The Tasteful Traveler’s Copenhagen Guide: The Best Things to Eat, See, and Do

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Planning a trip to Copenhagen soon? Here’s your guide to the best things to eat, see and do in Denmark’s capital.

Copenhagen is a stunning city in Denmark that’s walkable, filled with good food, beautiful parks, and endless things to do. We loved spending time exploring this city and if you’re a foodie like us, you’ll likely want to eat your way through Copenhagen (which we highly recommend doing), so this guide also includes some food you have to try while in the Scandinavian city.

Rent a GoBoat

This was one of the best things we did in Copenhagen during the summer. 

GoBoat is a boat rental service in Copenhagen. They have small boats that you can steer yourself and rent hourly to sail around Copenhagen’s canals. And you don’t need any sort of license or prior experience to sail – they’ll give you instructions on how to steer the boat prior to taking off. 

Seats on the boat are around a picnic table with cupholders so we also highly recommend you have a picnic ready to go before you set off on your GoBoat! Grab some food, waters and even a couple of beers from the market and enjoy Copenhagen’s canals in the sunshine. 

View from the GoBoat in the canals of Copenhagen.

We brought smørrebrod that we had purchased from Aaman’s Takeaway, in addition to water and a couple of beers. (There is a maximum of two units of alcohol per person so enjoy responsibly).

We also booked the GoBoat for an hour but easily could’ve spent two hours leisurely sailing around and exploring more of Copenhagen from the water. They’ll give you a map on board of major landmarks and where you can sail, but we also purchased the StoryHunt audio experience which provides a bit of history on the Port of Copenhagen from the 7th century and landmarks you may sail by. 

Go to a Bageri (or Bageris)

A bageri is “bakery” in Danish and there are so many scattered throughout Copenhagen. We think it’s a must to go to a few bageris and enjoy some local specialities like cardamom buns, spandauers (what we’d call a Danish in the US), or tebirkes (a poppyseed pastry).

With so many bakeries in the city, it can be difficult to decide which ones to go to, but we think these three bakeries are the best in Copenhagen.

A cardamom bun and vanilla bun from
Juno the Bakery.

Have a Bun with Cheese

While you’re visiting the bakeries, don’t forget to try a bun with cheese.

We didn’t know about buns with cheese before our Copenhagen trip, but we definitely do now and we love them. A bun with butter and cheese (or bolle med ost in Danish) is a breakfast offering that you’ll find at many, if not all, bakeries in Copenhagen. It’s simple and delicious, because high quality local ingredients are the star of the show. A bun with cheese is a sandwich typically made with a fresh bread or bun (sometimes sourdough), butter (if you like, and you should), and Comté cheese.

It’s the perfect breakfast item. We loved the seeded bun with cheese at Juno the Bakery, pictured below, but you can find these at lots of other bakeries. 

A bun with butter and cheese from Juno the Bakery, enjoyed by the canals.

Get a Danish Hot Dog

Random? Maybe, but hear me out: this is not a regular hot dog like you get in the US. This is a delicious hot dog that’s topped with ketchup, mustard, remoulade, fresh pickled cucumbers, red onion and fried shallots. The remoulade is a creamy addition, and having the fresh and fried onions and pickles gives it a satisfying texture and contrast of flavor. 

The hot dogs (Rød pølse or red hot dogs) themselves are long, thin, and a bit redder in color. According to TasteAtlas, the pølser are typically smoked over beechwood to enhance the flavor, and they’re cooked in broth as opposed to water. 

You’ll find a few hot dog carts scattered throughout the city to take your pick from. We went to DØP cart on Strøget Shopping Street and ordered a ristet (roasted) hot dog with all the toppings. Another hot dog spot is John’s Hot Dog Deli.

If you’re interested in more of the history behind Denmark’s hot dogs, check out this article from Visit Copenhagen.

Visit Torvehallerne

Torvehallerne is a food market located in the center of Copenhagen, near Nørreport Station. You’ll find a bit of everything at Torvehallerne, including produce stalls, flower shops, places to grab a meal, specialty grocery items and gifts, fresh meat and fish, and more. Stalls are spread out over two separate glass buildings, with more stalls and picnic tables in between. 

Explore the market and grab some bites for lunch to enjoy either inside or outdoors.

