What to see in Copenhagen, Denmark: 10 best sights

What to see in Copenhagen, Denmark: 10 best sights

Copenhagen is a city that is multi-faceted, colorful, vibrant, full of charm and contradictions, perfect for a city break in Europe. This city of 600,000 has plenty to offer those who visit it, get lost in its streets to discover its beautiful historic buildings, museums and art galleries, and allow yourself to be subdued by its timeless charm.

Here are 10 things you must see in Copenhagen.

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid, sitting on a rock, admiring the sea is the most famous tourist attraction in all of Denmark and you can find her on the city promenade, at the entrance to the port. Inspired by the fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen in 1837, in 1909 it was commissioned by Carl Jacobs (the patron and owner of Carlsberg beer) to sculptor Eriksen to decorate the city port.

But let’s face it, many people are disappointed when they see this sculpture because they have too high expectations. But the beauty of the Little Mermaid is not so much in the sculpture itself as in the stories, fables and legends that revolve around her. For a better understanding of her, take a tour.

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The Little Mermaid

Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Castle, is one of the most beautiful historical buildings in the city and is also included in the map of Copenhagen. It is built in the Renaissance style and is located in the center of Copenhagen. A former royal residence, the castle is now home to Danske Kongers Kronologiske Samling, the Museum of the Danish Royal Collections, which houses royal jewels collected over a period of about 400 years, from 1500 to 1900.

The castle and its gardens have been open to the public since 1833 and one of the favorite places of Copenhageners is the famous Kongens Hawe Gardens, the Royal Gardens, which surround the castle.

Near the castle you can also visit the Amalienborg Museum, where you can admire the continuation of the royal collection of Rosenborg Castle.

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Rosenborg Castle

Christiansborg Palace

Another historic building not to be missed, Christiansborg Slot is the Royal Palace of Copenhagen , located on the island of Slotsholmen in the historic city center. It is one of the most popular stops on the sightseeing bus. Today it is the seat of the Danish Parliament, as well as the offices of the Prime Minister and the Supreme Court of Denmark. In addition, some parts of the palace are used by the royal family, such as the ceremonial halls, the royal chapel and the royal stables.

Don’t miss visiting the basement of the building , with notable architectural relics, where you can admire the ruins of previous buildings from the 12th to the 14th century, including the circular plan of the original fortress and the Blue Tower (Blatarn), which was formerly used as a state prison.

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Christiansborg Palace

Amalienborg Royal Palace

The queen’s winter residence, Amalienborg, is considered one of the most important examples of Rococo style in Danish architecture and was built in 1750 by the court architect Eigtved during the reign of Frederick V.

The residence consists of four identical buildings: Levetzau (Christian VIII Palace), Brockdorf (Friedrich VIII Palace), Schack (Christian IX Palace) and Moltke (Christian VII Palace), which are arranged around an octagonal courtyard whose center is the imposing equestrian statue of King Friedrich V, considered one of the most important equestrian statues in the world.

The complex is also surrounded by a beautiful garden, which separates the palace from the harbor.

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Amalienborg Royal Palace

Tivoli Gardens

These gardens are one of the city’s symbols, as well as the oldest amusement park in the world. Opened in August 1843, it has a unique atmosphere full of magic: the park is located in a large green oasis in the center of the city, consisting of ponds, a theater, a number of attractions such as a roller coaster and many others.

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The exterior of the park is beautifully preserved , the main entrance is still where it was in 1843 and just outside the entrance is the Pantomime Theater, an original Chinese style building built in 1874.

Watch out for queues : The park, which receives millions of visitors each year, is still the most visited in Scandinavia and second in Europe after Disneyland Paris. It is for this reason that there is a risk of spending hours in line waiting. To avoid wasting precious time, we recommend buying a priority admission ticket online so that you waste less time waiting in lines and have more time to have fun in the park.

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Tivoli Gardens

Kronborg, Hamlet’s Castle.

