THE 21 BEST Things to Do in Copenhagen
Living and working in Copenhagen on and off over the years has allowed me to fully immerse myself in the beauty and richness of this captivating city. Its magnificent architecture, vibrant culture, and fascinating history offer an abundance of experiences to cherish. In today's blog post, I will be sharing my personal perspective on the top 21 activities to do in Copenhagen (there are many more but you gotta start somewhere).
Take a stroll in the Botanical Garden (Botanisk Have)
The Botanical Garden, located in the heart of the city, is a tranquil haven amidst the bustling city streets. It was founded in 1600 as a medicinal garden, and today it is a major center for research, education, and conservation. With over 13,000 plant species from all over the world, this is a must-visit for nature lovers. You can explore the garden's different sections, including the rock garden, the herb garden, and the palm house. The palm house is the largest glasshouse in the garden and houses plants from tropical rainforests, including a giant water lily that can hold up to 40 kg. Don't forget to check out the Japanese garden, which features traditional Japanese elements, such as a tea house and a rock garden.
Visit the National Museum of Denmark (Nationalmuseet)
For history buffs, the National Museum of Denmark is a treasure trove of Danish history and culture. The museum covers Denmark's history from the Stone Age to the present day and features a wide range of exhibits, including Viking artifacts, medieval art, and modern design. Some of the most popular exhibits include the Gundestrup cauldron, a silver vessel from the Iron Age adorned with mythical scenes, and the Egtved Girl, a Bronze Age girl whose burial dress is on display. The museum also has a section dedicated to the Greenlandic and Faroese cultures, which are both parts of the Danish Kingdom.
Enjoy a canal tour
One of the best ways to see Copenhagen is from the water. Take a canal tour and enjoy the stunning views of the city's architecture from a different perspective. You can choose between several tour operators, such as Netto Boats, Canal Tours Copenhagen, and Hey Captain. Some tours include commentary in different languages, while others offer refreshments or even dinner on board. You will pass by some of Copenhagen's iconic landmarks, such as the Little Mermaid statue, the Opera House, and the colorful houses of Nyhavn. The tours usually last about an hour, and you can buy tickets online or at the docks.
Explore the Christianshavn neighborhood
Christianshavn is a picturesque neighborhood that offers a glimpse into the bohemian lifestyle of Copenhagen. The area was founded in the 17th century as a planned community for the working class, and today it is a trendy neighborhood full of canals, colorful houses, and cultural attractions. You can stroll along the canals and admire the houseboats or visit the Church of Our Savior, a baroque church with an impressive spire that you can climb up for a panoramic view of the city. Christianshavn is also home to Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous community that has a controversial history but is now a popular spot for street art and alternative culture.
Visit the Round Tower (Rundetårn)
The Round Tower, located in the heart of Copenhagen, offers stunning views of the city from its observation deck. Built in the 17th century as an astronomical observatory, this tower is a testament to Danish engineering. The tower's most distinctive feature is its spiral ramp that leads up to the top, allowing visitors to ascend the tower without using stairs. The ramp is wide enough for a horse and carriage, and it was once used to transport goods up to the library that was located at the top. Nowadays, the library is gone, but the tower still attracts visitors who come to enjoy the panoramic views of Copenhagen. The observation deck is 34.8 meters high and offers a 360-degree view of the city. You can see landmarks such as the City Hall, the Tivoli Gardens, and the Oresund Bridge on a clear day. The tower is also used for cultural events such as concerts, exhibitions, and theater performances.
Take a bike tour
Copenhagen is known as the biking capital of the world, and for a good reason. Take a bike tour and explore the city like a local. You can rent a bike from several vendors, such as Donkey Republic, Baisikeli, or Copenhagen Bicycles. Some tour operators offer guided tours that take you to the city's main attractions, such as the Little Mermaid, the Royal Palace, and the Amalienborg Palace. You can also choose a self-guided tour and explore the city at your own pace. Copenhagen's bike lanes are well-maintained and safe, and biking is a popular mode of transportation for locals.
