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Summertime in Copenhagen - Navigating the City and Surrounding Areas

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

I had the wonderful opportunity in the summer of 2019 to study in the picturesque city of Copenhagen, and have visited several time since. The images you see on Google of this city really only capture the famous Nyhavn waterfront canal, which is beautiful, but there is so much more charm and so much more to see in this city that quickly makes you feel both in awe and completely welcomed.

Quick Tips:

- You must have a rain coat and some layers - even in the middle of the summer.

- RENT. A. BIKE. - 99% of the time it will be faster than driving (they do not have Uber or Lyft, by the way) or taking public transit. You can buy train tickets from your phone online if you need to get out of or around the city without a bike. I used Rådhusstraede Cykler to rent a bike for my stay.

- Don't bother trying to get Mexican food in CPH

- Look out for any festivals going on during your stay! I was lucky enough to be in town during Denmark's annual Architecture/Design Festival and their Photo Festival.

Must Visit:

1: The Louisiana Museum

A little outside Copenhagen in Humlebaek, Denmark is the amazing Louisiana Museum. This is without a doubt my favorite museum that I have ever been to, with so many contemporary exhibits that are often immersive, and an outdoor sculpture garden right next to the water.

2: Freetown Christiania

Home to plenty of free-spirited Danes and street art, this spot is a must to visit. Be warned, there are many areas of this little neighborhood where you are not allowed to take photos.

3: Reffen - Copenhagen Street Food

Reffen is home to some of the best food I had on this trip as well as activities like paintball, rock climbing, and an amazing contemporary art museum. Make sure you stop by Bad Habits Ice Cream when you're here and stroll on over to the edge of Refshaleøen to take in the ocean views. Often times they will also have outdoor exhibits surrounding the area.

4: Nyhavn Waterfront

This one is a no-brainer. This 17th century waterfront is one of the most colorful, picturesque areas of Copenhagen and is home to plenty of restaurants and cafes. Nearby, too, is the Kunsthal Charlottenborg Art Museum.

5: Malmo, Sweeden

If you have the time to take a day trip out of CPH, Malmo is a great option. The museums are all free and well worth the trip. Should you go here, make sure to visit the Moderna Museet Malmo and Malmo Konsthall museums.

Other Fun Options:

1: Climb to the top of the Church of our Savior

Visit here for the best views of Christiania and the water.

2: The Black Diamond / Royal Library

The architecture of this building is so fun and the exploring the interior is a must (sometimes they even have exhibits in the lowest level). The locals often jump in the canal right next to this building too (join in!)

3: Danish Jewish Museum

Whether or not you are Jewish, this museum is a work of art in and of itself; if you were able to see the corridors inside from a birds eye view, you would see the letters for the Hebrew word "Mitzvah."


1: Frederiksberg Have Park

This is the most beautiful park I have ever been to. Hands down.

It looks like it flew directly out of one of Monet's paintings and is filled with huge willows, storks, and peacocks. Take a boat ride too if you'd like!

2: Sondermarken Park / Cisterns

This park is right next to Frederiksberg Park and worth walking over to afterwards. The coolest part about it is the Cisterns, a crazy underground space filled with water and interactive exhibitions.

3: Assistens Cemetery

It may sound strange to treat a cemetery as you would a public park, but the Danes have a very different relationship to cemeteries than we do in the states; they treat it more as a place of celebration than of mourning, and it shows in the way this area was designed.

4: Kings Garden

This was my favorite park to visit when I just wanted somewhere to stroll around or sit and read under a tree. It also has a very sweet castle that you can visit.

5: Botanical Garden

Run by the University of Copenhagen, the garden is a huge area filled with historical glasshouses and beautiful plants. If you pay to get inside the largest glasshouse, you can hang out with some butterflies and see their beautiful spiral staircase within the house. Otherwise, the garden is free to enter.

6: Superkilen Park

This is one of the most creative parks I have ever been to; it felt like an adult playground! A great spot both for skateboarders and people who just want a sense of adventure in the city.

7: Kastellet Fortress

One of the best preserved fortresses in Northern Europe, this is a great place for a stroll and to learn some history. Plus, it's really close to the ocean, REFFEN, and the Little Mermaid statue.

To Eat:

1. 42RAW

Healthy lunch option, serving Acai Bowls, Poke Bowls, Vegan Burgers, and amazing Sweet Potato Fries.

2: Naturbagriet

Plenty of GF and vegan options, but also plenty of normal bakery options.

3: Kebabestan

Great option if you're on a budget, and really tasty middle eastern food.

4: Pico

Amazing pizza place where you get three small pizzas instead of one. I went three times on my last visit!

5: Glass Markets

If you have a group of family and/or friends that can never seem to agree on what to eat, this is a great choice. The markets are a similar vibe to Reffen, where there are all different kinds of great restaurants open.

6: Paludan Bog and Cafe

The inside of this cafe is so cute and doubles as a bookstore, and the sandwiches are amazing!

7: Christianshavn Boat Rental and Cafe

Always fun to dine on a swaying boat house and dip your feet in the water during dinner. It was so fun to watch kayakers on the canal pull up and pick up their drinks too.

To Drink:

1: Buzz Kaffebar

This place had an amazing Chai Tea and great salads and sandwiches for a quick bite.

2: The Living Room

Apart from the hipster/vintage vibes and comfy seating, I was OBSESSED with their "Gingerade" drink as well as their Chai Teas. Such a good reading / work spot too.

3: Studenterhuset

If you couldn't already tell by the name, this is a great place for students and young people. Created and run by the University of Copenhagen, this place has a great cider and beer selection and is super cheap. Not to mention they have swing dance lessons and improv nights.

4: Floss Bar

If you're okay with the idea of smelling like smoke for the next week, make your way over to Floss for a fun night out with friends.

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