Located in Helsingør, just 45 minutes by train from Copenhagen, you can’t miss the remarkable Kronborg Castle, a UNESCO site and one of the most important and famous Renaissance castles in Northern Europe , this magnificent manor built in 1574. The castle is known worldwide as the setting for the events of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and is visited by some 200,000 people each year. It is one of the most visited castles in Denmark.

The castle is also famous for the famous Hall of the Knights, one of the longest corridors in Europe with a length of 62 meters, inside which there is a statue of the national hero Holger Danske. According to legend, in case of imminent danger to the kingdom, the stone figure of the hero will turn into flesh and blood to fight the enemy.

Not only Hamlet’s castle: near Copenhagen, within a radius of about 50 km, there are other masterpieces worth visiting. We recommend devoting a whole day to visiting Fredericksborg and Kronborg castles and Roskilde Cathedral. You can easily visit them in one day, including stops, packed lunches, and walks through the lovely gardens.

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Kronborg, Hamlet’s Castle.

Copenhagen’s Round Tower.

Another building not to be missed. Rundetorn is the oldest operating observatory in Europe, built in 1642. The tower was built by King Christian IV at a time when Denmark was at the center of astronomical discoveries thanks to the work of astronomer Tycho Brahe; when Brahe died in 1601, the king continued his research inside the tower.

Today it serves as an astronomical observatory exclusively for tourist purposes: an astronomical telescope can be used here to observe the stars in winter and, for a shorter period, also in summer. It is a splendid building, surrounded by an external platform, from which visitors, climbing 209 meters of stairs, have a breathtaking view of the ancient Latin quarter of the city.

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Copenhagen’s Round Tower.

Christiania

To experience Copenhagen out of the ordinary and in the middle of nowhere, we recommend visiting the ambiguous and distinctive district of Christiania, a unique place to visit. The colorful free city of Christiania was born in 1971 in an old abandoned military area of about 30 hectares in the Christianshavn district, when it was occupied by Danish hippies and squatters who proclaimed it a free city and therefore not subject to taxation from independent property, giving life to a self-governing community inspired by the values of freedom, sharing and peace.

Over time, many residents have moved to this alternative neighborhood, turning it into a real city in the center of the capital, where today about 1,000 people live. A visit to Christiania is an unparalleled experience: walking through its colorful streets you will encounter many open-air bars, stores as well as warehouses, shacks and museums where sculptures and works of art are on display. An experience you can only have here.

Note the rules of the community: access is only allowed on foot or by bicycle. In addition, Christiania has its own rules that must be respected: no hard drugs, respect for the privacy of residents, so if you want to take pictures, do it discreetly and ask for permission. If this is your first time in Copenhagen, we recommend that you visit Christiania with a local guide who knows better what to do and what not to do, but above all, he will be able to direct you among the most interesting art workshops, streets of craftsmanship, facilities, cafes.

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Christiania

Nyhavn

One of the most famous and interesting sights of Copenhagen. Picturesque canal, where the old city port (in operation until 1950), one of the most visited places in the city. The port area is a wonderful landmark of the Danish capital: the writer Hans Christian Andersen lived here for many years and wrote some of his most famous works (such as The Little Mermaid). Colorful Danish-style houses overlook its shores, making Nyhavn one of Copenhagen’s favorite spots. Enjoy a relaxing stroll among the quaint taverns and bars and the old wooden boats that line the shore, and don’t miss the chance to take a canal cruise from Nyhavn aboard a wooden boat.

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Nyhavn

Carlsberg Brewery

Another stop in the city not to be missed is the famous Carlsberg Brewery: the brewery, which produces the most famous Danish beer in the world, has become a place of pilgrimage for enthusiasts over the years. The entrance is included in the Copenhagen map. It’s not just a beer production facility, but a very special building known for its “elephants”. Here you can take part in various brewery tours (Carlsberg Classico, Cellars, Old Brewery, New Carlsberg, etc.), which start with a tour of the old brewery.

