Copenhagen, the 2nd most livable city according to the Global Livability Index of 2023, offers an exceptional quality of life for its residents. It is the perfect blend of modernity and historical charm, efficient public transportation, diverse culinary experiences, low criminality, a society built on trust, commitment to sustainability and of course Danish hygge.
Our guides at Copenhagen Free Walking Tours share what they love about living in Copenhagen:
Tour guide Mikkel says: "For me, Copenhagen is water. I love how we have embraced the canals, the harbor and the sea, and how busy the canals are with boats, people swimming and just hanging out. It is developing with people in mind, from the ability to take your bike with you on the Metro to incorporating green spaces in the new residential areas. Part of me even appreciates how you can take your screaming kids with you almost everywhere. The contrasts are fascinating: The walk from Magstræde to Christiansborg takes you from an old, narrow lane to a large, elegant square in 2 minutes. And how different winter is to summer, it's like two completely different cities. OK, I actually hate winter, but I like the first days of spring when the sun comes out and you notice that the buildings actually have different colors. But my favorite thing about Copenhagen is the Copenhageners! Their sense of humor, their quick comments about everything, the constant complaining about nothing and the 'move over, here I come' attitude is something that I miss elsewhere in Denmark."
Penny from the United States says: "I love Copenhagen's history, food scene, and the picturesque hygge streets...but above all, I love the sense of safety. Living in the US, we would never dream of leaving our baby outside to nap, but it has been a fun experience that we have tried, yet a concept we are still getting used to!"
For Wayne from Australia, "it's the trust. It’s really nice to live in a society where people genuinely trust each other. I think it's one of the reasons Denmark constantly ranks around the top of happiest people in the world. Credit to a long existing culture of providing education to all."
And David from Colombia says, "For me the most important thing is the sense of security that exists. There is a practical sense for everything, which makes different things in society work very well. As a Latin American, I think the Danes are very polite and friendly once you start getting to know them."
Tour guide Francisco from Argentina says: "For me Copenhagen is the perfect balance between life and doing what you love for a living. It is a city of opportunities and growth, knowing the whole society is backing you up, whether you need their help or not. You feel everyone's support. Copenhagen is outdoor life and nightlife, quiet and noisy, daylight and darkness, easy and a struggle, traditional and welcoming, perfect and imperfect. Copenhagen is life."
"There is a sense of calmness to Copenhagen, which is rarely found in bigger cities. There is a blissful lack of skyscrapers and people in suits hurrying for meetings, and it’s not hard to get away from the traffic and find a breathing space in one of the city’s spacious squares. Having the water close also contributes to a sense of openness and freedom, which makes for a highly liveable city." - Tour guide Claes from Denmark
According to Andres from Argentina, "Copenhagen is amazing, you can get everywhere by bike and it invites you to live in other ways. I agree that Copenhagen is 2nd on the list because from my point of view, the medical health system it’s not that good, although the emergency services are great. "
"Copenhagen is an inclusive city, everyone is welcomed to enjoy any of the many activities that are available. You will find from rock festivals, to jazz concerts, from the danish celebration of Sankt Hans to the celebration of different cultures (Thai festival, Philippines market, Mexican independence…). The city is always ready to welcome anybody with great parties at the street but also with areas to enjoy a good reading or a outdoors theater. How do you enjoy all of them? Your bike is the best ally to reach all of them, the city has an inclusive infrastructure for all types of bikes, individual, family bikes, delivery bikes, family trolleys, wheelchairs…This inclusion and the openness of the people create a great livable city." Tour guide Jesus from Spain
Laura from Romania thinks "Copenhagen is a delight to live in half of the year (not so much the rest), mainly because all the high quality public spaces you can spend time in the city (yay to Jan Gehl famous urbanist that vouches for this). The easy access to water and activities related to it and the biking culture and great infrastructure are other points that make the city "a city for the people." I feel like compared to other big cities, if you want to linger in any spot while walking in the city, you will find a nicely designed seating spot, a gathering spot, a playground, an outdoor terrace, which definitely make me spend my time outdoors in summertime." <editor’s note: Laura hates the winter>
"Copenhagen stands out for its exceptional work-life balance and flexible working conditions, which greatly contribute to a fulfilling lifestyle for its residents. The Danish work culture emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy equilibrium between work and personal life. The city embraces shorter working hours, ample vacation time, and a strong focus on employee well-being. This approach allows individuals to prioritize their personal lives, engage in leisure activities, and spend quality time with family and friends. The result is a population that feels a sense of fulfillment, reduced stress, and a greater overall satisfaction with their lives. This is perhaps also why the country is consistently voted as one of the happiest in the world as well." -Tour guide Martin from Denmark
"NemID reduces the burden of bureaucracy meaning more life to live, unlike paper based Austria 😉(who takes the number one spot). There is support for every phase of life: If I need help with work, taxes, career; my Union sorts helps. Lose your job or get sick, A-kasse pays 85% of my salary for up to 2 years. If you have a child, you have up to 1 year maternity leave. Higher education is free and students get a student salary. Jobs appreciate workers a lot more here, there is a lot of dignity in work life. Free health care that is funded well, although a bit stretched in the city. Transport is fantastic, trains are rarely late, 1 card is needed for the whole country, very affordable. Basic state pension is good. Old people's homes look really nice. Graveyards are lovely, like parks. From birth to death - all I can say is, better than the UK." - Tour guide Jack from Ireland
I think Copenhagen is a livable city because it is very small and hygge. You are never far away from the water which we all take advantage of especially in the summer. The canals are clean enough to go swimming and on a warm summer's day it is packed with swimmers. In the winter there are still winter bathers, but fewer people are tempted by the freezing cold water than the warm waters in the summer. Due to the size of the city you can walk or bike everywhere. The city is very quiet especially on a sunday morning where the only people you run into are travelers or the 28.000 Copenhageners living in the inner city. Even though Copenhagen is small there are still many shops and an awesome foodie scene. Tour guide Rikke from Denmark
When you visit Copenhagen make sure to ask one of our local guides why they love the city! We are happy to share our experience with you and we are definitely happy to share some recommendations so you can experience the joy of being in Copenhagen!