Denmark is such an incredible country to explore, with its capital, Copenhagen being of no exception. It’s the kind of European city that has a little something for everyone. Its got history, culture, art, nightlife and a whopping amount of the best things to in Copenhagen that is literally all across the city.
Now, with all the spots to see (and places to eat), it can actually be a little daunting in narrowing down your search of the best things to do in Copenhagen, especially if you’re short on time.
After visiting Copenhagen a few times, I really wanted to share some of my favourite haunts. Obviously, though, there’s no need to cram in every single thing… after all, no one want’s a stressful experience when exploring a new city.
Take a look, below, at some of the best things to do in Copenhagen on your next trip. It’s an incredible city and easily up there as one of my favourites.
1.) Rosenborg Castle
Perched in the centre of Copenhagen, Rosenborg Castle is a totally stunning royal castle to visit when you’re in the city. There are literally hundreds of years of history (inside and out) within the castle grounds and it’s a place you can easily spend two or three hours wandering around.
Once here, make sure to explore the cities oldest gardens (with the castle grounds), visit the incredible rooms inside the castle and take a look at the jewels hidden below. It really is a special place.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, check into the Kong Arthur that’s in the heart of the city.
We stayed for a good few days and loved it. Plus, they have a gorgeous spa area.
2.) Reffen Food Market
After the closure of Paper Island food market, there was a gap in Copenhagen’s street food. Thankfully, Reffen has recently opened as a yummy alternative.
Perched within the Refshaleøen area of the city, it’s best to get here by bike or bus if you’re visiting from around the very centre of the city. That being said, it’s well worth the little jaunt.
Just make sure to arrive hungrily, they have a huge amount of stalls making tasty dishes from all over the world.
3.) Rundetaarn (Round Tower)
Built within the 1600s, walking up the Rundetaarn is easily one of the best things to do in Copenhagen if you want to explore the history of the city.
To this day, the Rundetaarn is known as Europe’s oldest observatory tower and really easy to visit when you’re exploring the city. Now, to get to the top of the Rundetaarn, you’ll need to spiral all around the tower itself (which I read, somewhere, was to help the horses get to the top of the tower).
Once at the top, take in the views across the city and stop off in some of the rooms along the way to the top. They regularly hold art exhibitions at different times of the year.
4.) Frederik’s Church (Marble Church)
As I mentioned, Copenhagen is a city that’s totally filled with history, with Frederik’s Church being of no exception. Often referred to as the Marble Church, it’s a gorgeous place to explore in the Frederiksstaden district.
Being the largest dome church in all of Scandinavia, it’s a site that you should definitely visit when in the city. In so many ways, it reminds me of St. Peter’s Basilica (in Rome) and is totally worth a trip inside.
Oh, don’t forget, if you visit in the summer months you can actually take in the views from the dome. Typically, times are around 1 pm but it’s always worth checking before you arrive.
For a tasty treat, pop over to Mielcke & Hurtigkarl that has incredible local dishes and a beautiful venue. They have an amazing wine pairing menu that is a total treat in the city.
5.) Christiansborg Palace
Used by the government and for royal occasions, exploring Christiasnborg Palace is one of the best things to do in Copenhagen id you love palaces. Although the castle might only be around 100 years old, the site has been fortified with castles and palaces for almost 1,000 years.
Once here, make sure to get a combined ticket (around 160DKK) to visit the royal reception rooms, ruins, kitchens and stables. Oh, and better still, if you do buy a ticket to the royal reception rooms, you’ll get a fee guided too that’s included.
6.) Little Mermaid
Okay, I’m hoping not to ruffle any feathers here but I always feel like the Little Mermaid is something of a let down when looking for the best things to do in Copenhagen. Yes, it’s probably the most famous statues in the city but I always find it a little underwhelming.
For me, a visit to the Little Mermaid is a ‘tick box’ kind of spot but everyone has different views on this. If you do fancy making a quick visit, see it from one of the cruise boats that go around Copenhagen itself.
7.) Stroget Street
Strøget is often thought of as Europe’s longest pedestrian street that’s filled with shops, cafes and lot of places to wander. Now, it’s got some branded shops you’d come to expect, but also lots of souvenir stores if you want to buy a little gift.
This all being said, you’ll probably want to miss Strøget Street if you’re not a fan of shopping or lots of tourists.
