Copenhagen, home to brightly coloured buildings, canals, friendly people and the best cinnamon scrolls you will ever taste. Copenhagen is filled with perfectly clean streets and bucket loads of culture.
Despite the number of tourists that flock to Copenhagen every year, it doesn’t have the feel of an overly touristed destination, instead, it feels laid back and calming. Perhaps, it is to do with Hygge or maybe it’s the charming picture perfect streets.
There is so much to do and see in gorgeous Copenhagen that it can be hard to know where to start, so I’ve put together a guide on the Top 14 things to do in Copenhagen.
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Check out these other posts to help plan your trip to Copenhagen:
10 Delightful things to do in Copenhagen in the Winter
The best place to experience Christmas: Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market
The Ultimate DIY food tour of Copenahgen
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1 Top 14 Things to do in Copenhagen
- 1.1 1. Rosenburg Castle
- 1.2 2. Little Mermaid
- 1.3 3. Nyhavn
- 1.4 4. Kastellet Fortress
- 1.5 5. Krusemyntegade
- 1.6 6. Nyboder
- 1.7 7. Amalienborg Palace
- 1.8 8. The Marble Church
- 1.9 9. Christiansborg Palace
- 1.10 10. Tivoli Gardens
- 1.11 11. Magstraede
- 1.12 12. Christiania
- 1.13 13. Skip across the ocean to Sweden
- 1.14 14. Strøget Street
- 2 How much time do you need in Copenhagen?
- 3 Where to stay in Copenhagen
- 4 My BEST Travel Resources
Top 14 Things to do in Copenhagen
1. Rosenburg Castle
Rosenborg Castle is a fantastic place to visit to get a good understanding of the Danish Royal family. The castle is the home to the crown jewels, this is a perfect display of precious stones and gold. Some of the rooms are set up to give you an idea of how the Kings and Queens of the past would have lived.
There is a cost a fee of 120krr (approx $19USD) per adult to enter the castle. However, check the website as they often have discounted tickets available. It is recommended to purchase your tickets ahead of time as it is very popular.
If you would like to visit Rosenborg Castle but not pay to go inside, you can roam the grounds for free. The manicured gardens are beautiful and make for a nice leisurely stroll. I highly recommend taking some time to visit the gardens.
2. Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is the most photographed spot in Copenhagen. However, be warned, you will have an “is that it?” moment when you get there.
It is a little further out of “town” so you might want to visit when you’re visiting the Kastellet Fortress (keep reading!). If you don’t fancy going too far out of town (although it is walk-able!), the Copenhagen airport has a replica.
Nyhavn is like something out of a fairy tale. Brightly coloured buildings lining a beautiful canal with gorgeous boats floating along the waters edge. There are cafes flanked by umbrellas with locals sipping coffee or enjoying a Carlsberg beer.
Be warned, you will visit this street more than once! The restaurants and cafes here are expensive, but there are plenty of street vendors selling some of the best hot dogs.
4. Kastellet Fortress
Kastellet Fortress is one of the best preserved fortresses in Northern Europe, it is a star shaped Fortress that was comissioned in 1662.
It is a beautiful place to take a walk around the grassy ramparts, visit the windmill and to explore what the fortress was in days gone by.
From the banks you will get some great views of the harbour and Marmorkirken’s Vatican-like dome.
Krusemyntegade is a beautifully coloured street in the neighbour, Indre By. It was built between the 1630s and the 1640s. However, the houses were most likely replaced in the 1870s. The houses have been painted by their residents but they do not cover the whole street.
You will find some of the houses are more traditional.
We stumbled upon this street by accident on our walk from the central part of Copenhagen to the Kastellet Fortress.
Nyboder is a former Naval barracks built from 1757, it was built to house the growing navy and their families. Today the houses are still occupied by the navy and air force personnel as well as civilians.
It is a gorgeous neighbourhood that consist of rows and rows of bright orange double story houses with the same red shutters.
When the houses were first built they were not the bright orange we see today, instead they were red and white.
7. Amalienborg Palace
Amalienborg Palace is home to the Danish Royal Family. The palace complex comprises of four identical palaces surrounding an octagonal courtyard.
Unlike many other palaces around the world, you can freely walk into the courtyard and up close to the palace. If you’re like us Aussies, we were very excited about being able to get close to the palace, in the hope of getting a glimpse of our own Princess Mary! Of course, we had no luck!
