What are you looking for when considering where to stay in Copenhagen? The envy of many of its European neighbours, Copenhagen is probably the most environmentally friendly city in Europe.
With a strong economy, short working week, excellent healthcare system, free college education and long holidays, it is one of the best cities in the world to live in.
With a young and young-at-heart population happier on two wheels rather than four, canals winding their way through the city centre and suburbs, and an excellent transit infrastructure of metro and bus routes, taking in the sights of Copenhagen is a breeze wherever you choose to stay.
From theme-parks to zoos and aquaria. From historic buildings, monuments and museums, to modern shopping malls. From beautiful parks to nostalgic waterfronts and rambling canals. From old-style guest houses and modern sumptuous hotels to a buzzing nightlife. And some of the best Michelin-style fine dining in Europe.
When you choose where to stay in Copenhagen you will find attractions to keep the whole family happy.
Where to Stay in Copenhagen: Best Areas
1. Indre By (Inner city), where to stay in Copenhagen for the first time
The now inner city area of Copenhagen is bordered by the port and lakes, which is the area of the city limits prior to the removal of the fortifications in the 1850s.
It is also Copenhagen’s main shopping area known as Strøget. You will find designer stores and popular high street brands, cafes and restaurants on the main streets and quirky independents, local pubs and bistros hidden away up the narrow lanes.
With its pedestrianised winding cobbled streets and twisting alleyways, walking is the best way to take in the relaxing ambiance of Copenhagen’s inner city.
Places in Indre by to add to your itinerary include:
- Amalienborg Palace: In the north of the inner city, it is home to the Danish royal family and comes complete with its own set of guardsmen, bearskin helmets and sentry boxes.
- The Danish Parliament, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Supreme Court can also be found in the inner city.
- Rosenborg Castle and gardens. The beautiful park alongside the castle is a favourite haunt for local Danes. You can stroll the park, enjoy a picnic by the lakes, or join the many joggers, cyclists and ball players making the most of the warm Danish sunshine.
- The Botanical Gardens and its numerous large glass houses filled with exotic flora from around the world.
Tivoli Gardens and theme park are a definite must-visit, especially if you’re visiting with young children. Close to the Botanical Gardens and Central station, Tivoli was opened in 1843, and was a favourite haunt of Hans Christian Andersen.
It is also said that Walt Disney used the park as inspiration for his own Disney World in the States.
With its beautifully laid out gardens, the latest adrenalin pumping rides, and cafes and eateries to suit all palates, Tivoli Gardens has something for everyone. A second visit in the evening when the park and gardens are lit up, is also highly recommended.
Østre Anlæg Park is a popular open space and constructed on what was once a part of the city defences. On the park’s border you can find the Copenhagen Botanical Gardens.
Throughout the park you will find statues and fountains dedicated to the city’s great and good, while on the edge of the park is the Hirschsprung Collection, exhibiting works by Danish artists from the 19th century to the present day.
Other places of interest in Indre By are The Marble Church, and numerous museums including the Museum of Copenhagen, the Royal Danish Library, the Danish Jewish Museum and Kunstforeningen GL Strand art institution.
Not only is Indre By home to many of Copenhagen’s most famous historical landmarks, it also has a vibrant nightlife, superb restaurants and an excellent array of accommodation from hostels, guest houses and apartments to sumptuous hotels.
No doubt. Indre By is one of the best areas to stay in Copenhagen.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN INDRE BY
- ($$$) Nobis Hotel Copenhagen, a Member of Design Hotels
- ($$) citizenM Copenhagen Radhuspladsen
- ($) Wakeup Copenhagen – Borgergade
2. Vesterbro, where to stay in Copenhagen for nightlife
From a dirty, grimy, run down red light area, to a vibrant, trendy, creative and diverse district, Vesterbro provides an insight into the lifestyle of local young ambitious Danes.
Strolling around the area you will still find the odd tattoo parlour, strip club and spit-and-sawdust bar open, but today they add a little something extra to the ambiance of the area, rather than detract from it.
A popular residential and business start-up area, many of the old warehouses and run-down buildings have been converted to studios for the performing arts, galleries and new hospitality venues.
