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City guide: The best of Copenhagen

New in town? Former exchange student Eva is from Scotland. She offers new students her guide to Copenhagen's best spots

Copenhagen is… really one of the most wonderful, cultural, pristine, diverse, “hip” (there’s not quite another word to describe it) cities I have ever visited, let alone enjoyed the unique experience of living in. So, I thought it may be quite helpful to give a run down of some of the best places in Copenhagen to eat, to dance, to drink, to relax in, and most importantly to enjoy, while you are on exchange here. It may even be useful to those of you Erasmus folk in other areas of Europe, who make the fantastic decision to travel to Copenhagen during your year out!

Restaurants and Cafés

Let’s start with food. The term “café culture” is none so strikingly manifest as it is in Copenhagen. And for an individual who adores nothing less than reading a good book with a coffee in a quaint, nice café, I seriously was in my element.

Paludan Bog Café – literally, the book café – located in Copenhagen’s old Latin Quarter, just opposite the library that looks something out of Harry Potter/Star Wars. By no exaggeration, I spent at least half the days of my exchange in this place. Crazy, perhaps. But this place was our Central Perk; books lined the sprawling walls, the food and drink were decently priced, the coffee always tasted like biscotti, and this was my friend’s and I’s meeting place during the entirety of our exchange. The place is 120 years old, and it helps that there is no anti-loitering policy (i.e. I would buy coffee and sit there for 4 hours…). Perfect place to catch up, get some work done, or simply enjoy one of their delicious brunches – having experienced perhaps every brunch the eateries of Copenhagen had to offer, first place definitely goes to Paludan!

Den Lille Apotek – just around the corner from Paludan. Literally translated this means “the little chemist/pharmacy”, perhaps that was its original tenancy! Currently, however, this place is renowned for serving traditional Danish food in a cosy, candlelit setting. I had a meal here – a massive board of Danish cheeses – when my sister and her fiancé were visiting. It was delicious, but the menu is quite pricey (compared to Glasgow), so it’s perhaps a place best reserved for when your friends or parents are over and you can treat yourself!

Grød – a gourmet porridge bar; there simply isn’t any way better to start your morning in Copenhagen.

The Coffee Collective – without doubt the best place to buy coffee in Copenhagen! Located both in Nørrebro and with a branch in the Glass Food Markets by Nørreport Station, they truly consider the production of coffee an art form, with ethically sourced and delicious beans from the globe over. They actually strike up a conversation with you and decide what coffee is best served your way before they begin making it. Fancy!


Home to age-old Tuborg and Carlsberg breweries just to name a few, Copenhagen considers the production and consumption of alcohol an activity incredibly close to their hearts. Of course, they also have fantastic cocktail and wine bars, where sophistication and ambience exists aplenty and you feel like one of the Sex and the City girls, or guys.

Studenterhuset – this is the place to go when you have a pile of reading to catch up on. You won’t find cheaper tea or coffee, but by night, the Student House transforms into a dirt cheap bar with loads of themed nights. It’s effectively the student union for the University of Copenhagen, and offers exchange students the chance to volunteer for 5 hour shifts in exchange for beer tokens. I did it during second semester and it was a really great opportunity to mix and mingle with international students I hadn’t met before!

La Fontaine Jazz Bar – aside from the wonderful jazz played live here every night, this renowned hot-spot in Copenhagen actually sells decently priced bottles of wine and beers, making good value for your kroner for a Saturday night out pre-drinking.

Nyhavn – a stroll down the picturesque harbour reveals umpteen bars providing a stunning setting for a glass of wine with a blanket on a chilly evening! Sunny Side Up was my particular favourite.

Kassen, Nørrebro – this buzzing bar on Nørrebrogade is full of tasty cocktails, usually coming under the 2-for-1 deal, and always has a busy, friendly atmosphere with decent background music. Importantly, it will not set you back the usual £12 a cocktail elsewhere in Copenhagen – more like £7 (great for Scandinavia)! Kassen is also located just round the corner from one of my favourite clubs in Copenhagen, Rust, so you can begin the night here before hitting a club.


Copenhagen has clubs to suit every taste or craving; they start late, usually around 1 or 2, and go on all night long until 7 or 8am. Oh, and because the metro and buses here run 24/7, you’ll never be waiting around too long before you can get home and flop on your bed after an incredible night out.

Culture Box – this place is probably most comparable to Sub Club in Glasgow. It’s actually known as one of best electro/deep house clubs in Europe! Jamie XX, James Blake, Todd Terje – just some of the names playing in recent months, and the first Saturday of every month they have a DJ come through from Berghain, Berlin, who is always unreal and plays until dawn. Drinks are not too expensive either – just do a heavy pre-drink session and you can go all night.

Rust – this club is kind of a hybrid of Culture Box and something a little more hip-hop oriented. They play loads of old school 90s rap and RnB, and have two massive dancefloors – one is the retro kind that lights up when you dance on it!

Kulørbar – I could compare this to ABC meets Viper; ABC for size, Viper for music played and some creepy folk who hide in the corners. Nonetheless, you basically pay a flat rate here to get in, and then are free to drink WHATEVER you want until a set time, usually 1 am! There are cages. There is smoke. There are massive disco balls. One thing is for certain – it’s a pretty great place to go in a huge group if your major plan is to get drunk and keep expenses down!

Meatpacking District – located in Vesterbro, this part of the city has several warehouses where they pack as many people in as possible, play the loudest, most random music, and charge a fair bit for a beer… but, the pull here is that somehow, it is always a good night and the music, while random, is usually great; it’s also near loads of fast food places which makes for a kind pitstop after a long night dancing before heading home.

Sweet Things

I can’t complete the “best of” list without including the absolute best spot to find the most scrumptious Danish pastries. For those days when you need a pick-me-up, or you’re simply just peckish for something sweet, head to Sankt Peders Bageri – hugely popular for their cinnamon rolls and holds the prestigious title of Copenhagen’s oldest bakery! The cinnamon rolls – onsdagssnegle (Wednesday snails) – are so popular that the bakery sells no less than 4000 of them every Wednesday! Of course, they also sell your typically delicious Danish pastry treats filled with vanilla crème, raspberry jam, pecans… the list goes on!

This article was originally published here.

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