10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

Looking forward to visiting Copenhagen in the future? Here is our list of 10 top things to do and see in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Denmark is one-third of Scandinavia, the other two countries making up this Northern European region are Norway and Sweden. Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital was the first stop of our family’s Scandinavian tour.

The capital’s main international airport is formally known as Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup. Trains and buses are available for visitors to get into the city. Obviously, a train journey is quicker and takes only 15 minutes to get to Kongens Nytorv station in the heart of Copenhagen.

Book your flights to Copenhagen via Skyscanner.
Non-European resident visitors in Europe may take the train to Copenhagen, book via Eurail.
European residents may take the train to Copenhagen, book via Interrail.
Book your hotels at Hotelscombined and your travel insurance at World Nomads.

Highlights of our two-day sightseeing experience not too long ago in this city are as follows:

1) Buy a Copenhagen Card

The holder is entitled to free admission to 86 attractions and free use of public transport. Also, discounts on restaurants, attractions and entertainment. The Copenhagen Card is available as a 24-hour card, a 48-hour card, a 72-hour card and a 120-hour card.

2) The Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter is an area where Latin was used to be widely spoken. It consists of 17th-century buildings including the University of Copenhagen. Other interesting sights include:

Strøget, at 1.1 km is one of the longest pedestrianised, car-free shopping streets in Europe. It stretches from Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square) to Rådhuspladsen (The City Hall Square).

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark
Stork Fountain at Amager Square along Strøget

Church of Our Lady is a Roman Catholic Church constructed in 1187 in Romanesque style. Royal weddings and coronations have occurred here. A monument in memory of the Reformation of Denmark proudly stands across the road.

Marvel at the Statue of Absalon. Absalon was a Danish archbishop, statesman and founder of Copenhagen.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

The Rundetaarn, or Rundetårn (Round Tower) is an observation tower, astronomical observatory and a historical monument. A Library Hall halfway up the tower houses art exhibitions and cultural events. The tower is 35 metres high and the only way up to the viewing platform is through a 210 metres long spiral ramp.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark
One of the many views from atop Round Tower, Øresund Bridge linking Denmark and Sweden can be seen at a distance

3) Kongens Have and Rosenborg Slot

Kongens Have (The King’s Garden) is a 12-hectare park which used to be the private gardens of Rosenborg Castle. It has a pavilion, a fountain, statues, a garden maze, tree-lined avenues, noteworthy buildings and other features.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark
A statue of Hans Christian Andersen, Danish writer popular for his fairy tales, at Kongens Have

Rosenborg Slot (Rosenborg Castle) was a former royal residence but now is a museum open to the public. Its top exhibits include the Royal Collections, Crown Jewels and the Danish Crown Regalia.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

4) Museums

Copenhagen has its fair share of museums most of which can be accessed with a Copenhagen Card. Top museums worth visiting include:

Natural History Museum came into being as a result of merger of Copenhagen’s Zoological, Geological and Botanical museums. Its current botanical gardens contain more than 13,000 species.

Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery of Denmark) whose impressive collections include Danish and foreign paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings from the 14th century to the present.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

Davids Samling (The David Collection) houses the private collection of a Danish barrister and art lover. The museum is particularly noted for its fine range of Islamic arts and artefacts from the 8th to the 19th century. It also holds a collection of European decorative arts from the 18th and 19th centuries.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark
A sampling of items on exhibit bedecked in precious jewels.

5) Rådhuspladsen and Tivoli

Rådhuspladsen (The City Hall Square) is a public square in the centre of Copenhagen where the City Hall is located. Other areas of interest around the square include the following:

Industriens Hus is a modern building which is the headquarters of the Confederation of Danish Industries which was built in the 1870’s but has gone several transformations.

Dragon Fountain is a seven-metre fountain which features a dragon and a bull in battle.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

Hans Christian Andersen Place is a museum where you have the choice of reading in one of several languages or listening to one of three languages about H. C. Andersen’s stories.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark
Hans Christian Andersen Place

Tivoli is an amusement park and a pleasure garden which features various rides, pantomime shows, musical performances and concerts. It has an on-site hotel and several restaurants. A late-night illuminations show features fireworks, laser lights and waterjets.

6) Slotsholmen

Slotsholmen or The Castle Islet is an island in Copenhagen’s harbour connected to the city by nine bridges. Among the different structures in the island include:

Christianborg Palace is the only building in the world which houses the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government under one roof. The 106-metre high tower is the tallest in the city and access to the viewing platform is free.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark
Christiansborg Palace fronted with the equestrian statue of Christian IX

Royal Library is the national library of Denmark which has five sites, the main one located at Slotsholmen.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

Christianborg Palace Chapel is used for religious ceremonies for members of the Danish Royal Family. It is also used by the Danish Parliament for the church service during parliament’s opening.

Thorvaldsens Museum which includes most of Neo-Classical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen’s works.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

7) Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn

Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square) is the largest public square in the city at the top of Nyhavn. Important buildings around the square include a theatre, former palaces, hotel and a department store.

Nyhavn is a canal flanked by colourful 18th-century merchants’ houses. Hans Christian Andersen once lived here. Nowadays, it is a popular waterside attraction with boats docked and lined with numerous cafes, restaurants and bars.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

8) Frederiksstaden and the Golden Axis

Frederiksstaden is a district in Copenhagen where the royal family has lived ever since. Frederik’s Church and Amalienborg Palace lie on an axis known as the Golden Axis which extends up to the Opera House.