Sitting alongside the river, next door to Indre by, Vesterbro has become one of Copenhagen’s most popular areas both day and night.
Along the water-front, brightly coloured four and five storey terraced properties house cafes, bars, restaurants and independent chic boutiques.
With tables, chairs and goods spilling onto the riverside towpath, it’s a great place to stop for that coffee and croissant brunch.
For an insight into how affluent Danes furnish their homes, or their latest must-wear accessories, take a stroll around Istedgade Street and Sønder Boulevard.
Here you will find the latest interior design stores you won’t find on any UK high street such as DANSK Made for Rooms, Dora, Handcraftedcph and Edison and Co. For fashion and accessories look out for Kyoto, maxjenny, Pigen & Diamanten and Designer Zoo.
For eating anytime of the day and night, and for your evening entertainment of restaurants and bars, the revived Meat Packing District is the place to head for.
You will find plenty of burger joints and fast food outlets to keep the kids happy during the day and a whole range of restaurants to appeal to the grown-ups at night. You can enjoy local Danish cuisine, eat Italian, Japanese or Asian.
You can sample new dishes small-plate style, dine in a vegetarian, vegan or seafood restaurant. Enjoy a pizza, or get stuck into burger and fries. Did you know dotted around the city are over 15 Michelin starred restaurants?
If you like to party later into the evening, the Meat Packing District is also home to trendy cocktail bars, pubs and clubs to suite all tastes and genres, including live music venues.
Vesterbro has a good selection of accommodation and is generally cheaper than the next door Inner city area. You can choose from Airbnb, hostels, apartments and a range of hotels.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN COPENHAGEN IN VESTERBRO
3. Christianshavn and Christiana, the coolest place to stay in Copenhagen
Sitting across from the inner city, on the opposite bank of the inner harbour, Christianshavn is an artificial island built in the 1600s between the islands of Amager and Zealand.
Designed originally to be a residential retreat for Copenhagen’s wealthy merchants, it slowly became a strategically important defensive position, with additional fortifications being build and the Danish Navy setting up ammunition dumps and barracks around the area.
Having declined over the decades into a rundown working class area, in the mid-20th century it was redeveloped, and today is again a well-to-do, yet strangely bohemian, residential area of the city.
The district is connected to the city centre by two main bridges spanning the canal, and a metro system.
Much of the area is car free, allowing just cycling or walking, but what better way to explore the colourful cobbled streets and alleyways of this unique, picturesque district.
Places of interest in Christianshavn include Wilders Square and Christianshavns Square, both popular meeting spots for locals and visitors with their shops, cafes and eateries. Knippel Bridge built in 1937. The church of Vor Frelsers, built in 1682 and Christians Church, built in 1759.
For museum lovers, you have the B&W Museum, depicting the evolution of Danish shipbuilding and engines, and the War Museum, telling the story of the Danish Navy from the mid-1600s.
There is however, one attraction above all others that contributes to the thousands of visitors who descend on Christianshavn every year. Back in 1971, a group of hippy squatters began to populate an abandoned military barracks on the edge of Christianshvan and ‘Freetown Christiana’ was born.
Initially a popular area for the sale and purchase of cannabis (illegal in Denmark), it was little troubled by the local police save for the odd raid.
Although the commune now exists with the full blessing of the Danish parliament, after a drugs-related shooting incident in 2016, when three people including a police officer were injured, the sale of weed was frowned on by established residents and pretty much pushed underground.
By now, the population of Freetown Christiana had risen to around 1000 people, with new dwellings being built out of recycled materials.
Today, Freetown Christiana is a thriving independent enclave. Many of the commune’s market stalls sell hand-made souvenirs and mementos, printed T-shirts, retro-fashion, jewellery and smoking pipes that you’ll find nowhere else.
The increased footfall has bought other benefits to the area, with trendy cafes, bars, and new restaurants opening up. Music also plays a big part in Freetown Christiana culture, with everything from weekend jam sessions to full blown concerts regularly happening.
With good food, good music and friendly bars, there is always something going on during the evenings.