Changing of the Guard takes place daily, leaving from the barracks by Rosenborg Castle and ending at Amalienborg Palace at midday.
8. The Marble Church
The Marble Church, also known as Fredrick’s Church, is very hard to miss if you are standing in the courtyard of Amalienborg Palace.
Despite being named The Marble Church, it is not made of marble. The limestone church was named The Marble Church as they longed to have a marble church.
The green dome of the church makes it stand out from a mile away (well maybe not a mile) but the interior of the church is just as stunning as the exterior. Take the time to go inside admire the statues and architecture – it is free!
9. Christiansborg Palace
Christiansborg Palace is home to the Danish Parliament. You can purchase a ticket and see inside the parliament building, your ticket also includes entrance to the tallest tower in Copenhagen, Christiansborg tower.
If it is a super overcast and a rainy day, I suggest waiting for the weather to clear, and visit the tower when the weather is better. The views are not as good on an overcast day.
10. Tivoli Gardens
In my opinion, visiting Tivoli Gardens is one of the best things to do in Copenhagen.
Tivoli Gardens in an amusement park in the center of Copenhagen that was opened in 1843. Tivoli Gardens (also known as Tivoli) has always included an oriental architecture theme, a theater, band stand, eateries, flower gardens, a gorgeous lake and of course amusement rides.
Tivoli Gardens has different themes depending on the time of year you are visiting. I have visited twice at Christmas and it is absolutely magical.
Magstraede is one of the oldest streets in Copenhagen. Even on a rainy day, it is a beautiful street to go and admire.
The symmetrical houses at Number 17 – 19 date back to 1640s and number 20 was built some time before the fire of 1728.
There are a few streets around this area including, Radhusstraede, which were established around the same time. The houses here are fascinating and if you like picturing what a city would have been like many moons ago, these streets are for you.
Christiania, also known as free town, was once a commercial hub. It has now become an alternative community, where the phrase “anything goes” is probably heard quite a lot.
The former army barracks were taken over in the 1970s and are now an independent community with their own rules and drug use/sales are tolerated.
There are also shops, cafes, day-care center and a skate park. This is a very unique place and a must see in Copenhagen.
Be mindful about taking photos, many residents do not appreciate tourists and especially tourists taking photos. Whilst I did visit on a solo trip to Copenhagen, I would not recommend wandering around free town at night time.
13. Skip across the ocean to Sweden
Another one of the best things do in Copenhagen is to visit another country! A 40 minute train trip and you are in Sweden’s third largest city, Malmo.
It is amazing to visit two different cultures in one day! It is close enough and small enough that you could do this trip in a couple of hours, or you might prefer to pack a bag and spend a few days.
14. Strøget Street
Strøget Street is a pedestrian only street that is lined with shops. It is one of the longest walking streets in Europe with a distance of 1.1km.
Along Strøget Street you will find plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops. Before you know it, you will have spent more time and money than you planned on.
How much time do you need in Copenhagen?
There are so many things to do in Copenhagen, especially if you want to include a trip to Malmo.
However, the list above includes most of the things we did in Copenhagen and we were in Copenhagen for three full days. I would not recommend much less than three days.
However, if you are short on time, you could skip the trip to Malmo and be able to see most of what the Danish Capital city has to offer in two days.
Even if you only have 24 hours in Copenhagen you will still get to explore the main sites and some of the hidden gems in this beautiful city.
Where to stay in Copenhagen
There are many great places to stay in Copenhagen, I recommend staying as close to the center as possible. You can stay pretty close to the city center but still feel as though you are staying in a local area.
Cheaper options – Copenhagen is an expensive city but there are still some cheaper options. One option is to stay in the Copenhagen Downtown Hostel or if you would rather a cheaper hotel instead of a hostel you could stay at the CABINN Copenhagen.
Luxury accommodation – if you prefer to treat yourself to a little luxury check out the Andersen Boutique Hotel which located 200m from the central train station.
Airbnb – another good option for accommodation is Airbnb. Airbnb is a great way to “live like a local”. We stayed in a great Airbnb in Nørrebro, it is located very close to supermarkets, restaurants and a train station. By train it is located 10 minutes from the center of Copenhagen.
Some other great neighbourhoods to stay in are: Indre By (upmarket), Vesterbro (nightlife), Osterbro or Nyhavn (families)
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