The Ultimate Copenhagen Family Guide
Atualizado: Mai 13
Everything you need to know and see if you are traveling with your family.
My parents came for a visit in Sweden for the first time, and I was trying to find what to do with them and plan the best trip of their life. It wasn't that easy though - as I could't find a properly "Family Guide" with activities to do with your parents, so I decided to write one. Here you will find where to go, where to stay, where to eat plus local tips of the best places in the capital of Denmark.
I must say this is a family skip-the-obvious type of guide, you will have an amazing experience with activities for the whole family, eat well, walking as less as possible (as you might know at this point it's not so easy to walk around when you are a group) and still be capable to see not so obvious places in the city. Plus you will be able to tell good stories to tell your family/parents, as the guide includes history facts about Denmark.
How to get there:
We took the train from Stockholm. I've done this route so many times I'm not even able to say how many. It's fast and smooth - also environment friendly, why take a plane when you can have a great train trip together? The thing it's we don't have trains in Brazil, so the train trip between Sweden and Denmark it was just the beginner of our adventure.
Have you ever heard about Øresund Bridge? It's one of the most unique bridges around the whole world. Why? Because it connects both countries who has been in a war during many years, this bridge was the pure meaning of now both countries can live and connect together. The bridge runs nearly 8 kilometres from the Swedish coast to the artificial island Peberholm in the middle of the strait. But not only this - the design of the bridge it's just unbelievable. You are on the ground and suddenly you are in deep water. Yes, crazy! It was designed by the Danish engineering firm COWI and the reason for the digging tunnel in the half of the way was to avoid interfering with air traffic from the nearby Copenhagen Airport, to provide a clear channel for ships in good weather or bad, and to prevent the ice floes.
There is a "fast train" from Sweden and Denmark with many departs during the day. You can check times/prices and buy a ticket at SJ Trains webpage. It takes around 5 hours, you have wifi, restrooms and a bistro on board. It goes pretty fast, I even prefer this way than airplane. Because you take the train from central train station to the other city central train station, there is no need to transfers/airport checks. It's actually almost same time if you fly, think about it. Plus you get great view of South of Sweden on a train ride.
Where to stay:
I can't believe I've been so many times to Copenhagen and I never ever stayed at Steelhouse before. I feel so sad for all the times I missed this cool place - but also happy I know about it know. Because it's now one of my favourite hostels around the world. Seriously. Keep reading and you will understand why.
Steelhouse Copenhagen it's a "luxury hostel" very close to Copenhagen Central Station, Tivoli and all the other tourist places you must visit in Copenhagen. And less than five minutes walking to Vesterport station, which it can take you to any part of the city. But actually don't really need to take public transport as I used to say: "everywhere in Copenhagen it's always about 20 minutes walking don't matter where you need to go" because in my perception it's a small city/ comparing to my hometown São Paulo which it's aprox 26 millions living there. You got what I mean, right?
Steelhouse it's a paradise place in Copenhagen. It has everything you will need and even more, it's the type of place you will never get bored. Also the type of hostel you will want to spend full days just chillin' inside there. Because traveling sometimes it's also relax, and enjoy a full day of facilities.
This place it's the truly meaning of "Hygge" (danish expression which means the great/cozy feeling you have when you do what you like, or just a great feeling about something. For example, a couple of coffee can be hygge, meet your friends could be hygge, stay at this place it's extra hygge).
We shared a four beds room and it was just perfect. I confess I was so worried with this idea in the beginner because: 1. mom snores more than a bear 2. I also thought it would be a bit of "no privacy" BUT it was completely opposite - since the bed are very high I could not even hear my mom snoring during the night. The room it's very clean and not so small, it felt cozy instead of uncomfortable and I miss so much my days sharing room in Steelhouse.
I don't even know where to start because the facilities were so many: TV Room, Cinema, Yoga Classes, Karaoke nights, game room, pool, gym, perfect place for digital nomads, Master Chef kitchen, rent a bike, it's like thousand of different options in what to do inside there. Oh, have I mentioned you can read a book or play a board game as well? They also have a great bar, you can do all options above and also drink a beer, because man - you are in Denmark, you must drink beer.
During one of the days it was very cold and raining, so we decide to just chill and watch some movies at the cinema. It was one of the great days we had together - also so cool you can connect with any film from Netflix. Extremely fancy! I came home and decided I will be rich and build my own cinema home just like this one from the hotel, I got so impressed.
Never thought I would ever say it on my life, but after a long holiday/travel it actually feels great to exercise. I woke up early and tried the hostel gym and I was so surprised because it's so completely and fancy, you will aim to train there.
Herholdtsgade 6 DK-1605 København V E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel.: +45 3317 7110
What to do: Family Friend Activities
My family consists in four people, me and my sister who loves to take pictures and do the max activities we can do in one day, my father who is a teacher and love history and my mom who hates walking. So I had to find options which could fit four different profiles.
First of all, in collaboration with Visit Copenhagen we got our "Copenhagen Card"very useful if you are traveling in a family - or also perfect for you who wants to make the most out of Denmark's vibrant capital with a money saving difference. The card includes 86 attractions and museums and free transport in Copenhagen region.
You would like to start your day at Nyhavn, the most popular canal from 17th-century in Copenhagen. If you google the name Copenhagen, it will show you pictures from there - because it's the postal card of the city. Stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse, it is lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants.
