With its colorful portside houses, 14 Michelin-starred restaurants, and even an amusement park, Copenhagen offers activities to suit every traveler. But there’s more to the city than meets the eye. Read on to discover 7 must-do activities while in Copenhagen.
1. Reconnect with your inner child at Tivoli Gardens
How many major European cities can boast a full-fledged amusement park in the city center? Not many. Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens are located close to various attractions and hotels, making it very easy to get to. The park has been open since 1843, making it the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. It is also the most-visited park in Scandinavia. While there, be sure to ride the Bjergbanen (Mountain Coaster), a wooden roller coaster built in 1914. There are also more modern rides including carousels, a drop tower, and looping plane rides. In addition to the rides, there are arcade games and theater shows. Nighttime is the best time to visit as the rides and buildings are lit up.
2. Eat in a traditional Danish restaurant
Danish food isn’t well-known outside of Denmark, but it should be. The traditional cuisine demonstrates the country’s agricultural past. Peasants needed hardy, easy-to-conserve foods like bread, fish, and meat. These elements can still be found in some restaurants. Smørrebrød, a widely-available open-face sandwich made with rye bread, fish, cheese, and a variety of condiments, is a great choice for lunch and can easily be customized to fit your tastes. However, Danish food has evolved as a result of globalization, creating a fusion cuisine that uses local ingredients to create French- and Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Copenhagen also hosts the world’s best restaurant, Noma, but you’ll have a hard time getting a table unless you reserve far in advance.
3. Stroll along the Langelinie Promenade
This pier, promenade, and park borders the Copenhagen harbor and is one the biggest green spaces in the city. You can picnic, warm up with a cup of coffee from one of the vendors, and watch the ships come in and out of the harbor. The area is also home to one of Copenhagen’s most popular sites, the Little Mermaid statue.
4. Take in the hippy atmosphere in the Christiana neighborhood
This self-proclaimed, semi-autonomous commune founded in 1971 by a group of squatters and artists stands in striking contrast to orderly Copenhagen. While technically part of the city, the area benefited from a special law granting it certain liberties not otherwise legal in other parts of the city, notably the sale of drugs. Local and national authorities have cracked down on such practices, but the hippy atmosphere remains. Here you’ll see no cars, photography is mostly prohibited, and the currency is different. You’ll see beautiful murals and find homemade products to buy, but for the most part, Christiana has to be experienced to be understood.
5. Climb to the top of the spire of the Church of our Saviour
The Church of our Saviour is one of Denmark’s most famous churches, owing to its unique design. Rather than a steeple, this church has a spire that you can climb. There are 400 steps needed to reach the top and the last 150 wind around the outside of the spire. This is certainly not an activity for those afraid of heights. When you reach the top, you’ll have a completely clear view of the city.
6. Scope out the street art
Despite being very clean and organized, Copenhagen features some incredible pieces of street art. Christiana, the city within a city in Copenhagen, is almost entirely covered with art; on houses, community buildings, and stores. Here the images vary from bold political and anti-establishment frescos to mythical dream worlds populated by fairies. Other areas worth checking out include BaNanna Park, a recreational area that features street art in the form of colorful animals and “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” and Enghave Brygge, a part of the harbor that features an enormous mural tracing the planet’s evolution.
7. Have a beer at the Carlsberg factory
Carlsberg is one of Denmark’s most successful exports. In existence since 1847, this German-style brewery has been concocting delicious beers and selling them all around the world. To learn more about the brand’s history, head to the Visit Carlsberg Experience. Visitors receive two free beers with the purchase of a ticket, making for a savory end to a fascinating visit.
Dive into the heart of Copenhagen
If you’re looking for a beautiful, fun city packed with great restaurants and activities, Copenhagen is the place to go. You’ll be amazed by the orderly parks, the diverse cuisine, and the rich history of the Danish capital. Add it to your next European cities tour.
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