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Adults only in Copenhagen – Tivoli, Bicycles and street food at its best

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Nyhavn is considered to be the best-known local street in Copenhagen. You won't go hungry here.

I recently became aware of the Global-liveability-index. on the internet. Every year, the best cities to live in are published on this list. This year, as many times before, our birthplace and hometown Vienna is in first place. The Danish capital Copenhagen made it to second place in 2022. It was time to pay a visit to this supposedly so liveable city. So off to Denmark we went!

Last year, my wife and I started what we hope will be a long-lasting tradition: We decided to go away without children for a few days once a year. We had never done that before. Last year we spent a week in Sardinia (blog to follow) and truly enjoyed it. This year we decided to go on a 5-day city trip to Copenhagen. The travel guide "Relaxed Cities" and the short flight time of around 90 minutes persuaded us to go. On 20 September, we left Vienna's Schwechat airport for Denmark - a country we had never been to before. Until now, we have skipped Scandinavia altogether, as we have always been drawn to the warmth.

We flew with Austrian Airlines from Vienna to Copenhagen. Flying time: 1 hour 25 minutes.

Austrian Airlines flies several times a week to the Danish capital and we got hold of two flights for a total of 522 euros. We opted for an early outbound and a late return flight, which gave us five full days in the port city with four overnight stays. When looking for accommodation, we quickly came across the Axel Guldsmeden Hotel. It met all our requirements and more: it is very centrally located but still quiet, it is close to the train station and you can reach the airport by public transport in 15 minutes, it offers a good breakfast and it has a very nice wellness area. On the day of arrival, we were already at the hotel shortly before 10 am and left our suitcases there. The room was not supposed to be ready until 4pm. No problem. The first impression of the cosily furnished eco-hotel was excellent, not least because our normal room was upgraded to "Superior". A fine thing!

The Axel Guldsmeden Hotel is a wonderful oasis of calm in Denmark's capital.

Equipped with our mobile phone cameras, a travel guide and a thick waistcoat - after all, we were in Scandinavia - we made our way into the city. We let ourselves drift and walked towards Vesterbrogade, a large street that leads past the train station and Tivoli to City Hall Square. The Hopon Hopoff buses also leave from here. Before we started our sightseeing tour, however, we had to eat something first. We were lucky and visited the small shop iBagel, which surprisingly mainly serves bagels - a stroke of luck, because the filled bagels tasted great and the service was very friendly.

iBagel, opposite the station, had the best bagels we've had so far.

Our tip: Visit the Tourist Info in Vesterbrogade 4a and get a free city map and lots of other info, or visit the website

In this shop, we also had our first experience with Danish prices. In Denmark, you still pay with the Danish krone, and not by much. One euro is roughly equivalent to 7 kroner. I always convert foreign currencies into the average price of beer. A Krügerl of beer (0.5 litres) costs 90 kroner on average in Copenhagen, which is about 12 euros. So getting drunk in Denmark is very expensive fun. If you go out for a meal for two, you should expect to pay around 35 euros for simple snacks, and around 60 euros for a mid-range restaurant or food market. We spent between 150 and 200 euros a day - with a one-day rental car - without really looking at the money.

" Getting drunk in Denmark is very expensive fun."

With our bagel bellies, we decided to go to the famous Tivoli amusement park at short notice. The park was already opened in 1843 and enchanted us with its charm. Again, we were lucky because we visited the park on a Tuesday, from Fridays onwards all hell breaks loose. The park offers numerous attractions. These include roller coasters, rides, cabarets and pantomime theatres, as well as the 80-metre high Starflyer chain carousel, which was the world's highest chain carousel until 2010. There are a total of 37 different restaurants and 23 rides. When it comes to admission, you can opt for certain admission price models. With the most expensive option, 100 kroner (about 145 euros), you can ride all the rides as often as you like. We opted for the cheapest entrance fee and rode two rides, which we paid extra for.

Tivoli is one of the most famous sights in Copenhagen.

If you want to leave the Tivoli and come back later, take the exit via the Tivoli Food Hall. There you get a stamp, which you have to show again when you enter. The Tivoli is open until 10pm and we wanted to come back in the evening, so we got a stamp and went to check into our hotel.