Being so close to the city centre, it is also very popular with visitors who prefer to stay out of the city centre but close to many of the attractions, so early booking is recommended. There are a few hotels and several appartments.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CHRISTIANSHAVN
4. Osterbro, home of the Little Mermaid and wide open spaces
Sitting in the northern sector of Copenhagen, with the coast and docks as its eastern border, Osterbro is one of the wealthiest districts in the city.
Primarily a residential area for affluent business people and young entrepreneurs, the district has, perhaps a little unfairly, two main claims to fame. Its attractive parks and lakes, and Denmark’s most famous landmark, the statue of the Little Mermaid.
However, scratch a little deeper below the surface and there are a number of other places of interest to keep the juices flowing.
The three lakes sit on the border of Osterbro with Indre By, and between them provide over six kilometres of beautiful open parkland.
On weekends, the area is full of walkers, joggers, cyclists and those just taking the fresh air. Through the summer months, boats can be hired on the lakes and there is a café where you can sit and relax with a coffee.
Faelledparken is another popular six kilometres of open space with plenty of walking and cycle trails, picnic areas, skateboard park, outside chess boards and a welcoming café.
Opposite Osterbro station you will find the Centre of Contemporary Art. Built in 1898 by artists unhappy with the perceived censorship of established galleries, it continues to be owned and run by the city’s artists to this day, exhibiting modern art works from Denmark and beyond.
If markets are your thing, make your way to the badminton court at Remisen on a weekend, and enjoy the Saturday and Sunday flea market selling everything from cheap clothing, footwear, toys, books, jewellery, and souvenirs.
Before we leave Osterbro, let’s not forget The Little Mermaid. Wherever you stay in Osterbro, you are just a short bus ride from the seafront.
A stroll along the promenade heading for Langelinje Pier will bring you to this four foot tall bronze statue known and loved by sailors and travellers the world over.
If you’re considering Osterbro for somewhere to stay in Copenhagen, accommodation is limited but includes hostels, private apartments, Airbnb, and hotels to suit all budgets.
BEST PLACES IN COPENHAGEN TO STAY IN OSTERBRO
- ($$$) Charlottehaven
- ($$) Comwell Copenhagen Portside Dolce by Wyndham
- ($$) Adina Apartment Hotel Copenhagen
5. Norrebro, where to stay in Copenhagen on a budget
Are you all about independence and individualism? Do you prefer to frequent small independents, rather than the large national and multi-nationals? Are you still a party animal, young at heart with a little rebel in your soul?
Then Norrebro could be the base you’ve been looking for, when wondering where to stay in Copenhagen.
Situated to the north of the inner city and on the western side of Osterbro, Norrebro is Copenhagen’s most populated and multi-culturally diverse district. Norrebro is not about the latest attractions or historical sites (although there are a couple worth mentioning), but about the district itself.
About its gastronomic versatility, with restaurants, bars and cafes providing dishes from around the world. About its bars and clubs providing the best of local wines and high quality craft bees. About its individual shops and businesses selling ethnic fashion and accessories from around the globe. And about its music and laid-back, friendly lifestyle.
Strolling from the inner city to Norrebro on a pleasant sunny day, you may well be welcomed by street musicians and locals on Queen Louise’s Bridge, joining in singing one of the latest hits of all-time favourites, it’s that kind of place.
Head for Nørrebrogade, the main street. Lined with cafes and bars it is said to offer the best shawarma (doner kebabs) in town. Explore its tangled web of side-streets.
For a little window shopping head up Elmegade, where you will find small stores selling designer footwear, unique jewellery pieces and the latest fashions, before enjoying a coffee by the fountain on Sankt Hans Square at the end of the street.
Jægersborggade Street is another foodie heaven, where you will find Michelin starred restaurant Relæ, wine bar Terroiristen for the wine connoisseurs, and The Coffee Collective, for those who crave their caffeine hit.
Blågårdsgade is a pedestrianised side street where everyone dines al fresco (unless it’s raining) and you can enjoy everything from dumplings, to Indian, to tacos and Chinese.
