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Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: Which one is better for my next break

Planning a trip to Europe and want to know if Amsterdam or Copenhagen is the better option? In this guide we go through everything you need to know in the battle of Amsterdam vs Copenhagen, including best things to see, do, eat, and much more.

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Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: Some background

Before we get into the Amsterdam vs Copenhagen debate here is some background on each city.


Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, and is famous for its canals, narrow houses and museums. There are about 821,000 people living in the city, but 1.2 million bikes! In fact bikes definitely rule when it comes to transport in Amsterdam. They have right of way over both pedestrians and cars.

Wondering if Amsterdam is worth visiting? Here is a helpful guide.


Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, and is located on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amage. The city is often being touted as one of the happiest places in the world to live. And honestly it isn’t hard to see why.

One of the principles of the city, and country as a whole is hygge. It’s a concept that translates to this idea of cosiness, good atmosphere, good people, and generally just being happy.

Wondering is Copenhagen worth visiting? Checkout this post.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better for accommodation

One of the most important factors when deciding where to go on holiday is around accommodation. But in the battle of Amsterdam vs Copenhagen which one has the better accommodation options.


Amsterdam does have a good choice of accommodation, although this can be expensive, particularly if you are wanting to stay in the centre. If you are visiting for the first time the Old Centre, is one of the best places to stay, so make sure you book in advance for the best deals.

Something to keep in mind in Amsterdam is that hotel rooms can be very small. Space is at a premium in the city, so don’t expect lots of space unless you are happy to pay more for it.


Copenhagen has a lot of accommodation, although in our experience this is not cheap. If you are looking for mid range hotels, in the centre you should expect to pay at lest €160 per night.

There are a lot of good areas to stay in Copenhagen including, Indre By, which is the central inner city area Vesterbro is another good area that is close to the centre and a lot of nightlife.

If you want something more scenic and touristy Nyhavn is a great choice with accommodation to suite all budgets.

The good news is, it doesn’t really matter where in Copenhagen you stay as the public transport links are great, and many attractions are walkable.


Honestly Amsterdam and Copenhagen are on par when it comes to accommodation. It can be expensive in both cities so you definitely need to book in advance to get the best rates.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better for attractions

If you are wondering if Amsterdam or Copenhagen is better for attractions this section has you covered. We cannot possibly list everything single thing to do in each city, but these are at least the highlights to help you decide which one to visit.


Here are some of our top choices of things to do in Amsterdam.

Canal Cruise

Considering Amsterdam is famous for its canals, a great way to see the city is from the water. We really do recommend going on a cruise to orient yourself with the city. Tours take about an hour and you can book these online in advance.

Discover the canals

We spent a lot of time exploring the city on foot. We loved the beautiful canals and discovering the leafy atmospheric streets. Amsterdam is one of those places that is fantastic to just get lost in and see what you find. Just watch out for the bikes!


The Rijksmuseum or the National Museum of the Netherlands is a great place to visit to learn all about the arts and history of the country. You can buy tickets on the day but if you are super keen then you can book your tickets here in advance.

Anne Frank House

This is probably one of the most well-known museums in Amsterdam. It’s a very sombre reminder of the horrors inflicted during WW2, and if you do get a chance to visit then do. You will learn all about Anne and her family, and you can tour the place they called home for 2 years whilst hiding from the Nazi’s.

See the edgy parts of the city

Amsterdam is of course a very edgy city with several coffeeshops. These are shops that essentially sell marijuana, either to smoke or eat in baked goods.

Interestingly there are strict rules when it comes to drug use in the city. It’s fascinating walking through the edgier parts of Amsterdam which gives you insight into something we normally wouldn’t see back home.

Red Light District

Admittedly the Red Light District in Amsterdam isn’t going to be for everyone. But walking through is certainly an eye opening experience to say the least. It’s not as graphic or dangerous as you might think. You will see red-lit windows, sex shops, and strip clubs in the area, which might be out there for some but it’s a testament to the open attitude towards sex the Dutch hold. Also it is the oldest part of the city, and one of the oldest trades, so it is worth a visit.

Floating Flower Market

The Amsterdam Flower Market is the only floating Flower Market in the world. The shops are located inside a row of barges, and is a homage to the days when flowers arrived here by boat from the countryside.


There is a lot to do in Copenhagen and it is a great city to walk around and get lost in. Here are some of our highlights for things to do.

And if you want more tips you can checkout our 3 day Copenhagen itinerary.

