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Best Things to do in Copenhagen
This charming coastal city, the capital of Denmark, has it all – historical attractions and a wealth of museums, a beautiful harbour, food halls, and of course, if visiting in Winter, hygge! Keep reading about all the things to do in Copenhagen and you’ll soon be booking plane tickets whether for a couples weekend getaway or a longer family vacation!
The Best Time to Visit Copenhagen
Copenhagen can be enjoyed all through the year with each season offering visitors something different…
Spring in Copenhagen
Watch the city’s parks come to life after the drab and dreary days of January and February with Spring flowers bursting out of the ground full of colour and fragrance – Look out for the cherry blossom!
Temperatures can still be on the chilly side so you’ll need to dress in layers but Spring showers aren’t much of a problem.
Summer in Copenhagen
Copenhagen doesn’t get uncomfortably hot allowing you to make the most of the long, warm Summer days that last until 10pm.
The city is alive with festivals and events at this time of year including Friday Rock in Tivoli Gardens, Roskilde Festival, the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Copenhagen Pride and the Copenhagen Cooking and Food Festival – and that’s just for starters!
Life is lived outside during Summer so be sure to visit the harbour baths and Amagar Beach Park in-between your cultural museum days.
Fall in Copenhagen
The temperature drops from mid September with fall the wettest season in Copenhagen but with the colour-changing leaves putting on as much of a show as Tivoli’s Halloween display it’s still a great time to sightsee the city.
Winter in Copenhagen
Wrap up warm if visiting Copenhagen in winter – You can expect lots of rain as well as snow but the festivities of December will give you a warm inner glow as you peruse the Christmas Markets and delight in Christmas at Tivoli.
After Christmas, once the festive lights come down, and New Year celebrations are over the city loses its appeal somewhat unless you practise the Danish art of hygge!
Top Things to Do in Copenhagen
The iconic waterfront with its colourful 17th and 18th century buildings and historical ships that you see in images mentioning Copenhagen is called Nyhavn Harbour.
This is the bustling yet charming canal and entertainment district full of bars, cafes, and restaurants, as you walk past these former townhouses, look out for numbers 20, 67, and 18 as fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen lived at each of these properties.
Canal Tour of Copenhagen
What better way to explore the city than from the water? Board your sightseeing canal boat and take a one-hour guided tour around the idyllic harbours and along the canals past some of Copenhagen’s most iconic sights including The Opera House, Amalienborg Palace, The Little Mermaid Statue, Christiansborg Palace, the Black Diamond Library, and more.
Note – If you have a Copenhagen Card your canal tour will depart from the harbour at Ved Stranden, just across the street from Christiansborg Palace.
Fun can be had all year long at Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world and the place that inspired Walt Disney to start Disney World.
In the Summer, along with trying out both the nostalgic and modern thrill-seeker rides, you can enjoy a boat ride on the lake and admire the blooming flowers but it’s at Christmas time that Tivoli really blooms with the pleasure gardens taking on a magical atmosphere with hot cocoa, ice-skating, and carousel rides.
Tivoli Gardens generally has something for everyone – If you’re not into rides it doesn’t matter, go and admire the architecture, the gardens, and check out the live music events that take place daily. And Tivoli Garden is also included in your Copenhagen City Card.
National Museum of Denmark
Step inside Denmark’s largest museum of cultural history as you explore the Danish culture as well as foreign cultures whether you join one of the guided tours or make your own way around the museum exploring the Stone Age, Viking Age, and on through the Renaissance age to the modern-day.
If you have kids, be sure to visit the Children’s Museum which is housed within the National Museum, here youngsters can learn Danish history through hands-on exhibitions.
Get your taste-buds in a frenzy as you peruse the edible items on offer at the gourmet urban covered market .
More than 80 shops/stalls can be found across two buildings selling fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, cheese, meat, and other Danish specialities including desserts and beverages with a selection of outdoor vendors too.
