The best things to do in Copenhagen

The best things to do in Copenhagen

13 things to see and experience in Copenhagen

sted
Copenhagen, Denmark
Kasper Christiansen
Text: Bettina Valdivieso. Photos: Kasper Christiansen
February 10th 2021

Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is one of the greatest cities in the world. The city is famous for its hygge (coziness), smørrebrød (sweet butter bread) and Danish design - and the danes are the happiest people in the world. The wonderful city of Copenhagen has a lot to offer: full of history and modern architecture, design and at the same time traditional and innovative, Copenhagen is one of the most sustainable cities in the world.

Let us guide you through the city with its cobblestoned streets, boat tours in the canals and kilometers of bicycle lanes, that makes Copenhagen one of the best cities to experience by bike - but be careful with the bike traffic that can be quite overwhelming if you are a beginner!

1

Tivoli Gardens

This amazing amusement park located in downtown Copenhagen (on H.C. Andersen Blvd, in front of København Rådhus/The Copenhagen City Hall), opened on 15 of august, 1843, is the third oldest amusement park in the world, after Wurstelprater (Austria) and Dyrehavsbakken in Klampeborg (also in Denmark).

Tivoli is a must see for all visitors, young and old. Tivoli offers rides, games, ballet, musicals, major concerts, theater, and a wide range of restaurants for all budgets. Apart from the many attractions you will find amazing gardens with extravagant decoration and lightning in Tivoli.

The Tivoli Gardens
The Tivoli Gardens - a historic park in the centre of Copenhagen

2

Nyhavn

Nyhavn, a 17th century harbor constructed by King Christian V, is the most iconic landmark in Copenhagen. Built from 1670 to 1675 by Swedish prisoners of war. The famous Danish fairy-tale author, Hans Christian Andersen, lived in Nyhavn for 18 years.  Nyhavn is full of multicolor townhouses, wooden ships and house boat, but also modern boats lined through the canals. We recommend that take a canal tour in Nyhavn. Along the canal you will find restaurants, bars and cafes. This port is a must see!

At the end of the harbour, you will find the great Memorial Anchor that commemorates the more of 1,700 Danish officers and sailors who lost their lives in World War II.

Nyhavn
Nyhavn - a popular place to visit during summer

3

CopenHill

Designed by Danish super star architect Bjarke Ingels, CopenHill is a power waste energy plant and sport facility in Amager, Copenhagen. The plant is a surprising mix of sustainability, urbanization and design.

CopenHill offers a number of outdoor activities in the middle of Copenhagen: you can do skiing, snowboarding, hiking, running and climbing at the world´s tallest climbing wall (85 meters) or just have a nice walk and a drink on the top of the building, enjoying the views to the ocean, Copenhagen and Sweden.

Copenhill
Copenhill - designed by Bjarke Ingles Group

4

Copenhagen Botanical Garden

In the center of Copenhagen you will find Copenhagen's Botanical Garden, a green oasis with free admission. The botanical garden contains more than 13,000 plant species. The garden is part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark which is part of the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Science.

The gardens has no less than 27 glasshouses, the old Palm House from 1874 being the most visited. The garden also has a Butterfly House and a café.

Copenhagen's Botanical Garde
Copenhagen's Botanical Garden - in the centre of Copenhagen

5

Amager Strandpark

Amager Strandpark is Copenhagen's largest beach. Located only 5 km from the center. Amager Strandpark has a lagoon, a city park and the place offers lots of activities all year round. You can swim, dive or practice windsurf and kitesurf, rent a kayak, a paddle board or a canoe. Also, Amager Strandpark has a long bike path, trails, skateboard park and restaurants.

6

Amalienborg

The famous Amalienborg Palace is the winter residence of The Royal Familiy. Located between the city and the harbour, Amalienborg is made up of four classical palaces with identical façades. The castle is a major work designed by the architect Nicolai Eigtved in the 1750s.

In the center of the square between the four buildings you will find an equestrian statue of Amalienborg's founder, King Frederick V.

Three of the four palaces are not open to the public, but you can visit Christian VIII's Palace, where you will find the Amalienborg Museum. The famous Royal Guard (Kongelige Livgarde) changes shift every two hours, with a complete change of the guard every day at 12 p.m.

