While iconic landmarks like the Little Mermaid and Tivoli Gardens are undoubtedly captivating, beyond the well-known attractions lies a treasure trove of vibrant, cheery, and off-the-beaten-path wonders just waiting to be explored in the city of Copenhagen. From colourful canal side houses, charming cobblestone streets, cosy cafe scene, contagious energy fills the air with these must-see hidden gems in Copenhagen. Copenhagen, the Danish capital, is renowned for its captivating landmarks, but it's time to dig deeper and uncover the hidden gems that make this city truly shine.
As we dive into the heart of this Nordic wonderland, get ready to be dazzled by the unexpected, enchanted by local traditions, and captivated by the joy that radiates from every corner. These hidden gems are not just about ticking off a checklist, but about immersing yourself in the unique charm and cheery spirit of Copenhagen. So, put on your explorer's hat and let's embark on this journey of delightful surprises!
Copenhagen hidden gems:
Stepping into Nyboder is like stepping into a living piece of Copenhagen's history. This quaint neighbourhood, with its charming yellow houses and cobblestone streets, exudes a sense of nostalgia. It's a Copenhagen hidden gem that allows you to immerse yourself in the city's rich maritime heritage and imagine the lives of sailors who once called it home. Today, it gives you a nice contrast between the modern experimental structures that’s in the city centre, as you can enjoy a slice of well-preserved traditional architecture.
Vesterbro / Meatpacking District
Welcome to Vesterbro and the Meatpacking District, the hip and eclectic neighbourhood that pulses with creativity and charm. I think if I had to pick which Copenhagen neighbourhood is my favourite - I would say this one. This hidden gem perfectly balances its industrial past with a vibrant and trendy atmosphere. Meander through its streets, adorned with colourful street art and dotted with chic boutiques, cosy cafés, and lively bars. Grab a bite here, as it's a perfect spot for whenever the sun also comes out in Copenhagen. This is all against the backdrop of old meat factories that have been renovated to the cool spaces they are now - hence the name Meatpacking District. Embrace the effortlessly cool vibe as you uncover vintage treasures in unique shops or dance the night away at a lively club. Vesterbro's infectious energy makes it an absolute must-visit for those seeking a taste of Copenhagen's contemporary culture.
Tucked away in the charming streets of Copenhagen, you'll discover Kartoffelrækkerne, a row of picturesque houses straight out of a storybook in the center of Copenhagen. Prepare your camera roll! With their colourful facades and blooming flower boxes, these charming homes evoke a sense of whimsy and cheer as one of the most unique architecture in the city. It’s like a picture-perfect card of Copenhagen, and with practically no tourists compared to Nyhavn. Take a leisurely stroll through this hidden gem and be transported to a world where time seems to stand still, feeling like you’ve been teleported to the heydays of Copenhagen.
Papirøen (Paper Island)
Prepare to embark on a culinary and cultural adventure as you step foot on Papirøen, also known as Paper Island. This former paper storage facility has been transformed into a vibrant food market and cultural hub. Indulge in a cornucopia of flavours from all corners of the world, with an abundance of food stalls serving up delectable dishes to satisfy every craving. After treating your taste buds, immerse yourself in the artsy atmosphere, with galleries, exhibitions, and live performances captivating your senses. Papirøen is a hidden gem where food, art, and community intertwine in a joyous celebration.
Art enthusiasts, rejoice! Glyptoteket is a treasure trove of artistic marvels, housing an impressive collection of sculptures and paintings from around the world that's right in the centre of Copenhagen. Step into this hidden gem and let the beauty of ancient Greek and Roman art captivate you. The museum's atmosphere of antiquity and stunning exhibits make it a must-visit for those seeking inspiration and cultural enrichment. This is one of my favourite places in the city, just because I feel like I’m in a Roman painting or a regal palace - between the marble-filled rooms and the lush sunroom with leafy trees.
Discover the tranquil beauty of Østerbro, a hidden gem nestled in the northeastern part of Copenhagen. This leafy neighbourhood offers a respite from the hustle and bustle, inviting you to unwind and embrace the local way of life. Immerse yourself in the peaceful surroundings of Fælledparken, a sprawling park perfect for picnics and leisurely walks. Explore the charming streets lined with boutiques, cosy cafés, and inviting green spaces. Østerbro embodies the Danish concept of "hygge," where serenity and contentment take centre stage.
Unique things to do in Copenhagen:
Prepare to have your taste buds tickled and your senses dazzled at Torvehallerne Market! Welcome to this food lover's paradise and immerse yourself in a symphony of aromas and flavours. It's one of the best places to taste heavenly pastries to savoury open-faced sandwiches. Every bite is an explosion of culinary delight - seriously, prepare your stomach space (and wallets too). If you want to go eat where the locals eat, this is where Copenhageners gather to indulge in the finest and freshest produce, creating an atmosphere of foodie bliss.
In the heart of Copenhagen lies a surprising treasure, Assistens Cemetery. Far from being a gloomy place, this vibrant park celebrates life and embraces the Danish concept of hygge. During your trip to Copenhagen, make sure to rent a bike and see the city through this lesser-known spot. Amidst the beautiful tombstones outside of the old town, you'll find locals picnicking, practising yoga (yep, even in a cemetery!), or simply enjoying a peaceful stroll. This is one of my favourite parks (or well, cemetery) in Copenhagen to take a bike ride through as well. It's a place where serenity and joy intertwine, reminding us to cherish every moment.
