Indre By

The Indre By district: Get to know Copenhagen’s central neighborhood

After arriving in Copenhagen, you’ll almost certainly find yourself in Indre By before long. And if you’re still in your early days of learning about Denmark’s capital, it’s likely the only part of the city you know so far.

Copenhagen’s inner city is where most of the action happens, so it’s unsurprising that many tourists want to stay as close as possible — and the same goes for residents looking for a place to live. 

The Indre By district in Copenhagen is the oldest part of the city and where all of your Danish stereotypes come true. Colorful houses that belong on the front of chocolate boxes, picturesque cobbled streets and more bicycles than you can count are all common features here. 

And as you start exploring, you’ll notice an abundance of world-renowned Danish design stores sitting alongside cutting-edge, independent shops. 

Indre By is also where you’ll find most of Copenhagen’s tourist attractions, along with a diverse selection of places to eat and drink. But what *exactly* can you do in this part of Denmark’s largest city? 

Keep reading to discover the best hotels, things to do, and more.

Before we start…

To help you better understand Copenhagen’s geography, it’s worth pointing out where Indre By is. 

In English, Indre By translates to “inner city”. And as you might have guessed, the district covers the entire city center. It stretches from the main entrance of Copenhagen Central Station down toward the waterfront before going up and along to roughly the Little Mermaid statue. 

After that, it comes back around along the inner shore of The Lakes. 

For reference, you’ll find a map of Indre By below.

Things to do in Indre By

If you’re looking for things to do in Indre By, you’ll have a harder time choosing what you need to cut out of your itinerary. To make everything more digestible, we’ve divided the best activities into subsections below.

Sightseeing

If you’re coming to visit Copenhagen, you’ll probably spend most of your time in Indre By — especially if you don’t plan on being here for long. And if you could only do one thing during your stay, it would have to be Tivoli. 

Tivoli is the second-oldest functioning amusement park in the world; the oldest is Bakken, which is also in the Greater Copenhagen area. Even if you don’t go on any rides, it’s worth paying the entrance fee to walk around. 

Tivoli dresses with a different theme four times each year. Besides spring and summer, its Halloween and Christmas costumes brighten up the days as they begin to get shorter. It’s worth remembering that Tivoli shuts its doors for a few weeks throughout the year; you can view the yearly opening dates here.

Indre By

Nyhavn’s pastel-colored houses are the star of a million Instagram posts and another must-see tourist spot. To get there, you can either get the metro to Kongens Nytorv and walk — or go through Strøget. 

The crowds at Nyhavn are often overwhelming, especially in the summer. However, while some popular attractions worldwide don’t live up to their billing, this is very much one that does. To experience its full magic, visit early in the morning; you’ll often have the place to yourself.

After grabbing some pics to wow your friends and family at Nyhavn, you should make Slotsholmen your next stop. Here, you’ll find Christiansborg Palace – which is where the Danish Prime Minister works from. 

You’ll almost certainly notice the building if you’re a fan of Borgen, the award-winning political drama. 

Christiansborg Palace’s tower is the highest point in Copenhagen, and you can go to the top for free. Up here, you’ll quickly learn why Denmark’s capital is known as the city of spires — and on a good day, you can see the Øresund Bridge connecting the country with Sweden

Speaking of views, you’ll also want to visit the Rundetårnet (the Round Tower). The building dates back to the 17th century and overlooks the main shopping street, with a panoramic view of the city available for just 40 kroner. 

As you wander the streets of the Indre By district in Copenhagen, you’ll quickly realize that the terrible weather and a love for beer aren’t the only things that Denmark has in common with Britain. The Danes love their Royal Family, who live in Amalienborg Palace. 

If you go to Amalienborg Palace at midday each day, you can witness the changing of the guards.

Shopping

Danish fashion and design are renowned across the world. Even with 25% VAT angering several bank accounts (though you can waive this if you live in a non-EU country), Copenhagen—especially Indre By—is a shopper’s paradise. 

Strøget is the city’s primary shopping street, and it stretches from the main square down to Kongens Nytorv. If you come on a weekend, though, you probably won’t hear many Danes; in fact, a lot of the accents you’ll hear will be Swedish. 

On Strøget, you’ll find the HAY House — which is the flagship store of arguably one of the most significant contributors to Denmark’s design legacy. 

You’ll also find the ILLUM department store. Inside, you’ll discover a broad selection of designer clothes — plus plenty of home decor. On the top floor, you can enjoy a bite to eat or coffee — plus yet another spectacular view of Copenhagen from above. 

