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Travel guide to Copenhagen, the world’s safest city

Things to do, place to go, and what and where to eat in the Danish capital. Note: When you're visiting, consider buying the Copenhagen Card - it's a day pass to access 83 tourist sites and public transport.

August 28, 2021 / 09:37 AM IST
A view of Copenhagen from the tower of Christiansborg Palace (Photo: Caeca Copenhagen)

A view of Copenhagen from the tower of Christiansborg Palace (Photo: Caeca Copenhagen)


Earlier this month, the Economist Intelligence Unit published its Safe Cities Index 2021 reportranking the safest cities in the world based on 76 metrics including health, infrastructure, environmental and digital safety. Copenhagen emerged at the top, ahead of Toronto at No. 2 and Singapore at No. 3.

Here's a quick look at things to do, and places to see, in the world's safest city.

5 MUST-SEE PLACES IN COPENHAGEN

1. Copenhagen Zoo: See more than 4,000 fascinating animals, and travel between continents in just one day.

2. Den Blå Planet, National Aquarium Denmark: Experience a world under the seas and enjoy a close encounter with majestic hammerhead sharks and elegant rays at Northern Europe’s largest and most modern aquarium.

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3. Amalienborg Palace: Must-see for anyone with a taste for royal history and the life of Denmark’s royal family who still resides inside the palace.

4. The Round Tower: A 17th century tower and observatory, the Round Tower is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe and an icon in the Copenhagen cityscape.

5. Kronborg Castle: One of Northern Europe’s finest Renaissance castles, it is world-famous as Hamlet’s and Shakespeare’s castle and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

5 HISTORICAL PUBS

1. Hviids Vinstue: More than 300 years old, it is one of the oldest bars in Copenhagen. Specially famous for mulled wine.

2. Alléenberg: Do not baulk if someone refers to this pub as The Psychopath. It is a nickname for the pub where the interior has not changed since Mrs Ingeborg Johannesen furnished it in 1924. Do not miss the old piano. You can play it, too.

3. Toga Vinstue: An almost century-old public house and a lunch restaurant, it is a meeting point for both young and old in search of a glass of beer and a lively political discussion.

4. Bo-Bi Bar: A sailor went ashore back in 1917, bought the first bar counter in Copenhagen and started Bo-Bi Bar. So, the story goes.

5. Frederik VI: Since 1973, this beer bar and eatery has welcomed people to a good beer (26 taps) and a delicious lunch.

Don't miss Copenhagen's historical bars, including Hviids Vinstue, Alléenberg, Toga Vinstue, Bo-Bi Bar, and Frederik VI. (Photo credit: Giuseppe Liverino) Don't miss Copenhagen's historical bars. (Photo credit: Giuseppe Liverino)

5 MUST-EAT FOODS

1. Smørrebrød: An open sandwich typically made with buttered rye bread topped with any combination of meats, cheeses, and garnishes.

2. Kartofler: Caramalised potatoes

3. Stegt flæsk med persillesovs: This national dish of Denmark is a combination of crispy pork, potatoes, and parsley sauce.

4. Koldskål: Literally, cold bowl, this summer dessert consists of cold buttermilk soup, biscuits, and fruit.

5. Pølser: Think of it as gourmet hot dog.

(Photo: Giuseppe Liverino) (Photo: Giuseppe Liverino)

5 BEST BUDGET EATERIES

1. Grød: Porridge is big in Copenhagen and Grød (literally, porridge) serves only porridge. Its signature dish: oat porridge with apples, dulce de leche caramel and toasted almonds.

2. Hooked: Feast on seafood in Nørrebro’s lowkey maritime fastfood haven - lobster roll, fish burgers, poke bowls, fish and chips.

