Copenhagen is Denmark’s vibrant and buzzing capital city and the perfect Scandinavian destination for a city break. The city is filled with royal history dating back to the Viking ages. There are numerous royal parks and residences across the city to explore and to learn more about the country’s history. The royal parks make up a large number of green spaces across the city, which can be found by its waterways and even in the centre. This makes for a welcome escape and place to relax.
A friendly city and perfect for visiting with families, there are plenty of things to do in Copenhagen with children, including renting bicycles to explore the city like locals or even taking a dip in the cold waters of the harbour pool. Copenhagen oozes hygee, the Danish way of creating a warm and inviting atmosphere and making the most of the little things in life. Experience this over a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll at one of the city’s many cafes, or find a window seat in a small restaurant and dine as you watch the world go by.
Copenhagen has excellent public transport links, with regular trains, busses and metro services. Its public transport network and bicycle-friendly streets make Copenhagen a green city. Enjoy the architecture in this UNESCO UIA World Capital of Architecture with its unique collection of old and new buildings seamlessly blending and complimenting each other.
The city is split into many neighbourhoods, all well worth visiting for their unique nature, atmosphere and range of things to do. Copenhagen is a great destination for a short city break or as part of a longer trip through Scandinavia, whatever the season. Here are 20 things to do in Copenhagen to help you start your travel plans.
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Top Tours
- 20 Things To Do In Copenhagen
- 1- Have Fun In Tivoli Gardens
- 2- Snap A Photo At The Little Mermaid Statue
- 3- Wander Around Nyhavn
- 4- Visit Rosenborg Castle
- 5- Step Back In Time At Christiansborg Palace
- 6- Admire The View From The Round Tower
- 7- See The Collection At Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
- 8- Admire Incredible Art At The SMK
- 9- Relax In The Copenhagen Botanical Garden
- 10- Enjoy The Taste Of Smørrebrød
- 11- Spend Time In Designmuseum Denmark
- 12- Try Danish Treats In Torvehallerne Market
- 13- Follow The Troll Trail
- 14- Eat Fresh Seafood In A Waterfront Restaurant
- 15- Eat Danish Pastries At Sankt Peders Bageri
- 16- Dine In The Meatpacking District
- 17- Explore Freetown Christiana
- 18- Hire A Bicycle And Hit The Cycle Paths
- 19- Wind Down In Frederiksberg Have
- 20- Discover The Secrets Of Cisternerne
- 21- Go Skiing At CopenHill
- Copenhagen: Canal Cruise from Nyhavn
- Copenhagen: Tivoli Gardens Admission Ticket
- Copenhagen Card-Discover: 80+ Attractions & Public Transport
20 Things To Do In Copenhagen
1- Have Fun In Tivoli Gardens
One of the most famous places in Copenhagen is Tivoli Gardens.
This unique fairground and park has various rides, including classics such as Ferris wheels and carousels, more modern thrill rides and a rollercoaster.
There are numerous games, interactive stories and an aquarium to enjoy in the park.
Enjoy a ride on Tivoli Gardens’ 1969 trolley car before taking to the lake’s waters on a dragon boat.
During the winter, the park is lit with fairy lights, and fire pits are regularly placed to warm you up.
2- Snap A Photo At The Little Mermaid Statue
Edvard Eriksen created the now-famous Little Mermaid statue in 1913.
Carl Jacobsen commissioned the statue in 1909 after watching a ballet performance of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale at Copenhagen’s Theatre Royal.
The statue, cast from bronze, sits on rocks at the edge of the waters in Copenhagen’s harbour.
The statue gets incredibly popular, with eager tourists desperate to snap a shot of the famous mermaid, so get there early or wait until dusk to get the best lighting for your photograph.
Little Mermaid Statue is at Langelinie, 2100 København Ø.
- Copenhagen: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Boat Tour Option
- Copenhagen: 48-Hour Sightseeing Bus Ticket, 1-Hour Boat Tour
3- Wander Around Nyhavn
Nyhavn is Copenhagen’s trendy harbour neighbourhood and a must-visit when in the city.
Nyhavn was once the city’s 17th-century waterfront and was an important port area for unloading cargo.
Today the colourful buildings lining the water are restaurants, cafes and shops, all with hygee vibes and welcoming atmospheres.
During the evening, expect Nyhavn to glitter under a wealth of fairy lights and listen for soft jazz music in the area coming from the restaurants and bars.