Visit Nyhavn

Nyhavn is very stereotypically Danish, and very touristy, but you have to go at least once. It’s full of colourful buildings, quirky shops, and a whole lot more.

Do a boat tour

From Nyhavn you can get yourself on a canal cruise. It’s worth it to see the city from a different perspective. Just keep in mind tours are very popular so you do need to book in advance.

Rosenborg Castle

If you like exploring palaces and royal residences you should visit Rosenborg Castle. You can explore the outside for free but entry inside will set you back about 125 DKK.

Copenhagen Botanical Gardens

 Home to Denmark’s largest collection of living plants the Copenhagen Botanic Gardens are a really relaxed way to spend some time in the city. The gardens are free but if you want to explore the Palm House or the Butterfly House you will need to pay. They are worth paying a little bit extra for if you have the time.

Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens opened in 1843 and is the 3rd oldest working amusement park in the world. You do need to pay for entry even if you don’t want to go on the rides.

The Little Mermaid Statue

Personally I think this 4.1 foot bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid is a tad over rated. But it has become a symbol of the city, and tourists love it so I’m adding it to this list.


Started in 1601 the Round Tower as it is known in English is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. It’s great to visit if you want some fantastic views over Copenhagen. There are no stairs just a ramp that ascends to the top so it makes for a pretty easy walk.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

The Glyptotek is one of the more popular galleries with a mix of modern and ancient art. It was founded in 1888 by the famous brewer Carl Jacobsen, known for Carlsberg. It not only includes impressive art work but is also home to a gorgeous winter garden.

Freetown Christiania

Freetown Christiania a very controversial place. It is the result of a group of people squatting here in the 1970s when it was a military base. These days it’s sort of self run and can feel sketchy at times. You will see people selling drugs, but do not take photos of them. The police tend to stay clear of the area, so just stay out of trouble is our advice. It’s worth visiting and it does feel safe and there are lots of tourists.

Church of Our Saviour

One of the most distinguishable churches in Copenhagen has to be the Church of Our Saviour. It has a spire at the time that allows you to climb it and enjoy some pretty awesome views of the city. This one is probably not for those who are scared of heights.


It’s really hard to decide if Amsterdam or Copenhagen has the better attractions. So what we will say is, if you like museums, art, and history, you will probably enjoy Amsterdam a little more.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is prettier

Wondering if Amsterdam or Copenhagen is the more picturesque option? Here we decide which one is more beautiful.


Amsterdam has a classic European beauty to it. 9 Streets, is one of the beautiful quirky parts of the city with stunning boutiques, restaurants, and cafes.

You also have the lively and picturesque Latin Quarter, filled with quaint buildings ready to be photographed.

One of the best things to do in our opinion is to do a canal cruise and see the city from the water. It’s so beautiful and calming, and the perfect way to spend an hour or so in this unbelievable place.


Copenhagen is also a very beautiful city. Whether you are exploring the fairy tale that is Nyhavn, or walking around the quaint streets in Christiania you will find something beautiful to photograph. You also have the magical setting that is Tivoli Gardens which in our opinion is so much more beautiful at night.


Both Amsterdam and Copenhagen are just gorgeous. In fact they have a lot of similarities with beautiful canals, and tree lined streets to explore. Because this is an Amsterdam vs Copenhagen guide, we feel like we have to pick one and in this instance think Copenhagen is just that bit nicer.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one has the better vibe

I know judging a city based on vibe is a slightly random statement but hear us out.


Amsterdam is very laid back and liberal. The city has a very relaxed carefree vibe. It’s also a green city with friendly people.

There is a real openness when it comes to things like drugs and sex, that you certainly wouldn’t find in some other parts of Europe.


Copenhagen is also pretty relaxed and laid back. There is a general air of happiness that you can feel in the city. It’s clean, it’s colourful, and it is really friendly. There are also some areas that have a hipster vibe but without the pretentiousness.


Both cities have such a great vibe that it’s hard to choose. People generally seem so happy living in both places. They are also super friendly and welcoming.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is easier to get to

Getting to a city will obviously play a large part in your decision to visit. But is Amsterdam or Copenhagen easier to get to?


Amsterdam is a major European destination, with KLM using Schiphol Amsterdam Airport as it’s main hub. A lot of flights from the US, Asia, and the Middle East, fly into Schiphol, as do many European carriers.

Getting from the airport is relatively easy. You can get a taxi for about €40, or get a train for a fraction of the costs. Train tickets are under €6 and you will reach the downtown area in about 20 minutes.

