Copenhagen isn’t necessarily the first city that comes to mind when you think about taking a few days off abroad. However it’s very pleasant to visit Copenhagen. The locals are nice, the architecture is original and let’s not forget numerous surveys assure Denmark is the happiest country in the world. If you’re thinking about spending a weekend in Copenhagen, or go on a Copenhagen city break, here’s all you need to know! Admittedly, there’s not one very famous tourist attraction but there are many things to do in Copenhagen! Let’s first describe the city, then list what to do in Copenhagen!
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Description of Copenhagen
You can be a bit surprised when visiting Copenhagen. I was expecting to see a very homogeneous population but that wasn’t the case, Copenhagen is very cosmopolitan : there are North Africans, a Turkish community, black people too. By the way we’re doing the nod when seeing each other! Of course you’ll find local food but also numerous kebab, I didn’t really expect it.
But the first thing you’re going to notice is the cost of living! Everything is so expensive!!! Eating, having a drink, the activities, getting around, accommodation, etc. Get there with a substantial sum! Check out this post explaining how to visit Copenhagen on a budget.
Speaking about getting around, you’ll quickly notice almost everyone gets around by bike! There are cycle paths everywhere, bicycles have their own red lights, etc. It almost feels like Amsterdam! I didn’t rent a bike because unfortunately, it was raining during my whole stay in Copenhagen, but I think about it for my next visit. Anyway let’s see what to do in Copenhagen!
Things to do in Copenhagen
I’m gonna start with the most popular place in Copenhagen, and the only one I didn’t see… Tivoli gardens! It’s actually a theme park, one of the oldest in the world, it opened in 1843! Its roller coaster is very famous! Why didn’t I go? This theme park only opens from April to late September, then during Halloween, Christmas and in February. I was in Copenhagen in March… You have to pay to get in, and then pay extra for each attraction. Click here to buy a skip the line ticket. The entrance to the Tivoli gardens is included with the Copenhagen City Card (more on that later).
Rosenborg castle is located in the north of Copenhagen and was built under the reign of Christian IV in the 17th century. That was the royal residence until 1710 and it opened to the public since 1830. The castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens (Kongens Have). Access to the garden is free but you have to pay to get in the castle. Inside you’ll fins a collection of royal items, furnishings and craft objects. The castle is open everyday except on Mondays. It’s free to get in with the Copenhagen City Card.
Nyhavn means new port. It’s the most famous canal of the city, located in the historical center of Copenhagen! It’s also the ideal place to take beautiful photos, with its nice colored buildings along the canal! It’s really nice to wander there, you’ll see numerous cafés, restaurants, terraces, etc. Be careful though, since it’s a touristy area, eating there is very expensive! Take some time to have a walk or enjoy a cruise in the area. Click here for more info.
The little mermaid
The Little Mermaid is an emblematic figure of Copenhagen, however it’s nothing exceptional. Dating back to 1913, it’s a bronze statue on a rock facing the sea, about 1.25 meter (4ft.) high. Yes it represents The Little Mermaid from the fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen. It’s been vandalized numerous times so the original one is kept in a secret place, we’re actually watching a copy. Get there early in the morning or late in the evening, there are numerous people around the statue! It attracts one million visitors per year, and people are elbowing each other to take a picture.
Wanna go shopping in Copenhagen? Head to Stroget! It’s one of the largest shopping streets in Europe. It crosses a good part of the historical center, from the city hall to the Tivoli gardens. You’ll find there the famous international chains (Zara, H&M…), but also Danish stores including a Lego store.
Christiania is a district self-proclaimed “free town” in the heart of Copenhagen. Christiania was founded in 1971 by squatters and hippies who took over the area. The police never managed to oust them and it became an alternative district. It’s a self-managed community with its own money, its own flag, etc.
It’s very easy to get weed there, dealers sell peacefully outside. The atmosphere is special, it’s really a place you have to see. However taking pictures is forbidden! I tried to, a guy immediately spotted and said “Remember, don’t take pictures!” I saw a guy yelling at a girl who also tried to take a picture!
Amalienborg palace and the guard mounting
Amalienborg Palace is the winter residence of the Danish royal family. It consists of four identical buildings and in the middle is the palace square, where you’ll see the statut of king Frederik V. There’s a museum where you can find out more about the history of the Danish royal family. But first of all get there at 11:30am on a weekday to see the guard mounting (it reminds of the one in London!). The guard mounting lasts about 30 minutes, they march around the palace in the city.
