Copenhagen, Denmark is a fantastic family destination, from its easy to navigate neighborhoods, long summer days and family-friendly attractions. TravelingMom founder Kim Orlando and her son visited Copenhagen and gleaned this advice on their adventure. Read on for 27 travel tips for a Copenhagen family vacation.
Traveling Copenhagen with Family
My 14-year-old son and I visited Copenhagen for a week and not only saw the tourist highlights like the Royal Palace and Tivoli Gardens, we had time for a day in Gothenberg, Sweden. From how to get there, getting around the city and dining, these are a few of the Copenhagen family travel tips we picked up that will help you on your vacation.
1) Norwegian Airlines is focused on providing reasonable airfares from the US to Scandinavia, so check Norwegian when you’re booking your flight. We flew premium class on the new Dreamliner aircraft and enjoyed tinted windows, power at our seats, foot rests, and chairs that really laid back. The entire flight had special lighting and fresh air to reduce jetlag – more on that here.
2) Do not count on the VisitCopenhagen or Denmark Tourism Board for assistance. When I asked, they simply sent me to their website, which is only marginally helpful. It tells you a bit about various tourist stops but it does not help you map out your stay and that is important. Denmark is a group of islands. No destination is super far but combining a trip to Tivoli and Aarhus would not make sense.
3) Hire a local: I found Barrett Clemmensen Powell online, an American expat who has lived in Denmark for many years. She turned my trip into a vacation by taking all the guesswork out of transportation and hotspots (she even met us at the airport). I did not have to think so much! Her fee is reasonable and well worth it.
4) Our local guide Barrett Clemmenson Powell recommends that visitors, “Carry a rain poncho and sunscreen.” Temperatures might be cooler in general but in the summer there is little cloud cover on sunny days.
5) Get a Copenhagen Card at the airport. It covers attractions and public transportation. This will save you tons of money and aggravation.
6) Withdraw money from an ATM for a better rate than at a currency exchange.
7) Buy some snacks to keep in the room; food is expensive ($5 waters except at Netto – the Danish version of Mini-mart)
8) Get a local SIM card at 7-Eleven so you can communicate with each other. There is one at the airport.
9) 7-Elevens in Copenhagen are better than the ones in the US- you can buy decent pastries, a SIM card and good coffee.
10) Take a nap! Remember in the summer it stays light until 10 pm so you have time for a nap break if you are jet-lagged.
11) Danes are amazing bakers but they do not call their creations Danishes; they are weinerbrød (sounds like veener broad) or Vienna bread.
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12) Bring a refillable water bottle. You will pay for tap water at restaurants.
13) Some public toilets require a small fee (2-5 Danish kroner)
14) Lining up is imperfect. If there is a space in front of you in line, do not be offended if someone fills in. It’s not disrespectful, it’s just the way it is.
15) Make way or get run over – For some reason, there is no sense of right of way on the sidewalks. People barrel towards you but generally move to the side when they are an inch or two away.
16) BEWARE THE BIKERS! Copenhagen is bike-a-licious – and you have to watch when you cross the street or exit a bus. When entering or exiting a bus, you have the right of way, but watch out anyway.
17) Ask people to spell the name of the street you are looking for. You think you will recognize it but it is always spelled differently than it sounds.
18) Tivoli Gardens and the Canal ride are both covered by the Copenhagen card and are worth the visit.
19) See the changing of the guards at Amalienborg Palace (every day at noon).
20) Check out the markets and eat chocolate, fresh fruits and teas.
21) Visit Christiania and get a tour if you can. The residents’ story is amazing.
22) Eat crepes! They call crepes pandekager. The crepe stands around the city offer the most delicious crepes you will ever eat. My favorite was coconut.
23) Try local fusion fare. Danes are very proud of their Nordic foods. We ate at Manfred’s and Höst. We ordered the prix fixe meal at both and liked Höst best, mostly for the presentation and samples of other menu items throughout the meal. Danish families generally eat earlier that we did so we did not see a lot of tweens and teens at the restaurants, however, my teen son felt very welcome.
24) Go to the polsevogn to try a hot dog that Danes are so crazy about.
25) Bring an electrical outlet adaptor and ALSO a powerstrip. Philips gave us this UltraSlim outlet and we take it everywhere we go.
26) If you have an extra day, visit Odense for the Hans Christian Andersen museum and the Old Village.
27) If you have 2 extra days, take the train to Gothenburg Sweden and the tram to one of the ferries that go to the Archipelago Islands.