10 Things to do in Copenhagen

The vibrant capital of Denmark, offers a wealth of attractions and activities. Here are 10 things you should absolutely do in Copenhagen:

1. Visit Tivoli Gardens

Explore the iconic Tivoli Gardens, a renowned and historic amusement park located in the heart of Copenhagen.  Established in 1843, it is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, captivating visitors with its timeless charm and a blend of classic and modern attractions. The park's fascinating history and enchanting ambiance make it a must-visit destination for travelers of all ages.

 

At Tivoli Gardens, you can immerse yourself in the allure of its beautiful gardens. Lush greenery, colorful flowers, and meticulously manicured landscapes create a picturesque backdrop, providing a tranquil and inviting setting amidst the bustling city. Walking through these gardens, visitors can take a leisurely stroll, enjoy a picnic, or simply appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds them.

 

The amusement park comes alive with the thrill of exhilarating rides. From classic carousels and roller coasters to modern high-speed attractions, Tivoli offers a diverse range of rides that cater to various levels of excitement. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie seeking an intense rush or prefer a gentler experience for the whole family, the park has something to offer everyone.

 

In addition to the rides, Tivoli Gardens hosts a vibrant array of live performances and entertainment. From enchanting ballet performances and theatrical productions to concerts by renowned artists, visitors can indulge in the arts while reveling in the magical atmosphere of the park.

 

One of the most captivating aspects of Tivoli Gardens is its unique charm and ambiance that evokes a sense of nostalgia and wonder. The park's iconic wooden architecture, vintage-inspired decor, and sparkling lights create a fairy-tale-like setting, especially in the evenings when the park is illuminated. The blend of old-world charm with modern amusement creates a distinctive and unforgettable experience.

 

Tivoli Gardens also boasts an eclectic selection of restaurants, cafes, and eateries that offer a wide range of delectable cuisines. From traditional Danish dishes to international fare, visitors can indulge in a variety of culinary delights to satisfy their taste buds.

2. Explore Nyhavn

    Nyhavn is a charming and iconic waterfront district located in Copenhagen, and is one of the most popular and picturesque destinations in the city. Wander along the picturesque canal, lined with colorful 17th-century townhouses, charming cafes, and restaurants. Enjoy the lively atmosphere and take a boat tour.

     

    The colorful facades of the historic buildings reflect in the calm waters of the canal, creating a postcard-worthy scene that attracts visitors and locals alike. Each townhouse has its own unique charm, and some of them have historical significance, once being homes to famous Danish figures such as the renowned fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen.

     

    The ambiance of Nyhavn is vibrant and lively. Along the waterfront, you'll find an array of charming cafes and restaurants, each offering an opportunity to savor delightful Danish cuisine and international dishes while enjoying the scenic views. Whether you're in the mood for a traditional smørrebrød (open-faced sandwich) or some freshly caught seafood, Nyhavn has something to satisfy every palate.

     

    One of the best ways to experience Nyhavn's beauty is by taking a boat tour along the canal. Numerous boat companies operate from the harbor, offering guided tours that provide fascinating insights into the history and architecture of the area. As you cruise through the waters, you'll gain a unique perspective of the colorful buildings, and your tour guide will share intriguing stories and anecdotes about Nyhavn's past.

     

    The area around Nyhavn is also a hub of activity, attracting street performers, musicians, and artists who add to the lively atmosphere. You can take a leisurely stroll along the quayside, browse through local boutiques and art galleries, or simply sit by the water's edge and soak in the atmosphere.

     

    Throughout the year, Nyhavn hosts various events and festivals, making it a dynamic destination no matter the season. During the summer, the waterfront comes alive with outdoor seating and bustling crowds, while in winter, the area transforms into a cozy and magical setting with charming Christmas markets.

     

    Whether you're interested in history, architecture, culinary delights, or simply seeking a delightful and visually stunning experience, Nyhavn has something special to offer for everyone.

    3. Discover the Little Mermaid

    Pay a visit to the iconic Little Mermaid statue (and yes, she is little)! The statue is a must-visit attraction in Copenhagen, and holds a significant place in Danish cultural history. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's beloved fairy tale of the same name, the statue has become a symbol of the city and a popular destination for tourists from around the world.

     

    Situated at the Langelinie promenade, which is a beautiful waterfront area known for its scenic views and leisurely strolls, the statue was unveiled on August 23, 1913. It was a gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen (1842 - 1914) to the city of Copenhagen. Carl Jacobsen was the son of J. C. Jacobsen (1811-1887), who founded the Carlsberg brewery.

