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The Most Overrated City In Europe: Copenhagen

Copenhagen is Overrated

Have you ever had a preconception of a city based on what other people say about it? And then once you get there, it’s not really as you imagined?

Well, that happened to me when I visited Copenhagen in Denmark. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the city for its serenity and being eco-friendly, but that didn’t stop me from thinking that it’s overrated. I guess ticking off another new country and being told by a lot of friends that Copenhagen is a really cool city got me excited. Maybe too excited. All this hype had gone to my head and left me with high expectations. But sadly, Copenhagen just didn’t deliver. To be honest, I was left feeling underwhelmed.

Prior to my trip, I had heard rumours of Copenhagen such as “there are a zillion bikes”, “people are really friendly” and “it’s a better version of Amsterdam”. The one thing that everyone agreed on is that it’s expensive, although I found it to be completely doable on a budget.

Some people even deem Copenhagen as the best city in the world which left me wondering why I found it to be the most overrated I’d ever visited. Maybe there were contributing factors like the time of year I visited, or the fact I was in bed sick for a full day. Still, I don’t believe these were the main reasons why I felt disappointed. Of course, every individual has a different experience while travelling, but why had mine been so underwhelming while the majority of people seemed to be ecstatic about Copenhagen?

Alas, the three top reasons why Copenhagen is the most overrated city that I’ve visited in Europe…

Where’s the Culture?

For a capital city, there isn’t very much to do, unless you’re a museum fiend (which I am not). I felt like I couldn’t properly interact with the city and get a real feel for Danish culture.

Even in the surrounding neighbourhoods, it was really quiet and there was a lack of atmosphere. Maybe I needed to venture further out of Copenhagen and take a day trip to an even more local area.

The Tourist Attractions are Overrated.

I didn’t even need to see the Little Mermaid to know it would be overrated.

For me, the other glorified attraction Nyhavn is a tad disappointing too. Of course, the brightly coloured 17th century townhouses along the canal are beautiful. But since all the pictures I’d seen of Copenhagen online were of Nyhavn, it gave me a distorted preconception of the city. I thought that more houses would look like this. In reality, it stops at one short street.

Better Than Amsterdam?

I’ve visited Amsterdam three times, and I love the city.

According to my friends, Copenhagen was even better than Amsterdam?! Again, this raised my expectations. Now, I don’t see how the two cities are comparable.

Amsterdam has 165 canals whereas I saw four in Copenhagen…

Amsterdam has kept its character with unique houses all over the city whereas Copenhagen has given into modernity.

There are copious activities to do in Amsterdam whereas there aren’t that many in Copenhagen.

I don’t like complaining about any of my travels, but I still have to be honest about all of my experiences. For some sad reason, I just felt like I couldn’t connect Copenhagen. Even though I tried to be open to having an amazing time there, it still felt mediocre, like I was trying to force myself to like it.

Maybe I will visit again in the far future to give it another shot… Or perhaps it’s one of those cities you can only truly appreciate if you live there.

Have you been to Copenhagen, and did you think it was overrated?

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45 Comments

  • Reply
    Deena | Divine Art of Homemaking
    April 25, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I’ve never been to Europe, but it sounds like more of an itinerary stop and less of a destination, unless you’re there for a specific reason. Still seems to be a beautiful place, though.

  • Reply
    Lillian
    April 25, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    This is interesting to know considering Copenhagen was on my list for my European adventure next year. I will definitely look more into it and consider your post! Thank you!

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      Reply
      journeywithchloe
      April 28, 2017 at 11:54 am

      Oh really? Maybe shorten the length of time you spend there and find out the best things to do in the city so you’re not disappointed!

  • Reply
    Bree At Last
    April 26, 2017 at 3:24 am

    I completely understand your sentiments. I felt the same way when I visited Prague, though I did thoroughly enjoy the beer culture in Prague;)). We enjoyed Copenhagen (still def not my favorite city), but we visited in July, so the weather was a bit better, but still much cooler than I prefer in the summer. I think the key is to get out of the city a bit. We enjoyed our little side trips during our stay. Especially to Roskilde to visit the viking ship museum and Roskilde Cathedral, but if you don’t like museums you probably wouldn’t enjoy that either. I totally DO NOT get the draw of Christiania.