Frederik’s Church or The Marble Church (Marmorkirken) is an Evangelical Lutheran church whose 31 metres-diameter dome is the largest in Scandinavia. It was modelled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

Amalienborg Palace consists of four almost identical palaces around a courtyard. An equestrian statue of King Frederick V, Amalienborg’s founder stands in the square. Every day, guards from Rosenborg Castle swap places with Amalienborg Palace’s guards at noon.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

Amaliehaven (The Amalie Garden) is a small park between Amalienborg Palace and the banks of the harbour. It features marble sculptures and a central fountain.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

9) Harbour Sights

Opera House (Operaen) is the national opera house of Denmark. Completed in 2004, it is one of the most modern and most expensive opera houses in the world. It can seat 1,700 people.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

Gefion Fountain is a fountain used as a wishing well and the largest monument in Copenhagen. It features the goddess Gefjon and inspired by a Scandinavian myth about the creation of Zealand upon which Copenhagen is located.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark
Gefion Fountain and St. Alban’s Church

St. Alban’s Church is an Anglican church named after the first martyr of Great Britain. It was built in the 1880’s as a result of the growing English congregation in Copenhagen.

Langelinie is a pier, park and promenade whose most famous resident is the Little Mermaid statue.

The Little Mermaid is a bronze statue of a mermaid based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It is a major tourist attraction and Copenhagen’s most popular icon.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

Kastellet is a fortress around a moat built in the shape of a star. A number of buildings including a church, barracks, prison, powder house as well as a windmill can be found on the grounds. Today, it serves as a park and a cultural-historical site.

10) Things to do in Copenhagen

Ride a Bike: Copenhagen is one of the most cycle-friendly cities in the world. It has wide lanes for cyclists on most major roads. Bikes are available for hire for a day or two.

Walking Tours: There are several tours on foot around Copenhagen taking in its most famous sights and landmarks. These tours are led by local expert guides with interesting stories and anecdotes to share about their city.

You can book your Copenhagen tours (and others too) at GetYourGuide or Viator or Tour Radar.

Canal Tours is another way of seeing Copenhagen from a different angle through a cruise of the city’s canals and harbours by boat.

10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

Have you been to Copenhagen? Do you have anything to add to this list? If you have not been, would you like to visit?

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10 Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen, Denmark

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15 Comments

  1. I love Copenhagen, such a fantastic city to walk around in the spring and see the sights. I have to admit I was surprised on how small the Little Mermaid was! It’s tiny! :O

    1. I suggest two days like we had but it’s mainly sightseeing. If you want to engage in more activities or spend more time in the museums, you need to stay a couple of days more.

  2. Great timing! After a wonderful visit to Stockholm last year, Copenhagen is the next Scandi city on my wishlist. The Latin Quarter looks beautiful and probably the kind of neighbourhood that would be nice to stay in, really close to so many sights, or maybe Kongens Nytorv? Am intrigued by the idea of a Natural History Museum that combines zoological, geological and botanical elements together, and I adore botanical gardens!

    1. Both the Latin Quarter and Kongens Nytorv are in the heart of Copenhagen, so close to most of the sights and amenities too. We stayed at the latter but both are good places to stay in.

  3. So many lovely places to visit in Copenhagen! Love the idea of availing the Copenhagen Card. Free admissions and discounts sounds pretty cool. I’d love to do some walking and canal tours to check out the city! 🙂

  4. What beautiful architecture! I have not yet considered a trip to Denmark because I really don’t have much idea what there is to do and see there. All I know about Denmark is that they have amazing cookies. I would love to explore Copenhagen, especially Latin Quarter. I am not much into museums but maybe the Geological and Botanical Museums are not that bad an idea.

  5. I love that the Copenhagen Card allows you to use the public transport too! My son would pick the Royal Library to visit. That is always his top pick and he even chose to go to the library on his birthday. I would pick the dragon fountain to visit because a seven-meter fountain is pretty awesome, but one that big showing a dragon battling a bull is epic.

  6. Awesome! Your post reminded me of our trip to Copenhagen last year. What I like about the old part of the town is that they have retained a lot of historical values.

  7. Denmark is so beautiful and it has plenty to offer too. Buying a Copenhagen card will be such a cool thing. The most expensive Opera House – Woo!! Frederik’s Church is gorgeous and riding bicycle will be fun.

  8. Ah, when were you there? I was just there last month for the first time! I spent 3 days in Copenhagen and it was totally awesome. It was my first international solo trip to Europe and highly recommend for any ladies looking to travel on their own.

  9. Copenhagen definitely looks gorgeous. I am quite intrigued by the card that almost seems like a passport to all these sites. How much does it cost? It definitely seems like the thing to do once you land there. I like the sound of Latin Quarters the most followed by Amalienborg Palace. Can you go inside the palace? It looks quite intriguing.

    1. As of this writing, the card costs as follows:
      24 Hours: Adults = 54 EUR/Children = 27 EUR
      48 Hours: Adults = 77 EUR/Children = 39 EUR
      72 Hours: Adults = 93 EUR/Children = 47 EUR
      120 Hours: Adults = 121 EUR/Children = 61 EUR

      Made up of 4 identical palaces, Amalienborg is the home of the Danish Royal Family. Visitors can explore the museum inside Christian VIII’s Palace (one of the 4 palaces).

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