Copenhagen is the kind of city cool people go to feel at home and the kind of city uncool people should go to in order to become cool. There’s nowhere like it. The Danish capital’s style is unique, its rhythm special, its personality peculiar in the best sense of the word. It’s peppered with more than 10 Michelin Star restaurants and is a foodie’s heaven. It’s populated by fashionable people who use clothes as expressions of their own creativity and by imaginative designers who have created a recognisable style. Copenhagen is also one of the world’s cleanest, most sustainable urban centres, where people ride bicycles like everyone else drives cars, where you can jump from the harbour into pristine water, where public transport arrives on time and whenever you need it. What else can we say: this city is close to being as perfect as a city can be. It’s time for you to discover it.
Our list of 11 best things to do in Copenhagen will guide you through the city’s wonders and help you explore it not only as a tourist but as a local. Stay for as long as you can there but if you only have a day or two to see it, this list will convince you that this is going to be one of your favourite city trips ever.
1. Walk along the famous Nyhavn
Nyhavn is one of the most iconic areas of Copenhagen and the one that is featured in every postcard you’ll find. The beautiful architecture will delight you and so will the food served at the many restaurants packed all over it. It is a place where locals and tourists mix together to end their day in glory and where people sit down and enjoy the sound of jazz and great food. Nyhavn is also full of history and was home to many artists, including Hans Christian Andersen. It’s impossible not to end up there no matter what itinerary you take, but make sure you try as many restaurants and spend as much time there as you can.
Address: København K, Denmark
2. Have a memorable experience at Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens is not just a garden but an amusement park dating all the way back to the nineteenth century. Visited by millions every year, Tivoli is one of the most popular amusement parks in Europe and is best known for its wooden roller coaster, Rutschebanen. The best thing about it is that it has something for everyone: it has a stunning, exotic architecture to appreciate, historic buildings to visit, lush gardens to wander through… and at night it is completely transformed into something out of a fairytale (and that’s maybe why Walt Disney and Hans Christian Andersen loved it so much). Don’t forget to experience this amazing place!
Address: Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V, Denmark
Website: Tivoli Gardens
Opening times: Monday - Sunday: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
3. Admire Danish sculptures at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
One of the best ways to learn about a city’s culture is to visit its museums. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek will teach you not only about Copenhagen but about the whole world. With an extensive collection of works of art and archaeological objects from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, this museum will present you with stunning pieces of history and art. There’s also an impressive collection of sculptures and a selection of works by very important artists, including French painter Auguste Rodin. In sum, you can’t miss this place if you have a soft spot for art.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Address: Dantes Plads 7, 1556 København, Denmark
Website: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Prices: from 14 USD (95 DKK) (free on Tuesdays)
Opening times: Tuesday - Sunday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Thursday: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
4. Taste Copenhagen at Torvehallerne Food Market
At Torvehallerne, you will find Copenhagen in food form, as well as a little taste from other more exotic cities. This amazing food market has dozens of stands selling the freshest ingredients and the most delicious delicacies, as well as freshly made local and international food. It is the best place to grab a bite and then continue exploring the city with a full stomach and a satisfied soul. Make sure you stop by!
Torvehallerne Food Market
Address: Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 København K, Denmark
Website: Torvehallerne Food Market
5. Get to the top of the Church of Our Saviour
One of Denmark’s most famous churches, the Church of Our Saviour is a beautiful place with four-hundred steps going all the way to the top waiting for you to climb them. From the top, you’ll get to see Copenhagen from an advantageous point that has been considered the best view in the whole city. Grab your camera, do some stretches and get ready to be amazed when you reach the last step!
The Church of Our Saviour
Address: Sankt Annæ Gade 29, 1416 København, Denmark
Website: The Church of Our Saviour
Opening times: Check full schedule here
Prices: from 6 USD (35 DKK)
6. Learn about the royals at Rosenborg Castle
Built in the seventeenth century, Rosenborg Castle is a beautiful historic building set in the heart of Copenhagen, where royal art treasures and the crown jewels are hidden. Inside, you’ll get to see tapestries commemorating the battles fought between Denmark and Sweden, the impressive Knight’s Hall, the coronation thrones, and important works of art. You can also visit the king’s private writing cabinet and admire portraits of Danish queens. It is a wonderful museum where you can learn about Danish royal history in just one place.
