Denmark / Destinations

Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.

hans Christina anderson
Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

Historical Nyhavn is one of those destinations that you wonder if it would live up to the hype. Located in Copenhagen, Denmark, this iconic district was everything it promised to be. It perfectly blends history, culture, entertainment, and beautiful scenery. Nyhavn is colorful and captivating, with a vibrant energy that makes you happy just strolling through. Additionally, there are many fantastic places to grab a cold beer, enjoy great food, listen to music, or people-watch. Nyhavn translates to “New Port.”  In English it is commonly pronounced “knee-houm” in but in Danish the first half is more like “nu.”

First, some history on Nyhavn

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

Originally, Nyhavn was a commercial port where ships from all over the world docked. The 1400-foot canal was dug out by Swedish prisoners of the Dano-Swedish war between 1671 and 1673. The canal was created to make Denmark more competitive in the trade business and to create a waterway from the sea that led straight to Kings Square – Copenhagen’s new upcoming city center. This sped up cargo transportation and helped fishermen get their catch of the day to the local markets. Those markets, four centuries later, exist to this day.

In its heyday, Nyhavn was packed with sailors and merchants visiting pubs, alehouses, and ladies of the night. As the canal brought business, colorful homes were built, and the canal added to its popularity. The oldest home dates back to 1681. Those old homes are now beautifully renovated, and many are commercial spaces full of restaurants, cafes, bars, specialty stores, etc.

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide
Hans Christian Andersen Statue Adobe Photo Stock

Nyhavn’s most famous resident

The famous Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen lived in Nyhavn for 22 years. His most famous fairy tales include “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Little Mermaid, “The Princess and the Pea,” “The Ugly Duckling,” and “Thumbelina.” His love for the Nyhavn community was well known. He lived in three houses: Numbers 18, 20, and 67.

How do I get to Nyhavn?

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

Nyhavn is a neighborhood within Copenhagen. Due to the city’s compact size, it is relatively easy to get around.

Copenhagen has an excellent public transport system. You can take the metro, bus, or train to the nearest station to Nyhavn. Once you reach the Nyhavn station, you can walk a few minutes to the canal.

We drove a car and found street parking quickly, but it was the off-season. Biking is a popular way to get around the city, too.

Copenhagen, Denmark Map

Planning a visit to Denmark? Check out our Denmark Country Guide

Our suggestions for your visit to Nyhavn

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide
Grand Canal Tour Adobe Stock Photo

1. Take the 1-hour boat tour of the Grand Canal. It will take you to the most prominent landmarks in Copenhagen: the Little Mermaid Statue, Amalienborg Palace, Christianshavn’s Canal, the Church of Our Saviour, and Christiansborg Palace.

2. Seek out some of the most famous homes in Nyhavn. Number 9 is the older building in Nyhavn, dating back to 1681. Look for the three homes that Hans Christian Anderson lived in: Numbers 18, 20, and 67.

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

3. Walk to “Nyhavnsbroen,” the only bridge crossing the canal. This is the perfect spot for photos.

4. Stop by the Memorial Anchor in Kongens Nytorv at the end of Nyhavn. This memorial commemorates the 1,700 Danish Navy officers and sailors who were killed in WW II. The Anchor has been there since 1951 and is an excellent place to pay tribute to anyone who has served their country.

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide
Memorial Anchor Adobe Stock Photo

5. Visit the National Museum of Denmark, which has preserved local artifacts in a museum since 1977. You can view several moored boats, many still at sea.

6. In Denmark, there are more bikes than cars. Explore the area and its surroundings by renting a bicycle. There are plenty of locations to rent from but check your hotel first, as many hotels offer bicycles to their guests.

What would a visit to Nyhavn be without some food and drink?
Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

7. Grab a Smørrebrød, a traditional Danish dish. Smørrebrød is a piece of Danish rye bread topped with butter, cold cuts, fish, veggies, eggs, cheese, fresh herbs, and pickles. The famous Danish dish has many variations.

8. Need a dessert? Hit up “Vaffelbageren,” known as “the waffle baker.” Choose a homemade Danish ice cream cone, also named a “vaffel” in Denmark, with your choice of ice cream or a homemade Belgian waffle with ice cream on top. We ordered the waffle, and it was delicious.

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

9. Visit pubs, wine rooms, or bars to enjoy a lovely glass of wine or a cocktail. Chat with the locals and learn more about their culture and traditions.

10. Enjoy a delicious meal from the many cuisines offered on the canal. The prices can be as high as expected in such a popular area. If the weather is nice, grab a table along the waterfront and take it all in.

