US-born Rebecca Thandi Norman first moved to Copenhagen back in 2008 as a student and now lives permanently in the city with her Danish husband. Having fallen in love with Copenhagen, she and her business partner Freya McOmish decided to set up the site Scandinavia Standard to share all that’s great about Danish and Scandinavian culture, as well as practical tips learned through living in the city as a local.
With all of this insider knowledge at her disposal, who better to take us on a whistle-stop tour of the Danish capital? Read on and check out Rebecca’s advice for exploring Copenhagen…
“When a friend visits me in Copenhagen, the first thing I do is take them to rent a bike, then we go on a boat tour that starts on Nyhavn canal. Even though it might seem really ‘touristy’, it’s a wonderful way to see all of the major attractions like the Opera House, the Little Mermaid and Amalienborg Palace in an hour. That way, if they haven’t done anything else in the guidebook, they’ll still have seen a great deal!
May to September is the best time of year to explore Copenhagen because the days are incredibly long and you can enjoy being outside almost all night. If you can handle the cold, come any other time!
You get the best view of Copenhagen from the top of the Round Tower. You can see the whole of the city. You’re in the city centre, so you can look out in various directions and see all the different Copenhagen neighbourhoods. Vor Frelsers Kirke also has some great viewing points.
Brødflov at Falkoner Alle, Frederiksberg is my favourite breakfast in Copenhagen because they serve an amazing breakfast plate with egg, yogurt and baked goods that’s delicious, big and affordable. After fuelling up with their breakfast, you’re ready to spend the rest of the day on your feet (or bicycle) exploring the city.
A great place to enjoy a coffee is Coffee Collective at Godthåbsvej. Their coffee is among the best in the city and they run tasting events throughout the year. Restaurant Kronborg at the centre of the city is my favourite place for lunch in Copenhagen, I usually order herring and aquavit. For a quick bite, I love grabbing a sandwich on fresh-baked bread at Sankt Peders Stræde Bakery.
Manfred’s at Jægersborggade, Nørrebro is the perfect spot for dinner in Copenhagen because the food is top quality New Nordic but it’s affordable and cosy.
Before exploring Copenhagen you should read something about the fairy-tales of Hans Christian Andersen, so you know why that poor Little Mermaid looks so melancholy.
People think Copenhagen is small but it’s actually just very accessible. It’s not a huge city by any means, but that “small” feeling comes from the fact that you can take public transport anywhere, or cycle easily. It’s laid out very well. Cycling is the best way to explore Copenhagen because it’s fast, inexpensive and a beautiful way to see the city. Plus, most cycle shops in the city rent bicycles on a daily or weekly basis.
Assistens Kirkegaard is somewhere that not many visitors know about but they should go there because not only can you see the graves of HC Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard, but you can enjoy a beautiful green space right in the centre of Nørrebro; this is a cemetery and park. I love the way the graveyard is also used as a public space.
The best thing to do for free in Copenhagen is walk around The Lakes (Søerne), tour the Palmehuset at the Botanical Gardens or visit Statens Museum for Kunst’s permanent collection.
If you’re looking for somewhere central to stay, Vesterbro or Nørrebro (near the lakes) are great neighbourhoods. Also, the Vesterbro area has some of the best nightlife in the city – that’s where you’ll find most of the good cocktail bars!”
These are Rebecca’s tips for exploring Copenhagen. For more Copenhagen inspiration, follow @scandinaviastandard on Instagram.
Flights to Copenhagen