Visiting Nyhavn Like a Local: The Best Way to Experience the Colorful Canal of Copenhagen



If you’ve seen pictures of Copenhagen, you’ve probably seen Nyhavn! Nyhavn is the quintessential Copenhagen photo with its colorful houses lined up on the harbor. Since it’s so famous, it can get pretty crowded with tourists, so is it actually worth the visit?

Visiting Nyhavn Like a Local: The Best Way to Experience the Colorful Canal of Copenhagen

Visiting Nyhavn like a local

I’ll just cut to the chase and answer the question- Nyhavn is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Copenhagen and you NEED to visit! πŸ™‚ This famous colorful canal of Copenhagen has bright and quaint buildings and fishing boats, and I could spend hours here.

It does get crowded, but it actually gets crowded with locals so it isn’t as touristy as you may think (I think the Little Mermaid is the most touristy spot in Copenhagen). People do still live in the homes (so be respectful when taking photos), and if you’re curious to see the inside of one, My Scandinavian Home recently published a post with photos inside a Nyhavn home! And yes, the restaurants and shops are expensive, but you don’t have to spend money if you don’t want to- Nyhavn is free to look at and walk around. If you want to avoid the crowds, walk along the side opposite the restaurants since it’s much emptier.

If you want to do Nyhavn like a local (and on a budget), grab a hotdog from a hotdog cart and a Carlsberg beer from 7-11 and sit along the canal and hang out. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Copenhagen πŸ™‚ And if you really want to feel like a local, Nyhavn is pronounced like new-hown, not nee-haven.

Nyhavn in the summer

Nyhavn in the summer

Nyhavn in the summer

Nyhavn in the summer

Nyhavn in the summer

Nyhavn was built in the 1600s as a gateway to the sea from the city. For a while, it was known for alcohol and prostitution for the sailors using the harbor, but it has been transformed since (thank goodness!). The most famous resident of Nyhavn was Hans Christian Andersen, and he lived in a few different homes but he lived in No. 67 the longest. There’s a plaque on his home today, and there are some Hans Christian Andersen impersonators who walk around Nyhavn.

There are a few museums along the canal, and I recommend the Copenhagen Amber Museum if you have the time. It’s a really small museum, but it’s cool to see all the different jewelry and decor made with the local amber!

Nyhavn in the summer

Nyhavn in the summer

Nyhavn in the summer

Nyhavn in the summer

Wedding photoshoot at Nyhavn

Nyhavn is a beautiful spot for wedding photos!

So if you’re worried that Nyhavn is a tourist trap, it isn’t! It’s one of the most beautiful and colorful places in Copenhagen, and visiting Nyhavn is a must if you’re in Copenhagen πŸ™‚ Grab a Carlsberg, sit on the side of the canal, and drink in the beautiful sights to see Nyhavn like a local!

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Blog, Denmark, Europe, Photography, Travel

  1. Jason Reid says:

    Loved this, interesting to read that it’s pronounced new-hown too as I’d always assumed haven. Definitely somewhere I intend to visit asap, your photos are great too!

  2. bronwen says:

    Those pictures are truly stunning. I’ve never thought of going to Copenhagen before but I definitely will now. Your hints and tricks sound really useful and I can’t wait to try them.

  3. Linnea says:

    Loved this! You’re totally right sitting on steps with a Carlsberg is the best way to experience Nyhavn. Also good tip on how to pronounce it!

  4. Crystal says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Copenhagen, maybe someday I will get there and use your guide. Great post!

  5. Mo says:

    I generally like to avoid touristy places but some places are popular and crowded for a reason…I just try to do my best by getting there early in the morning so I can have as much peace as possible πŸ™‚ But the canal looks like a magical setting – I love it! You take such beautiful photos, as always!

  6. Elisabeth says:

    Thank you for sharing this comprehensive post here. Your pictures look absolutely beautiful and really make me want to go Copenhagen!

  7. I’ve always wanted to go to Copenhagen. How beautiful!!

  8. Stephanie says:

    Wow these are beautiful photos! What a great place. I love all the colors.

  9. Julia says:

    I can’t believe I’d never seen or heard about Nyhavn before! Such gorgeous little houses, and the boats just make it even better. It must feel so nice to be surrounded by locals, I would totally try and watch the sunset there, beer in hand. Seems so worth the visit!

    Julia x
    Last Post: My Thoughts on High-End Makeup |

  10. tonya says:

    Wow, I love all the colors of the building in Nyhavn!

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