Away from the food scene, Assistens Kirkegård cemetery is more than just a cemetery. The burial place of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, and children’s author Hans Christian Andersen, friends, family and ordinary visitors coming to pay their last respects.
If you enjoy time on the water, head back to Queen Louise’s Bridge, where you can rent a swan shaped pedalo to do a little waterborne exploring.
With the staggering number of restaurants, bars and music venues in the area, evenings are what you make them.
Accommodation is not abundant but you will find some hostels, apartments, and budget hotels.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN NORREBRO
6. Frederiksberg, village tranquillity minutes from the city
If your idea of the perfect long weekend is to spend time in a relaxed, laid-back, up-market village atmosphere, yet be just minutes from sights and attractions you want to visit, take a hard look at Frederiksberg before deciding where to stay in Copenhagen.
Frederiksberg is one of the most prosperous areas of the city. A mix of wide-open spaces, tree lined boulevards, elegant, expensive shopping malls, and atmospheric cobbled streets with chic cafes, romantic bistros, and welcoming bars.
It also has some excellent attractions in its own right.
Head for Frederiksberg Park, with over 160 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, fountains and canals, it was originally the private garden of Denmark’s much loved King Frederik VI, a statue of who stands in the entrance to welcome you in.
Through the summer months you can book canal tours by row boat, which will provide views of the hilltop Frederiksberg Palace and the Royal Teahouse, built in 1799 to resemble a Chinese pavilion. You will also pass under the numerous bridges used to cross the canals.
Sitting on a hill overlooking the gardens, Frederiksberg Palace was built Italian style in 1799 for King Frederik IV as a summer residence, and was the permanent residence of King Christian VI while the Christiansborg Palace was being built.
Guided tours of the palace are available on the last Saturday of every month.
If you visit during the winter months, an area of Frederiksberg Runddel, by the entrance to the gardens, is flooded, and turned into an ice rink, a popular venue with the locals over the winter weekends.
Copenhagen Zoo sits at the northern end of the gardens, and first opened its doors in 1859, making it one of the oldest zoos in the world. But that is the only old thing about this zoo.
With cutting edge enclosures designed with animal welfare and conservation in mind, the zoo has over 4,000 animals from around the globe kept in pristine conditions.
There are also a number of food stalls where you can satisfy those hunger pangs during your visit. The zoo is open 365 days a year but opening times vary with the seasons.
Also in the grounds of Frederiksberg Park, or should I say under the grounds of Frederiksberg Park, is the Museum of Modern Glass Works.
Constructed underground in 1856 were three massive water tanks over four thousand square metres in area, that held the city’s water supply until 1980, when they were emptied.
Two have been converted to provide a permanent unique space to display a fascinating collection of glass art by Danish artists.
For those who enjoy a little window shopping, Frederiksberg’s main shopping centre has nearly 100 stores located at Falkoner Allé 21 and is just 10 minutes from the city centre.
Whether for those daytime coffee stops or night-time dining, you will find plenty of excellent cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, bistros and bars where you can grab a quick snack, or enjoy an evening of fine dining.
There are also some buzzing bars where you can enjoy an after-dinner drink, or an evening sampling the latest cocktails.
Accommodation in Frederiksberg is limited to a few hotels and some appartments, and through the busier times many establishments fill up quickly.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN FREDERIKSBERG
7. Amager East, plenty going on to keep the whole family entertained
Amager is an island sitting southwest of the city centre and made up of the Islands of Brygge, Ørestad and Amager. It is also the location of Copenhagen International airport.
With a mix of new expensive housing along the beach front and an area of rundown social housing for the less well off, it is an area undergoing massive redevelopment.
Connected to the city by bridge, the area also has two new subway systems and trains giving fast access to both the city and airport. The district also has a regular bus service.
Amager East is also a popular rest, relaxation and activities area for the locals and adventurous visitors with numerous water activities close by.
Within a 10-minute car drive, or 20-minutes on the bus from Amager East, you could be enjoying the waterfront facilities of:
- The Amager Strandpark
- Amager Helgoland
- The Kastrup Sea Baths
- The Copenhagen Cable Park
- The Artificial Ski Run
- A Go-Kart Track
If water-sports or lying on the beach doesn’t do it for you, consider a visit to Den Blå Planet, the North Europe’s largest aquarium.
