Five minute guide to improving your stay in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen in five minutes; all you need to know really.

I'm not saying Copenhagen is boring, and that five minutes is all you need there. I'm saying that many guide books, which take ages to read, are a bit worthless without my little nuggets of information.

You see we have a guidebook. It is 300 pages long. It must have been written in a different country, by somebody who has never been to Copenhagen. It was accurate, yet also misleading. It missed the important stuff out.

Public transport

Rule 1 when visiting Copenhagen: buy a travel pass.

Buy a pass from the airport, train or bus station. Buy it for the exact number of hours you will be in the city. Do that the moment you get into Copenhagen. It does not matter if you do not intend to use much public transport! Still buy the pass. The pass time is recorded in hours from the moment you buy it, not days of ownership. This is important to note.

Why? Because it gives you discounts on so much stuff. Travel on transport is free for a start, yet you want to get into Tivoli? That's £10 entry per person. Unless you use your card, and then entry is free.

The zoo? For four people entrance is £60 or so. With the card? Free.

Same with museums. You get free entry with the card.

Public transport, by the way, is great. We used the buses quite a lot, yet all is easy and clean to use.

Rule 2: bicycles.

I cannot stress how important it is to be bicycle aware in the city. Totally. Bikes rule, not cars, not pedestrians, not buses. And there are thousands and thousands of bikes. All can be mobile at the same time. Bike lanes run by the side of the walkways. There are more cyclists than pedestrians.

Young people ride bikes. Old people ride bikes. Heavily pregnant? Ride a bike. In a suit, short skirt or need to move your whole family or furniture? Ride a bike.

And in a place dominated by cyclists, you think the cyclists stick to the rules? Nope, not always. They will cycle anywhere. Do not assume that the pedestrian areas will be cycle free.

It is easy to understand after a short time. Yet the guide books just say there are bikes. Not hugely informative really. Always look out for bikes.

Rule 3: Food.

Our guidebook listed lots of places to eat. All in the city centre, all possibly good. Yet city centre means busy and expensive. Ignore those guides. Seek out the street food areas that the locals use, or just walk a bit out of town. We found one café on a rail station that was as good as anywhere.

Rule 4: Coffee.

Copenhagen takes its' coffee seriously. As in they win awards for it, often. A cup of black coffee costs £4. Easily for four people drinks in back street cafes can be £20.

Rule 5: it is expensive?

Nope, not really. It would be if you did not follow Rule 1. Then it would be horrendous. On our trip things were perhaps 20% more expensive than, say, a place like Brixton. If you live in a place like Islington, you would find it cheap.

Rule 6: Use airbnb.

Cheap, fun and you see the city as normal people do. Just do not post the keys back before retrieving your passports from their hiding place in the apartment, as my wife did. That was not good.

Rule 7: Boat cruises.

Just use your free pass and use a municipal boat. That will cost you nothing. Water is water, and the views are the same. You do not need to spend money to cruise by boat.

Rule 8: the mall.

Nah, don't bother. It is boring. The city centre shops are better.

Rule 9: everybody speaks English.

It seemed odd why. Somebody told me that if you only speak Dutch, you'd only speak to people in your own country as nobody else uses the language. It is still nice not to assume, and to try theirs.

Further, using Rule 6 you should ask the owner where is good to visit. We found so much more that way than any guide book.

Rule 10: walking.

Even using public transport all the time, our days would record us walking 18 kilometres each day. You get fit in Copenhagen.

Walking feet.

Rule 11: Tivoli.

Use Rule 1 to get in Tivoli for free. You still have to pay for the rides. However, you do not have to do this either. Unlike any other amusement park, it is not all about the rides. They are perhaps 50% of the park. The rest is restaurants and music performances.

Finally, and this is not a rule, just an observation:

They have a f****** mental four day street party at the start of June. They close off whole districts for this. Great if you like to rave. If you do not, or have small children? Just give the first week in June a miss, eh? We got caught up in one by mistake. It took us 90 minutes to find a way out. There was no panic or drama; just 50,000 ravers off their heads with alcohol and drugs. Even some of the Police were drinking alcohol and could not give a toss. In a friendly, "you got yourself into this mess, not my problem" Scandinavian manner.

It is a great place, made better with a few simple adjustments to your knowledge and manner of doing things. Be casual, open and embracing of things slightly at odds with home, and you will do great. Just make sure you buy a pass....