Visit the Royal Danish Theater (Det Kongelige Teater)
The Royal Danish Theater is the oldest theater in Denmark and offers a wide range of performances, from ballet to opera. The theater was founded in 1748 and has since then hosted some of the world's most renowned performers, such as Carl Nielsen, August Bournonville, and Edvard Grieg. The theater is located on Kongens Nytorv, one of Copenhagen's most elegant squares, and has three venues: the Old Stage, the Opera House, and the Playhouse. You can buy tickets online or at the box office and enjoy an evening of culture in Copenhagen's grandest theater.
Explore Assistens Cemetery (Assistens Kirkegård)
Assistens Cemetery is the final resting place of some of Denmark's most famous figures, including Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard. The cemetery was founded in 1760 as a burial ground for the poor and is now a popular spot for locals to take a peaceful walk or a bike ride. The cemetery's lush greenery and serene atmosphere make it a beautiful place to escape the city's hustle and bustle. You can visit the graves of some of Denmark's most prominent figures, such as the philosopher and theologian Kierkegaard or the fairy tale author Andersen. The cemetery also hosts cultural events, such as concerts and lectures.
Visit the beautiful Frederiksberg Palace and Gardens for a peaceful afternoon. Frederiksberg Palace is a beautiful Baroque palace located in the Frederiksberg district of Copenhagen. The palace was built in the early 18th century and has served as a royal residence and a military academy. Today, the palace is open to the public, and visitors can explore the opulent interiors and beautiful gardens. The gardens are especially impressive, with fountains, lakes, and exotic plants. It's the perfect place to spend a peaceful afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Visit Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a stunning museum that houses an impressive collection of art from the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum was founded by the brewer Carl Jacobsen. The museum's collection includes paintings, sculptures, and decorative art from Denmark and abroad. Some of the most famous works on display include Edgar Degas' Little Dancer, Paul Gauguin's Tahitian Women on the Beach, and Vincent van Gogh's Portrait of Père Tanguy. The museum's architecture is also impressive, with a beautiful winter garden that serves as a peaceful retreat from the busy city streets.
Explore the Designmuseum Danmark
The Designmuseum Danmark is a must-visit for anyone interested in design and architecture. The museum is located in a beautiful 18th-century building and offers a comprehensive view of Danish design from the 20th century to the present day. The museum's collection includes furniture, textiles, ceramics, and glassware, as well as design objects from the fields of graphic design and industrial design. Some of the most famous objects on display include Arne Jacobsen's Egg Chair, Finn Juhl's Chieftain Chair, and Kay Bojesen's wooden toys. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and design events throughout the year.
Visit Rosenborg Castle
Rosenborg Castle is a beautiful 17th-century castle that offers a glimpse into the opulence of the Danish royal family. The castle was built as a summer residence for King Christian IV and is located in the heart of Copenhagen's historic center. The castle's interiors are lavish, with ornate ceilings, tapestries, and furniture. Some of the most famous rooms include the Knight's Hall, which houses the coronation thrones of the Danish kings, and the Long Hall, which features the famous Rosenborg Tapestries. The castle's gardens are also beautiful and include a rose garden, a herb garden, and a maze.
Take a walk in the King's Garden (Kongens Have)
The King's Garden is a beautiful park located in the heart of Copenhagen. The park was originally the private garden of King Christian IV and was opened to the public in the 19th century. The park's design is inspired by French formal gardens and features manicured lawns, fountains, and statues. The park is a popular spot for locals to gather for picnics or to enjoy the sunshine. The park's central feature is Rosenborg Castle, which is located at one end of the park.
Explore the Meatpacking District (Kødbyen)
The Meatpacking District is a vibrant neighborhood that offers a unique nightlife experience. The area was formerly a meatpacking district but has now been transformed into a trendy neighborhood with restaurants, bars, and galleries. The neighborhood is particularly lively on weekends, with many locals and visitors coming to enjoy the atmosphere. Some of the most famous spots in the Meatpacking District include the Kødbyens Fiskebar, a seafood restaurant that serves fresh fish and seafood, and the Jolene Bar, a popular spot for live music.
Visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is located just outside Copenhagen and offers a stunning collection of contemporary art. The museum is located on a beautiful site overlooking the sea and features indoor and outdoor galleries. The museum's collection includes works by some of the most famous modern artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Yayoi Kusama. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year, such as concerts and film screenings. The area around the museum is also very beautiful, with lots of green space and great views of the ocean.