You can view the sea-life swimming in five massive aquaria totalling over 7-million gallons of seawater, or stroll through the rain forest with its shoals of piranhas and tropical tree-climbing frogs.
If you enjoy music, concerts, and live theatre, check out what’s on at Amager Bio during your stay in Copenhagen. A converted and upgraded cinema, the theatre holds rock and classical music concerts, opera and choir events, as well as puppet shows and films.
You will find plenty of ice cream parlours, cafes, coffee shops and restaurants all around Amager East, but if your craving a shopping hit, head for Amagerbrogade, the area’s main street.
It is also the main shopping area, with small independents trading side by side with Denmark’s big high street brands, and numerous cafes, bistros, popular restaurants and bars where you can take a break, or enjoy an evening out.
Available accommodation is good around Amager East with a selection of hostels, B/Bs, Airbnb, apartments and a few hotels. An excellent location from where to reach the majority of attractions quickly and easily during your stay in Copenhagen.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN AMAGER EAST
8. Islands Brygge, (Islands Pier) is a popular leisure area 10 minutes from the city centre
There are a number of sea baths around Copenhagen’s coast and docks such as those at Amager, and all are highly popular with the residents.
If you arrive at Islands Brygge across the bridge from Tivoli, walk south along the promenade and the area opens up to a large grassy open space, where friends and families enjoy the sun, barbecues and picnics.
You will stroll past boat and canoe rentals, before reaching the harbour baths. How many countries can boast their inner harbour water is fit for bathing? Here at Islands Brygge it is of superb quality and holds the European blue flag for excellence.
The baths number five in total, two for children, one each for men and women and one mixed. One also doubles as a diving pool with boards at one, three and five metres in height.
Even if you visit during winter time, you will likely see a few hardy souls displaying the Viking spirit, by enjoying a quick dip in the cold North Sea. For the rest of us, a session in one of the two saunas on the complex will be more than enough.
Around the baths there are plenty of cafes, coffee shops, snack-shacks and restaurants where you can purchase a drink and a sandwich, or enjoy a full sit-down meal.
A little further past the swimming complex is the Islands Brygge cultural centre that hosts classical and rock concerts, stand-up comedy and children’s shows.
Although Islands Brygge tends to be a place to visit, rather than a place to stay, there is a limited selection of Airbnb, guest houses and apartments in the area, with a good selection of hotels just over the bridge in Tivoli.
Likewise, if you’re looking for full on evening entertainment, a stroll into the city centre will probably be your best bet.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ISLANDS BRYGGE
9. Copenhagen International Airport, an alternative for your stay in Copenhagen
The possibility of booking into an airport hotel for the duration of a much needed break is often overlooked by the majority of travellers, but for a long weekend or mid-week stay in Copenhagen, a hotel near the airport should be given some serious consideration. Especially so if you’re arriving mid-afternoon, early-evening.
Having spent hours driving to your departure airport, killed a couple of hours waiting to board plus two hours flying time, many travellers are often tired and irritable by the time they arrive at their destination. Wanting nothing more than a much needed drink to unwind.
With many hotels just a couple of minutes walk from Copenhagen International Airport, you can be booked into your rooms and enjoying an invigorating relaxing shower just a short time after arriving.
With the airport located on the outskirts of the city, you can jump the metro or grab a cab and be in the city centre within 10 minutes, scoping out the area and enjoying that first glass of fizz or cup of coffee.
Likewise for that last day. Even for seasoned travellers, especially seniors, the tensions begin to rise. Do they have enough time to visit those last couple of attractions, before vacating their city centre rooms and getting to the airport, often far earlier than they need to.
Using one of the hotels close to the International Airport for your stay in Copenhagen, you can set a time to get back. Use the hotel facilities of sauna or hot tub and enjoy a last meal, knowing you have plenty of time for that few minutes walk to the airport and your flight home.
BEST PLACES TO STAY NEAR THE AIRPORT