Rosenborg Castle and the King’s Garden
Step inside the royal chambers of the Renaissance Rosenborg castle built by King Christian IV of Denmark in the 17th century and see Denmark’s crown jewels and other royal art treasures as you move around the Royal chambers. If you’re visiting Copenhagen in Spring-Summer, be sure to visit the King’s Garden too to admire the flowers in full bloom.
Amalienborg Palace & the Changing Of The Guards
Learn about Denmark’s monarchs, past and present as you move through the opulent Rococo interiors of Amalienborg Palace, the Winter residence of the current royal family.
Don’t miss the changing of the guards ceremony which takes place daily. Dressed similarly to London’s Buckingham Palace guards but wearing blue instead of red, the Danish Royal guards march from Rosenborg Castle at 11.30am to Amalienborg Palace for the 12.00 ceremony.
Christiansborg Palace/Danish Parliament
Located on the islet of Slotsholmen, Christiansborg Palace is the seat of the Danish Parliament today, but used to be the home of the Danish Royal Family before they relocated to Amalienborg Palace after several fires.
Visitors can see 800 years of history as they move through the Royal Reception Rooms including The Great Hall and The Tapestries to The Royal Stables, The Royal Kitchen, the Chapel, plus the palace ruins and Christiansborg Tower.
Church of Our Saviour
One of the most famous churches in the whole of Denmark due to its iconic serpentine spire aka helix spire, visitors can climb the 400 steps of the external winding staircase on this beautiful baroque church in the Christianshavn neighbourhood to take in the panoramic views over the city.
The Round Tower
Europe’s oldest astronomical observatory, the still-functioning ‘Round Tower’ was built in the 17th century by Christian IV of Denmark. If you love panoramic views but are not able-bodied enough to manage the 400 steps of the Church of Our Saviour, visit here instead as there’s an internal spiral ramp that leads to the tower’s viewing platform.
Day trips from Copenhagen
If you’re in Copenhagen for long enough, be sure to take a day trip to one of the beautiful castles whether you join an organised trip or make your own way there using public transport.
Located 40km Northwest of Copenhagen, this famous fairytale-like castle sits on 3 islets and dates back to the 17th century when it was built for King Christian IV.
Visitors can explore inside and outside the stunning renaissance castle with baroque gardens and even take a boat trip on the Castle Lake.
Located on the Northeast coast in Helsingør, 46.6km North of Copenhagen, Kronborg Castle is another fairytale-like renaissance castle.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet was based at this same castle and every June-August Hamlet Live takes place – A must see if you’re a Shakespeare fan.
Where to eat in Copenhagen
The Mad & Kaffe chain is perfect for breakfast or brunch – Mix and match exactly what you want to eat from a wide choice of items (fruit, yogurt, cheeses, meats, breads, pastries, oatmeal etc) and pay based on the number of items.
For lunch, head to Aamanns 1921 and enjoy traditional smørrebrød (an open-faced sandwich) with a twist, this restaurant experimenting with unique flavour combinations.
At the end of the day, have dinner in the charming basement of Restaurant Cofoco, a popular restaurant close to Tivoli Gardens that serves up small places (meze style) of Nordic cuisine.
Where to stay in Copenhagen
For travellers who are planning to spend their time sightseeing, the city centre (Nyhavn district) is an ideal place to stay in Copenhagen with Tivoli Park and the Little Mermaid statue all within walking distance.
We recommend a stay at the upscale boutique Hotel Skt. Annæ which is just 1 street back from the iconic quayside, located in a historic 17th century building, with all the top attractions within a short walking distance, it ensures a comfortable stay.
Things to do in Copenhagen was written by Chrysoula Manika for EuropeUpClose.com.
BIO: Chrysoula’s blog Travel Passionate is in English and French and is focused on luxury travel, cultural and culinary experiences around the world. She enjoys exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations and she is interested in presenting the best locations, attractions and accommodation in each area she visits. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.