We hear a lot of contradictory stories about things to do in Copenhagen. Some say there isn’t much to do, some say it’s the coolest place they’ve been. Challenge accepted! We took on the task to find out what to do in Copenhagen on your citytrip to look for the best places of interest. Spoiler alert: we had a blast! Especially the food is superb.
The most popular place in Copenhagen: Nyhavn
Nyhavn isn’t a hidden gem in Denmark’s capital. To the contrary: After two days in Copenhagen we spotted the first Dutch tourist over here. And five others within two minutes. It’s popular for a reason though. The colorful buildings together with the canal and the boats are a nice sight. Picture a clear sky and you have it all! We weren’t so lucky.
- Quick tip: If you want to save money, don’t eat here. A-locations have A-location prices. Luckily Copenhagen is a very good place to have delicious food for reasonable prices.
- While you’re at Nyhavn, take a look at the free restrooms on either side of the end of the canal, you have never seen such gorgeous facilities.
Admire Christiansborg Palace
Another very popular place is Christiansborg Palace, which used to be were the royal family lived. The palace lies in the heart of the city, so you don’t have to go out of your way for it. At present the huge building houses the Danish parliament and the Supreme Court. The royal reception rooms, stables and kitchens are open for visitors.
Visit Rosenborg Castle and the King’s Garden
On a sunny day, one of the best things to do in Copenhagen is to go to the Kongens Have (King’s Gardens) and relax in the huge park. From the gardens you have a beautiful view on Rosenborg Castle, which has been a museum since 1838 is still open for visitors. Royal jewels and pieces or art can be seen here.
Frederiksberg Palace, Rosenborg’s successor after the royals got bored with it, is also worth visiting on a sunny day. The palace isn’t as spectacular, but the gardens are definitely worth a visit.
Explore Nørrebro: Copenhagen’s upcoming district
Something that you definitely have to do in Copenhagen is explore Nørrebro, a very multicultural district. Small shops and restaurants litter the place. We also called it home since our hotel was here. Nørrebro also has a big art scene which is noticeable by the street art scattered throughout the area. In our opinion is Nørrebro the best place to visit in Copenhagen.
There are tours to explore Nørrebro, but why not make it more fun and discover Nørrebro by playing a game! Too bad we didn’t know about it when we were there, because I definitely would want to play it!
After a turbulent recent past the former military base in Christiania is now governed by Danish law. This wasn’t always the case as there was a time when they ruled by their own law and visitors were not allowed. It definitely is a weird place to visit as it still has their own unwritten rules, like it’s not allowed to take photos. Other rules are still valid, like it’s tolerated to use and deal soft drugs. It’s definitely a unique place to visit. Pictures are from the entry gates of the district.
Enjoy the view from the Rundetaarn
Rundetaarn literally means ’round tower’ which is understandable. The spiralled slope takes you all the way up to the tower from where you have a magnificent view over the city. Halfway there’s an entrance into an exposition. When we were there, we visited a exposition about Moon exploration and the Space Race. Pretty interesting.
Entrance to the Moon exposition was free, but entrance to the tower costs 35 DKK (about US$5).
Vesterbro: The Meatpacking District
A district similar to Nørrebro is Vesterbro. Hipster places together with a healthy dose of art make it one of the coolest things to do in Copenhagen. One area in particular we like is Kødbyen, or, The Meatpacking District. An old factory site has been converted to a small village full of startup shops, cafes and restaurants.
Torvehallerne: Two food halls
Like every major city does Copenhagen also have a few food halls. One of them is Torvehallerne, which are actually two food halls; one the more street food type with a Mikkeller beer shop, and small restaurants, whereas the other is more a luxury whole foods market.
The actual Little Mermaid
Visiting The Little Mermaid must be on your list of things to do in Copenhagen. Not having a picture of Copenhagen’s figurehead, is like coming home from Paris without a photo of the Eiffel Tower. Even though Disney made the fairy tale famous throughout the world, this is the place where the story originated.
We recommend going on foot since it’s a nice walk along the waterfront if you’re coming from the city center. On your trip to the Little Mermaid don’t forget to pay a visit to the Kastellet fortress.
Street Art in Copenhagen
Scattered throughout the city you can find massive paintings on various places. Just keep your eyes open and you might find some hidden gems that can’t be found in any guide book. You can find most street art in Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Christiania.
Strøget, Europe’s longest shopping street
Shop ’til you drop. Probably caused by exhaustion as this is Europe’s longest shopping street! 1.2km of shops are waiting for you to be bought out. If you like shopping, you’re in the right spot here. Besides the well known brands there are also a lot of – for us unknown – Scandinavian brands.
Restaurants and cafes in Copenhagen
There are a lot of awesome restaurants in Denmark’s capital. Going out for dinner was one of our favourite things to do in Copenhagen. There are loads of cool little restaurants that exist out of passion instead of making money. If you’re vegan you’re in for a treat, because we ate at some awesome vegan places around the city. We’re not vegan, but we definitely love the food!
Tivoli, Copenhagen’s downtown theme park
Next to Copenhagen’s main station is a whole block dedicated to a theme park called Tivoli. It’s an awesome addition to your Copenhagen city break if you’re traveling with kids or if you want to release the kid inside of you. Even if you are not planning on going in, it’s a cool sight. Imagine seeing a roller coaster cart hitting the apex just above the theme park’s fence as people scream at the top of their lungs. Something you have to see, right?!
Go to Malmö (Sweden) for an afternoon
Since 2000 Copenhagen and Malmö, Sweden’s second largest city, are connected by the 16 kilometer long Sont Bridge. A perfect opportunity to combine two cities and two countries in one trip! The train to Malmö station takes about half an hour and it costs 92 DKK (about US$13) which can be bought at Copenhagen station.
Practical information on things to do in Copenhagen
- Exploring Copenhagen on foot is certainly doable, but if you don’t have a week to stay, renting a bicycle might be a good idea. Bike tours are also available. This way you can explore the city while learning something too (and burn some calories).
- If you’re planning on visiting museums it might be a good idea to purchase the Copenhagen City Card. This gives you access to a lot of museums, discount at a lot of restaurants and unlimited free access to all public transportation.
- One of the cheapest options to stay in Copenhagen is A&O Nørrebro. It’s a cool, spotless place which is in walking distance of a metro station. We’ve stayed with them all over Europe and it’s a pretty awesome budget hotel chain. Always clean, cheap and warm, but never exactly the same like a factory.
- Or just look into the pool of over 1000 hotels in Copenhagen.
- Look here for cheap tickets to Copenhagen
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If you have any additional tips or questions about our things to do in Copenhagen, let us know in the comments!