If you’ve only heard of one Danish brand, it would almost certainly be LEGO. Although the company’s headquarters are located on Jutland, and Legoland is similarly far away, you’ll find a large store roughly halfway between Rådhuspladsen and Kongens Nytorv. Inside, you can buy every LEGO set you ever could have dreamed of and more. 

Not far from Nyhavn is Magasin Du Nord, which is another sizeable Danish department store. If you couldn’t find what you wanted in ILLUM, it’ll probably be here instead. Magasin Du Nord has several sales throughout the year, each of which can save you significant money. 

Besides the bigger stores, you’ll find that several major brands have smaller outlets throughout Indre By. Some of these include Gucci, Mads Nørgaard, and Tiger of Sweden.

Indre By
Credit: The Happiness Museum

Museums

Denmark has a thriving cultural scene, and the Indre By district in Copenhagen is where you’ll find most of the capital’s museums. Regardless of your interests, you’re guaranteed to find something that interests you. 

The Nordic region has a quality of life higher than most of the world, and Denmark regularly tussles with its neighbors for a place at the top of the World Happiness Report

And tucked away on Admiralgade, you can uncover the secrets to joy at the Happiness Museum — which opened in 2020. 

We’ve already touched upon how Scandinavian design is a world-beater, and you can learn more about why the Danes excel in this area at the Danish Architecture Center. 

Located in the innovative BLOX building along the waterfront, you’ll discover several exhibitions and events throughout the year. If you’re traveling with children, you’ll also find a playground outside. 

Although Denmark is one of the planet’s most peaceful societies, it wasn’t always this way. You can learn all about the country’s history at the National Museum, which is close to BLOX and Slotsholmen. 

At the museum, you can discover Denmark’s prehistoric roots — along with finding various antiques throughout time and more. 

Another imposing museum right in the city center—and a favorite among locals and visitors alike—is Glyptoteket. It’s picturesque both inside and out and was founded by Carl Jacobsen — the same man who brought Carlsberg to the world. 

You’ll find several sculptures with a distinctly Greek feel; entry is free on Tuesdays.

Food and drink

Although prices are higher than in many parts of the city, you’re far from short on places to eat and drink. And believe it or not, one of the most underrated food experiences in Copenhagen is a hot dog stand. 

Before you angrily click away, hear us out on this one. 

Den Økologiske Pølsemand uses only organic ingredients to make its hot dogs and has a broad selection of sausages and toppings for you to try. You’ll notice døp by its green hot dog stands, though they’re less common than some of the others. 

If you’re interested in a good old-fashioned burger instead, consider giving Gasoline Grill a try. The most intriguing of its stores is just off Gothersgade, which isn’t far from Nyhavn. Gasoline Grill uses organic beef and has several options, including a choice for vegetarians. 

Indre By also has several places to drink, though many are pricier than other parts of the city. Popular choices with locals include the high-end cocktail bar Strøm and Brønnum — also at the higher end of the budget scale.

Indre By
Credit: Radisson Hotels

Hotels in Indre By

As the most central part of the city, Hotels in Indre By are not challenging to find. However, considering its location, you can expect to pay more than you would in some of Copenhagen’s other districts. 

Having said that, it’s not impossible to find budget accommodation for your stay. Below, you’ll find the best accommodation for larger and smaller budgets — plus a selection if you’re somewhere in the middle.

High-end hotels

The Radisson Collection Royal Hotel is one of the most popular hotels in Indre By. You’ll notice it as soon as you leave Copenhagen Central Station; it’s the building with the Scandinavian Airlines logo on it and was Denmark’s first skyscraper. 

Although it doesn’t look pretty from the outside, that’s far from the case when you step inside. The hotel has luxurious single and double hotel rooms, plus a gym, restaurant, and bar. At the top of the building, you can get a free view over Copenhagen. 

Another excellent choice if you’ve got cash to splash is the 71 Nyhavn Hotel, located along the city’s most iconic canal. Its rooms are located in a cute and cozy repurposed building, and you can also book suites if you’d prefer. And best of all, dogs are welcome! 

If elegance is your thing, the Nobis Hotel is well worth considering. The hotel is on Niels Brocks Gade, which is behind Glyptoteket. It’s in a beautiful building, and when you go inside, you’ll be greeted by a mixture of trademark Danish design and feeling like you’re staying with royalty. 

Is Nobis not central enough for you? Scandic Royal Palace is a pretty good option if you want to stay even closer to the main square. Located right next to the city hall, you can sleep in a wide selection of rooms and rent bicycles for your adventures around Copenhagen. The hotel also has a gym and bar.

Mid-range budgets

Staying in the central district of Denmark’s most expensive city might seem a little counterintuitive. And for the most part, you’re better off looking in Vesterbro for cheap options near the station. 