11. Our favorite part was strolling the canal and the side streets, gazing at the colorful houses and the ship traffic on the canal. We could not get enough of Nyhavn. It was a blast to photograph.

Festivals and events year-round in Nyhavn

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

Nyhavn hosts various festivals and events throughout the year. One of the most famous is the Nyhavn Jazz Festival, where jazz bands perform on floating stages along the canal.

The district comes alive in the summer with live music, street performances, and a lively atmosphere. During Christmas, the air in Nyhavn is scented with gløgg as the annual Christmas market fills the streets with elaborate stalls and twinkling lights. The cafés and restaurants offer Danish Christmas delicacies, including æbeskiver and roast pork. It’s a classic Danish experience. 

Where to go on your next overseas adventures? Check out our Country Travel Guides

Other attractions nearby

Copenhagen is a marvelous city with so much to do and see. The town is very safe during the day and evening. Public transportation is excellent, and it is also easy to drive if you have a rental car. Here are some of the top things to do away from Nyhavn.


Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

Rosenborg Castle is one of the city’s most recognizable buildings and a must-visit. This ornate Dutch Renaissance castle oozes style and charm. It was initially built as a country summerhouse in 1606 and is an example of Christian IV’s many architectural projects. It was expanded several times until 1624 when it became the castle you see today.


As our readers know, we are passionate about castles, and Denmark has a fair share of magnificent castles in or near Copenhagen. Helsingor Castle draws fans of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This is the castle from his famous play. It’s a train ride north of the city, and you can pick up the train at Copenhagen Central, a short distance from Nyhavn. The castle is lovely, so allow extra time to walk around Helsingor.


Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide
Little Mermaid sculpture Adobe Photo Stock

Since we are in Nyhavn, the home of Hans Christian Andersen, it only makes sense to head to the Little Mermaid Statue. This statue, built after the author’s death, depicts a woman sitting on a rock and longingly looking out to do. It is one of the most popular tourist sites, and people always surround it, but still well worth a visit. It is along the water and a 23-minute walk from Nyhavn.


Within walking distance of Nyhav, Tivoli Gardens is one of the first theme parks in the world. The Danish love their theme parks and have some of the best in the world. This iconic park inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland, which should tell you everything. Tivoli Gardens Park still has thrilling rides and fascinating architectural features.

This is one of the most popular sites in Copenhagen. And while I think it is worth visiting, I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

Christiansborg Palace

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide
Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark Adobe Stock Photo

In the central part of Copenhagen, you will find Christiansborg Palace. Once the principal residence of Danish monarchs, Christiansborg Palace is now the heart of Denmark’s governmental home to the country’s parliament and supreme court. Christiansborg is one of Copenhagen’s most iconic landmarks, holding over 800 years of Danish history. There is plenty to see at the Palace, including The Royal Reception Rooms with The Great Hall and The Tapestries, The Royal Stables, The Royal Kitchen, Christiansborg Palace Chapel, and The Ruins under Christianborg Palace. It is a popular destination, so buying tickets in advance is ideal. Visit our Viator link to see what great tours they offer at the Palace and around the city.

Where to stay in Nyhavn

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

Many travelers fall in love with the beauty of Nyhavn. Staying here overnight, you can truly take in the setting when it gets later in the evening, and the crowds are gone. The area has several accommodations, but as expected, they can be pricey, especially during peak seasons. Check, though, as there can be some well-priced options. It is essential always to check recent reviews. Just put Nyhavn in either of the two booking sites below to see what they offer.

It is important to price out properties on various sites. Expedia is a US-based company, whereas Booking.com is Europe-based. Not all properties appear on both, so check both. Our personal first choice is Booking.com. If the establishment has a website, check the price there as well.




Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

Final thoughts

Nyhavn is a unique neighborhood in an incredible city and a beautiful country. Plan a few hours here, and you will undoubtedly leave with wonderful memories, as we did. Though it can be touristy, Nyhavn still rises above that to capture your imagination. It still makes us smile years later when we think of our visit. If you are in Copenhagen, Nyhavn is an absolute must.

Nyhavn, Nyhavn Copenhagen – Ultimate Visitor Guide

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Our favorite travel insurance site!

If you book a trip, don’t forget to get travel insurance within 14 days of your first booking. We could not be stronger advocates of being well-insured. Not just for the little stuff but the big things like medical emergencies. We never leave home without it. Over the years, we have used many sites but have now found our go-to place. Squaremouth.com does a fantastic job; it has a user-friendly interface, uses top-rated and reputable insurance carriers, and most policies cover COVID-19 medical issues and cancellations. They also mediate on your behalf if you have problems with your policy.