There is many different options of restaurants there - I personally never tried, because it seems very touristic for me - and everything which it's very touristic (in most of the cases) are too pricy and not so good, because tourists comes and goes all the time and the chance they will come back it's sometimes very low. You should always go for local places, believe me.
Make sure to take a lot of pictures, this is a very "Instagram friendly" place.
I've been there twice - a very lovely place during summer, where you can sit in the garden of the castle and have a picnic. This is the first time I actually get inside, as it is covered by the Copenhagen Card. This was the perfect place for family - if you have kids they can run around because the castle it's big, there is great "pictures possibilities", a lot of history and also not sooo huge. The castle has different flours and you can easily do the whole visit in about 1-2 hours. We spent a bit more because everybody was so fascinated with the interior. Every piece and every room is so unique.
Guinness World Records Museum
The most incredible world records from all over. The fastest, highest, strongest … etc. That’s what you meet at this museum- I would recommend it a lot for kids because you can play with different experiments. The museum was a good "killing time activity" if you don't have too much planned and would like to spend some time, then visit it. This museum it's also included on the Copenhagen card.
Tycho Brahe Planetarium
This activity was included on our Copenhagen card, it was a funny experience at the Planetarium where you can see exhibitions about space and immerse yourself in a visually overwhelming experience in their dome theatre. I remember I was so surprised to see this dome theatre, while watching it felt I was inside the screen. Remember to bring your earphone with you to listen it in English, otherwise you might need to pay to rent one at their front desk.
Free Town Christiania
Also known as just Christiania it's an independent community and commune of about 850 to 1,000 residents in the borough of Christianshavn. The history of Christiania is very long and worth to read - the area was temporarily closed to visitors by residents by consensus in the plenum in April 2011 but later re-opened. During many years the police couldn't get in - because the laws inside Christiania doesn't applied for Copenhagen, even though it's actually part of Copenhagen. The residents are constantly fighting to be independent, nowadays the police do enter in Christiania and the atmosphere can get tough.
The biggest thing which attracts tourists to Christiania it's probably due to the open cannabis trade that took place there for close to half a century, but not only this.
How to get there
Freetown Christiania is located in the Christianshavn area and you can get there by metro, bus or bike. Cars are not allowed within the district, so don’t bother driving. Get off at Christianshavn St and head towards Dronningensgade; in approximately 15 minutes you’ll be entering the bohemian district.
A bit of history:
Christiania is a former military base that sat abandoned for many years before becoming the neighborhood everybody knows today. In 1971, a group of hippies broke down the barricades and began squatting there. Nowadays, approximately 900 people live in the area, comprising a community that has its own rules and regulations completely independent of the Danish government. During its relatively short history, Freetown Christiania has faced a certain amount of turmoil. This is mainly due to the cannabis trade taking place in its famous “Green Light District.” At one time, police officers regularly invaded the neighbourhood, occasionally arresting dealers. In 2016 a shooting in Christiania injured three people, including one police officer.
In the middle of the Bohemia district you will find what they call "green light district", where they sell weed and also where you must remember their three rules: have fun; don’t run—it causes panic; no photos—buying and selling hash is still illegal.” So you are not allowed to photograph the "street fair" where they are selling it, but free to take pictures elsewhere, for example standing or from the street arts.
I asked my father what he thought about Christiania and he was very surprised, we come from a country where weed is completely illegal. He and I were surprised to see how many options of weed/hash you can find there. I remember first time I went there, I was like: "OMG, how can this little piece of street can be free from all the rules of the rest of the city/country?" It's very fascinating.
You can also support Christiania buying a souvenir, there are many options like t-shirts with the symbol of Christiania, pipes, jewellery and much more.
There is also many options to eat in Christiania, even though I never tried. You should also have a beer, there is different cool bars. It has many music venues in Freetown Christiania, each one with its own special atmosphere.
I recommend you to read here if you want to find options in what to do there.
Where to eat: Family Friend Restaurants in Copenhagen
When thinking about restaurants there is many things to put in balance, specially when you are in a group and you must agree something everybody wants to eat. Traveling with a family requires a special guide and of course, sometimes a lot of patience. It also depends of your budget and how much you are aiming to spend in each meal.
Torvegade 49, 1400 København, Denmark
Sometimes you just want to chill at the hotel and this is also fine, traveling it's about to relax and enjoy. So it's good to find a balance between activities but also a time to calm down, specially with family. You will spend 24/7 together - it's great sometimes to just be in your own and chill. We were traveling for around a month, it was winter and very cold in Copenhagen. We also had some raining days too. One of the days our choice was to buy take way food, so on our way from Christiania we decided to buy food and eat at home. Best choice ever! The food was delicious and we could just sit and enjoy our food without any stress. I highly recommend WOK if you like thai food, they have lunch price and many other special prices.
You will never get disappointed at Fridays - because you always know you will get exactly what you expected. Great and cozy option for everybody, they have a big menu with all types of food, everybody gets happy.
We combined our lunch in Fridays and a visit to Old Town and Guinness Museum.
Then it was about time to take the train back to Stockholm. We had such a pleasant time in Copenhagen and every time I visit Denmark I remember why Copenhagen it's actually my favourite city in Europe.
It was also an amazing experience to show one of Europe most exciting cities to my parents and get to see it from a very new and another perception. I can't wait to be back to Denmark soon and write more specific guides. Let me know if there is any particular type of guide or tip you would like to know.