Things to See and Do in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and is known for its beautiful architecture, rich history, and vibrant culture. If you visit Copenhagen in the winter, as I have, you might find it magical, thanks to the Christmas spirit and cozy atmosphere. Even though this guide is based on my visit in the winter, it can also be a guide for any time you plan a visit to Copenhagen.
No matter your length of stay in Copenhagen, the city will surprise you. This city has everything from shopping, sipping hot chocolate in a cozy tiny café, exploring castles, museums hopping, or just having fun in the oldest amusement park in the world.
Here are some suggestions for things to see and do while you’re in the city:
Visit Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park and gardens that have been around since 1843. Known as one of the oldest amusement parks in Denmark, no visit to Copenhagen would be complete without a visit to Tivoli Gardens.
Tivoli Gardens is even more magical during the holiday as it is a beautiful winter wonderland. The rides are decorated with Christmas lights, and the shops are sparkling with decorations. A bonus is purchasing tickets to the “Who Killed Don Calzone?” performance at the Glass Theater.
City Hall of Copenhagen
Copenhagen City Hall was built from the inspiration of Italian town halls, considered today a classic of the National Romantic style. The walls are adorned with Danish flags. Although the tower is currently being refurbished, it is one of the tallest buildings in Copenhagen. Tours are offered for an additional fee.
Copenhagen offers museums and art galleries throughout the city. Visit the Thorvaldsen, Glyptoteket, Workers Museum, and Museum of Copenhagen, to name a few. Some institutions offer admission on certain days, so visit their website for more details. If museums are your favorite thing to do, I suggest getting a Copenhagen Card that will allow you free access at any time to almost all the museums in the city.
Nyhavn & Canal Tour
Take a stroll through the Nyhavn waterfront area, which is filled with colorful houses and restaurants. In November and December, Nyhaven is transformed into a Christmas wonderland! Christmas Markets line the canal on one side, and boats are decorated with holiday lights.
I highly recommend taking a one-hour canal cruise with Stromma that leaves from Nyhavn. You will see several sights like the Little Mermaid statue and Amalienborg Palace.
See the Little Mermaid statue, a popular tourist attraction gifted to the city by the Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen. The sculpture was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.”
Check out the Rosenborg Castle, which was built in the early 17th century and is now a museum. Here you can be immersed in the Renaissance style with Danish architecture. The castle is fully decorated from that period. In the basement are the royal family’s crown jewels and other treasures. Stroll through the King’s Garden while visiting Rosenborg Castle.
- Hours: Check the schedule on the website
- Admission: Adults 130 DKK
Across the street from Rosenborg Castle is the beautiful Botanical Gardens. They have the most extensive collection of plants in Denmark and are known for their historical glasshouses built in 1874.
- Hours: April 1- September 30, Tue. – Sun. 10:00 – 17:00, Monday Closed (except in July and August 10:00 – 17:00); October 1 – March 31, Tue. – Sun. 10:00 – 15:30, Closed on Monday.
- Admission: Free to visit the Botanical Gardens except for the Palm House. In the summer months, the ticket will include the Butterfly House. Admission: Adult 60 DKK
National Museum of Denmark
Visit the National Museum of Denmark, which has exhibits on Danish history and culture. Home to Denmark’s finest art collections, stunning architecture, and excellent exhibitions.
- Hours: June – September, all days 10:00 -18:00, October – May, Tue. – Sun. 10:00 – 17:00, Closed Mon.
- Admission: Adult 120 DKK
Church of Our Saviour
The Church was built in the 1680s and includes a twisted spire offering a spectacular view of the city and one of the most sought-after landmarks in the city of Copenhagen. The Church is a Dutch baroque style, and its basic layout is a Greek cross. The altarpiece depicts a scene from the Garden of Gethsemane. It is free to visit the inside of the Church, but an additional fee to climb the spiral tower for a panoramic view of the city.
Kastellet (The Citadel) is one of Europe’s best-preserved star fortresses and was completed initially in 1664 to protect Denmark from Sweden. In addition to functioning as a fortress, Kastellet also served as a prison, where around 3000 prisoners were kept during the 1700s and 1800ss. In 2002, Kastellet was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Walking about and enjoying the beautiful park surrounding the fortress is free.
Round Tower & Trinitatis Church
The Round Tower was built as an astronomical observatory in the 17th century and is a popular tourist attraction. Once you reach the top of the tower, you can get a panoramic view of the city. The tower adjoins the Trinitatis Church.