The bar inside the Carlsberg offers many options, all of which are certainly worth sampling. The aroma room is interesting, where visitors can smell different flavors and try to create a new beer with their favorite flavor through a special form to fill out.

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Carlsberg Brewery

5 things to do in Copenhagen

It’s really hard to limit the number of attractions in a city as rich as Copenhagen. So here’s a short list of at least 5 other sights and activities you shouldn’t miss if you’re in the Danish capital:

  • Take a walk along the Stroget, the very heart of Copenhagen and the longest pedestrian street in Europe. It connects two squares, namely Town Hall Square and Kongens Nytorv. By day it’s a succession of boutiques and stores, by night it’s a nightlife center with bars, pubs and live music.
  • Visit Black Diamond, one of the largest libraries in Scandinavia, built with slabs of black marble and smoked glass.
  • The Opera House, one of the most modern and expensive theaters in the world with a ceiling covered in 105,000 gold leaf and ancient oak floors.
  • Marmorkirken, a majestic marble temple with a giant dome directly opposite Amalienborg Palace.
  • Visit Copenhagen Zoo, one of the oldest zoological gardens in Europe and home to rare species such as Tasmanian devils as well as polar bears, kangaroos, elephants and sloths. Full of interactive areas dedicated to children, admission is free with a map of Copenhagen.

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5 things to do in Copenhagen

Food and wine.

Beware of the restaurants along the Nyhavn canal . Better to go on a food tour and taste the best street food: smörrebrol, meatballs, Rode Plser.

The best place is Paper Island , where the Copenhagen Street Food kiosk is located across from Nyhavn.

Copenhagen’s best sights

Copenhagen is a truly challenging metropolis. Every inch of the Scandinavian capital is imbued with tranquility, sophistication and coolness. Over the waters of the Baltic Sea rises an amazing city with red-tiled roofs. Next to medieval houses sit modern architectural creations.

Right in the center of Copenhagen on Slotsholmen Island, ancient fortifications are a reminder of Denmark’s warlike past. And the Round Tower Rundetorn remember Peter the Great.

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What to see in Copenhagen

The first written mention of the city dates back to the XII century, but archaeological excavations show that Copenhagen has even more ancient roots. The first Viking settlement appeared here at the beginning of XI century. Not surprisingly, over its long period of existence the city has preserved a huge number of a variety of attractions.

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Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens is a popular vacation spot for children and adults. Since its founding in 1843, the park is visited by millions of tourists and locals. The beloved children’s writer Hans Christian Anderson visited Tivoli Gardens, as did Walt Disney. The park has rides to suit all tastes. Dizzying roller coaster, free fall tower, Ferris wheel, carousel, pantomime theater. The largest line gathered for the ride that opened back in 1914 – wooden roller coaster.

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen

Discovered in the early 20th century, the sculpture “The Little Mermaid” was a gift from C. Jacobsen to Copenhagen. The sculpture was inspired by a ballet based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale. Brewer was so enchanted by the performance that he commissioned E. Ericsson to create The Little Mermaid. The sculpture was vandalized several times. Twice she lost her head and hand and was doused with paint. But each time the symbol of Copenhagen was restored, and she is still waiting on the rock and looking at the shore, hoping to see the prince again.

Kristiansborg

Kristiansborg in Copenhagen

Christiansborg Castle, nestled on the small island of Slotsholmen, was home to the Danish parliament (Folketing) and the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, some of the castle’s rooms are used by the royal family for various events. For example, the Throne Room serves as a reception room for foreign ambassadors. There is a balcony adjacent to the Throne Room, where the proclamation of Danish monarchs takes place. The Great Hall of Christiansborg houses a series of tapestries that tell the entire history of the Danish state.

Nyhavn

Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s former seaport

The colorful houses of the Nyhavn district will look at you from all the postcards of Copenhagen. Originally it was a busy seaport where ships from all over Europe docked. Everything here was filled with sailors, beer houses, and pleasure houses. Today the old houses have been restored, painted in all the colors of the rainbow, restaurants await their visitors, a cheerful atmosphere and jazz is heard all around.