     

    The statue was created by Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen and depicts the young mermaid from Andersen's fairy tale sitting on a rock with her tail partially submerged in the water. She stands at a modest height of about 1.25 meters (4.1 feet) and has become a cultural icon, attracting visitors from far and wide. Its captivating design and its association with Andersen's touching story have made it a symbol of love, sacrifice, and the bittersweet nature of dreams. It is essential to note that the Little Mermaid statue is not an extensive sculpture park or amusement park. Instead, it is a simple and elegant statue, which may be surprising to some visitors who expect a larger and more elaborate attraction.

     

    Over the years, the statue has faced some challenges. It has been subjected to vandalism and damage on multiple occasions, but each time it has been lovingly restored by skilled artisans to preserve its original appearance. 

    4. Amalienborg Palace

      Amalienborg Palace is an architectural wonder and serves as the official winter residence of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. The palace complex is a stunning representation of rococo architecture and offers visitors a glimpse into the regal heritage and history of the Danish monarchy.

       

      Originally constructed in the mid-18th century, during the reign of King Frederick V of Denmark, the palace is composed of four identical palaces:

      • Christian VII's Palace: The Queen's representative palace
      • Christian VIII's Palace: Residence for Prince Joachim, HRH Princess Marie and HRH Princess Benedikte.
      • Frederick VIII's Palace: The Crown Prince Couple’s private residence.
      • Christian IX's Palace: The Queen uses Christian IX's Palace as winter residence.

      These palaces surround an impressive octagonal courtyard.

       

      Initially, the palaces were built as separate residences for four noble families. However, in 1794, after the Christiansborg Palace was destroyed by a fire, the Danish royal family acquired Amalienborg Palace and made it their primary residence. 

       

      One of the highlights of a visit to Amalienborg Palace is witnessing the Changing of the Guard  ceremony. This traditional ceremony takes place daily and is a splendid spectacle, featuring the Royal Life Guards (Dronningens Livgarde) marching from their barracks to the palace square. The precision and pageantry of the guards make it a captivating sight for visitors and a proud tradition for the Danish monarchy.

       

      While the palaces are the official (winter) residence of the Danish royal family, they are also open to the public at certain times, allowing visitors to experience the opulent interiors and splendid decorations of the royal chambers. The architecture and interior design reflect the rich history and cultural significance of the monarchy, offering a fascinating insight into the world of royalty.

       

      Additionally, the palace complex is situated near the waterfront of Copenhagen, providing a beautiful backdrop for leisurely strolls and scenic views of the harbor. Visitors can take a relaxing walk along the waterfront, enjoying the sight of ships passing by and the gentle breeze of the sea.

       

      If you are in Copenhagen on April 16th, you should not miss Queen Margrethe II of Denmark waving from the balcony of Amalienborg Palace to greet well-wishers and the public gathering outside to celebrate the queen's birthday.

      5. Christiansborg Palace

      Christiansborg Palace, located in the heart of the city, is a historically significant and multifunctional building that should not be missed by visitors. It serves as the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court, and also hosts the Royal Reception Rooms for official state functions.

       

      The palace's history dates back to the 12th century, and over the centuries, it has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. The current structure, constructed in the early 20th century, is an impressive representation of neoclassical architecture, showcasing the grandeur and elegance befitting its multifaceted role.

       

      Exploring Christiansborg Palace offers visitors a unique opportunity to delve into Denmark's political and royal heritage. Visitors can tour the various chambers and halls used by the Danish Parliament, providing insight into the country's democratic processes and governance. Additionally, the Supreme Court's chambers offer a glimpse into the country's judicial system and the administration of justice.

       

      One of the highlights of a visit to Christiansborg Palace is the opportunity to explore the Royal Reception Rooms. These opulent rooms are adorned with exquisite artwork, luxurious furnishings, and elaborate decorations, setting the stage for the grandeur of state banquets and official events attended by royalty and dignitaries.

       

      For those seeking a breathtaking view of Copenhagen's skyline, the palace's tower, known as the Christiansborg Tower, is a must-visit. Climbing the tower's spiraling staircase rewards visitors with a panoramic view of the city, showcasing the historic landmarks, charming neighborhoods, and picturesque waterfront. The tower's observation deck is an ideal spot for taking memorable photographs and appreciating the city's architectural beauty.