- Admission: Adult 40 DKK
Trinitatis Church is a Lutheran Church built around the same time as the Round Tower. The interior of the Church is decorated with Baroque-style frescoes and has a large organ with more than 4,000 pipes. It is free to enter the Church.
- Hours: October – March, open daily from 10:00 – 18:00, Tues. and Wed. 10:00 – 21:00; April – September open daily from 10:00 – 20:00
Fredrik’s Church is also known as the Marble Church, designed by Nicolai Eigtved in the Rococo style, and is one of the most notable churches in the city. The exterior of the Church is adorned with Corinthian columns and is made of marble. The interior of the Church is equally impressive.
- Admission: Free to the public
Black Diamond Library
The home of the Royal Danish Library of Copenhagen as well as the photography museum. This stunning modern addition sits on the harbor front with a bookshop, restaurant, café, and concert hall inside. It is called the Black Diamond for its shiny irregular facets on the outside that mirror the sea and sky.
- Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 – 21:00, Saturday 9:00 – 19:00
Christiania and Freetown
Explore the Christiania neighborhood, an autonomous community known for its alternative lifestyle and counterculture. The neighborhood is car-fee and has its own rules, independent from the Danish government. You will find art galleries, workshops, wall art, organic eateries, and cannabis. I recommend you visit on tour and do not go at night.
Amalienborg Palace & Royal Guard
Visit the Amalienborg Palace, the residence of the Danish royal family. The modern designed building is located on the waterfront with a striking view of the harbor. The building earned its name for its black granite and glass with a unique diamond-shaped design.
- Hours: Check the website for details.
- Admission: Adult 120 DKK
This palace is where the royal family and parliament still operate today. Certain parts of the palace are open to the public. We used our Copenhagen Card and visited the royal reception rooms and were overwhelmed by the decadence of these lavishly decorated rooms. We were impressed by the new colors and artwork each time we entered a new space. It’s certainly worthwhile to visit the palace if you want to immerse yourself in the wealth of the Danish royals.
- Hours: January – March, Tue. – Sun. 10:00 – 17:00, Closed on Mon.; April – September, Mon. – Sun. 10:00 – 17:00, October – December, Tue. – Sun. 10:00 – 17:00, Closed on Mon.
- Admission: Ticket prices vary depending on what you want to see. Check the website for more details.
In the neighborhood of Nørrebro is Superkilen Park. The park is known for its unique and colorful design. The park is divided into three distinct areas, each with its own theme. Known for its vibrant atmosphere and diverse amenities, it is an excellent place for an Instagram shot!
Suppose you happen to be in Copenhagen between mid-November and December 24. In that case, you will be dazzled in the Christmas spirit in markets scattered throughout the city. If you wish to explore these markets, head to my blog: Christmas Markets in Copenhagen.
- Hot Tub – Float down the canal in a hot tub for 1.5 hrs. Relax in a floating hot tub while you enjoy the stunning view. It doesn’t matter if it is cold outside, you an keep warm and toasty in the hot tubs or go for refreshing dip in the water. Cost approximately 1,500 DKK per hour.
- Walking Tours – Quick way to learn about the history and hidden gems Self-Guided Tours are also an option to understand the city layout better. Many FREE walking tour options are available.
- Food Tour – walk and eat tours is a great way to learn about traditional Danish dishes and experience the city. Here are other Food Tour options ( 2.5 hrs.)
- Canal Tour – Tours depart Gammel Strand or Nyhavn. Canal tours take around 60 mi. While on tour, look for the Opera House, Amalienborg Palace, and Christiansburg Palace.
- Bicycle – Rent from Donkey Republic or Bycyklen and cycle around the city or do a 3-hour bike tour.
Helpful Tips While Visiting
- IF eating on a budget, stick to Netto, 7-Eleven, Døp, or Meny
- Don’t bother with getting Danish currency, as most of Denmark is cashless!
- Be aware of the bicycle lanes and bike traffic, as they do not stop for pedestrians and have their own traffic lights.
Psst: I have a couple more posts about visiting Copenhagen! If you are planning a trip, you’ll definitely want to take a look at these”
I hope this gives you some ideas of things to do on your next visit to Copenhagen. Also, if you have any other recommendations or questions about Copenhagen, please comment below.
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.