We considered Hija de Sanchez a must stop – they have a stall right in the middle of the market (between the two glass buildings) and they serve up delicious Mexican food started by former Noma pastry chef Rosio Sanchez. It seemed only fitting that we grab a bit here before our dinner at Noma later that day.

Tacos from Hija de Sanchez at
Torvehallerne Market.

Fine Dining

As of writing this in January 2023, there are currently 15 Michelin-starred restaurants in Copenhagen, some of which have been awarded on the World’s 50 Best list (like Geranium and Noma). 

Do we think booking a reservation at one or more of the fine dining destinations in Copenhagen is a must-do while visiting? Yes, but that’s because we’re foodies (as I hope you’ve realized by now if you’ve looked around our website). 

Take your pick of one (or more) of the fine dining restaurants and plan for that reservation! It helps to also have a plan ahead of time before booking reservations – have your first choice and second choice dates in mind. And if you’re booking multiple restaurant reservations, make sure you are aware of days the restaurants are closed so you can strategize your dates.

We were lucky enough to snag reservations for dinners at Noma and Geranium on back-to-back days. You can read more about our experience at Geranium here.

A dish from a dinner at Geranium in Copenhagen.

Tivoli Gardens

The second oldest amusement park is located right next to the Copenhagen Central Station and is definitely worth a visit. We were entranced just walking by Tivoli because you can see all the people are on roller coasters and other amusement rides from the street!

Tivoli also has special fireworks shows and events so make sure to check their calendar to help plan your visit. 

Fireworks at Tivoli Gardens, seen from our room at Villa Copenhagen.

Try Smørrebrød & Schnapps 

While in Copenhagen, don’t forget to try smørrebrød: a traditional open-faced sandwich that usually consists of a piece of buttered rye bread that can be topped with items like fish, meat, cold cuts, and more. 

The smørrebrøds that are topped with smoked salmon, herring and other smoked fish have our heart, but the topping combinations are endless.

Make a reservation at Aamans 1921, choose a couple smørrebrøds, and ask the server to recommend a corresponding schnapps to try. 

Other great places for smørrebrød are Schønnemann, Selma, and Restaurant Møntergade.

Smørrebrød at Aamans 1921, schnapps in the background.

Shopping

There are so many great places to do a little shopping in Copenhagen, whether it’s for clothes, ceramics or other gifts. Here are a few spots to get you started:

  • Studio Arhoj: A local interior design and ceramics studio. You can sometimes see them creating items in the back. 
  • Strøget Shopping Street: This is one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets filled with shops. Even if you don’t want to go shopping, this is a busy street that’s worth a walk through (even if it’s for a block or two). You’ll find a location of the DØP hot dog stand on this street too. 
  • For some vintage shopping, try Collector’s Cage for handbags, Time’s Up Vintage, and Carmen Copenhagen.
  • Postmodern Ganni: for previous Ganni collection items and sample items. 
Studio Arhoj

Go on a Park Stroll 

Copenhagen is filled with beautiful parks that are perfect for a stroll, picnic or a bit of respite from walking around the city. A few of our favorite parks below: 

  • The King’s Garden (Kongen Have): Located right outside Rosenborg Palace in the center of Copenhagen, these lawns are a lovely place to stop for a leisurely sit down or stroll. You’ll find lots of benches, tree-lined paths, a rose garden and even a playground. 
  • Fælledparken: This is Copenhagen’s largest park, located right next to the National Stadium (and Geranium)!
  • The Citadel (Kastellet): This lush, green, star-shaped area is home to one of the best preserved fortifications in Northern Europe and is open to the public to explore. You’ll also find a windmill within the park, Kastelsmøllen, which is one of the last functioning windmills in Copenhagen. The buildings within the Citadel are used as military barracks and offices.  
The King’s Garden in Copenhagen.

Where to Stay in Copenhagen

Depending on what you’re looking for, you can likely find a hotel in Copenhagen that meets your every need.

We enjoyed our stay at Villa Copenhagen and recommend it to those looking for a convenient, luxurious and comfortable stay. You can read more about the hotel and our stay here.

A few other hotels worth considering are:

Copenhagen is such a beautiful city to get lost in so go for a walk through the city, explore all the streets, and have an amazing time!

Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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