Nyhavn is also strongly linked to author Hans Christian Andersen who lived at three addresses in the area and even wrote ‘The Princess and The Pea’ at number 26.
Nyhavn is an area of Copenhagen by the waterfront.
- Copenhagen: Canal Cruise from Nyhavn
- Copenhagen: Guided Canal Tour by Electric Boat
- Copenhagen: 2-hour “Hidden Gems” Canal Tour
- Copenhagen: 1- or 2-Hour Boat Rental – No License Required
4- Visit Rosenborg Castle
In the centre of Copenhagen is the spectacular Rosenborg Castle.
Christian IV ordered the palace to be built in the early 1600s as a summer house, with it opening in 1633.
The castle has been the home of the Danish Treasury for more than 400 years and is still guarded by the Life Guards.
Inside the castle, you can see a variety of possessions from Christian IV and get a glimpse at his everyday life and how the castle changed for royal occasions.
Bertel Lange and Hanz van Steenwinckel designed the castle in the Dutch Renaissance style, making it instantly recognisable through its high towers and red bricks.
Rosenborg Castle is at Øster Volgade 4A, 1350 København.
Recommended tour: Copenhagen: Private Guided Walking Tour of Rosenborg Castle
5- Step Back In Time At Christiansborg Palace
Step back 800 years into Copenhagen’s history at Christiansborg Palace.
Over the centuries, the palace was developed and rebuilt to its current style in 1923.
On tours of the palace, visitors can see the Royal Reception Rooms, Great Hall, The Tapestries, The Royal Stables and Royal Kitchen.
The palace is still used as an official engagement venue for galas held by HM The Queen.
Guided and audio tours of the palace are offered, with special interactive tours for children, including a detective tour where children can help stop a thief from stealing a treasure.
Christiansborg Palace is at 1218 København.
Recommended tour: Copenhagen City & Christiansborg Palace Private Walking Tour
6- Admire The View From The Round Tower
For some of the best views across the city, scale The Round Tower.
Christian IV built the tower in the 17th century as an observatory in the city’s centre.
Today the tower is a popular attraction and is still actively used as an observatory by amateur astronomers, making it Europe’s oldest functioning observatory.
A spiral walkway winds to the top of the tower, the viewing platform and observatory, for excellent views over the Old Town.
Inside the tower is the old Library Hall, which, while no longer used as a library, is often used for exhibitions on history and art.
The Round Tower is at Købmagergade 52A, 1150 København.
Recommended tour: Copenhagen: 1 or 2-Hour Segway Tour
7- See The Collection At Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a fantastic art museum in the centre of Copenhagen with more than 6000 years of history within its walls.
The museum has an extensive collection of more than 10,000 works of art and archaeological artefacts.
The museum was originally designed as a daylight museum, open only during daylight hours and using this light to illuminate the works on display.
Today the museum has longer opening hours but still uses daylight as a key part of the museum’s overall aesthetic.
Visit the Winter Garden, the central dome of the museum where tropical plants and palms thrive, before heading to the Central Hall to see a recreation of an Ancient Roman forum filled with statues from the time.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is at Dantes Plads 7, 1556 København.
Other museums to visit:
8- Admire Incredible Art At The SMK
SMK, or Statens Museum for Kunst, is one of the most popular museums in Copenhagen and is home to the National Gallery of Denmark.
Vilhelm Dahlerup and G.E.W. Møller designed the museum in the Italian Renaissance revival style, opening as a royal collection in 1896.
The museum is the largest art museum in the country, with exhibitions on arts, history and natural history.
SMK’s art collection is the largest in Denmark, with approximately 260,000 works in its galleries and archives.
Despite only a small percentage of the museum’s collection on display, SMK regularly rotates its paintings and sculptures to ensure every visitor can share in their works of art.
SMK is at Sølvgade 48-50, 1307 København.
9- Relax In The Copenhagen Botanical Garden
One of the best things to do in Copenhagen, whatever the season or weather, is to stroll through the Copenhagen Botanical Garden.
The botanical gardens is home to the largest collection of plants in the city, with more than 13,000 species of plants displayed.
More than 600 of the species within the gardens are native to Denmark.
Within the gardens are ponds, rock gardens, themed gardens, walkways and a spectacular glass house.
The glass house dates from the 19th century and has towering tropical plants and trees.
