With its world-class restaurants, cool cafes, intriguing history, and a generally civilized air, Copenhagen has become not just one of the best places to visit on the planet, but one of the best places to live, full stop.
So what makes the liberal, environmentally friendly capital of Denmark so alluring? Its simplicity. You can go everywhere by bike—and almost everybody does—visiting parks, castles, harbors, and beaches. It feels safe, and although nearly a million people live here, it's also a very relaxed city, as if constantly on a coffee break.
And what coffee. Indeed, the Danish city has one of the best cafe cultures in the world. Check out the coffee shops dotted around Nyhavn, a harbor in the middle of the city.
Modern Scandinavian design has traveled around the world from Copenhagen; you won’t see flashy, ultra-futuristic restaurants or lounges here. Instead, there’s a commitment to the organic and the natural, apparent in the food as well as the furniture. New Nordic Cuisine is now a buzz term across the world of food. Plus, the city can lay claim to being the home of (officially) the world’s best restaurant, Noma.
It’s not just Copenhagen’s cuisine that has the rest of the globe talking. One of Denmark’s main attractions in recent years has been its sense of understated but incredible design. Warm fabrics, muted lighting, simple but effective furniture: it all comes together in this effortlessly fashionable destination.
And certainly this ethos extends to the best hotels in Copenhagen, with cool establishments such as Avenue and Scandic Front offering a glimpse of what the tastemakers rave about. And with Copenhagen also able to offer both a range of business hotels and classic old palaces that offer traditional hospitality in spades, there’s something to suit the needs of travelers across the spectrum. One more reason why Copenhagen has become such a popular 21st-century destination.
What’s more, some of the most talked-about television shows of recent years—The Killing, The Bridge, Borgen—were filmed in the city. Despite sometimes depicting Copenhagen’s darker elements, these shows have still managed to make the city feel attractive and modern. Indeed, they’ve even sparked an interest in the Nordic Noir genre, and it’s possible to take Nordic Noir tours around the city to the most significant filming locations.
No wonder, then, that in 2014 Copenhagen was named the happiest city in the world. They’ve got nearly everything right.