After a long relaxing break in our wonderful four-poster bed, we headed back to the food hall, had a wonderful Thai dinner and visited the park a second time. Tivoli is wonderful during the day, but great at night. We watched an entertaining pantomime play and waited for the announced laser and fire show. If you're ever here, you definitely shouldn't miss it, especially because it's included in the entrance fee. Tired and satisfied, we finally marched back to the hotel. For the next two days, we had booked a Hop On - Hop Off incl. boat tour via the platform Get your Guide.

Our tip: If you are a member of the air miles club "Miles and More", you can get a few extra bonus miles when booking via Get your Guide. Not bad either.

After a wonderful breakfast in the somewhat chilly Axel Guldsmeden Hotel (the Danes probably have a different feeling for warmth and cold in general), we started our first round trip with the red Stromma Line. A Hop On - Hop Off tour always gives a good first overview of a city trip, but cannot replace walking. According to the pedometer, we took over 22,000 steps on our first full day. The soles were burning, that's for sure.

The first stop we got off at was the world-famous Nyhavn district. The "New Harbour" was built between 1671 and 1673 by Christian V and was long considered an amusement mile for thirsty and horny sailors. Nothing is left of the brothels and hour hotels, but the colourful and slightly warped houses and the many bars and pubs along the canal are great fun. You have to go here when you're in Copenhagen. We were there three times!

During the coffee break at Nyhavn we enjoyed our luck with the weather.

After a coffee at Nyhavn and a short walk across the new Inderhavensbroen, a pedestrian and cyclist bridge that connects Nyhavn with the popular residential district of Christianshavn and passes by a small street food market, we took our already booked boat tour. With the flat tour boats that have to fit under the low bridges, we did a lap of Yderhavnen in glorious autumn weather, passing the new, imposing Opera House, the Queen's Palace and the unassuming Little Mermaid. The tour also passes the headquarters of Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, before turning around and returning via Christianshavns Canal. This recommended tour lasts an entertaining 90 minutes.

A boat tour makes perfect sense in Copenhagen - there are combination tickets with the bus tours.

On the opposite shore of the Little Mermaid is the well-known street food market Reffen, which was also on our list. Nearby, at Refshalevej v. 325, there is also the possibility of bungee jumping for the brave. At the opening of the crane set up for this purpose, there was a call to appear naked in order to be allowed to jump for free. The operators had hoped for a little publicity. On that day, however, there were so many naked Danes in the queue that most of them had to be sent home. In general, many Danes should have no problem with nudity, because no matter if young or old, several times we saw people jumping into the cold water like God created them, even in the middle of the city. Very sympathetic, we thought.

After the boat tour, we finished our bus tour, which took us to the harbour entrance where the big cruise ships anchor. Here we got a foretaste of our walking route the next day, because there is also a lot to discover there. That evening we ate sandwiches in our hotel room, which we had bought "cheaply" at a discount store. It doesn't always have to be so expensive.

The next day was all about good food. After we had taken the red line to the Queen's Palace, we only went on foot. On this day we walked about 30,000 steps. In addition to the royal family's residences, we visited the Marble Church, the Alexander Nevsky Church, the Little Mermaid (up close) and the Kastellet, the old defence complex. The walk between these sights, are all highly recommended as well. Copenhagen is a city that you can get to know very well on foot.

The square of the Danish nobility with a view of the marble church.

After this sightseeing marathon, we marched hungrily to our desired destination, the street food market Reffen. From Nyhavn, you walk along Inderhavensbroen over the former shipyard Refshaleøen, past some wonderful houseboats and artists' studios. If you think you're hopelessly lost, just keep walking, because you're most likely in the right place (unless you really are lost). Reffen is a long way out and only when you pass the new housing estate and the highly visible waste incineration plant are you close to it.

In the summer months, a visit to the Reffen Streedfoodmarket is an absolute must.

By the way, this waste incineration plant is also something very special. On the roof of this plant you can ski, toboggan and hike. Under the name "Copenhill", the useful would be combined with the pleasant in an extremely creative way. This only further underlines Copenhagen's status as an imaginative eco-city.

The longer one walks towards Reffen, the less one expects from the street food market. The area becomes less and less urban and we couldn't imagine getting our money's worth here. But we were so wrong.