The gardens are free to enter, however, entry to the glasshouse does require a ticket for a small fee.
Copenhagen Botanical Gardens is at Gothersgade 128, 1123 København.
10- Enjoy The Taste Of Smørrebrød
To fully experience the Danish lifestyle and hygee, find a cosy restaurant and order smørrebrød.
Smørrebrød is typically made using rye bread with various tasty toppings, served as an open sandwich.
Many cafes and restaurants will serve smørrebrød at lunchtime with toppings such as fish, meats or vegetables.
Schønneman, a hygee-filled cafe from 1877, serves some of the best smørrebrød in the city at lunchtime, with toppings including smoked eel, scrambled eggs or fried place.
For something a little more modern, head to Restaurant Palægade, a restaurant dedicated to smørrebrød with beautiful plating and a large variety of toppings offered, with many focused on traditional Danish herring.
Smørrebrød is served at many cafes and restaurants across Copenhagen.
Recommended tour: Copenhagen: Small-Group Hygge and Happiness Culture Tour
11- Spend Time In Designmuseum Denmark
Immerse yourself in Danish and International design at Designmuseum Denmark.
Karre Klimt and Ivar Bentsen designed the museum inside the former Royal Frederik’s Hospital in 1926 when the museum was re.
The museum specialises in decorative arts, crafts and industrial design, including works from Danish designers Arne Jacobsen and Poul Henningsen.
Designmuseum Denmark includes collections dating from the Middle Ages to the modern day.
During the summer, the museum café expands into a courtyard with outdoor seating so visitors can make the most of the sunshine.
Designmuseum Denmark is at Bredgade 68, 1260 København.
Recommended: Danish Architecture Center Entrance Ticket
12- Try Danish Treats In Torvehallerne Market
Torvehallerne Market is a must-visit for anyone interested in trying new foods, delicious ready-to-eat dishes and an all-round local atmosphere.
There are over 80 shops and stalls within the market, including bakeries, restaurants, kitchenware shops, fruit and vegetable stalls and specialists selling herbs and flowers.
Torvehallerne Market is right in the city centre, making it a perfect destination to call into before heading into one of Copenhagen’s many parks.
For some of the best food available at the market, grab a pizza from Gorm’s, enjoy a sit-down tapas meal at Tapa del Toro or indulge in something sweet at Summerbird Chocolatiers.
Torvehallerne Market is at Frederiksborggade 21, 1362, København.
Recommended tour: Copenhagen: Evening Gourmet Walk with Food & Drinks Tasting
13- Follow The Troll Trail
For a great way to explore the city as a family or simply for a unique way to take in the sights, head out on a Troll Trail.
Troll Trail maps are available across the city and help eager visitors find large wooden trolls hidden across Copenhagen.
Thomas Dambo, a Copenhagen-based recycled-art activity, designed and made the trolls using recycled waste material.
The trolls are scattered across the city, however, remember to find the Six Forgotten Giants.
The Six Forgotten Giants can be found along a beautiful and leafy 19-mile (30.57 kilometre) cycle trail.
The Troll Trail is a great way to explore the city and an interactive and fun way to learn more about nature and sustainability.
Troll Trail is at several locations across Copenhagen.
14- Eat Fresh Seafood In A Waterfront Restaurant
No trip to Copenhagen would be complete without a tasty seafood dinner at a cosy restaurant.
Restaurant Havfruen is along the water’s edge in picturesque Nyhavn and is the perfect destination to dine with a view.
The restaurant is a seafood bistro specialising in locally caught and sustainable seafood.
During the summer, the restaurant opens its terrace and outdoor seating, and in winter, its dark wood-panelled dining room is inviting and filled with hygee.
The quiet jazz music playing throughout adds to the restaurant’s irresistible atmosphere.
Order the refreshing and tangy homemade lemonade, and try the crisp and fresh fish ‘n’ chips, a hearty piece of lightly battered cod served with tasty chips and refreshing crushed peas.
Restaurant Havfruen is at Nyhavn 39, 1051 København.
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15- Eat Danish Pastries At Sankt Peders Bageri
For one of the best cinnamon roll experiences in Copenhagen, head out on a Wednesday morning to the Latin Quarter to enjoy this local treat.
Sankt Peders Bageri dates back to 1652, making it the oldest bakery in the city.
While the bakery is open all week, locals flock to it on Wednesdays to try one of their famous onsdagssnegles, or Wednesday snails.
