Copenhagen has been a destination that we’ve always wanted to visit. Back then it seemed like such a far away destination and now we’re just a few hours flight away. We looked forward to visiting the iconic canals of the historic city center, enjoying the rides at Tivoli Gardens, visiting the castles and palaces and drinking lots of Carlsberg beer.
It’s not as expensive as the rest of northern Europe
This is not to say that it’s a super cheap place to visit. It’s not. It is generally expensive, but affordability is relative. Compared to northern European cities like Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Helsinki, Copenhagen looks pretty good financially and you’ll be surprised by how far a Danish kroner can actually go. For example, an average metro ride can cost €3 in Copenhagen whereas Stockholm would be nearly €6. Also a pint of beer in Copenhagen can cost you about €4 on average compared to €5.50 in Helsinki.
It’s more laid back than its neighbors
One of the things I love most about living in Spain is the laid-back, no stress, take-life-as-it-comes attitude toward living. Generally speaking, this is not the case for northern European places which tend to be more organized and work focused than their southern neighbors. This is what makes Copenhagen surprisingly unique. It’s got a totally relaxed, friendly, hippie vibe going on. Therefore it should be no surprise that it has a neighborhood like Freetown Christiania where its special legal status and hippie-esque inhabitants create a unique district of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues and organic eateries.
It has the world’s second oldest theme park
The Tivoli Gardens theme park in Copenhagen is one of the top attractions of the city and the second oldest theme park in the world dating back to 1843. After a visit to the park, it inspired Walt Disney when he created Disneyland. It continues to draw people in today to enjoy the rides, stroll the park admiring the beautiful scenery (especially when it’s lit up at night) and enjoy the various shows, concerts and special events.
It’s incredibly green
Copenhageners are bicyclists to the max. Incredibly, over a third of the city’s population commutes to work by bike. Over the past two years it has been voted the best cycle city by Treehugger, a top media outlet working to drive sustainability. In addition to biking, the city also has an extensive public transit network, clean harbors, many parks, clean technology and sustainable buildings. This has all lead to it being voted Europe's Green Capital for 2014 by the European Environment Commission.
It’s super gay-friendly & progressive
The city is very gay-friendly with a cluster of gay bars and establishments around the center and an annual gay pride parade. In fact, Denmark as a whole was the first country in the world to approve same-sex civil unions in 1989 (the first couple to do so registered in Copenhagen) before later approving same-sex marriage in 2012. The city also has one of the oldest gay bars, Centralhjørnet, which has been open since 1917 and officially became a gay bar in the 1950s.
It’s got street food. Yum.
When you think Copenhagen, you don’t exactly think street food. But now that there’s Copenhagen Street Food on Papirøen (Paper Island) it’s got a diverse selection of foods to try. This is the city’s only genuine street food market with 35 food stalls and a great view of the harbor. Enjoy Korean, Mexican, Italian as well as Danish and organic foods at affordable prices. There are also events and activities here surrounding art and music that add to its charismatic charm.