Address: Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København, Denmark
Website: Rosenborg Castle
Opening times: Check full schedule here
Prices: from 17 USD (107 DKK)
7. Visit the street food haven on Refshaleøen island
Refshaleøen was an industrial area and at one point in time, it sheltered a massive shipyard, one of the world’s largest. Today, it is a vibrant community dotted with cool bars, activity centres, restaurants, venue for music festivals, and much more. Refshaleøen is 15 minutes from the city centre by bike. You can soak in the peaceful ambience, a surprising contrast to the bustling Copenhagen. Reffen, on the harbour-side, offers ample scope for street food enthusiasts and creative souls. It is a melting pot amid a historical backdrop offering a fine mix of delicious street snacks, vibrant culture, and a great time for both tourists and locals.
Address: A, Refshalevej 167, 1432 København, Denmark
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 12pm - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 9pm; Sun: 11am - 8pm
8. Immerse yourself in Danish history at The National Museum of Denmark
Denmark’s National Museum in Copenhagen is the best place to learn about the country’s culture, history and art. It boasts exhibitions about the Stone Age, the Viking Age, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Danish History. Set in The Prince’s Palace, the architecture of this museum is something to admire but so are its many collections of artworks and objects. If you’re travelling with children, they’ll be particularly interested in the toy section. Before you leave, have a meal at Restaurant Julian, the museum’s popular restaurant among locals. Not to be missed!
The National Museum of Denmark
Address: Prince’s Mansion, Ny Vestergade 10, 1471 København K
Website: The National Museum of Denmark
Opening times: Monday - Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Pricess: from 12 USD (75 DKK)
9. Wander through the Botanical Garden
In the centre of Copenhagen, there’s a Botanical Garden covering 10 hectares (24.7 acres) with historical glasshouses and amazing plants. The garden contains thousands of different species of plants and is divided into sections showcasing the flora of different parts of the world. Visit all 27 glasshouses and enjoy a relaxing experience amongst lush plants. This is a beautiful place you should visit even if you don’t have a green thumb.
Address: Øster Farimagsgade 2C, 1353 København K, Denmark
Website: Botanical Garden
Opening times: Check the full schedule here
10. Visit the beautiful Christiansborg Palace
Cities full of history like Copenhagen have plenty of historic sites to visit. Christiansborg Palace is one of the must-see places you have to visit. This palace contains the Danish Parliament Folketinget, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State, so it’s pretty important. Parts of the palace are also used by the Royal Family but what will certainly spark your interest is the amazing architecture of the palace itself. There you’ll also get to admire the Queen’s tapestries that illustrate the Danish history and feel like a royal. You’ll find yourself staring at everything with your mouth open: that’s how beautiful everything in this place is. Don’t forget to add it to your list!
Address: Prins Jørgens Gård, 1468 København K, Denmark
Website: Christiansborg Palace
Opening times: Check full schedule here
Prices: from 8 USD (50 DKK)
11. Admire The Little Mermaid
Sat on a rock at Langelinje Pier is The Little Mermaid, one of Copenhagen’s most famous sculptures and most popular tourist attractions. The bronze and granite sculpture was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale and was a present given by Carl Jacobsen, a Danish brewer, who fell in love with the character after watching a ballet performance based on her story. The statue has been the victim of many acts of vandalism but remains an important artistic element in the city.
The Little Mermaid
Address: Langelinie, 2100 København Ø, Denmark
Website: The Little Mermaid
12. Try the best street food at Papiroeen
Editor’s Note: Establishment permanently closed.
Copenhagen’s “Paper Island” is located in the city’s harbour and offers plenty of amazing buildings to admire, one of which is the home of Copenhagen Street Food. After visiting all the galleries and showrooms in the area, go get some delicious food at one (or several) of the stalls or food trucks serving delicacies from all over the world. Your taste buds will thank you.
Note: Papiroeen closed down, but the same people that operated this zone has moved to Refshaleøen (listed above in the article)
Copenhagen Street Food at Papiroeen
Address: Hal 7 & 8 Papirøen, Trangravsvej 14, 7/8, 1436 København K, Denmark
Website: Copenhagen Street Food at Papiroeen
Copenhagen: whatever it takes, it gives back
If you’re visiting Copenhagen, you have to make sure you appreciate every second you spend in it by doing something you love, be it eating, wandering around, admiring its colourful buildings, or visiting fantastic historic places. Whatever you love to do, you can do it in Copenhagen because this is the kind of city that offers much more than what it takes. You’ll learn a bit more about yourself when you see it with your own eyes and you’ll understand what we mean when you find yourself there!
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