(c) Copenhagen Media Center
Photo: Connie Maria Westergaard
Copenhagen, Denmark's capital, sits on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager.
It may not be the first city gay travellers think of when
they head for a European capital, but Denmark's liberal capital city
has been making an international name for itself for many years.
A centre of
cutting-edge home-furnishing and architectural design, this compact,
handsomely preserved city with more than eight centuries of history has
of the continent's friendliest and most fun-loving gay scenes. It's a
that embraces the avant-garde and yet cultivates a warm, old-fashioned
of humility and hospitality - in Copenhagen, you are never made to feel
Politically, Denmark is among the gay-friendliest nations in the world;
government began recognizing same-sex marriages in 1989 and it
adoption by gay parents in 1999. In 1948, one of Europe's first gay
organizations, the National Association for Gays and Lesbians,
here. The organization continues to be an invaluable community resource
has a fascinating and comprehensive archive. In Copenhagen, openly gay
citizens occupy numerous prominent positions in society - few Danes bat
eyelash at the sight of two gay women or men strolling by, except
an act of flirtation.
Apart from being culturally rich and exceedingly gay-friendly,
offers added benefits. The costs of most goods and services are
comparable or less than in the UK because of the strong pound and additionally,
spoken and understood by most Danes, especially in Copenhagen. Many
periodicals are written in English, including the useful Pan's Guide to
and Lesbian Denmark and the Copenhagen Gay Map.
This is a compact and eye-pleasing city that can easily be explored on
Be sure to spend an afternoon strolling along Strøget, a pedestrian way
packed with chic shops and cafes. Kongens Nytorv (King New Square) is a
spot to people-watch; just off it lies charming Nyhavn (New Harbor),
canal boats can be hired.
(c) Copenhagen Media Center - Photo: Ty Stange
While you don't need days to see the city's sites, Copenhagen's
larger-than-life Tivoli park could keep you entertained for a week or
This festive venue of live-music concerts, theater, gardens, duck
restaurants, and other spirited goings-on is open May through September, and
the two weeks leading up to Christmas.
Other must-sees include:
Christiansborg Castle, an immense 15th-century fortification whose
contain government buildings and royal reception halls; the National
the city's archive of antiquities - from not just Denmark but the
world; and the highly regarded and recently renovated National Art
notable for its thousands of Danish works but also for its
Copenhagen enjoys one of Northern Europe's most innovative and
culinary reputations. One of the hottest spots is Gendarmen Restaurant,
a changing menu offers such inspired fare as roasted leg of venison
foie-gras-mashed potatoes, tarragon, and a cherry glaze. Attracting
celebs and foodies from all over the world, Kong Hans Kælder adroitly
bridges the cuisines of Scandinavia and the Far East, while the trendy
Flyvefisken serves spicy Thai food at reasonable prices. Among
eateries, Queen Victoria is one of the most atmospheric - it's in a
building that dates to the 14th century.
Most gay nightlife is concentrated in the city's bohemian Old Town.
don't usually get going in Copenhagen until late in the evening, after
even midnight, and most bars keep going well into the wee hours.
Centralhjørnet is a riotously fun locals' bar with kitschy decor and
music blaring out of its jukebox - this is one of the oldest gay bars
world, having opened in the 1920s. The outlandish
Cosy Bar stays open later than most and presents wild drag shows. A
and somewhat cruisy late-night bar with dark and cozy confines, Never
tends to draw a mostly male late-20s-to-mid-40s bunch.
leather types and bears favor the aptly named Men's Bar. For more
heart-pumping action, gay men in Copenhagen head to the Amigo Sauna,
open from noon until 7 a.m. the next day and has been going strong
mid-'70s. You can also catch porn flicks at a handful of sex clubs,
From a design standpoint, the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel Copenhagen ranks
the most intriguing properties in Europe, its public and guest areas a
to the Danish functionalism championed by renowned Danish architect
Jacobsen. Rooms are open and well-lit, with long rows of windows
downtown and walls of light-maple paneling - it's a simple and crisp
With more of an old-world ambience that's long been appreciated by
from Oscar winners to heads of state, D'Angleterre has lavish guest
with cushy furnishings and a first-rate staff.
The city also has a handful of gay-oriented accommodations, including
Copenhagen Rainbow, which opened along the fabulous Strøget in August
Spacious rooms in this inn on the top-floor of an old town house have a
contemporary feel, but are clean and pleasant and come either with
shared baths. Other reasonably priced gay options include At Carstens
House and the Hotel Windsor.
(c) Copenhagen Media Center
Photo: Connie Maria Westergaard
Copenhagen is a year-round destination, although most visitors come
the warmer months, in part because this is when Tivoli is open. A
time to visit among lesbians and gays is mid-August, when you can
city's lively and fun Copenhagen Pride Festival - a parade of lesbians and
that attracts throngs of supporters.
October, the city hosts the prestigious nine-day Copenhagen Gay and
Film Festival. But even in the rather dark depths of winter, with an
abundance cozy gay bars and chatter-filled restaurants and boutiques,
find plenty of ways to keep warm in Copenhagen.|
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Amigo Sauna (Studiestræde 31A).
Body Bio (Kingosgade 7).
(Hyskenstræde 10, +45 33-32-2279).
Guest House (Christians Brygge 28, 5th floor, +45 40-50-9107,
Centralhjornet (Kattesundet 18,
Christiansborg Castle (Christiansborg Slotsplads, +45 33-92-6492).
Copenhagen Gay Life
Cosy Bar (Studiesstraede 24).
D'Angleterre (Kongens Nytorv 34, +45 33-12-0095).
18, +45 33-14-9515).
Gendarmen Restaurant and Wine Bar (Sankt Anna Plads
Hotel Windsor (Frederiksborggade 30, +45 33-11-0830,
Cafe Intime (25 Allégade, Frederiksberg,
Foreningen Kvindehuset (Gothersgade 37, +45 33-14-2804).
Hans Kælder (Vingårdstræde 6, +45 33-11-6868).
Bar (Teglgardstraede 3).
National Art Gallery (Sølvgade 48-50, +45 33-74-8494).
Gays and Lesbians (Teglgårdstræde 13, +45 33-13-1948,
National Museum (Ny Vestergade 10, +45 33-13-4411).
Never Mind (Nørre
Pan Copenhagen Club (Knarbrostræde 3, +45 33-11-3784, Website ).
SAS Royal Hotel Copenhagen (Hammerichtsgade 1, +45 33-42-6000).
Tivoli (Vesterbrogade 3, +45 33-15-1001).
Visit Copenhagen Website
Andrew Collins authored Fodor's Gay Guide to the USA, the Connecticut
Handbook, and six regional gay guides for Fodor's. He can be reached
here at OutUK or direct at GayFodors@aol.com.
Revised February 2017.