There are also several options to get to Amsterdam by train. These arrive from all over the country, and Europe, at Amsterdam Centraal Station.

Finally you can also get a boat into Amsterdam, boats arrive at the port of Ijmuiden. You will need to get a bus from here into Amsterdam. This is around 40 minutes.

You can even get a boat from Newcastle to Amsterdam and we have written a full review on this.


Copenhagen is also a popular European destination, with regular flights from European countries, the US, and Asia. And good news a lot of budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet also fly here.

Once you arrive at the airport getting into Central Copenhagen is easy. You just hop on the Metro and this will take you right into town. Tickets can be purchased from machines before you ride, and there are lots of staff around to assist you.

You can also get a taxi or Uber into town but this will be more expensive. For ease we will give you the cost in Euros, and this is about €40 – €50.


Both cities are incredibly well connected. Amsterdam has a few more options, especially when it comes to flying though so it’s the better choice if you are looking for cheaper flights.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is easier to get around

Getting around a city is another important factor when deciding to visit. But is Amsterdam or Copenhagen easier to navigate?


Amsterdam is a really great city to explore on foot, but that being said you will need to use public transport to get around and see the sights.

The tram is probably your best way to get around. There are 15 tram routes that run in the city, and you can purchase a day card, or one that lasts up to 7 days. These passes can also be used on buses or the metro. Although you probably won’t need to use the metro unless you are planning to head out into the suburbs.

If you want to blend in with the locals though, your best way to get around is by bike. There are several companies you can rent bikes with, and prices vary, but it’s a great way to get around and experience the city.


The public transport in Copenhagen is efficient and easy to use. You can purchase the Copenhagen Card as a tourist and this will allow you to use public transport including buses, the metro, and trains.

Most of the time on our trip we stuck to using the Metro as most tourist attractions were nearby but we also caught the bus from time to time as well. The best way to use this is alongside GoogleMaps so that you know exactly where and when to get off public transport.


Both Amsterdam and Copenhagen are incredibly easy to get around. If we really had to decide we would say Copenhagen is the easier city to navigate as public transport feels slightly more efficient, but overall you shouldn’t have any issues getting around Amsterdam or Copenhagen.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better for food

Food is an important part of visiting any city, so between Amsterdam and Copenhagen which one is better?


Amsterdam is great for international cuisine and street food. There are restaurants and street food stalls to cater to all budgets. And if you have the time we definitely recommend doing a food tour of the city.

Some of the must try foods in the city are things like dutch cheese, pancakes, and herring. Although the herring is definitely more of an acquired taste.


Copenhagen takes food very seriously. So much so that there are actually 14 restaurants in the city that have at least 1 Michelin Star. But these restaurants are very popular so make sure you book well in advance of your trip to avoid missing out.

Want something a little cheaper? Let’s start with breakfast pastries. The Spandauer which is a classic Danish Pastry will have your mouthwatering as will the Kanelsnegle. There are some fantastic bakeries across the city so make sure you visit.

The street food in Copenhagen is also pretty decent. Even the hotdogs being sold on the street will tickle your tastebuds. Basically if you like food you will love Copenhagen.

We also recommend this culinary tour of Copenhagen if you get the chance.


Both Amsterdam and Copenhagen are good cities for food lovers. We would recommend Copenhagen for those that want to experience some fine dining and Michelin Star quality food tastings. But if you are into street food, and lots and lots of cheese head to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better for nightlife

If you are looking to party you might be wondering if Amsterdam or Copenhagen is the place for you.


Amsterdam also knows how to have a wild night out. Again you will find something to suit all tastes. From quirky speakeasy type bars, to more relaxed places serving wine and cheese, we absolutely love the nightlife in Amsterdam.

It’s a very popular stag and hen do destination, and is also one of the best cities in the world for clubbing. The stag and hen do thing can be a bit of a downside with Amsterdam. You get foreigners who turn up wanting a wild night, which can be problematic for locals.


Copenhagen also has a pretty exciting nightlife scene, but way less stag and hen dos than Amsterdam. Whether you like cocktails, beers, wine bars or clubbing you will find something here to entertain you. Just don’t expect it to come cheap.


Amsterdam is better if you want to party, but Copenhagen is better for wine and cocktail bars.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better for safety

Safety is of course an important factor to consider when visiting a new place. But is Amsterdam or Copenhagen safer?


