Discover Copenhagen - number one among the world’s great cities

An extremely high culinary standard and a special ability to exploit the architectural contrasts between old and new have pushed Copenhagen right to the top of Lonely Planet’s list of cities to visit in 2019.

In autumn 2018, Copenhagen was dealt a new ace in the international competition for city tourists. The Lonely Planet travel guide ranked Copenhagen as number one on the list of cities to visit in 2019.

The explanation given for the top ranking was:

  • Copenhagen has a high culinary level, whether you like Michelin restaurants or street food.
  • the city is full of exciting design and architecture.
  • Copenhagen offers a wide range of activities and cultural experiences – from swimming in pristine waterways to exploring the city by bicycle and visiting the city’s museums.

“Those of us who work with branding Copenhagen are pleased that Lonely Planet highlights gastronomy, architecture and design, and sustainability. These are also the what we think Copenhagen should be renowned for. Many cities offer culinary experiences, but restaurants in Copenhagen have become extremely varied, accessible and exciting in recent years,” says Anja Hartung Sfyrla, Manager of Business Development at Visit Denmark. She continues:

 “Danish design and architecture have always been strong. We re renowned for our ability to combine new and old, and let them stand side by side. We can be critical of modern buildings shooting up in the urban landscape, but seen from the outside, we are good at making the most of the interesting contrasts. By embracing modern architecture, we ensure that the city does not become a postcard from the past.”


When good work bears fruit

Copenhagen was selected for the ‘Best in Travel 2019’ list by a panel of approx. 3,000 ‘destination experts’. Them clapping eyes on Copenhagen is not simple luck. Every day, tourist organisations, the tourism industry and political forces work together to make the city an attractive destination.

“Many factors have a bearing on whether something is seen as ‘hot’. The top ranking is no doubt the result of Copenhagen having developed into an international city with good flight connections and excellent hotel and dining experiences. But interest in all things Nordic – ‘Scandinavian vibes’ as we call it – has definitely been a contributing factor. The Danish concept of ‘hygge’ has also drawn attention to Denmark. The successful Danish television series that have been shown abroad have also contributed,” says Anja Hartung Sfyrla.


An interesting readership

Lonely Planet’s destination descriptions are read around the world. The readers are primarily young, digitally aware people with sufficient funds and the desire to travel. In brief, a target group the Danish capital would like to attract even more. The top ranking, announced in autumn, should therefore be rightly seen as a gift to the tourism industry in Copenhagen.

“There are many rankings and ‘top destination’ lists. We are generally fairly sceptical of them. But Lonely Planet is interesting because the publisher is a serious media organisation with a very large readership, made up of people with higher than average disposable income. In 2019, we are entitled to use the Lonely Planet ‘Best in Travel’ badge in all our communication. This is indisputably an excellent recommendation,” says Anja Hartung Sfyrla.

“Tourists visit an average of 34 websites before deciding where to go, so it takes a lot for a small destination like Copenhagen to be at the top of the radar. The recommendation is really an ace in this respect. At the same time, the top ranking is resulting in mention of Copenhagen in a variety of international news, design and architecture media.

  • City tourists from abroad spend an average of 2.8 nights in Copenhagen.
  • They spend an average of DKK 1,760 a day on things like accommodation, food and experiences.
  • Most foreign visitors to Copenhagen only decide what they want to see and experience after they have arrived.
  • Most tourists come to Copenhagen as couples or with friends. A relatively small proportion of foreign tourists come on holiday with children.

Anja Hartung Sfyrla,
Manager of Business Development at Visit Denmark.