Copenhagen is a city rich in history and royal ancestry. Whether you are looking to explore fascinating museums, try your hand at something more athletic or even get up close and personal with the current royal family then this is the city for you. The city has fantastic transport links but is actually small enough to discover on foot. If you really want to get to grips with the city, walk around or get on a bike; it’s one of the best cycle cities in the world.
There is so much to do in Denmark’s capital city you might not know where to start. Luckily all you need to do is to follow this handy guide to discover the best of what Copenhagen has to offer!
My first recommendation is something Copenhagen is famous for and a personal favourite of mine. The Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park that has so much more to offer than just rides. The park first opened in 1843 which makes it the third oldest amusement park in the world that is still in use! It has 4 roller coasters as well as loads of other smaller rides to suit everyone.
The Tivoli Gardens are lush and beautiful and at night the park is spectacularly lit with multi-coloured lights. I would highly recommend it to all ages, there is certainly something for everyone! You can see live performances of music and ballet every week as well as visit the aquarium and enjoy plenty of places to eat and drink.
Tivoli Gardens are open most days a year between 11:00- 22:00. Entrance costs 135 DKK for anyone over the age of 8. It’s only 60 DKK for children aged 3–7 and anyone under 3 is free. Although entrance itself is not expensive, paying for the individual rides can be. If you’re planning to try lots of different attractions I would certainly recommend getting an unlimited ride ticket for the best value.
Rosenborg castle is a 17th century Dutch Renaissance style castle set in the heart of the city. It was built by King Christian IV originally to be a summerhouse but was enlarged and remodelled many times up until 1624. The Kongens Have, or Kings Garden, that surrounds the castle is the oldest and most visited park in Copenhagen. It’s the perfect spot to chill out after exploring the castle.
The castle is now open to the public as a museum and for tours. The interior is really well preserved so it gives you a great sense of how the royals lived. Look out for the ornate tapestries, thrones, and interesting portraits. In my opinion, the most important thing to see is the Treasury containing the crown jewels. The collection is really impressive and has gems that are considered to be some of the best in the world.
Tickets cost 120 DKK for adults and are free for those under 17. It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday between 11:00- 16:00.
Admittedly this is a tourist hotspot but there is a good reason why. Nyhavn is an old harbour that used to be a bustling commercial port where boats docked from around the world. Today it’s a beautiful neighbourhood full of multicoloured houses and a mix of old and new sailing boats. Fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen lived here for decades and wrote some of his most famous stories.
The area is lined with bars and restaurants that face the harbour. Walk around laid back Nyhavn then stop for a bite to eat or a drink with the locals. It’s one of Copenhagen’s most iconic areas and certainly not to be missed.
For anyone who likes adventure and the outdoors, this one is for you. It’s not often you visit cities where you can hit the slopes on a whim but in Copenhagen, you can. CopenHill is a man-made ski slope, hiking trail and climbing area set on top of an eco-friendly waste to energy power plant.
Rent skis or bring your own. From July to December you can visit between 14:00 and 20:00 or all year round on the weekend.
The Botanical Garden
Copenhagen’s Botanical Garden is a leafy oasis in the heart of the bustling city. It spans nearly 25 acres and is home to 13,000 different species of plants. The garden was first created in 1600 but its moved location twice since it was established.
The garden has 27 different greenhouses but the one that’s really worth seeing is the Palm House. It dates back to 1874, is 16 metres tall and stands right in the centre of the garden. From its terrace, there is a great view of the rest of the gardens and the city. The Butterfly House, which is part of the Palm House complex, is another one you can’t miss. You get to see a butterfly’s life cycle and see hundreds of them up close.
The garden is open from 8:30- 18:00 and entry is free. Tickets for the Palm House, which includes the Butterfly House, are 60 DKK for adults and only 40 DKK for 3–17-year-olds and students.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum was established in 2004 by merging the Zoological Museum, the Geological Museum, the Central Library, the Botanical Museum and Botanical Gardens, all of which are located within the garden itself.
The museum’s collection has pieces from all over the world and is also one of the oldest collections in the world, dating back to the mid 17th century. There are 14 million objects in the museum’s possession that include skeletons, animals preserved in jars, epic dinosaur fossils and many more. The array of objects on display is so vast and impressive that it draws hundreds of researchers every year to study the collection.
It is open every day of the week between 10:00 and 17:00. You can buy one ticket that gets you entry to the Natural History Museum, the Zoological Museum, and the Palm House for only 105 DKK!
If you want to get to grips with the Danish royal lifestyle this should be your next stop on the list! The Amalienborg Palace is the home of the royal family in the winter and has a rich royal history.
The complex is made up of four identical palaces that surround the palace square with an impressive statue of King Frederick V mounted on a horse in the centre.
So why is it worth a visit? The complex as a whole is a famous and prominent example of Danish architecture. Out of the four palaces, one was turned into the Amalienborg Museum. You can journey through the palace and discover the history and lives of the royals past and present. After that catch the Royal Guard march through the city from the Rosenborg castle and complete the changing of the guard outside of the palace at 12:00 noon every day.
The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is an icon of Copenhagen and undoubtedly one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. It is a 4.1-foot-high bronze statue of a woman perched on a rock overlooking the sea on the Langeline Promenade.
It was inspired by the story of The Little Mermaid, written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1836. The fairy tale is of a young mermaid who falls in love with a prince so gives up her voice to become human to be with him. I’m sure we are all familiar with the Disney version but unfortunately, the original doesn’t have quite such a happy ending!
Try the local Cuisine
It might surprise you to learn that Copenhagen is a gastronomic capital that is world-famous for its food offerings. The city has an exciting breadth of restaurants that celebrate fresh, seasonal ingredients. It’s renowned for its abundance of Michelin starred restaurants but don’t worry, it’s not all fine dining, there are plenty of affordable and delicious options! No matter what your preference is, you will be spoilt for choice.
My recommendation would be to head over to Reffen street food market in Refshaleøen for a vibrant and buzzing experience. Sample all kinds of local or foreign cuisine for minuscule prices! It is open every day from 12:00- 21:00