Buildings in the Amalienborg palace
  • Christian VII’s Palace (known as Moltke's Palace, used as guest residence),
  • Frederik VIII’s Palace (known as Brockdorff’s Palace, home of the Crown Prince family),
  • Christian IX’s Palace (known as Schack’s Palace, home of the Queen) and
  • Christian VIII’s Palace (known as Levetzau' Palace, used as guest palace for Prince Joachim and Princess Benedikte). Here you’ll find Amalienborg Museum.
Amalienborg
Amalienborg - the royal castle in the centre of Copenhagen

7

Rundetaarn - The Round Tower

This 17th century tower has three functions: the observatory, at the top of the tower, the library and the Trinity Church. It's the oldest functioning observatory in Europe, located right in the centre of Copenhagen.

Rundetaarn was built by King Christian IV, and it meassures 34,8 meters. Instead of stairs there is a 268,5 meters long spiral ramp that takes you to the top. On the way there is an access to the library Hall. 

8

The National Museum

The National Museum in Copenhagen is the largest museum of cultural history in the country. It is located in The Prince's Palace - no longer used by the Royal family - at the center of Copenhagen, only a short walk from Strøget.

The Museum offer you many highlights of Danish history and heritage: the stone age, the Vikings, the golden horns, the Egtved Girl, the Sun Chariot (Solvognen) as well as mommies, Renaissance paintings and Modern Danish History.

The Trundholm Sun Chariot – Solvognen was made during the Bronze Age around 1400 BC. It is a a sculpture of a horse with a large bronze disk. The golden sun disk reveals its Nordic origin and the idea that the sun was drawn on its eternal journey by a divine horse.
The museum has a permanent exhibition, a children's museum, a restaurant and a museum shop.

The National Museum
The National Museum - one of the best museums in Denmark

9

Rosenborg Palace

This renaissance castle located in Copenhagen, also built by King Christian IV in the 17th century, was originally thought as a country summerhouse. The castle is open to the public for tours and it houses a museum with the Royal collection of art treasures, the Crown Jewels and Royal Regalia. The castle is located in The King's Garden (Kongens Have). The garden is a popular place for the Copenhagen's inhabitants.

10

The Christiansborg Palace

This palace has more than 800 years of history. The Folketing (the Danish Parliament) use most of the rooms in the palace, but Christiansborg also houses the Danish Prime Minister's Office, the Supreme Court of Denmark and the Royal Reception Rooms. The Royal Reception Rooms are open to the public.

Christianborg Palace was originally built between 1735 and 1745 but the building burned down in 1794. The second Christianborg Palace was completed in 1828 during the reign of Frederik VI, but also this building burned down in 1884.

The third version of the palace was built between 1907 and 1928 is the current palace. Let's hope it will be there for a long time.

11

Torvehallerne

Torvehallerne is an original food market designed by Danish architect Hans Hagens. The market has more than 80 shops and it is a favorite place for copenhageners. At the market you will find Danish delicatessen, local and fresh vegetable, fresh fish, incredible pastries, chocolate, as well as a tea shop and a wine shop. Torvehallerne is a perfect place to have a beer or cup of coffee, or a smørrebrød (Danish open face sandwich), breakfast, lunch or dinner. This fashionable market is located right next to the Nørreport Station (one of the main train and metro stations in Copenhagen).

12

Assistens kirkegård

Assistens Kirkegård – the Assistance Cemetery was built outside the city walls in 1760 because of lack of space for funerals in Copenhagen. In this green breathing-space cemetery, you will find the graves of the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and many other famous artists and scientists.

The cemetery is located in the Nørrebro district. Both locals and tourists sunbath here when the sun is shining, and use the cemetery for picnics. In the cemetery you will find some wonderful, peaceful gardens, sculptures and a shop.

Assistens Kirkegaard
Assistens Kirkegaard - a famous cementery in Copenhagen

13

Strøjet

Strøget is the largest pedestrian street in Europe and the largest shopping area in the heart of Copenhagen. This popular attraction is located in the center of the old city. Strøget will let you find some of the most expensive brands in the world as well as budget-friendly chains. Strøget is a popular favorite place for street performers, dancers, acrobats, magicians and musicians.  The main street goes from Rådhuspladsen (the City Hall Square), through Frederiksberggade, Gammel Torv square, Nytorv square, Amagetorv square and ends at Nyhavn.