Things to do in Copenhagen Denmark
Copenhagen Denmark is one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe, and while it’s often overlooked for more glamorous capitals like Rome and Paris – it’s a gem! Copenhagen is the gateway to Scandinavia and an ultra-modern destination that’s one of the world’s cleanest, safest and most easily navigated cities.
Copenhagen has a super-convenient public transit system and its flat landscape makes it simple to navigate by foot. The historic city centre is picturesque and compact – it can be traversed in about 25 minutes from one end to the other. The city also has a robust network of bike paths and cycling infrastructure, so it’s perfect to explore by bicycle. And here are the top things to do in Copenhagen that are waiting for you in the Danish capital.
Recently a friend was housesitting for the first time in Copenhagen and although she said it was an expensive city she fell in love and said that she would go back in a heartbeat it was so beautiful. It is possible to spend a long weekend in Copenhagen and Stockholm and see all the sites if you plan carefully.
13 Copenhagen must-see Attractions
While discovering the city by land is easy, an exciting way to see the city is on the water. Copenhagen has a rich maritime history and you can rediscover it by taking a canal boat tour through the cities canals and harbour. The ribbon of waterways will take you through historic neighbourhoods and offer sweeping views of Royal Castles, Danish Navy vessels, charming canal houses and the famous Little Mermaid statue. The best tour offers a live guide and a 90-minute ride which can be broken up if you decide to get off the boat at different landmarks like gorgeous Nyhavn canal. It’s a great way to get an overview of Copenhagen and see the main sites of the city in a short period of time.
If you’ve got a more adventurous spirit, you can rent an electric boat and charter your own canal cruise. Copenhagen has several electric boat rental companies that give you the chance to drive your own picnic boat around the waterways of the city. Each boat has a table for bringing along lunch and some drinks, you just need to steer and enjoy a leisurely afternoon.
Get the Best Views of the City
The views of Copenhagen are spectacular from above. Once you’ve seen it from the street level and the water below, find a birds-eye view of the town! There are many options to see the city, and the views are splendid. Part of the reason is that most buildings in Copenhagen were only built to a height of 5 or 6 stories. This provides panoramic views of the city from the highest buildings that grant you viewing access. On a clear day, you can even see across the Øresund Sound to Sweden.
Thrill-seekers can climb the exterior staircase built onto the spire of the Church of our Saviour. Other visitors may prefer the views from Copenhagen City Hall observation platform where you can enjoy the view from inside a covered deck.
The Round Tower is also a safer viewing experience where visitors climb the spiral ramp inside of the tower. There is an astronomical clock at the top and you can take a final staircase to the observation deck above.
The views from Christianborg Palace are also easier to reach because you can take a lift almost all the way to the top. From the lift doors, it’s a short staircase to the observation deck or you can simply stop at the restaurant in the tower for a bite to eat and views of the city.
Try Copenhagen Street Food
The Copenhagen street food scene is remarkable and one of the cities best-kept secrets. The city has a great pop-up culture for art, food and other vendors – so street food is a natural fit. One of the best places to try street food in Copenhagen is Reffen. It’s across the harbour from Copenhagen’s city centre but easily reached by bus, ferry or a rented bike. Taxis can also take you there, but they’re expensive – so try to avoid them.
Reffen is a large urban playground with rows upon rows of street food stalls on Copenhagen Harbor. You’ll find fire pits, a stage for live music and even skateboarding in the centre. Mostly, it’s just a great spot to try different street foods, a cold beverage and relax on a picnic table by the harbour.
You can also find great street food at Broens Gadekokken, or Bridge Street Kitchen. It’s located across the harbour from Nyhavn canal and full of great food stalls. Most are street food ventures from some of the best Copenhagen restaurants, so it’s a great way to try their cuisine before booking a reservation for dinner. There’s also music and seating around the waterways which makes a perfect spot to take in the harbour views. In the winter months, there’s even an ice skating rink. Some of the food vendors close to make space for the rink, but a few remain open and you can enjoy a bite to eat and hot chocolate while skating.
Relax at Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens is one of the must-do attractions of Copenhagen, and when you visit the park, you’ll understand why it’s so highly regarded. It was the inspiration for Walt Disney to create his theme parks, and it’s loaded with old-world charm, beautifully landscaped grounds and fun attractions. Even if you don’t like amusement park rides, you’ll love exploring the grounds, watching the shows and entertainment and trying the tasty foods served up at Tivoli. In the summer months, there are concerts each Friday, there are daily performances at the baroque theatre and an evening light show on the lake with water, fire and light features.
Tivoli is open in each season of the year, not just the summer months. It has a Halloween theme in the fall, a Christmas market and theme in the early winter months and they reopen in February with a winter theme that makes you feel like you’re in the movie Frozen. The decorations at Tivoli seem like they’re from a Hollywood movie set and will leave you amazed. It’s a wonderful attraction and fun for kids and adults of any age.
Explore Copenhagen’s Castles
Denmark has the oldest continuous monarchy in the world, dating back farther than Christianity in the region. Their royal history is fascinating to explore and you can do it right in the heart of Copenhagen with two great castles. These stunning castles are Rosenborg, home of the Danish crown jewels, and Amalienborg, the home of the Royal Family. They both provide a unique experience for visitors you can even purchase a combination ticket.
Visiting Rosenborg is a great experience because it’s essentially a museum of Danish Royal artefacts. The castle is a Renaissance building which was never meant for fortification, but to display the opulence of the Danish monarchs. Their possessions, jewels, tapestries and even the coronation thrones are on display for your viewing pleasure. You can walk through and see items from centuries of Danish history as you tour the castle.
When you finish, take a relaxing stroll around the grounds of Kongens Have, the King’s Gardens. They surround Rosenborg Castle and are now open to the public – in fact, it’s the most visited public space in the city. You’ll find locals relaxing in the park almost all year long and it’s a popular picnic spot.
When you make your way to Amalienborg, you’ll be going from Denmark’s Royal past to Royal present. The palace structure is actually four unique buildings that are each occupied by different members of the Royal family. The Royal residence is occupied periodically throughout the year, but tours are open daily besides holidays and special events. If you make your way to Amalienborg before noon, you can witness the changing of the guard. This ornate ceremony is a nice way to observe tradition before viewing the palace.
No matter what you come to Copenhagen for, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a vibrant and hip city with a wonderful past and an eye on the future. The modern city is easy to get around and it’s full of fun things to do from street food to museums to castles to a downtown amusement park. There’s really something for everyone in Copenhagen, it’s just waiting for you to come and discover it!
There are many exciting places to visit in Denmark so take the time to do some day trips from Copenhagen when visiting this beautiful country.
This months guest post comes from Derek Hartman and Mike Walsh who are an American couple from Philadelphia who live in Copenhagen, Denmark. They are the founders of Everything Copenhagen and the travel blog, Robe Trotting, who love to share their passion for travelling and their new hometown of Copenhagen. Together they’ve been to over 40 countries and you can follow their adventures on Facebook.
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