Copenhagen

Copenhagen: When to Go

HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

April
The Queen's Birthday (16th) is celebrated at Amalienborg Slot: at noon, Queen Margrethe waves from her balcony to her subjects, while royal guards prance about in full regalia. One for die-hard royalists only.

May
Copenhagen Beer Festival (late May) celebrates beer drinking as an art form rather than a competition in inebriation. There are over 1,000 different brews dominated, as you would expect, by Danish brewers like Carlsberg and Tuborg, but with a scattering of less familiar microbrews including some English names.

June
St Hans Eve (23rd) is a somewhat overhyped midsummer celebration in which bonfires and beers help fuel a night of revelry in Fælled Park and various beaches around town.
Roskilde Music Festival (exact dates vary), which takes place 40km outside Copenhagen, is one of the biggest and best rock and indie music bonanzas in Europe - a kind of Danish Glastonbury which attracts almost 100,000 happy campers. Recent show-stoppers include The Who, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, The Chemical Brothers, Judas Priest and Kings of Leon.

July
Copenhagen Jazz Festival
is a 10-day jazz-fest starting on the first Friday in July, which in recent years has attracted such world-famous names as Sonny Rollins, Oscar Peterson, Ray Charles, Michel Petrucciani, Keith Jarrett, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny. There are several hundred concerts each year, so plan ahead!

August
Metropolis is a varied celebration of international theatre, with plays, circus acts and dance performances taking place in various venues across the city. The line-up often includes the likes of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

November
Autumn Jazz Festival is another chance to hear some of the big names in jazz, but in smaller indoor venues, with fewer concerts (just 30 or so) and more modest crowds (and prices).

December
Christmas markets and other festivities gather pace during the month, but remain tasteful and tack-free (a great place to buy wooden toys and pretty tree decorations, for example). Kongens Nytorv/Nyhavn and Tivoli are 2 of our favourite markets.

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TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Getting There

Note: flight, boat, train and bus timetables change constantly, and airlines come and go, so please do not rely solely on this information for your travel planning. Check with relevant companies, or a flight search engine like Skyscanner, first.

BY AIR

Copenhagen Kastrup Airport is Scandinavia's main international hub and is served by plenty of airlines from Europe and beyond. It's only 8km from the city centre, with a direct metro link providing easy access in less than 15 minutes.

It is also possible to fly to the Swedish city of Malmö, which is connected to Copenhagen by the Oresund Bridge (road and rail links).

From the UK:
Airlines include British Airways from London Heathrow; easyJet from London Gatwick, London Stansted, Bristol and Manchester; and SAS from London Heathrow, Birmingham, Leeds-Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle. Norwegian Air Shuttle flies from London Gatwick and Edinburgh.

From the rest of Europe:
Copenhagen is served by most major European airlines, including Air France, Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Alitalia, TAP Portugal, Brussels Airlines, Finnair, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, Vueling and LOT Polish Airlines. There are also flights to numerous European cities with easyJet, SAS and Norwegian Air Shuttle.

From further afield:
There are various flights from the US and Canada with SAS, Delta and Air Canada, and from Asia and Australia (often via Dubai, Doha or Singapore) with SAS, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.

BY SEA

There are sailings to Copenhagen from Oslo (16 hours) and Swinoujscie in Poland (10 hours). There are also overnight crossings (18 hours) from Harwich in the UK to Esbjerg (on Denmark's west coast) with DFDS Seaways. From Esbjerg you can take a train to Copenhagen (see below) - or, if you have lots of time and energy, cycle along bike route number 6 which takes you all the way from the Esbjerg ferry terminal into the heart of Copenhagen (about 330km in total).

BY TRAIN

Copenhagen is well connected to European rail routes, with services to Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne plus overnight sleepers to Amsterdam. There's also a regular shuttle across to Malmö in Sweden, and direct intercity services to Stockholm.

From the UK:
The most relaxing way is to take the train from London Liverpool Street to Harwich to connect with the overnight ferry to Esbjerg (see above), and from there another connecting train on to Copenhagen.

Alternatively, you can catch the Eurostar to Brussels and than travel onward via Cologne (Koln) and Hamburg to Copenhagen. Both options take around 20 hours: you can either leave London after lunch and arrive for a late breakfast, or leave in the early evening and reach Copenhagen for a late lunch.

For more information on rail travel to Copenhagen, see Seat 61.

Getting Around

BY BIKE

Copenhagen is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with about a third of its population commuting to work by bike on segregated, traffic-free lanes. During summer, the city provides racks of public bikes in the downtown area, which can be unlocked and used with a returnable deposit. Some of our featured hotels offer free bicycles for their guests' use.

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT

The metro has 2 lines, one of which connects the city centre to the airport. It's useful for getting around, with the stations at Christianshavn, Kongens Nytorv and Nørreport (near Rosenborg Slot and the Rundetårn) being the most useful for tourists. There's also a network of suburban S-trains (primarily for commuters) and a good bus system.

BY CAR

See our car rental recommendations if you want to hire a car to explore outside the city.