Reffen turned out to be a real sightseeing highlight and was worth every step twice as much. Amidst a few old industrial halls and alternative housing projects, we suddenly found ourselves in a Mad Max world where one culinary highlight follows the next. A number of old containers and self-made stalls revealed a real street food paradise, which unfortunately closes at the end of September and only reopens in the warmer season.

Here you can find authentic specialities from all over the world. My wonderful wife and I would have loved to order something from each of the countless food stalls. Reffen is, without exaggeration, the best street food market we have ever been to and generally one of the most memorable experiences of our travels so far. An absolute must in Copenhagen.

With a full belly and great enthusiasm, we went back to our hotel and spent the evening in the Balinese spa - after all, you only live once. For the next day we booked a rental car through the car clubs ÖAMTC and ADAC (they work together). We also wanted to see the surroundings of Copenhagen.

At 9.00 am we picked up our Renault Capture from Europcar car rental about 10 minutes walk from our hotel. Again, we were lucky and got an upgrade to the more expensive automatic transmission. Finally, with the help of the sat nav, we set off on the dream road 152 towards Helsingør. On the beautiful coastal road you pass through some nice villages, where mainly well-heeled Danes must live, because the houses seem anything but cheap. On this stretch, there are always opportunities to stop and look out over the sea and towards Sweden.

On a trip to the Copenhagen countryside, you can take a break by the sea.

Arriving in Helsingør, another surprise awaits the humble traveller in the form of a delightful little town with a great ferry connection to Sweden (only 4 kilometres away), a great old town, Hamlet Castle, a modern maritime museum and another great street food market in a hall behind the modern cultural wharf.

Helsingør's old town and Hamlet Castle are definitely worth a visit.

Helsingør is located at the narrowest point of the Øresund at the north-eastern tip of the island of Zealand. On the opposite shore of the Swedish Sound is the city of Helsingborg. The culinary selection in the iconic street food market more than surprised us. But beware: at the food stalls both here and in Reffen, you can pay almost exclusively by card! Via Fredericksund and the impressive natural paradise of Roskilde Fjord, we finally made our way back to Copenhagen. The hot tub was already calling loudly for us!

After Helsingør's Streedfoodmarket, we visited the bird paradise of Roskilde Fjord.

The last day, at 3 pm, we had to leave for the airport. Before that, we visited the Glyptotek. The museum offers an exhibition with over 10,000 artefacts from 6,000 years of history. In addition to objects from ancient Egypt and Greek and Roman antiquity, modern masterpieces such as sculptures by Rodin and Degas can also be seen here. Afterwards, we marched to the City Hall about 10 minutes away, and paid a visit to the famous world clock - the visit was free.

A must for lovers of art and history: the Glyptotek.

Afterwards we spent a long walk through the old town and on the shopping street Strøget. Strøget is one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe and offers a variety of shops, from cheap chain shops to some of the most expensive brands in the world. Finally, we walked through the appealing Kongens Have, Denmark's oldest royal garden, where we also visited the picturesque Rosenborg Castle. After a last lunch at the Tivoli Food Hall, we finally took the train back to the airport and flew home to Vienna.

Copenhagen is definitely worth a visit, even though the five days (four nights) cost us around 2500 euros.

We look forward to your feedback and are open for a lively exchange. If you would like to travel yourself or are often on the road and have a question: Write us or leave a comment. Also, if you have travel tips for us, we would be happy to hear from you.

Kind regards,

Steffi, Max and the kids

(Author of this blog: Max)


Here you can find hotels in Copenhagen!

Shopping tips for your Copenhagen trip:

Sample renowned cuisine, soak in the Tivoli Gardens, and wander the cobbled streets; all with your trusted travel companion. Uncover the best of Copenhagen and make the most of your trip! Inside Lonely Planet’s Pocket Copenhagen: Up-to-date information - all businesses were rechecked before publication to ensure they are still open after 2020’s COVID-19 outbreak Full-colour maps and travel photography throughout Highlightsand itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential infoat your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sightseeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Convenient pull-out Copenhagen map (included in print version), plus over 21 colour neighbourhood maps User-friendly layout with helpful icons, and organised by neighbourhood to help you pick the best spots to spend your time Covers Tivoli Area, Slotsholmen, Stroget, Nyhavn and the Royal Quarter, Christianshavn, Norreport, Norrebro, Vesterbro and more.


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