       

      It's important to note that Christiansborg Palace, being a working government building, may have certain restrictions or closures during official events or parliamentary sessions. Therefore, it's advisable to check the palace's official website or visit the information center before planning a visit to ensure the best experience.

      6. Strøget Shopping Street

      Strøget is a shopaholic's haven and a vibrant expression of Copenhagen's cosmopolitan character. This pedestrian shopping street weaves together high-end fashion, global brands, and local Danish design, all while offering a delightful ambiance with street performances and cultural attractions. Whether you're looking for the latest fashion trends, Danish treasures, or simply want to immerse yourself in the city's dynamic atmosphere, Strøget promises an unforgettable shopping adventure.

       

      From the moment you step onto Strøget, you'll be greeted by a bustling scene of shoppers, street performers, and stylish boutiques lining the streets. The area exudes an air of sophistication, with a perfect blend of classic European charm and modern beauty.

       

      Shopping enthusiasts will find themselves spoiled for choice as they explore the wide array of stores that cater to every taste and preference. High-end boutiques showcase the latest fashion trends and luxury brands, making Strøget a prime destination for fashionistas seeking exclusive designer pieces. International brands have also made their home on Strøget, providing a global shopping experience right in the heart of Copenhagen. From renowned luxury labels to popular mainstream retailers, you'll find a diverse selection of products to suit various budgets.

       

      For those eager to discover Danish design and craftsmanship, Strøget is a treasure trove of local shops and boutiques. From home decor and interior design to unique fashion pieces, you can immerse yourself in the world of Danish creativity and aesthetics.

       

      Beyond fashion and design, Strøget is a mecca for gastronomic delights. Charming cafes and gourmet restaurants offer a welcome respite for tired shoppers, providing a chance to savor delectable Danish treats and international cuisine.

       

      As you continue your shopping spree, you'll encounter street performers, musicians, and artists adding to the vibrant ambiance of Strøget. Their performances and artistic displays create a lively and entertaining backdrop, enhancing the overall experience of strolling down this lively shopping street.

       

      While shopping may be the primary allure of Strøget, it's not just about indulging in retail therapy. The street itself is rich in history and culture, dotted with architectural gems and landmarks that tell the story of Copenhagen's past and present. From charming squares and historical buildings to modern art installations, Strøget offers a delightful blend of shopping and sightseeing.

      7. Explore Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

        Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a treasure trove for art and culture enthusiasts, offering a captivating journey through history and artistic expression. The museum, established in the early 19th century by J.C. Jacobsen, boasts an extensive collection of ancient and modern art that continues to mesmerize visitors to this day.

         

        Stepping into the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, visitors are immediately greeted with a sense of awe-inspiring beauty. The museum's stunning architectural setting combines the elegance of the classical world with modern beauty, creating an inviting and harmonious space for art lovers and casual visitors alike. The museum's design includes lush gardens, magnificent courtyards, and light-filled halls, providing a serene and uplifting ambiance that complements the artwork on display.

         

        The museum's collection is a testament to J.C. Jacobsen's passionate pursuit of art and culture. He founded the museum to house his personal art collection, which he acquired during his travels, and to make it accessible to the public for educational and cultural purposes.

        The museum's name "Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek" reflects its connection to the Carlsberg Breweries, which J.C. Jacobsen founded. "Carlsberg" is the name of his brewery, and "Glyptotek," a Greek word meaning "sculpture collection."

         

        Its impressive array of ancient sculptures, including Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Etruscan pieces, offers a rare glimpse into the artistry and beliefs of past civilizations. Visitors can marvel at the masterful craftsmanship of these ancient sculptures, each telling its own unique story of history and myth. The journey through time continues with an exceptional collection of modern art. Paintings by renowned artists, including the works of the French Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and Danish Golden Age painters.

         

        The diverse range of artistic styles and themes provides a captivating exploration of the evolution of art from the 19th to the 20th century.

        Apart from the exceptional visual art, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek also houses a remarkable collection of decorative arts, including ceramics, porcelain, and exquisite antiquities, making it a comprehensive cultural experience for art enthusiasts.

         

        The museum's commitment to engaging visitors extends beyond its collections. Throughout the year, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek hosts various exhibitions, events, and educational programs that cater to diverse interests and age groups. This fosters a dynamic environment that encourages curiosity and learning, making the museum an enriching destination for both locals and tourists.