3. Gasoline Grill: Copenhagen’s most hyped burger joint. Gasoline Grill open at 11 am everyday at closes when sold out.

4. Gao: Copenhagen’s first dedicated dumpling bar.

5. The Bridge Street Kitchen: This combines world-class street food with phenomenal views over the water.

5 BEST COFFEE BARS

1. The Coffee Collective: The Coffee Collective is a micro roastery with two coffee shops and a coffee school. It is also cooperating with farmers to develop sustainable production.

2. Prolog Coffee Bar: Coffee is served with croissants and pastries and the occasional DIY marshmallow setup.

3. Darcy's Kaffe: It has a constantly rotating menu of specialty beans.

4. Central Hotel og Café: This is the world's smallest hotel and Copenhagen's smallest coffee shop - there are only 5 seats.

5. Alice Ice Cream & Coffee: Great ice cream, coffee and baked goods.

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5 BEST SHOPPING STREETS

1. Strøget: This is Copenhagen's main shopping street, and one of Europe's longest pedestrian streets. There's a wealth of shops, from budget-friendly chains to some of the world's most expensive brands.

2. Værnedamsvej: Viewed as kind of Copenhagen’s Paris, it is a small, busy shopping street - child-friendly, cozy, relaxed and very much French. Do not miss Granola cafe.

3. Jægersborggade: It has turned from dodgy to hip and is now one of the hippest and most buzzing streets in Copenhagen housing 40 art galleries, organic produce shops, vintage clothes, ceramics and jewellery designers, as well as wine bars, coffee shops and restaurants.

4. Istedgade: The Vesterbro area’s main street Istedgade has porn shops and strip bars as well as some of the city's best boutiques, restaurants and bars.

5. Østerbro: Family-friendly, green, peaceful and affluent. That’s how the fashionable neighbourhood of Østerbro is labelled by many Copenhageners. It boasts a nice selection of premium shopping options with fashion, interior and Danish design.

Strøget is Copenhagen's largest shopping area (Photo credit: Ty Stange) Strøget is Copenhagen's largest shopping area (Photo credit: Ty Stange)

5 BEST MUSEUMS

1. Museum of Copenhagen: Here you’ll be introduced to all the most important places and events in the 800-year history of the Danish capital - from the Vikings to the modern times.

2. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art: An international art museum and an absolute must-see where art, nature and architecture combine in a total arty experience.

3. SMK - The National Gallery of Denmark: It is the largest art museum in the country, featuring outstanding collections of Danish and international art from the past seven centuries. It also serves as a tourist-information centre.

4. Kunsthal Charlottenborg: It is one of the largest exhibition spaces for contemporary art in Europe.

5. The Open Air Museum: One of the largest and oldest in the world, this museum is spread across 86 acres and has more than 50 farms, mills and houses from 1650-1940.

Christiansborg Castle (Photo credit: Thomas Høyrup Christensen) Christiansborg Castle (Photo credit: Thomas Høyrup Christensen)

Good to Know:

  • Copenhagen Card: Buy the Copenhagen Card (EUR 57 for 24 hours) that provides free entrance to 83 attractions and museum; free public transportation in the Copenhagen region; discounts on sightseeing tours, restaurants, cafés and more

  • The Metro: You can use Copenhagen’s 4 metro lines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • From the airport: Getting to Copenhagen airport from the city centre (or vice versa) is 12 minutes from Kongens Nytorv station.

  • Rent a bike: Since 2015, Copenhagen has been ranking as the most bike-friendly city in the world. The bike rental options are: Donkey Republic (donkey.bike); Bycyklen (bikes are available all over the city 24/7, 365 days a year); Baisikeli (a secondhand bike rental and bike shop. Profits go to African countries); Københavns Cykelbørs (founded in 1881, it is the largest bike rental company in Denmark. Here you can rent Raleigh 3-speed bikes, Nishiki touring bikes, children's bikes, bicycles with children's seats and tandems).

(All photographs courtesy of visitcopenhagen.com)
Preeti Verma Lal is a Goa-based freelance writer/photographer.
first published: Aug 28, 2021 09:18 am
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