More than 4000 spiralled, sweet and cinnamon-filled pastries are sold every Wednesday.
The bakery has limited seating due to its small size, and drinks can be ordered to go alongside your sweet treat.
The bakery offers many other delicious treats, including fresh bread, pastries and beautifully decorated fruit tarts.
Sankt Peders Bageri is at Sankt Peders Stræde 29, 1453 København.
16- Dine In The Meatpacking District
If you fancy a comforting slice of pizza when in Copenhagen, look no further than Mother.
Mother is a cosy and tightly packed restaurant in the popular Meatpacking District that oozes hygee vibes, from natural decor to wood-fired pizza oven.
The restaurant specialises in using seasonal and organic ingredients to ensure they are getting back to nature.
Mother’s desire to include nature in everything they do includes adapting their dough, where purified sea water is used instead of salt.
Every pizza is made using sourdough, baked in a wood-fired oven and topped with artisanal toppings, some from Italy to ensure authenticity.
Mother is at Høkerboderne 9-15, 1712 København.
Recommended tour: Copenhagen: The Meatpacking District Tour
17- Explore Freetown Christiana
For a unique experience in Copenhagen, head across the harbour to Freetown Christiana, an international community and commune not governed by the Danish government.
Around 900 people live within the community, which was once a military base.
There are many rules for visiting the community, including no running and no photography, however, this last rule has recently been overturned.
The community is an interesting one to explore, with lots of street art, tasty food stalls and plenty of places to buy souvenirs.
For the best food, try Sunshine Bakery for traditional cake Danisk Kage, or enjoy a variety of dishes at Morgenstedet for something vegan.
Freetown Christiana is at København.
Recommended tour: Copenhagen Freetown Christiania: Outdoor Escape Game
18- Hire A Bicycle And Hit The Cycle Paths
Copenhagen is very bicycle-friendly, and hiring a bike offers one of the best ways for tourists to explore the city.
There are many places to rent a bike across Copenhagen, including some in the harbour and close to the parks.
Copenhagen has miles of traffic cycle paths and trails through parks.
One of the most popular routes is the Harbour Ring, covering 13 kilometres (8.07 miles).
The Harbour Ring cycle path takes riders past Copenhagen’s most famous sights and some of the city’s incredible architecture, including the Black Diamond Library extension.
The cycle path also runs through Amager Fælled nature reserve, the perfect destination to stop for a picnic or admire the views.
Bicycles can be hired across the city. Book your bike here.
The Harbour Ring begins at Københavns Havn, 1400 København.
19- Wind Down In Frederiksberg Have
Frederiksberg Have is one of the largest and most beautiful of Copenhagen’s parks.
The garden spans 64 hectares of vast green lawns, trees, ornamental gardens, ponds and more.
There are also many pavilions throughout the gardens, and Frederiksberg Palace overlooks them from its hilltop location.
Adding to the royal feeling of the park is the large 19th-century statue of Frederik VI, who used the palace with his family as a summer residence.
At the northern end of the gardens is Copenhagen Zoo, where more than 4000 animals from all over the world live.
Frederiksberg Have is at Frederiksberg Runddel, 2000 Frederiksberg.
20- Discover The Secrets Of Cisternerne
Below the lush green grasses of Søndermarken Park lies Cisternerne, an unusual museum inside the former underground water reservoirs for the city.
The entrance and exit to Cisternerne are marked above ground by two glass pyramids within the park.
This underground space has been transformed into a unique immersive art experience where artists are invited to create something unusual and reflective of the space.
Past exhibitions have included boat rides through the tunnels, filling the space with lanterns and combining fires and mirrors.
Cisternerne is always cold due to its underground location.
Cisternerne is at Søndermarken, 2000 Frederiksberg.
21- Go Skiing At CopenHill
For a unique experience, head to CopenHill Ski, an artificial ski slope in Copenhagen that combines skiing and snowboarding with waste-to-energy infrastructure.
CopenHill Ski sits on top of the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant, designed to convert waste into electricity and heat for the city.
The plant incorporates an innovative 400m artificial ski slope on its roof!
The slope has various difficulty levels, making it suitable for beginners and experienced skiers.
Its vertical drop of 85 meters provides a challenge for skiers and snowboarders.
The slope is covered with artificial snow and the facility offers hiking trails, climbing walls, and a viewing platform.
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