Having said that, you can find accommodation that doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. When looking for less expensive hotels in Indre By, it’s a good idea to look at some local chains. 

Wakeup has accommodation in Copenhagen and Aarhus for reasonable prices, and its Borgergade hotel is right next to Nyhavn. You can add breakfast for an extra fee.

Budget stays

If you want budget accommodation in the inner city, you’ll probably stay at a hostel instead. For comfort, Danhostel Copenhagen is a good choice; it’s next to the bridge going into Christianshavn, and you can find both private rooms and dormitories. 

To save money, you can cook food using the kitchen. 

If you’re a solo traveler, a great option is the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel, which is not far from Rådhuspladsen and Slotsholmen. Its rooms are spacious, and the beds are comfortable, though you’ll need to tolerate smaller bathrooms. 

On the ground floor, you can mingle with locals and tourists alike at the bar — which offers well-priced drinks and breakfast for an additional charge. 

A cozier and quiet stay is the Bedwood Hostel, which is in Nyhavn. The building is a former warehouse dating back to the 18th century and features handmade beds alongside a bar and bike rentals. If you’ve got a late flight home, you can take advantage of free luggage storage. 

If you’ve traveled extensively throughout Western Europe, you’ll probably be familiar with Generator Hostel. The chain has accommodation in Vienna, Stockholm, and Hamburg, among several other cities. 

Generator Copenhagen is right next to Nyhavn and has dorms of various sizes, along with female-only rooms. The hostel has a bar and restaurant and offers discounts for stays of seven nights and longer.

Other places to stay in Indre By

Hotels in Indre By are plentiful, and so are hostels. However, they’re not your only choices if you want to stay in the city. 

If you want more of an authentic local experience, Airbnb has several apartment listings in this district — but expect to pay more than in other parts of the city. 

As a student, you probably won’t find housing in your price range — unless you know a couple of Danes who can help you out. The same goes for if you’re coming to live permanently; many Indre By apartments are occupied by either wealthy individuals or those who’ve stayed long enough and have a good deal on their rent price. 

Remember that Copenhagen is small and you can live anywhere without being too far away from anything. However, if you’re adamant about staying in this district, LifeX is a good choice. This co-living choice has a selection of Indre By apartments, which you’ll share with other people. 

When you stay with LifeX, you can use your address to register as a resident in Denmark. Prices are high for shared accommodation, but deposits are low, and your apartment is fully-furnished.

Indre By

Transport in Indre By

Indre By is compact, and you can quickly get everywhere by foot or bike. However, it’s still good to know what your transport options are if you need them. 

When you arrive in Copenhagen, you’ll likely end up at the central train station. Besides quick connections to the airport, you can get around the whole of Denmark. Further afield, trains from Copenhagen Central Station also run directly to Sweden and Germany. 

Buses are also plentiful, and you’ll find a stop on almost every main street. However, unless you’re traveling to the suburbs, you’re better off finding other options; these aren’t as frequent as other choices. 

Copenhagen’s metro integrates itself within Indre By. Besides the main station, you can also hop on a train at Rådhuspladsen, Kongens Nytorv, Gammel Strand, or Marmorkirken. The metro is efficient and affordable and will get you everywhere you need to go.

Copenhagen’s inner city is a great place to stay, visit and live

Finding a place to live in Indre By as a resident is a challenge. But if you do get your hands on an apartment, you’ve struck gold. If you’re coming to visit, the inner city is a fantastic place to stay if you’re happy to splurge on a hotel or don’t mind staying in a hostel. 

Indre By is the pulse of Copenhagen. It’s where most of the tourist attractions are and where you’ll probably dedicate the majority of your time if you’re visiting. Your experience might not be the most authentic compared to other districts of Copenhagen, but you can guarantee that you’ll have a lot of fun. 

If you’re moving to Denmark’s capital, you’ll join some of the happiest people in the world — regardless of where you live. So, before you hop on that flight and kit out your apartment with chic Danish furniture, why not read up on why the Danes are so content?

Scandification: Discovering Scandinavia.

Now read these:
Get to know Copenhagen’s neighborhoods
Nørrebro, Copenhagen’s intriguing melting pot
Vesterbro, the hipster district of Copenhagen
Indre By, Copenhagen’s central district
Østerbro, the paradise of Copenhagen
Frederiksberg, Copenhagen’s leafy enclave
Amager, explore nature in Copenhagen
Strandvejen, Copenhagen’s coastal suburbs
Valby, Copenhagen’s lesser-known district
Unpacking Copenhagen’s meatpacking district
Exploring the charms of Nyhavn, Copenhagen
Enjoy the sea and sunshine in Islands Brygge
Unearthing Copenhagen’s red light district

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