If it’s food you’re after, pop into Marv & Ben’s for their yummy local dishes. Their lamb dishes are so good. Just make sure to reserve before arriving as tables can fill up fast.
8.) Tivoli Gardens
For me, Tivoli Gardens is easily up there as one of the best things to do in Copenhagen if you want some fun in the city. Perched right next to the central train station, Tivoli Gardens has a heap of historic and new attractions to hop on. plus, it’s apparently one of the main inspirations for Walt Disney to create Disneyland itself.
Once here, make sure to ride the wooden Roller Coaster that weaves through an alpine mountain range. Built within 1914, it’s one of the oldest wooden rollercoasters in the world. Afterwards, head across to the Pantomine theatre to watch one of the daily shows that go on in the park.
Just remember, you can literally spend a whole day at Tivoli, so make sure you plan your day ahead of time.
9.) Amalienborg Palace
Home to the Danish royal family, Amalienborg was constructed back in the 1700s after the site was bought by royalty.
Although Amalienborg is considered one palace, it’s actually split into four main palaces that create one ‘super palace’ in the city. Each of the palaces has their own distinct identity and are called; Christian VII’s, Christian VIII’s, Frederick VIII’s and Christian IX’s palaces forming the estate.
Now, if you want to visit, you’ll be able to explore Christian VII and Christian VIII palaces but the other two are closed-off from public viewing. Just make sure to visit earlier in the day as the estate closes between 3-4 pm.
So, probably the most famous area of Copenhagen, Nyhavn is an area of colourful houses and water lined streets in the centre of the city.
Once here, take a walk around the area, stop off for a coffee (or cocktail) and grab a bite to eat just off the main street itself.
Now, it can get pretty busy (especially on weekends), so if you want to avoid the crowds, head across earlier in the morning. That being said, Nyhavn is easily one of the best things to do in Copenhagen and an area you can’t miss.
11.) See the Børsen
Dating back to the 1600s, Børsen (or the Old Stock Exchange) is an easy building to spot when you’re in Copenhagen.
Now, although you can’t head inside Børsen, you can still see the stunning dragon-tailed spire, especially as it’s next door to Christiansborg Palace.
12.) Meatpacking District (Kødbyen)
Okay, for me, exploring the Meatpacking District is easily one of the best things to do in Copenhagen if you like something a little edgier.
Just like Shoreditch (in London) Here, you can find some independent restaurants, cool bars and hidden clubs within the old-industrial units. Once here, make sure to visit WarPigs for some good beer and dive into NOHO for some of the best cocktails.
Finally, if it’s art you’re after, pop into the V1 Gallery that hosts exhibitions from up and coming artists from Denmark and beyond.
13.) Church of Our Saviour (Christianshavn)
Seeing the baroque church of Our Saviour is easily one of the best things to do in Copenhagen if you love historical sites.
If you decide on heading over, make sure to get to the top of the serpentine spire that’s so famous in the city. Yes, there are about 400 steps but it’s well worth it for the views. Just make sure to wear comfy shoes and only head up if you can think you’ll make the 400 steps to the top.
For a tasty restaurant, pop into Sollerod Kro – their smoked marrow is so good.
14.) Grundtvig’s Church
Perched within the Bispebjerg district of the city, Grundtvig’s Church is completely different from most other buildings in Copenhagen.
Built around 100 years ago, the expressionist architecture is just so beautiful and almost reminds me of the church is Reykavik in Iceland.
Don’t forget to visit the inside of the church, too. It’s so stunning.
15.) Churchill Park
If you’re fancying a more relaxing stroll around the city, head across to Churchill Park. Now, the grounds themselves were once part of Kastellet (which is here) but it was open to the public many years ago.
Once here, make sure to explore the Kastellet, see the historic windmill and wander the lovely grounds. Plus, it’s a great place to wander through on your way to (or back from) the Little Mermaid.
Nestled within the centre of the city, heading to Torvehallerne is easily one of the best things to do in Copenhagen when you’re hungry!
Housed within a big complex, Torvehallerne has well over fifty different stalls and foodie haunts to stop for a bite to eat and drink. Plus, as it’s a covered area, it’s great to visit in the winter or when it rains.
For coffee, head to the Coffee Collective that serves up some of the best brews in the city.