Take a day trip to Møns Klint
Møns Klint is a stunning natural wonder located just a few hours' drive from Copenhagen. The cliff face stretches for over 6 km along the eastern coast of the island of Møn and offers breathtaking views of the Baltic Sea. The cliffs are made up of layers of chalk and limestone and have been eroded by the sea over millions of years, creating a unique landscape. You can take a hike along the cliff top and enjoy the stunning views of the sea and the surrounding countryside. You can also visit the GeoCenter Møns Klint, which is located at the foot of the cliffs and offers interactive exhibits about the geology and nature of the area.
Explore Frederiksberg Gardens
Frederiksberg Gardens is a beautiful park located just outside Copenhagen. The park was originally the private garden of Frederik IV and was opened to the public in the 18th century. The park features several beautiful gardens, including a rose garden, an English garden, and a Chinese garden. The park is also home to the Frederiksberg Palace, which was built in the 18th century and is now used for official functions. You can take a peaceful stroll along the park's many paths or enjoy a picnic on the lawns. The park also has several lakes, which are home to ducks and swans.
Visit the Tivoli Gardens
The Tivoli Gardens is a famous amusement park located in the heart of Copenhagen. The park was founded in 1843 and is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. The park features over 25 rides, including roller coasters, carousels, and a Ferris wheel. The park also has several restaurants and cafes, as well as live music and theater performances. The park's architecture is inspired by different cultures, such as Chinese pagodas and Arabian palaces. The park is particularly beautiful at night when it is illuminated by thousands of lights.
Take a walk along the Lakes (Søerne)
The Lakes is a beautiful chain of lakes located in the heart of Copenhagen. The lakes were created in the 17th century as part of the city's fortifications and are now a popular spot for locals to take a walk or a bike ride and in the winter, they're also great for ice skating.
The lakes are surrounded by parks and gardens and offer stunning views of the city's architecture. You can take a leisurely stroll along the lakes' many paths and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. The lakes are also home to several species of birds, such as swans, ducks, and geese.
Pick up some Wienerbrød (Danish pastries)
Indulge in some delicious Danish pastries at a local bakery. Denmark is famous for its delicious pastries, and there's no better way to indulge in this sweet treat than by visiting a local bakery. There are many bakeries to choose from in Copenhagen, and they offer a wide range of pastries, from flaky croissants to sweet cinnamon rolls. Some of the most famous Danish pastries include the classic wienerbrød (my favorite is the Spandauer), a buttery pastry filled with custard or jam, and the kanelsnegl, a cinnamon roll covered in sugar and icing. Yum!
Oh, and don't forget Smørrebrød Experience traditional Danish cuisine at a local restaurant and indulge in some smørrebrød, meatballs, or pickled herring. No visit to Copenhagen would be complete without experiencing traditional Danish cuisine. There are plenty of restaurants throughout the city that offer classic Danish dishes, including smørrebrød, meatballs, and pickled herring. Smørrebrød is a type of open-faced sandwich that's typically topped with fish, meat, or cheese, and served on rye bread. Meatballs, or frikadeller, are a classic Danish dish that's usually served with potatoes and gravy, while pickled herring is a staple of the Danish diet and is often served with onions and sour cream. Trying these dishes is a must for anyone who wants to get a taste of traditional Danish cuisine.
Copenhagen certainly has a lot to offer, and these are just some of the best things to do in the city. Whether you are interested in history, culture, art, or nature, Copenhagen has something for everyone. So, put on your comfy shoes, grab a bike, or hop on a boat, and start exploring this beautiful city. Vi ses!
Liv Hansen is a Danish fine artist and actress with experience living and working in diverse cultural environments such as Los Angeles, London, and Vancouver. Her art reflects a deep passion for creativity, storytelling, and the human condition, often drawing inspiration from her travels and personal experiences. With her recognizable and distinctive style, Liv's artworks capture the essence of both contemporary life and the days of the past, often centered around the beauty of the world around us. Liv is currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
If you would like to connect with me, you can find me on Instagram