The round tower (Rundertarn)
Rundertarn (the round tower) is the oldest observatory still in activity in Europe, it dates back to 1642. It’s an astronomical observatory, still used to this day. Indeed, Denmark was known for being at the cutting edge of astronomy in the 17th century, and the observatory is still in activity today. It’s quick to visit, but don’t miss it. It’s 25DKK (3.50€) to get in, but it’s included with the Copenhagen City Card.
Visit the city on a bike
I talked earlier about going on a cruise on the canal but you can also discover the city on a bike! The Danish mostly get around by bike, imitate them! It will be a great way to discover Copenhagen. It’s best to visit Copenhagen by bike with a guide. Click here to find out more.
Located on the island of island of Slotsholmen in the heart of Copenhagen it used to be the official residence of the king. Right now the palace is home to the Danish parliament (Folketing), the Prime Minister’s office and the Supreme Court. Getting on top of the tower is free but you have to pay to see some parts of the palace: the reception halls, the kitchens and royal stables, the ruins of former buildings, etc. It’s 160DKK (21.50€) to get in but it’s free with the Copenhagen City Card.
The Copenhagen museums
I’m not really into museums for those who like them, you have many options in Copenhagen! The national museum of Denmark offers exhibitions about the history of Denmark, from the stone age to today. The national museum of art exhibits works of Picasso, Rembrandt… There’s the Post & Tele museum with its impressive stamp collection, some of them dating back to the mid-19th century. Outside Copenhagen, there’s also the Louisiana modern art museum, or the Carlsberg museum, which is free on Tuesdays.
Other things to do in Copenhagen
There are so many other things to do in Copenhagen if you have more time. You can go see the military Kastellet fortress, relax in the botanical garden, spend one evening in Meatpacking District, a cool area to go out! There’s also the royal library, the church of our saviour, Radhus (the city hall), the Copenhagen stock exchange… It’s impossible to get bored!
Activities in Copenhagen
Here are some activities:
- go on a Segway tour. Click here for more info.
- go on a old town walk. Click here for more info.
- go on a gourmet walking tour. Click here for more info.
- spend a day visiting the royal castles in Denmark. Click here for more info.
- spend a day visiting Lund and Malmo in Sweden. Click here for more info.
I honestly liked my visit to Copenhagen. It was a pity the weather wasn’t nice during the whole weekend in Copenhagen. And as I said, the prices are really high. Otherwise Copenhagen is a rather quiet capital, and I suggest you to go there. Here are Copenhagen travel tips now!
The Copenhagen City Card
I said it several times in the article, Copenhagen is very expensive! I strongly suggest you to get the Copenhagen City Card, you’ll save a lot of money! With this card, public transportation is included and also entrance to numerous attractions in the city. You also have discounts in some restaurants! Click here to buy it!
How to get to Copenhagen
How to get around in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is a big city, you can’t visit it by foot. It’s best to get around by subway. A single ticket costs 24DKK (3.50€). I repeat myself, get the Copenhagen City Card, you’ll save money. For your information their subway platforms are tiny and narrow. You can also get around by bike but I don’t have the prices, it was raining during my stay and I didn’t try.
Best time to visit Copenhagen
It’s best to get to Copenhagen from April to September. It’s not too cold and it’s not raining too much.
Where to stay in Copenhagen
If you’re traveling on a budget, I suggest you to stay at the Urban House Copenhagen. Well located, friendly staff, comfortable beds… Click here to ckeck the photos, reviews and availability. If you prefer mid-range hotels, the CityHub Copenhagen is made for you. Not that expensive, clean and well located. Click here to check the photos, reviews and availability. If you’re into luxury hotels, you’ll like the 71 Nyhavn Hotel. Well locatel, great staff and delicious breakfast! Click here to check the photos, reviews, and availability. Otherwise click here to check the hotels available in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen travel tips
- Traveling soon? My travel resources page can help you out! This list of travel accessories can also be useful!
- Never ever travel without travel insurance! Here’s why get travel insurance!
- Want a tailor made trip to Denmark? Get a free quote here!
- Always use a VPN when traveling! I use ExpressVPN and I love it! Here’s why use a VPN when traveling!