • James Smith

    I didn’t know about being able to drink in the streets of Nyhavn. It’s a beautiful place with all the colourful houses. That’s a good tip about buying beers from a store instead of in a restaurant, Copenhagen with the exchange rate is so expensive. Christiania sounds like such a crazy place!

  • Shona Grant

    I love Copenhagen and one of my favourite places is Torvehallen. Great food, organic produce and some of the most well known chefs in Copenhagen have stalls there. Copenhagen Street Food on Paper Island is fab too. Glad you liked it there.

  • Very nice guide, thank you for the great tips! Never been in Copenhagen but it is definitely on my to do list!

  • caroekg

    Copenhagen is on my list – I’ve heard so many amazing things about it! Definitely keeping this list on hand for when I go! Beautiful photos!

  • I love the colours in your photos. I have family from Norway and I would love to visit the entire country. I love the “cold” countries of the world 🙂

  • Your photos are beautiful! I visited Copenhagen earlier this year and loved it! Although, it was snowing and so cold! I really want to go back as I missed out on a few things! xo

  • Christina

    Copenhagen seems great compared to the last blog I just read saying it was overcrowded. It is refreshing to read this and know that I should go and visit. The food looks incredible and I love to eat local food whenever I go somewhere new. I like to do self guided tours/walking tours when I go somewhere but I do like the guided canal tours as well.

  • The free walking tours and the
    Canal tour really sounds interesting. The city looks beautiful through your lens. Thanks for the useful advice given

  • Your photos are stunning. We’re planning a weekend trip to Copenhagen soon, am bookmarking your post to refer again 🙂 Will definitely visit the Tight resturant 🙂

  • Brooke Herron

    Copenhagen looks like such a beautiful colorful city! Its been on my list for a while now but last time I flew Norwegian I had to stop in Stockholm instead of Copenhagen darn it missed it again.

  • Christine Ann Dela Cruz

    First time is always the most memorable one. It is great to see that you really enjoyed your visit. This place looks really interesting.