Amsterdam is a pretty safe city, especially for tourists. In fact it is one of the safer European capitals. There are neighbourhoods you should avoid like anywhere, but these are not usually places tourist go.

The Red Light District is also relatively safe, but you should remain vigilant as tourists can be targeted for petty theft or muggings. Amsterdam is a place where people go to have a good time, and with drinking or drug taking you do make yourself more vulnerable to having items stolen etc, so do keep this in mind.


Copenhagen is a relatively safe city. We never felt unsafe here at all even walking around at night. As with any popular tourist place you get issues with pickpocketing and petty theft. So keep an eye on your belongings, and take the usual precautions.


Copenhagen is the safer city, but you should still keep your wits about you no matter where you visit.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better for couples

If you are travelling as a couple you might be wondering if Amsterdam or Copenhagen is the better option. Here are our thoughts.


Amsterdam is a great place to visit as a couple. The city is the perfect backdrop for a romantic weekend. You have the gorgeous canals, quaint bars, and a number of restaurants to enjoy. Even taking a walk or a boat trip is incredibly romantic in Amsterdam.


Copenhagen is an incredibly romantic city to visit. There is so much to do as a couple like exploring Tivoli Gardens, cruising down some of the beautiful canals, and indulging in some great food and drinks. There are so many hidden gems in Copenhagen including gorgeous little wine bars, and cool cocktail lounges.


Amsterdam and Copenhagen for us are very on par when it comes to couples travel. There is a lot to see, great food, and both cities are so beautiful too.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better for families

If you are travelling with kids this section is for you. Here we look at whether Amsterdam or Copenhagen is the better option for family travel.


You might think that Amsterdam is all parties, and Red Light Districts, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many great things to do with the kids like canal cruises, bike rides, museums, and much more.


Copenhagen is expensive so it’s definitely not going to be a budget family destination. That being said there are a number of interesting museums for kids to enjoy in the city.

There is also a lot of nature, the Botanic Gardens especially is perfect for families with young kids, as there is a really cool butterfly garden you can explore.

Copenhagen also has the Tivoli Gardens which is pretty much guaranteed family fun!


If you are travelling as a family Copenhagen is the better choice as it is just that little bit more kid friendly.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better for solo travel

If you are planning to travel solo you might be wondering if Amsterdam or Copenhagen is the better choice for you. Here are our thoughts.


Amsterdam is very safe which makes it a great destination to travel to alone. There is also a lot to see and do, whether it’s walking around the city, doing a canal cruise, or even booking onto a group tour.


Copenhagen is an excellent destination to visit if you are planning to travel solo. It’s a safe city, and very easy to get around. There are also so many awesome things to do so you won’t be bored.

You can book yourself onto boat tours, food tours, and pub crawls as well if you are wanting to get out there and meet other people


Amsterdam and Copenhagen are both pretty on par when it comes to solo travel. They both have so much to do and they are both relatively safe.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better for a budget holiday

Money is a big consideration when deciding where to visit. So is Amsterdam or Copenhagen cheaper?


Amsterdam can be an expensive city to visit. When it comes to accommodation you can expect to pay around €130 per night as a minimum for a 4 star hotel.

You should budget around €150 per person per day, for things like attractions, food, drink, and travel. You can obviously do things a bit cheaper depending on where you eat and drink.


Copenhagen is notoriously expensive. And a lot of the reason behind this is because taxes are so high.

The currency in Copenhagen is the Danish Krone (DKK). For a very rough comparison, US$1 is equal to about 6.82 DKK. And €1 is about 7.45 DKK. Obviously this changes frequently so only use this as a very rough scale.

To put things into context for you here is what we paid for things in Copenhagen.

2 x Whiskey Cocktails – 280 DKK or €37

2 x Burger Meals at a fast food restaurant (without drinks)– 258 DKK or €34

Pastries and coffee for 2 – 258 DKK or €34

When it comes to budgeting for a mid range trip we found that we needed somewhere between 1325-1765 DKK per day for both of us. This isn’t including accommodation as we booked this well in advance. Accommodation varies in price, depending on the time of year you visit but expect to pay somewhere between €130 – €150 per night for mid range hotels.


Honestly, Copenhagen is the more expensive option. It’s really hard to even go with a budget holiday here because basics like food are just so pricey. So if you want more bang for your buck head to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better for nature

If you are a nature lover this is the section for you. Here we look at Amsterdam and Copenhagen and decide which one has the best nature.