Royal Palace Amalienborg

Royal Palace Amalienborg

One of Denmark’s most beautiful palaces still serves as the official royal residence. Every day a favorite tourist attraction, the changing of the guard of honor, takes place on the square in front of Amalienborg. In the palace museum you can admire the royal interiors and appreciate the taste of the Danish monarchs. The chambers of King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Louise remained untouched and reflect the monarch’s preferences to the fullest.

Interesting places in Copenhagen

Denmark’s capital is a bouquet of sights and iconic places that are sure to please travelers. The homeland of Hans Christian Anderson has prepared several surprises for those who dare to visit Copenhagen.

Stroget Street

Stroget street in Copenhagen

This is one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe, where you can find luxury brands next to budget brands. Big brands like Max Mara, Boss and Prada are at the end of the street. Cheaper stores (Vero Moda, Zara, H&M) are closer to Town Hall Square. However, Stroget is not only about shopping, but also about amazing architecture. While shopping, don’t forget to look around so you don’t miss the Virgin Mary Church, the stork fountain, the courthouse, and Town Hall Square.

Round Tower

Round Tower in Copenhagen

After the death of the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe, King Christian IV of Denmark decided to build an observatory for astronomical observations. This observatory was the Round Tower. The height of the tower is only 36 meters, but to get to its observation deck you have to overcome more than 200 meters. There is a winding sloping walkway, which was built for the convenience of horse-drawn carriages. In addition to the observation deck the tower has a library, which at one time was used by Hans Christian Anderson.

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Karlsberg Glyptothek

The Art Museum, founded in 1888 by Carl Jacobsen, consists of two departments. The Ancient History Department has a fine collection of Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman art. The Modern section is occupied by Danish paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as French art from the same period. Works by French expressionists, sculptures by Rodin, a series of works by Degas and, of course, paintings by Gauguin are the main gems of the glyptotheque.

Where to go in Copenhagen

The best way to explore the city is to go cycling around Copenhagen. Cyclists have long ago reclaimed a major position in the transport system of the Danish capital.

Denmark’s National Aquarium

National Aquarium of Denmark

This is the largest aquarium in Northern Europe and will appeal to children and adults alike. The building is designed to make visitors feel like they are living in the depths of the sea. Inside, you get the feeling that people are underwater, while hundreds of inhabitants of the seas and oceans swim around and above them. The aquarium is divided into thematic areas. Of particular interest is the Amazon region. There are hundreds of piranhas and anacondas swimming under a large waterfall.

Direhavsbakken Amusement Park

Direhavsbakken Amusement Park (Bakken)

This is the second most visited amusement park in Denmark. Part of the area is set right among a real forest, where several hundred free-range reindeer live. The rest of the area is designed for amusement rides. Here you will find a roller coaster, carousel, and 5D movie theater. More than a hundred different attractions are waiting for your visitors.

Experimentarium

Experimentarium in Copenhagen

This is a world-class science and educational center that families with children especially love. In an easy, accessible, playful manner, you can learn about natural phenomena, birth and death, and ecology here. Here you can also learn how to “park” a tanker, create a tornado, feel an earthquake, pass a lie detector, create soap bubbles of different shapes, decompose the color spectrum, do rock climbing, and generate energy to run an electrical appliance.

What to see in Copenhagen in 1 day

It’s best to start your walk around Copenhagen from its historic center. The first thing you should do is go to the pedestrian street Stroget . Here you can shop or admire the architecture of the Danish capital. The street takes you right to the Stork Fountain. After that, pay attention to the royal island – Slotsholmen . On it are concentrated several interesting objects. There’s Kristiansborg, Børsen (Stock Exchange Building), and the Thorvaldsen Museum. From the museum the way goes to Town Hall Square and Tivoli Park .

