Copenhagen is the definition of Scandi cool. Michelin-starred restaurants congregate in its heart, cyclists in their hundreds pedal through the streets and water surrounds the city and snakes through its centre.
It’s a knockout destination to visit, with castles, parks and architecture to enjoy. While the backdrop is historic, there’s a contemporary buzz about the place.
Not quite sure what to do in Copenhagen? Here’s our round-up to help you plan your perfect city break.
This charming 17th-century waterfront is Instagram gold and one of the best things to see in Copenhagen. Gabled townhouses in a rainbow of colours line the harbour and a myriad of boats bob on the canal. Once a watering hole for sailors and creatives, it’s now the perfect place to drink in the beauty of the Danish capital. Soak up the relaxed atmosphere to the gentle tinkle of live jazz.
2. The Little Mermaid
A total must-see for every Copenhagen visitor and fairytale fan – The Little Mermaid. The city’s icon, inspired by the tale of Hans Christian Andresen, has earned Copenhagen the name of ‘city of fairytales’ and basks in the sunlight on the waterfront.
3. Tivoli Gardens
Enter a fantasyland of fun at this 19th-century amusement park. It first opened its gates in 1893 and has been delighting all that visit ever since. While you can head here in the day, it’s best to go at night when thousands of twinkling lights illuminate the grounds. It’s pure magic. Ride the Ferris wheel for jaw-dropping views of Copenhagen city centre, enjoy a nostalgic whirl around the carousel and hop aboard the wooden rollercoaster from 1914!
4. Freetown Christiania
Experience a different side of Copenhagen when you take a trip to Freetown Christiania. It was established in 1971 in a former military camp and is filled with quirky buildings, organic cafés, alternative concert venues and art galleries. Locals offer guided tours of the area if you’re looking to learn more about this free-spirited neighbourhood.
5. Rosenborg Slot
Feel like you’ve fallen into a fairytale at this 17th-century castle. Rosenborg Slot was built as the summer residence of King Christian IV and its monarchical splendour can still be enjoyed today. Revel in the pomp and pageantry of the castle as you make your way through the state rooms, private chambers and best of all, the treasury. The Danish Crown Jewels are on display here, a glittering collection of jewellery and precious stones.
Sniff out this buzzing food market, where more than 60 vendors peddle their wares. Artisanal produce ranges from plump olives to quality cheese, along with heavenly-smelling globe-trotting street food. Drift between the stalls to see what’s tickling your taste buds – freshly made Argentine empanadas, Vietnamese bánh mìto sandwiches and Spanish albondigas will all vie for your attention.
7. Frederiksberg Have
Discover an oasis of nature in the city at Frederiksberg Have. This gorgeous park was designed in English style for the royal family and the result is utterly romantic. Think quaint bridges, tree-lined paths and idyllic canals. Come here for an afternoon stroll and blast of fresh air.
8. National Museum of Denmark
Trace the country’s history at Denmark’s National Museum. Starting with the Ice Age and running right up until the present day, the exhibit here is fascinating and filled with centuries-old artefacts. Don’t miss the famous Golden Horns, the Bronze Age Egtved Girl and Egyptian mummies.
9. NY Carlsberg Glyptotek
NY Carlsberg Glyptotek is the star of Copenhagen’s museum scene. More than 10,000 works of art and archaeological objects fill the exhibits, spanning 6,000 years. The collection was initially established by Carlsberg tycoon Carl Jacobsen and has evolved since its conception. Wander the halls and you’ll see Ancient Greek portrait heads, sculptures from Rodin and paintings by Monet and Van Gogh.
10. The David Collection
See the works of art collected by C. L. David in this brilliant museum. The three permanent exhibitions cover Islamic art, European art and Danish early modern art. Textiles, jewellery, ceramics, paintings – there’s plenty packed into the halls of the neoclassic mansion that houses the collection.
Posted: 9th Apr 2019. Updated: 25th Aug 2023.