Why I’ve Added Copenhagen to My Top 10 Cities in Europe

Copenhagen's famous but overrated Little Mermaid

It’s been 18 months since I left my permanent address in Paris to travel full time. I’ve loved the freedom that’s given me but at the same time I miss having a home with my own space and my own things. For the last six months I’ve been looking to rent an apartment once again or maybe even buy a place but the biggest obstacle has been deciding where to set up a base.

Statue guarding Copenhagen's town hall.

There is a certain kind of city which I will always love. A city with a history, beautiful architecture, pretty parks and a cafe culture. Cities with a modern edge. Dynamic, eco-concious and a laid back vibe are essential qualities. A city designed for walking or cycling is a bonus. Copenhagen meets all those requirements and I’m convinced I’d fit right into the Scandinavian lifestyle and culture. At least my (probably distorted) image of it.

One of the canals and many bridges in Copenhagen

I’m no authority on Copenhagen but on each of the four days I spent in the city I walked between 15-20,000 steps exploring the city centre and capturing some of the city’s beautiful and quirky sites. I know I was lucky with the weather but I’m sure I’d still love the city on a typical cloudy day.

Hans Christian Andersen was also a travel writer.

Flower shop in Copenhagen

Changing of the guard in Copenhagen Denmark

So when am I moving to Copenhagen? Unfortunately never. I can’t live in my home town of Perth due to the high cost of living. I struggled to get by in Paris, one of the most expensive cities in the world. There is no way I could afford to live in Copenhagen which is more expensive than both of those cities. Not to mention I’d go crazy window shopping for all that amazing Danish designed furniture. But if anyone knows of an affordable city with the same vibe as Copenhagen I’m open to hear about it.

About Andrea

Andrea Anastasakis is the founder and author of road trip blog Rear View Mirror. She is currently driving her Fiat 500 around Europe. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram.


  1. I’d also love to see how the comparisons to Copenhagen go. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Balkans get some play from others, but you’d know about that, too. 🙂 Good luck with your search, Andrea!

    • Thanks Henry! Copenhagen has just about everything I’m looking for but for now my search will continue. I won’t be moving to the Balkans that’s for sure. 😉

  2. I haven’t been to Copenhagen but have thought about the same question since I’d like to settle in Europe again. I look forward to hearing more about your decision as things pan out!

    • I think the biggest problem is that there are so many possibilities! I really need to narrow it down but my husband and I can’t agree. Hopefully a decision will be made soon. 🙂

  3. How did you get a shot of the little mermaid without a swarm of tourists?! Well done you! It reminded me of the Mona Lisa – relatively small and swamped by the hordes with cameras. I think Scandi quality of life comes with a Scandi price tag. If I could live anywhere, I don’t know where I’d pick – so I hear you when you say its hard to figure out a medium-term home base.

    • I pushed them all out of the way and made my way to the front, right on the water. 🙂

      I thought you’d pick London as the place to live??

  4. Daniel Louis says:

    Love your blog. And loved this little post.

    As to what city to live in, pick Oslo! Hah – no, am only kiddin’. Oslo and Geneva are the two cities I’ve been to that are probably even more expensive than Copenhagen. Seriously speaking, the medieval cities of Central/ Eastern Europe might be right though. Krakow and Wroclaw in Poland come to my mind as the prettiest, cleanest, and overall most beautiful towns in Europe. The other pick would be Cluj Napoca in Romania. With it’s 100,000 students, rarely have I seen a town more young and vibrant and with so much going on. If only they banned smoking inside, Cluj Napoca would probably have the quirkiest and cutest bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes I’ve ever seen.

    Poland and Romania are not the first destinations that come to one’s mind, especially coming from London they’re not. People still perceive them as dirty and poor and somewhat ‘uncivilised’. In reality, these are the two most dynamic economies of Europe and the standard of living in the cities I pointed out is likely to be higher than most of the UK’s. If I ever decide to leave Indonesia and come back to Europe one of these three cities would win, with Cluj Napoca having a slight advantage as virtually everyone spoke English when I was there. Maybe that’s just me though 🙂

  5. Norway and Switzerland are out for me for sure!

    I’ve been in Warsaw for the last few weeks and absolutely love it. I haven’t been to Wroclaw yet but I have a feeling I’d like it too so Poland is definitely a possibility. I agree with you about Romania too. I went last year and would happily move there if it wasn’t quite so remote. It’s a bit far from the rest of Europe for me.

    What’s is like living in Indonesia? I’ve never been but I am curious.

  6. Hey Andrea, it seems like we have exactly the same taste! I wrote a piece about how I want to live in Copenhagen and reeled off the same reasons as you : eco-friendly, cafe culture, the greenery, history, laid-back vibe, but you forgot to mention another thing – the ridiculously gorgeous men (and women!) surely, I’m not the only one who’s so shallow? 🙂 If you want to see our synchronicity my thoughts are here: http://www.theculturemap.com/amsterdam-meets-san-francisco-impressions-copenhagen/

  7. Love your photos, Andrea! I can’t wait to visit 🙂 It’ll be my first time.

  8. Hi! I’m so glad I found your blog. I’ll be traveling to Copenhagen at the end of September. I will be there for 5 days/4 nights. I am having a hard time deciding if I will need the Copenhagen Card? Did you use it on your trip? Was it worth it or did you find yourself walking and riding your bike more?
    Wanderlust inspired,
    Sara B

    • Hi Sara, I didn’t use the Copenhagen Card. The city is easy to get around by foot or even better by bike. I’d only suggest getting the Copenhagen Card if you intend to visit many museums and whatever other activities it offers but for public transport only it’s not worth it.

  9. Wow, what a discovery! I love your stories and especially the pictures. They are so proffesional!
    At the moment I am living in Ulfborg, because I am studying in DNS Teacher Training College and I completely share the idea about how outrageously expensive Denmark is in general, not even mentioning rent or other expenses. But if you will ever happen to be there again – if you have a chance, visit Nyborg and go through the bridge to the other part of the island – it’s a true fairytail kind of place and it just takes away the breath and shocks how such places possibly exist. But anyway, thank You for your stories and keep writing! :))

    • Thanks Indie! It’s a shame Denmark is out of my budget as I’d love to spend more time there and maybe even live there. I’m from Australia and prices are similar so I get what it’s like but if it’s a great place to live then it could be worth it. Thanks for the tip on Nyborg. I’d love to go there!