Heralded as the birthplace of world famous literary writer Hans Christian Andersen, it is of no surprise that Denmark’s architecture is vibrant, with fairy-tale like buildings and picturesque landscapes that paint a charming portrait of the beautiful country.

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, and is also the largest city in Scandinavia. Located at the tip of Northern Europe, this green city is widely known for its biking culture. The Danes are well known for their love for cycling, and this is evident from over 390 kilometres of designated bike lanes around the city.

When I first arrived in Copenhagen in mid January as an exchange student, I was awed by the sheer amount of cyclists on the roads, albeit the harsh winter conditions at that time, esen e-bikes were parked everywhere, and there were designated bike stands and infrastructure to support the use of bicycles.


Shortly after, my friends and I decided to follow suit and blend in by getting bikes of our own. And boy, was it challenging! By the end of the first week, our first biking experience in Copenhagen was rewarded with hostile looks, sore aches and weary souls. However, we soon picked up the biking etiquette: keeping to the right, signalling, obeying traffic signals and locking our bicycles. While we had a rough first week, biking as a means of transport has become a norm in our daily lives, and it is definitely one of the best things I will miss, so I’m planning to buy an electric bicycle when I return home.

What is Denmark known for? Copenhagen is a wonderful city to live in, and Danes are generally very friendly and helpful. It is an expensive city, but Copenhagen’s rich culture is sight worth beholding. Below are some of the key attractions that I would recommend for students on a budget, after a few months here as an exchange student studying in Copenhagen:

  1. The Little Mermaid
    Copenhagen is home to The Little Mermaid, the iconic structure of Denmark which attracts over a million visitors every year. Modelled in 1913 after Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, the Little Mermaid has a long history with 14 copies of this statue all over the world. Be sure to stop by to have a look at her if you’re stopping by in Copenhagen.

little mermaid

2. Nyhavn
This harbour used to be a commercial port where ships from all around the world will dock. If you’re fascinated by nautical  history, you can buy antique dock lights here. Today, its beautiful landscape is one of iconic representations of Copenhagen, and many tourists frequent it to have their mandatory shots, as well as enjoy the relaxed atmosphere there. Do check out Rajissimo, a dessert shop along the harbour that sells ice cream and churros, it is really delicious!



3. Christiana
Christiana is somewhat like a law-less part of Copenhagen, where residents there subscribe to their own laws, and even have their own flag. As you enter, the waft of Marijauna lingers in the air, and you will see drug dealers behind tents all around. This is an interesting side to Copenhagen that should not be missed. A note of caution: No photos allowed, locals will get really angry if you do take out your camera!


christiana 2

4. Danish Cuisine
Copenhagen is home to excellent Nordic cuisine, and is sprinkled with Michelin star restaurants such as Noma and Geranium (3 Michelin Star, voted best restaurant in the world). These restaurants have a long waiting time of up to 3 months, so do book well in advance if you plan to visit Copenhagen.

Here are some traditional Danish food that I would recommend are:

Smorrebrod – a traditional open faced sandwich that may be paired with a variety of meat (herring, salmon, fish etc.) on top of Danish rye-bread. If you have some cash to spare, do try out Restaurant Schonnemann, which is very famous for its Smorrebrod. It is popular among locals and tourists alike, so do book in advance!



Danish Hotdog – Danes love their hotdogs and the country is littered with hotdog stands everywhere. Try the Ristet Hotdog (with everything on it), they are delicious!



Grød (or porridge) – This is one of the oldest types of Nordic foods which is healthy and wallet-friendly. You may visit Torvehallerne, a glass covered food market near Norreport station, which sells a variety of traditional Danish food and fresh products.

grod 1

grod 2

Traditional Danish pastries – We have definitely heard of world famous Danish pastries, and what better way than to try it in Copenhagen? One of my favourites would be hindbærsnitte, which is a traditional pop-tart, pink pastry sandwiched with jam. Some bakeries that I like to frequent would be Daily and Meyers Bageri.

danish pastries

pink bread 1

5. Tivoli Gardens
While I have never been to this amusement park (as it only opens seasonally), I have heard many good things about it from my Danish friends, who highly recommended going there once during your stay in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen is home to both of the oldest amusement parks in the world – Bakken and Tivoli.
If you’re seeking for some thrills, or family fun, this would be a good destination to go to!

To sum up, I thoroughly enjoy living in this eco-friendly city that thrives on excellent people and culture. I hope that this guide helps to provide a better understanding of Copenhagen from a student’s perspective.


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