Gay Copenhagen • Essential Guide

First time in Copenhagen? Then our essential guide for gay travellers is for you.



Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is a port city with 500,000 inhabitants in the city itself and 1.2 million in the Greater Copenhagen area. The city is characterised by historic promenades and waterfronts, with bridges and tunnels making everywhere conveniently accessible.

The city has a noticeably relaxed feel. Copenhageners are renowned as open-minded, friendly and strongly committed to human rights. There are cultural events throughout the summer months – from the Roskilde music festival (Europe’s largest), a Jazz Festival, to annual summer Fashion, Cooking and Viking events, as well as an annual Gay Pride week.

Other attractions include a rapidly developing restaurant scene. The city is undergoing a gastronomic renaissance, boasting more than a dozen Michelin star winners, with Noma voted the 3rd best restaurant in the world.

And when its comes to shopping, the very best of Denmark’s world-famous design can be found in Copenhagen’s shopping streets and markets – from antiques to 1950’s classic Danish design, right up to the most contemporary and cool of Danish design products.


Gay Rights in Denmark

The fact that Denmark was the first country in the world to introduce registered same-sex partnerships – a generation ago now, in 1989, is probably all you need to know about gay rights in this most liberal of European countries.

Registered gay couples have been able to adopt children since 2009, and, leading by example again, gay Danes have been able to marry in church since 2012.

The National Association for Gays and Lesbians (LGBT Denmark) is the oldest established in the world, being founded in 1948 by Axel Axgil.


Gay Scene

With a reputation as one of the most gay-friendly cities in Europe, together with a thriving gay scene in a compact, charming waterfront setting, a visit to Copenhagen is definitely up there on the gay travelling itinerary.

The Copenhagen gay scene is very much concentrated in the old city centre – around the pedestrianized main shopping street of Strøget. It is home to some of the oldest gay bars in Europe, as well as some newer venues too!

The city’s highlight event is the annual Copenhagen Gay Pride in August. Copenhagen was also a proud host to the World Outgames in 2009.


Getting to Copenhagen

By air – Copenhagen Airport is just 8km from the city centre and is the busiest in Scandanavia, with direct connections to most European and major hub cities around the world. The airport is well connected to the city centre, by metro, train, bus and taxi.

Metro – located above Terminal 3. Journey time is 15 minutes to Norreport Station (main hub station in city centre) and will cost DKK36. The metro operates 24 hours a day.

Bus – 5A, running until 1am (from 5am) will take you straight to the Central Station, in around 30-35 minutes.

Taxi – will take around 20 -25 minutes and cost DKK 250-300.

Train – As an alternative to flying, you can easily travel to Copenhagen by train from other major European transport hubs on Eurail.

There are also ferry options for onward travel around Scandinavia, and the Øresund Bridge is a direct road link from Denmark to Sweden.


Getting around Copenhagen

Get yourself a Copenhagen Card for unlimited public transportation in Greater Copenhagen as well as free entrance to 70 attractions and museums, together with discounts including restaurants and car hire. Or you can just purchase a City Pass.

It is also well worth doing as the locals do, and rent a bicycle to get around all the city landmarks. There are many excellent bicycle hire companies in the city centre and many cycle lanes also, so this really is a great option.


Where to Stay

For our list of recommended hotels, visit the Gay Copenhagen Hotels page.


Things to See & Do

Tivoli Gardens – a combination of theme and real park (mid-April to mid-September).

National Museum – The Nationalmuseet is located in an impressive mansion house right in the city centre and will give you a concise history of Denmark throughout the ages.

The Little Mermaid – Synonymous with Copenhagen, you will find this Hans Christian Anderson inspired statue gazing out over the harbor. A  must-do photo stop for every visitor!

Christiania – Officially the third biggest tourist attraction in Denmark, the fame of Christiania, or Staden, is due to it being the home of ‘Pusherstreet’ – pushers being sellers of every conceivable variety of ‘weed’ available anywhere.  Just don’t photograph the pushers – they don’t like it!  Visit the nearby Sunshine Bakery when all that weed makes you hungry!

Nyhavn – translating as New Harbour, your slice of chocolate box Danish maritime history.  Enjoy a stroll past the colourful houses lining the canal – your perfect setting for outdoor summer dining.

Danish Jewish Museum – designed by Daniel Liebeskind, documenting the lives of Danish Jews.

Botanical Gardens – the place to see the best of Denmark’s flora and fungi, in 25 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.

A few of the many historical sights worth visiting:

Frederiksborg Palace – surrounded by a stunning garden.

Christiansborg Palace  – home of the Danish Parliament.

Amalienborg Palace – a great example of Danish Rococco architecture dating from the 1700’s.

Rosenborg Castle – A day trip here will give you a taste of Danish royalty, it being a former royal Danish residence.

Round Tower – This observatory is one the oldest in the world (dating from the 1600’s) and still serves its original purpose now.

For contemporary culture vultures:

Arken Museum of Modern Art – 20 km to the South of the city, between the harbour and the beach.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art – in touch with the zeitgeist of the contemporary art world (a day trip from the city).



Denmark is within the Schengen visa area. If travelling from outside Europe, you should check to see if you require a Schengen visa.



Denmark has not adopted the Euro. The Danish currency is the Kroner (DKK). One Kroner is divided into 100 Ore.


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