Børsen (Stock Exchange Building)

Børsen (Stock Exchange Building)

The Stock Exchange building is clearly visible from afar, due to the high spire. On closer inspection it turns out that this spire represents four intertwined tails of dragons. According to the architect’s idea, it should symbolize the unity of the Scandinavian countries. In general, the dragon is one of the most beloved and revered animals in the country. His sculptures and images will accompany you on every walk around Copenhagen.

Thorvaldsen Museum

Bertel Thorvaldsen is a famous Danish artist and sculptor. His works are made in the style of late classicism. Looking at his sculpture of Venus, it is immediately clear that his inspiration was ancient art. Torvaldsen also created marble busts of monarchs and members of the upper class. One such example is the bust of Alexander I.

Town Hall Square

Town Hall Square in Copenhagen

This is the central square of Copenhagen. The main building on the square is, of course, the Town Hall. The modern building is a little more than a hundred years old. Its predecessors died in the fires of fires. Be sure to climb the tower of the Town Hall to look at the city from the top. The architectural composition of the square is complemented by sculptures of dragons and Vikings. The “Bull Tearing the Dragon” fountain has become a meeting point for friends and tour groups. You can’t leave Copenhagen without taking a photo with its most famous inhabitant. A sculpture of Hans Christian Anderson is next to the fountain.

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What to see in Copenhagen in 2 days

Let’s continue our trip around Copenhagen on day 2. It is better to start it with a survey of the Round Tower, which was built as an observatory. From the Round Tower the way goes to the Royal Palace Rosenborg. Around the palace laid out a wonderful park, which is notable for its sculptural compositions. Opposite Rosenborg laid out another garden – Park of the State Museum of Art in Copenhagen . A visit to the city can not be considered complete without seeing its main sculpture – “Little Mermaid” . Along the waterfront you can walk to the Fountain of Hephaion and the Church of St. Albans . A visit to Amalienborg Palace is the perfect conclusion to a walk around Copenhagen.

Rosenborg Palace

Rosenborg Palace was built by order of King Christian IV in the XVII century. The interiors of the palace are beautifully preserved and invite you to take a trip back in time. The knight’s hall is guarded by life-sized silver lions. Tapestries on the walls tell the story of battles between Denmark and Sweden. The treasures of the Danish crown are also kept here. Diamonds, rubies, pearls and emeralds are the main elements of the royal jewelry.

Gephion Fountain

This is a gift from the Carlsberg brewery to Copenhagen in honor of its 50th anniversary. The composition of the fountain dates back to the famous Scandinavian myth of how the goddess Hepheon deceived the king of Sweden. The fountain is made in the form of cascades of 3 tiers and decorated with boulders.

What to see in Copenhagen in 3 days

Start your third day in the city with a visit to the Experimentarium , where all the exhibits are interactive models. Or you could visit the National Aquarium . After that go to the Nyhavn district to admire the colorful houses by the water. Here you can also enjoy exquisite Scandinavian cuisine in one of the many restaurants. Finish your evening program with rides in Bakken Park .

Surrounding Copenhagen what to see

There are some interesting sights near Copenhagen that are a must-see.

Kronborg

This is the most famous Danish castle, which gained its popularity thanks to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, where the main events unfold in the basement of Kronborg. The choice of place for the construction of the castle was not accidental: it was erected at the narrowest point of the Oresund Strait, on the border with Sweden. Grandiose fortifications with bastions and casemates were used to protect the state border. For a few days in the summer, the castle was transformed into a playground where Shakespeare was staged.

Frederiksborg

Frederiksborg Castle is located in Hillerød, north of Copenhagen. The castle is a fine example of the Renaissance style. It was built by order of King Christian IV. Since 1878 the castle became a museum of national history. The halls with portraits, paintings, furniture and decorations take visitors on a journey through Danish history from the Middle Ages to the present day. At weekends and during children’s vacations, the castle offers master classes. For example, here you can try writing a letter with quill and ink. There is a baroque garden around the palace. Do not forget to see it and walk among the royal monograms made of flowers.

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