        8. National Museum of Denmark

          Explore the fascinating history and culture of Denmark at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. This impressive museum showcases the Viking heritage, ancient artifacts, and interactive displays, providing an unforgettable experience for visitors.

           

          Discover the world of the Vikings, brave seafarers and explorers, through captivating exhibits that highlight their traditions, craftsmanship, and epic stories. Learn about their adventures and the impact they had on global history.

           

          In addition to the Viking era, the museum houses a diverse collection of ancient artifacts that offer insights into the lives and customs of Denmark's early societies. You can admire beautiful stone tools and intricately crafted pottery that provide a glimpse into the past.

           

          The National Museum also offers interactive displays, suitable for all ages, allowing you to actively engage and learn. Participate in ancient games, try traditional crafts, and experience historical reenactments that make history come alive.

           

          With its blend of historical charm and modern design, the museum's architecture creates an inviting space for visitors. It preserves the country's rich heritage while catering to the interests of today's generation.

           

          In addition, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions on various topics, such as Danish art, cultural festivals, and contemporary issues, offering fresh perspectives and making each visit unique.

          9. Copenhagen Street Food

          Copenhagen has a flourishing street food culture that has revitalized various parts of the city. Modern and vibrant food markets have popped up, transforming once-empty spaces into lively gastronomic hubs. These markets celebrate the city's rich culinary heritage while embracing global influences, creating a melting pot of tastes and aromas.

          Refshaleøen is home to Reffen, a unique street food market that champions sustainability and eco-friendliness. With a zero-waste philosophy, Reffen focuses on organic, locally sourced ingredients and biodegradable packaging. Here, food vendors present an array of mouthwatering dishes, ranging from juicy plant-based burgers to refreshing vegan smoothies, all aligned with the market's eco-conscious mission.

          For those seeking a more traditional market experience, Torvehallerne is the place to be. Situated in the heart of Copenhagen near Nørreport Station, this bustling marketplace offers an authentic taste of Danish street food culture. Visitors can explore over 60 stalls selling everything from Danish pastries and artisanal cheeses to freshly caught seafood and organic produce.

           

          And let's not forget the beloved pølsevogn (hotdog cart) that dots the city streets. Enjoying a hotdog from a pølsevogn is a quintessential Danish experience that should not be missed. These carts offer a variety of toppings and condiments, allowing you to customize your hotdog to your heart's content.

          10. Visit the Freetown of Christiania

            Established in the 1970s, this self-governing neighborhood has evolved into a fascinating enclave, known for its distinctive atmosphere, vibrant street art, and a collection of independent shops and cafes.

             

            Upon entering Christiania, visitors are immediately struck by the sense of freedom and creativity that permeates the air. Unlike any other place in Copenhagen, this neighborhood has developed its own set of rules and values, emphasizing a communal and cooperative lifestyle. Here, residents have taken it upon themselves to create a utopian environment, valuing social connections, artistic expression, and sustainable living.

            What sets Christiania apart is its emphasis on self-governance. Instead of adhering to conventional laws, the community operates under its own set of regulations, collectively making decisions through consensus. This fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment among the residents, allowing them to shape their unique way of life.

             

            Christiania is renowned for its captivating street art, which adorns many walls, buildings, and structures throughout the neighborhood. The art captures the spirit of rebellion, freedom, and individuality that defines the community. Visitors will find an array of stunning murals, graffiti, and sculptures that reflect the diverse creative expressions of the community's inhabitants.

            The architecture in Christiania is equally distinctive, with its bohemian-style buildings and makeshift constructions adding to the neighborhood's alternative charm. Wandering through the narrow, winding pathways, visitors will encounter whimsical houses adorned with colorful decorations, showcasing the creative and artistic nature of the residents.

             

            Christiania is also home to a variety of independent shops and cafes that offer an eclectic mix of goods and treats. These establishments embody the spirit of sustainability and community, often sourcing their products locally and promoting fair trade practices. Visitors can explore quirky boutiques selling handmade crafts, eco-friendly products, and unique souvenirs.

            The neighborhood's cafes are delightful spots to savor organic and ethically sourced food and beverages. The bohemian ambiance of these establishments provides a refreshing contrast to conventional coffee shops, making for an unforgettable dining experience.

            These 10 activities provide a glimpse into the diverse attractions and experiences Copenhagen has to offer, ensuring a memorable visit to the Danish capital, but there is much more to see

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