The water bus at the Opera House.
The insider guide to Copenhagen

The insider guide to Copenhagen

The Danish capital is one of Europe's best cities to visit in 2018

Andrew Forbes

Wednesday, 7 February 2018, 11:45

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Copenhagen is set to be one of the hottest European city destinations this year, so cosy up in the Danish capital this winter with our city guide.



Found just steps away from the Royal Danish Theatre, this period style hotel, with warm interiors inspired by the golden age of travel, is the capital's latest boutique offering. Here you'll find plenty of cosy details throughout the public spaces and welcoming guest rooms.

The hotel's ground floor has retained three distinct areas for guests and non-residents to enjoy; marking when this was originally three 19th century townhouses. There's the Sanders Kitchen, an intimate restaurant and breakfast room; the Living Room with adjacent heated courtyard patio; and the stylish TATA Cocktail Bar.

The Krane

For something quite extraordinary and unique, spend the night in a one-room ultra-luxury hotel. This former coal crane, in the historical industrial harbour of Copenhagen, now has a sexy architect-designed interior (appropriately in matte black), offering a unique, high-end accommodation experience.


La Banchina

Feel like a warming soup...and sauna for lunch? Then this is the place! This small, quirky eatery feels off the beaten trail, yet it is actually in central Copenhagen. The modest building was once a waiting room for ferry passengers but is now an all-day café bar. In the evenings, it's a restaurant serving a fixed, seasonal menu. Created by Christer Bredgaard, it even has its own sauna where you can warm up the Danish way - and then take a refreshing plunge in the sea, from the restaurant's private swimming piers.

Ruby Cocktail Bar

Consistently one of the best cocktail bars in the world, this stylish city watering hole can be tricky to find. A few candle-lit lanterns on the steps of an 18th-century town house on Nybrogade light the way to some of the best alcoholic concoctions in Scandinavia. Try one of the seasonal cocktails like the fruity and fresh 'Tutti Frutti' with Remy Martin Cognac, Cointreau Noir, and cloudy apple juice. The bar is divided into different spaces, from the stylish street-facing cocktail bar, a cosy lounge, banquette seating at the back, and a basement vault bar.

The Union Kitchen

City centre, vintage style café-bistro that is worth going to for more than coffee. In the evening there are sharing plates, cocktails and beers - or for Sunday arrive early for the generous brunch - it's where urban cool meets cosy Copenhagen.

Restaurant Palaegade

At lunch time there's a selection of classic Danish smørrebrød open sandwiches while for dinner sophisticated dishes using favourite Danish ingredients include a creamy fish soup with mussels and garlic croutons; or pork with apple and pickled and fried cabbages.

Bojesen Tower restaurant

Seasonal Danish flavours from acclaimed Danish chef Rasmus Bo Bojesen.



National winter jazz festival, that offers a full February programme in Copenhagen venues.

Design Museum Denmark

The place for lovers of Danish contemporary creativity.

Bike Rental

Yes, even in winter the Danes love their bicycles. Many hotels and guesthouses include use of a bike; alternatively rent one for a day or two. Bike tours are also a good way to get to experience the city like a local. Be aware that there are relatively few taxis in Copenhagen, (and no Uber or equivalent) so walking or biking really is one of the easiest ways to get around.

Go to Sweden for lunch!

It's very easy to go to Malmö for lunch. Just take the train from Copenhagen's city centre station, direct to Malmö in around 30 minutes. Malmö has the tallest building in Scandinavia, the 'Turning Torso' designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Although there is no viewing deck, the adjacent park offers splendid views of the Øresund Bridge which links Denmark and Sweden. Remember to take your passport!

Tivoli Gardens

The 19th-century amusement park remains an icon of Copenhagen. It's a private park with tickets from about 80 DKK. During the winter the ambiance is charming in the evenings, with the illuminated rides. From 2 February, Gemyse café restaurant is open, promising a warming open fire, and the best hot chocolate in town.

Little Mermaid

The sculpture, inspired by Danish story-teller Hans Christian Andersen and gifted to the city by famous brewer Carlsberg is, dare I say it, underwhelming.

The Copenhagen Opera House

Talking of corporate gifts to the city, Mærsk gifted Copenhagen the stunning new 'Operaen', found on the island of Holmen. It is directly opposite Amalienborg, offering wonderful views of the classical palaces and the dome of Frederik's Church.

Hop on a Water Bus

Take the 991/992 ferries that zigzag across the harbour canal or the 993 that shuttles between Nyhavn and the Opera House - these distinctive yellow and blue boats are an inexpensive way to reach the new opera house and discover more of Copenhagen. There is an integrated travel and visitor card - worth considering if you plan to use the public metro, bus and ferry network and visit attractions.


Royal Copenhagen

Window shopping is a real pleasure in the many design stores and homeware boutiques. Danish design is understandably world famous; and visitors will find a wealth of inspiration for lighting, furniture and homewares.

Royal Copenhagen's flagship porcelain store on the charming Amagertorv square is an absolute pleasure to browse. Upstairs are some beautiful rooms staged with tables set with different ranges.

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