Church of Our Saviour
Prepare for an uplifting experience at the Church of Our Saviour, a masterpiece of architecture and spirituality in central Copenhagen. Climb the spiral staircase of the church's tower spire, and as you ascend, feel your spirits soar. At the top, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of Copenhagen, a breathtaking sight that will leave you in awe. This hidden gem combines architectural marvels with a sense of wonder and awe - giving you a new perspective on Copenhagen’s skyline as well as a place that not many people have explored.
So it’s summer in the city - where would one go to take a break from this Scandinavian heat? Head to the beach! Not many people, and even some locals, know that there’s a beach in Copenhagen. Which makes Svanemølle beach the perfect place and a true Copenhagen hidden gem for you to discover. You can stroll by the waterfront promenade here, taking in the beautiful natural scenery. Bring your beach towl, pack some picnic snacks, and enjoy this strand of urban strand in the Østerbro district outside of the city centre.
Venture into the historic fortress of Kastellet, a hidden gem that seamlessly blends history and natural beauty. As you explore the well-preserved ramparts, you'll encounter lush green spaces, charming windmills, and even a picturesque moat. Bonus if you’re visiting during autumn, as it’s where you can catch gorgeous foliage falling everywhere. It's a place where past and present intertwine, inviting you to wander and imagine the stories that echo through the centuries.
Reffen Street Food
Prepare your taste buds for a tantalising journey through the vibrant world of Reffen Street Food! Tucked away in Copenhagen's industrial-chic Refshaleøen district, this foodie paradise is a hidden gem waiting to be savoured. Picture yourself strolling through a bustling market, surrounded by mouthwatering aromas and a kaleidoscope of flavours from around the globe. Indulge in scrumptious street food creations, from sizzling Asian stir-fries to melt-in-your-mouth burgers. With live music adding to the lively atmosphere, Reffen Street Food is the epitome of culinary joy.
Notable food stalls to checkout:
- Manila Street BBQ n’ Bao
- Nordic Hotdog
- Everest Nepalese Food
- Indian Bites
Prepare to be awestruck by the architectural marvel of this lovely attraction that is Grundtvig's Church. Nestled in the Bispebjerg district, this hidden gem is a beacon of grandeur. If you’re staying in the city centre, it may be a bit far on the Copenhagen metro to get to (which is relatively short ride compared to other European capital cities) but trust us, it’ll be worth the journey! You’ll get to step inside and marvel at the soaring vaulted ceilings, bathed in ethereal light streaming through the magnificent stained-glass windows. The quiet atmosphere embraces you, inviting you to pause, reflect, and find solace in its beauty. Grundtvig's Church is truly a testament to human creativity and a hidden sanctuary that leaves a lasting impression.
Explore the green spaces
Copenhagen Botanical Garden and Fredericksberg Gardens
Welcome to a botanical wonderland where nature's beauty flourishes in the heart of the city. While its one of the top attractions in the city (like Freetown Christiania) the Copenhagen Botanical Garden and Fredericksbergs Gardens are both underrated hidden gem that transports you to a realm of vibrant colours and enchanting scents amongst the local Copenhageners. Feel like you're a part of the Danish Royal family as you stroll through lush greenhouses, where tropical plants and delicate orchids thrive. It's a sanctuary of tranquillity, offering a much-needed escape from the bustling streets. The thing is, tourists don't usually think about visiting this spot (unlike the amusement park or Frederiksberg) so you're looking at one of the best local parks in the city. The grassy greenery here and beautiful fountain, along with its flower gardens upon the hectare of nature right in the center of Copenhagen adds quite a lot of charm to this great city. Come spring and summer, this is a place that really adds an extra sparkle to the city. Not many people think of it when they visit Copenhagen but nature lovers shouldn’t miss out.
Where to Stay to explore Copenhagen hidden gems
Budget - Generator Copenhagen
Located in the vibrant Indre By (City Center) neighbourhood, this is an ideal oasis for your future trip to Copenhagen. It offers a range of dorm rooms with shared facilities, as well as private rooms. The hostel features a lively social atmosphere with a bar, lounge areas, and a game room where you can meet fellow travellers. From here, you can take a stroll to Rosenborg, get info on a free guided tour in Copenhagen, and reach the paintings and sculptures of stunning baroque art museums easily.
Mid-range - Avenue Hotel Copenhagen
Make your next trip to Copenhagen a memorable one with this charming boutique hotel situated in the trendy Nørrebro district. Built with individually decorated rooms featuring a mix of classic and contemporary styles, it's a really stunning hotel. Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet to start your day, and take advantage of the hotel's bicycle rental service to explore the city's top tourist attractions and national museum nearby.
Luxury - Nimb Hotel Price
Feel like King Christian or the Royal Danish family at this luxurious 5-star property. Located in Tivoli Gardens, one of Copenhagen's most iconic attractions! This elegant hotel offers opulent rooms with beautiful furnishings and modern amenities. Indulge in exquisite dining experiences at their gourmet restaurants and unwind with a cocktail at the stylish bar. The hotel's central location provides easy access to top sights and cultural landmarks.