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      journeywithchloe
      April 28, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Oh really? I’ve heard that Prague is amazing! I will have to see if I feel the same when I visit there. Yeah I feel like you did it right and did a few day trips

  • Reply
    Natalie
    April 26, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    I actually do agree with you. I don’t like to as it feels a little bit wrong, but when I went I was a little…. bored! Pretty, clean & calm, but definitely not the best city in the world!

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      journeywithchloe
      April 28, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Yes I know what you mean! I felt bad for not liking it haha, but everyone has their own opinions.

  • Reply
    Hra
    April 27, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I would love to visit Copenhagen!! I love the colorful atmosphere πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Rachel Webb
    April 27, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Copenhagen had never really been on my list, but you’ve sold it to me it looks charming. I know need to go to Copenhagen as well as Amsterdam – both are added to my list. I’ll let you know when I’ve been to both and compare them.

  • Reply
    Barbara
    April 27, 2017 at 11:36 am

    I’ve never visited Copenhagen but it’s on my bucket list! Thank you for your post

  • Reply
    Michaela
    April 27, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    It’s good to read this. I also see many of my friends visitng this city recently and was wondering whether or not shall I include it in my priorities this year. Thanks for your opinion, I think that it may be just a fashionable destination right now. I doubt that it could beat a charming Ansterdam with so much to do there. Great post, thanks for sharing!

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      journeywithchloe
      April 28, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Yeah a lot of people are visiting Copenhagen this year! I hope you have a great trip wherever you decide to go! If you’re going to Copenhagen, maybe only incorporate 2 days there into your itinerary just to see it.

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    April 27, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    I have to say, my experience of Copenhagen wasn’t brilliant either – but that was because my bag with my wallet and passport and house keys was stolen (I don’t usually walk the streets with such things, I had literally just arrived and was going to the hotel).
    Plus – I didn’t find the people smiled very much and found them a little ‘frosty’ – but being used to Southern Europeans, where they are very welcoming and have warmer weather, maybe that’s why. I believe weather and climate plays a big role in creating a nation.

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      journeywithchloe
      April 28, 2017 at 11:51 am

      Wow really? I thought it would be safe in Copenhagen! I’m sorry that happened to you! Yes, I know what you mean. I found the exact same. Some people were frosty to me but there were also some really welcoming people.

  • Reply
    Rebecca Brianne | Bexpeditions
    April 27, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    My boyfriend surprised me with a trip to Amsterdam for my birthday a few weeks ago but he did mention he was debating between Amsterdam and Copenhagen! He only decided to Amsterdam because the weather seemed a lot nicer and we’re both glad he did! We had an AMAZING time in Amsterdam. I would still love to see Copenhagen but with how much I fell in love with Amsterdam, it would be very hard for me to do the same with Copenhagen I imagine. I think your post confirms my thoughts, it certainly deserves a chance though.

    Best,
    Rebecca

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      journeywithchloe
      April 28, 2017 at 11:50 am

      I’m so glad you had an amazing time in Amsterdam for your birthday! I love that city. Yeah, you should give Copenhagen a chance but prepare yourself for the lack of things to do, or make it a short trip maybe…

  • Reply
    Bea
    April 27, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Wow thank you for being so honest on your post. I haven’t been to Copenhagen before but I understand what you’re trying to say. I’ve been on a trip to Bali recently and it’s nice but it was not as amazing as how people talk about it.

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      journeywithchloe
      April 28, 2017 at 11:49 am

      I love to be honest about my experiences! Really?? That worries me because I have heard Bali is amazing as well and I have really high expectations of it from what everyone says.

  • Reply
    Suze
    April 27, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    I’ve never been to Copenhagen but I found this very interesting – I’ve also heard that it’s very expensive. I’d still visit but perhaps not for a very long duration

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      journeywithchloe
      April 28, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Yes, it is very expensive but easy to avoid spending much. I would definitely advise a shorter trip or venture outside of the city.

  • Reply
    Nuraini
    April 28, 2017 at 10:48 am

    It’s been a loooong time since I’ve been to copenhagen. It’s never been a… ‘rated’ city for me to begin with so it’s hard to be disappointed haha
    Didn’t realise it’s supposed to be super cool now πŸ™‚

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      Reply
      journeywithchloe
      April 28, 2017 at 11:48 am

      That’s a good thing, to have no expectations so you won’t be disappointed πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Brown Gal Trekker
    April 29, 2017 at 2:32 am

    I’m not a big fan of cities and so every time I hear it’s the “best” I’m always skeptical. Glad to hear about some honest view on Copenhagen – it’s one city I don’t need to visit- after all I run a mountain trekking company so my focus is on the mountains πŸ™‚

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      Reply
      journeywithchloe
      May 4, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Me too! It’s just my own opinion but I think you’re right sticking to the mountains – nature is far better than cities

  • Reply
    Becky
    April 29, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Every has their own opinion but I found Copenhagen really fun, friendly and a nice place to be! You said there was nothing to do but you didnt actually say what you meant or what you were expecting… after all I went to Tivoli gardens, the round tower, many of the beautiful churches, i went shopping, visited the old palace, I tried the local food, etc. you could take a train out to sweden if you really wanted lol.