Amsterdam is actually a pretty green city with a number of parks and waterways to explore in the city itself. If you want to get a little bit closer to nature though you will need to head out into the greater Amsterdam area.

There are quite a few beautiful national parks like Amstelland Green Area and National Park Zuid-Kennemerland which are under an hours drive from Amsterdam.


Copenhagen itself is one of the greenest cities in Europe. Whilst the city centre itself doesn’t have tons of green space you can head out to the suburbs and visit some of the glorious parks like Sydhavnstippen and Søndermarken.

If you are looking for nature a little closer to the centre, we recommend Freetown Christiania or the Copenhagen Botanic Gardens for some great walks.


Amsterdam and Copenhagen are both good choices when it comes to nature. They are both green cities, and there are lots of stunning nature spots a short trip out of the city. Copenhagen is our favourite though, because even in the centre there are just some incredible parks that nature lovers will adore.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better in summer

If you are planning to visit Amsterdam or Copenhagen in the summer you might be wondering which is the better option.


Amsterdam peaks in the summer. You can sip drinks by the canals and enjoy the sunshine. You will also see people sailing around the canals in boats whilst sipping drinks, as well as people enjoying parks and public spaces.

With the good weather and outdoor activities Amsterdam is an incredibly attractive place to visit in the summer. This does mean more expensive accommodation and more tourists. You also need to book any attractions in advance to avoid missing out.


Summer is a popular time to visit Copenhagen. For starters the weather is mild and averages between 12- 22 degrees Celsius. the city also comes alive with lots of festivals and activities. You will see people cruising down the canals drinking beers on boats, or splashing about in the water.

It’s probably no surprise that summer is also peak travel season, with tourists flocking to the city to take advantage of the good weather. This also means hotel prices will increase, and you will need to book tickets to attractions in advance to avoid missing out.


Both Amsterdam and Copenhagen are great summer destinations. We would pick Copenhagen over Amsterdam for a summer trip though just because it’s slightly less touristy. Amsterdam has a bit of an over-tourism problem, and this is particularly exacerbated in the summer months.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is better in winter

If winter is more your thing you might be wondering if Amsterdam or Copenhagen is the better option.


We love Amsterdam in winter. The city almost becomes this magical winter wonderland. You can ice skate on the canals (obviously if it is cold enough!), visit the Christmas Markets, and just enjoy the atmosphere. It’s also a great time of year to sip mulled wine in a pub and watch the world go by.

On average temperatures at this time of year average between 0°C (32°F) and 7°C (44.6°F). You get the odd chance of snow in January mostly. If you don’t mind the cold, and dress appropriately this can be a good time to visit as there are less tourists, and cheaper accommodation.


Winter in Copenhagen can also be quite cold with temperatures often dropping below freezing. The average high at this time of year is around 5 degrees Celsius. You definitely need to dress appropriately.

There are less tourists in winter, but keep in mind daylight hours are shorter, and some attractions may be closed. On the plus you do get to experience the Christmas Markets which are incredibly magical.


Both cities are great to visit in the winter months, but we would go with Amsterdam. Seriously there is nothing better than gorging on stroopwafels and hot chocolate whilst wandering the streets of the city.

Amsterdam vs Copenhagen: which one is for me

Well done for making it to the end of this epic list. And now it is time to decide if Amsterdam or Copenhagen is the best place to go for your next European Break. Before we decide here is a final recap.


Amsterdam is a cultural powerhouse full of European charm. The canals and the architecture as well as the history and people really make the city what it is.

It’s also incredibly liberal, and gives you a fascinating insight into the values and life of modern Europe. There is both an edgy and traditional side to the city, and it’s interesting watching it all come together. It’s definitely a city break best taken slow, as you meander around the canals and gorgeous city streets.


Copenhagen is the perfect place for a quaint city break. The streets and architecture are beautiful and you could spend days just walking around getting lost. It’s also one of the best places in Europe for top quality food. Just keep in mind that Copenhagen is an expensive place so you won’t get much chance of having a budget friendly holiday.


When it comes down to it Amsterdam and Copenhagen are both incredible cities. There are a lot of similarities like a relaxed atmosphere, and stunning canals. In our opinion though Amsterdam is the better place to visit, but that really comes down to cost. It’s way cheaper than Copenhagen, and you definitely get more bang for your buck. It’s also got the Anne Frank House and Rijksmuseum which are two of the most poignant places for history and culture lovers.

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