10 things to do in Copenhagen, Denmark

10 things to do in Copenhagen

Nina Akimkina

All you have to do is pay an unofficial visit to the royal couple residing in Amalienborg Palace. Of course, you don’t have to go to the queen’s reception at all – tourists usually just come to see the palace. You can go to the two buildings, which serve as a historical museum. To find out if the Queen Margrethe is at home or has departed on her own business, you can do this outside, there is a special ancient ritual. Every day at noon the palace guard changes on the square. If the queen is at home, the changing of the guard lasts longer than usual and takes place in a solemn atmosphere, and a flag is raised over the palace.

2. See the Little Mermaid.

National treasure of Denmark, a bronze sculpture of The Little Mermaid for over a hundred years pleases residents of Copenhagen and tourists from around the world. The initiator of the sculpture was Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of the Carlsberg Brewery. Impressed by the ballet The Little Mermaid, he asked the ballerina, who performed the lead role, to become a model for the sculpture. The Little Mermaid has regularly been attacked by vandals. Her head and hands have been sawn off and sprayed with paint. In 2010, the sculpture left Denmark for the first time – it was exhibited at the World Expo in Shanghai. During its absence, a video installation was broadcast in Copenhagen.

3. Take a walk in the Nyhavn district

Nyhavn means “new harbor”. A canal of the same name was dug 1 km long in 1671. It used to be inhabited by sailors and was one of the most dangerous places in Copenhagen, but in 1980 Nyhavn was renovated and became a tourist attraction.

Take a boat ride to enjoy the colorful houses on the banks of the canal. Hans Christian Andersen, who made Denmark famous, lived in three of them. On average, the walk takes from thirty minutes to an hour. Walkers will appreciate the beautifully preserved exterior of old Danish houses, cozy tables on the waterfront and the fairy-tale atmosphere of the Nyhavn district. A special chic is the walks during the Christmas market, when the historic district is completely transformed into a fairy tale setting.

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4. Go on rides in Tivoli Park

Copenhagen is home to one of Europe’s oldest amusement parks, Tivoli. It opened in 1843 and is the third most visited in Europe. Tivoli Park was a source of inspiration for Walt Disney when he decided to open his first Disneyland in California. In addition to the rides, the many flower arrangements deserve attention, and on weekends there is a fireworks show.

5. Visit the City of Freedom

In one of the areas of Copenhagen is a “state within a state” – the Free City of Christiania, established in 1971 on the site of military barracks as an alternative to pop culture. Christiania is now a rather unusual neighborhood with several important rules. It is forbidden to take pictures of the locals and Pusher Street, where light drugs are sold. Firearms, bulletproof vests, and hard drugs are prohibited. Despite the huge number of suspicious faces of various subcultures, it is safe to be in Christiania. People are quite friendly if you do not break the rules described above.

6. Count the statuettes in the glyptotheque of the beer king

What do a bottle of Carlsberg beer and a collection of statues by Edgar Degas have in common? They are all the brainchild of the Danish Jacobsen family. Father and son became rivals, creating different technologies for making Carlsberg beer. The philanthropist son became interested in collecting art and founded the private museum “The New Carlsberg Glyptotheque”.

The antique glyptotheque building looks quite heterogeneous, it was completed by different people at different times. You can start counting the statuettes with the unique Rodin collection, located on the first floor. Then you can find out how many Degas dancers are on display, and find out the exact number of antique and Egyptian statues. After resting and having a snack in the luxurious winter garden, you can continue the mathematical calculations by going upstairs to the chic collection of paintings by famous artists of different eras.

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7. View the city from the bastions of the Castellet Citadel

The five-pointed star of the Castellet Citadel has stood for three centuries, and it is still an active military facility where soldiers live. Inside is an ancient mill that once made flour for the royal court. In the citadel you can wander around learning the history of the military. There is a well-preserved gunpowder warehouse, weapons storage rooms and even prison cells, and a small theme museum and church on site.

The park around Castellet is a favorite place for locals to stroll. Walk through the alleys, feed the many birds, see the fort from the outside, and examine the cannons on display. And be sure to climb the rampart to enjoy the magnificent views.

8. Take a promenade along Stroget Street

Stroget, the longest pedestrian street in Europe, means “to stroll.” In fact, it is several streets connected into one 1.5 km long tourist area. It is a paradise for shopaholics, lovers of hangouts in city cafes and non-stop relaxation. The entire street is occupied by stores, restaurants and entertainment venues, and at the beginning of winter Stroget turns into a huge Christmas market.

You’ll find ancient churches, medieval squares, and even knights eager to have their pictures taken with tourists. Walk down the cobblestones from the Round Tower across the street, watch the street musicians and dancers have fun, and then have a cup of strong coffee with a sense of accomplishment. You can feel a little Danish afterwards.

9. Climb the Round Tower on foot

The Round Tower is an observatory, one of Denmark’s symbols. The tower has a library and planetarium, but the most touristy place is the observation deck. The view is beautiful, but also the ascent itself is quite interesting. The way up is 36 meters, but there are no steps – for the ascent a ramp is provided, it is much easier to climb. Sometimes there are bike rides, going up on iron horses. The most famous tourists who have climbed to the observation deck of the Round Tower on a gondola were Peter the Great and his wife. It is known that the top went up by car. The platform is very spacious, caring Danes hung signs on top, allowing to see one or another of the city’s landmarks.

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10. Marvel at the oddities at the Ripley Museum

Cartoonist Leroy Ripley’s collection holds the palm of weirdness. Some consider it not even a museum, but just a dumping ground for strange things. The exhibit is designed so that visitors don’t just examine the very strange exhibits, but also get answers to not the most important, but sometimes disturbing questions. It turns out that you can pierce two bottles with one arrow, invent one-letter names for a horde of children, and build a palace out of expensive stamps. A harp does not need strings, a man with four pupils in one eye can exist in the world, and after that no one will be surprised by a two-headed calf. Some of the exhibits are interactive and the tunnel rotates. Take a couple of hours and walk between the strange and rather useless things, created by people for some reason.

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