The Colorful Nyhavn Quayside in Copenhagen

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At the narrow waterway of Nyhavn in Copenhagen, a famous landmark from 1661, colorful old wooden schooners line the quay, and the north side is a charming combination of sailors’ bars and new restaurants.

The district is one of the most popular spots in the Danish capital thanks to the street cafes and brightly colored townhouses, the first built was no. 9. These houses have been the home for many famous Danes, including the famed author Hans Christian Andersen.

The Colorful Nyhavn Quayside in Copenhagen
Nyhavn. Photo: Martin Heiberg

Related: Copenhagen’s Post War Nyhavn

Nyhavn is simply a dreamy little street lined with restaurants offering menus ranging from local to Asian. There are some swanky options like steak and lobster but you’ll miss out if you pass on trying Danish specialties such as Smørrebrød and Wienerbrød. If you haven’t been there, the combination of historic buildings, street musicians and boats will charm you off your feet before you know it.

The Colorful Nyhavn Quayside in Copenhagen
The district is one of the most popular spots in the Danish capital thanks to the street cafes and brightly colored townhouses

The south side gave even numbers and was always the ‘nice side’, but the north side have odd numbers and used to be the ‘naughty side’ where sailors on shore leave would spend their liberty drinking, whoring and getting tattooed.

The Colorful Nyhavn Quayside in Copenhagen
Nyhavn seen from bridge

Related: Eating in Nyhavn Like the Locals

The canal was built by Swedish prisoners between 1670 and 1673. The canal became teeming with ships from all around the world and Nyhavn became notorious as a shady place.

The Colorful Nyhavn Quayside in Copenhagen
Nyhavn is simply a dreamy little street lined with restaurants offering menus ranging from local to Asian

Times have changed and gentrified Nyhavn is now one of the most popular and atmospheric spots in town. Also, don’t forget that Nyhavn is a place to relax before and after a long day so the waiter won’t judge you if you order two cold beers before noon. It’s a fine place to wine, dine and socialize, and the opening of the new waterfront Royal Danish Playhouse (Skuespillerhuset) in 2008 has added a cultural element too.

Feature image (on top): Thomas Hyrup Christensen

The Colorful Nyhavn Quayside in Copenhagen, written by Tor Kjolberg

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