    Be nice if you included more than just “it had nothing” you know?

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      journeywithchloe
      May 4, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Fair enough Becky! To be fair, all we did was cycle round and as I said in the post, I did see a lot, there just wasn’t a lot to do necessarily. I guess I expected more interactive activities but yes I get what you mean, thanks for the feedback!

  • Reply
    Nam
    April 29, 2017 at 11:55 am

    i admire your honesty – everyone has their own opinion and not everyone will find one city as amazing as the other. For example, I love Berlin but I have had friends come to me to say that they find it boring.
    I’ve recently visited Siem Reap and I was disappointed in the size of the temples in Angor Wat and Angor Thom. Photography has played a big part in shaping the preception and some are just wayyy too photoshoped and optomised.

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      journeywithchloe
      May 4, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Thank you! I’m the same with Berlin – I didn’t like it. Oh really? I would’ve thought they were massive too from the pictures so I know what you mean. Your perception can get distorted from the photos you see beforehand!

  • Reply
    Helen
    April 29, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I have to disagree πŸ™‚ I went to Copenhagen just before Christmas and it’s the perfect Christmassy trip – lights everywhere, loads of Christmas markets with delicious glogg, lovely feeling of hygge and Tivoli at Christmas is the most festive place ever. I really loved the round tower and the Oresund Bridge too. It is definitely expensive but nowhere does Christmas like Copenhagen!

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      journeywithchloe
      May 4, 2017 at 10:11 am

      That’s fair enough, my parents went at Christmas too and they loved it. I think I’d love it in Christmas time with the markets etc

  • Reply
    Jollies and Jaunts
    April 29, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Copenhagen is one of my favourite cities – I’ve been twice before and off again in a few weeks. I agree that The Little Mermaid is overrated – it’s beyond touristy – but I think there’s just so much to see and do off the beaten track and I love the atmosphere. I think it’s worth giving it another go.

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      Reply
      journeywithchloe
      May 4, 2017 at 10:10 am

      What would you recommend doing off the beaten track? Sounds like you had an amazing time there since you’re going back so much!

  • Reply
    Lia
    April 29, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    I disagree and absolutely loved Copenhagen, but I know what you mean about places being overrated. That’s how we felt about Peru, and we seem to be in the vast minority!

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      Reply
      journeywithchloe
      May 4, 2017 at 10:10 am

      What did you love about Copenhagen? Oh really? I thought Peru would be amazing!! What didn’t you like about Peru?

  • Reply
    Ania
    April 29, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Really great and honest post to read! I have been to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, and I would definitely choose the Dutch city over the Danish one too. I saw the Little Mermaid during a canal tour in Copenhagen. I was really surprised by how small the sculpture was.

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      journeywithchloe
      May 4, 2017 at 10:09 am

      I’m with you on that one! I think a lot of people are disappointed by the size of the Little Mermaid considering it’s an icon in Copenhagen

  • Reply
    Kat
    April 30, 2017 at 4:57 am

    I enjoyed seeing all the bikes and cyclists in Copenhagen (I’m from a city where not many people bike), but I agree that there is not that much to do there. I felt like two days was enough. Nyhavn is colourful and pretty but not very big.

  • Reply
    Penny
    April 30, 2017 at 6:49 am

    I’ve never been to Copenhagen but I can relate. I felt that way in St. Petersburg though a lot of my dislike was due to bad weather. I think a great deal of our likes and dislikes is due to the experiences we have in a place. Sometimes we get lucky and sometimes not so much.

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      journeywithchloe
      May 4, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Yeah I completely agree, it’s all down to our individual experience!

  • Reply
    Therie
    June 2, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Thank you for being honest Chloe! This is a refreshing perspective, a reminder that not all travel experiences are the same.

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      journeywithchloe
      June 7, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      I’m glad that you enjoyed reading my perspective. Thank you!

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