To empower you as a consumer, we suggest you read our blog post on the importance of travel insurance and how to get the best coverage from top-rated companies for an affordable price.


Medical transport back home from anywhere in the world

They are the premier global air medical transport. One caveat to travel insurance is that medical evacuation usually gets you to the closest facility to care for you. Medjet gets you back to the U.S. to the hospital of your choice once you are stable enough to fly. They cover COVID-related transport as well.

Medjet carries its own policies. These policies are only for transport and do not cover other aspects of travel insurance. They have individual trip policies starting at $99 and annual policies for around $300. Most of their policies limit the age to 74 and younger. Prices are not based on age below that.

To learn more about how Medical Evacuation membership with Medjet Assist works, check out our blog post for a more detailed review.  


Hotels, home rentals, BNBs, flights, and other transportation & tours 

Expedia is a US-based company whose mission is to power global travel for everyone and everywhere. Whether planning a family vacation, booking for business, or organizing the trip of a lifetime, they are a fantastic resource. Wanderers Compass focuses on independent travel, and using sites like Expedia makes that possible. Every aspect of travel you need, from airfare, accommodations, rental car, and cruises to activities to do at your destination, can be booked on Expedia.  


Hotels, Home rentals, BNBs, Flights, and other Transportation & Tours 

Booking.com connects millions of travelers to memorable experiences, various transportation options, and incredible places to stay – from homes to hotels and much more. It is one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes.

We always check Expedia and Booking.com to verify prices. At times, one is sold out of rooms while another at the same place has rooms. We also often find some European hotels, especially smaller ones, on Booking.com but not on Expedia. It could be they are a Europe-based company. Try both before booking accommodations.

Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO)

Are you traveling with a family or having an extended stay at your destination?

With over 2 million bookable vacation rentals, VRBO connects homeowners with families and vacationers looking for something more than a hotel for their trip. The VRBO community offers families or groups various rental property types such as condos, cabins, lake rentals, beach houses, etc.

VRBO is now under the Expedia group’s ownership, which many were worried about, but it hasn’t panned out to be a concern. It is a massive network with access to all lodging forms should issues arise. Joelle has used VRBO for many years with her family and has had no problems with it.


As the leading marketplace for travel experiences, Viator believes that making memories is what travel is all about. And with 300,000+ experiences to explore—everything from simple tours to extreme adventures (and all the niche, interesting stuff in between)—making memories that will last a lifetime has never been easier.

With industry-leading flexibility and last-minute availability, it’s never too late to make any day extraordinary. This one site has it all and has experiences throughout the world. We use them often during our travels, especially for food tours. We especially take the time to read the reviews provided.


An excellent source for travel essentials and guides

We now have our own Amazon Storefront with all our favorite travel accessories and gear in one place. Check out our travel store at the link below.

Wanderers Compass Amazon Storefront

Amazon is one of the most comprehensive online shopping sources in the world. Teams worldwide provide lower prices, better selection, and rapid delivery on behalf of customers. They offer a vast inventory, and their 1.7 million small and medium businesses worldwide selling on Amazon.com offer extensive options to customers.

We buy most of our travel books, accessories, and luggage from Amazon. We have ordered up to two days before travel and get what we need.


This is not your ordinary drinkware company. The HYDAWAY difference is what their products do when you’re not using them. Practical and portable, HYDAWAY doesn’t take up unnecessary space in your already-packed life or pile up in landfills. We all know that trying to pack light while being environmentally conscious can be difficult. Having the right items can make a world of difference. HYDAWAY provides that.

We have used their collapsible water bottle, carrying case for the water bottle, and collapsible insulated drink tumbler. They are all lightweight and durable. A conservation-focused product you can be proud to buy.

Use our Promo Code. WANCOM15, at checkout for 15% off your Hydaway order

Welcome Pick-ups
(Airport and sightseeing service)

A global leader in ground transportation for travelers. They help hundreds of companies worldwide enhance their services and boost their revenue with our 5-star ride experiences and hassle-free automation.

Founded in 2015 in Athens, Greece, Welcome Pick-ups goes above and beyond the standard transfer service as the first company to deliver a holistic, in-destination travel experience. From the moment a traveler arrives at a new destination until they return home, Welcome accommodates all their travel needs (transfers, travel products, things to do, information) as the easiest, friendliest, and most personalized solution.


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This article contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

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