Christiania is one of the most famous areas of Copenhagen. It’s a free-spirited district that the locals refer to as “Freetown Christiania”. It works as a commune and approximately 800 people live there. Christiania receives plenty of tourists too, ranking as the fourth most visited place in Copenhagen.
History of Christiania
Christiania is located right in the middle of Copenhagen. It used to be a military area but was then abandoned. Hippies went in to live there, and they created the Freetown Christiania in 1971.
The Freetown is completely managed by the people living there. Their system is based on consensus democracy, and the highest authority in Christiania is “Fællesmødet”, a tradition where any citizen can show up and voice his or her opinion.
It is possible to move to Christiania, but it can be difficult. You have to apply to live there, and money is not a huge factor in getting in. The existing citizens decide how many new people can move in each year. Since many Danes and foreigners are interested in the place, it is difficult to secure a spot for permanent living. However, anybody can come in and visit Christiania if they choose to.
For a long time, there have been conflicts between Christiania and the Danish government. A big reason is that Christiania has been a center for the illegal drug trade in Copenhagen – although mostly just limited to marihuana. This was tolerated for many years, although there have always been occasional threats from the government to remove the Freetown. But tensions seriously started to arise in the mid-2000s.
Christiania briefly closed down for visitors in 2011, but now it is open again and things have calmed a bit. The Freetown profits from tourism, providing tours, dining options, merchandise sales, and much more. It is the fourth most visited attraction in Copenhagen and gets approximately 500,000 visitors per year.
Christiania became more internationally known in recent years, due to higher tourism in Copenhagen, and thereby word-of-mouth among travelers. Also, famous musician Lukas Graham is from Christiania and this has also brought some attention.
As of 2013, the same rules and laws apply to Christiania as the rest of Denmark. This continues to be the case in 2023.
How to get there
While there are some issues between Christiania and the Danish government, and while we don’t intend to take any sides in this, we highly recommend going to Christiania. Maybe you will love it, or maybe you will hate it. But it’s unlike any other any other area in Denmark, and it’s very interesting to talk to the locals there. The nature in the Freetown Christiania is also wonderful, like an oasis in the city of Copenhagen, which is otherwise full of urban developments.
So going there definitely makes sense, and we recommend it – but how do you get there?
Since it’s quite central in Copenhagen, you can probably walk there, depending on where you are staying.
Christiania is located within the Christianshavn area of Copenhagen. It is one of the city’s wealthiest areas if we look aside from Christiania.
You can get to Christianshavn – and thereby also Christiania – with metro lines 1 and 2. You can also take a bus to get there, or rent a bike and ride there yourself. There are many options.
Read more about public transport in Copenhagen here.
What to do in Christiania
It is completely free to enter Christiania. You can go in and walk around. Please notice that taking photos is generally not allowed. A lot of people do that anyway, but the locals don’t like it, and you will also notice signs saying you shouldn’t take photos. For the same reason, we are not showing pictures from inside Christiania here in this article, simply out of respect for their rules.
A walk around Christiania can take hours, and you will undoubtedly find interesting things to do on the way.
You can pay and get a tour from one of the locals. You can also get into the main house in Christiania and get insights into the culture of the Freetown.
Aside from that, just enjoy nature, go for a picnic, get a beer, sit down at one of the restaurants, and walk around for a few hours and enjoy the sights. Socialize a bit if you can – with other visitors and with locals. You can probably get away with buying cannabis if you want to, something that many visitors do – it’s a huge attraction in Christiania, since it is a very open-minded area. But be aware that it’s illegal according to Danish law and that the police are allowed to check your possessions if they notice anything suspicious.
Safety in Christiania
Christiania has issues with organized crime and the illegal marihuana trade. However, aside from that, it’s a safe place if you behave properly. Respect the locals and don’t do anything illegal, or anything that is considered against the social rules. If you do that, you’ll be just fine. If there is a police raid going on at the marketplace – something that happens occasionally – just stay clear of the action. There have been occasional shootings in the area where drugs are sold, so probably best to stay clear of that area too.
Staying near Christiania
Check our guide on where to stay in Copenhagen. Here you will find several hotel recommendations, some of which are near Christiania. It is always expensive to find a hotel in Copenhagen, no matter which one you pick, so it’s best to make sure you find a place that is actually worth the money. In our guide, you get the best recommendations.
Enjoy your time in Copenhagen, and particularly your Christiania visit!