Copenhagen is a surprising city and I say that with love! It’s one of those cities that feels almost town-like in its appearance but with the buzz and vibrancy that matches any major capital city across Europe. There’s honestly a heap of the best places to see in Copenhagen and you’ll be spoilt for choice once you arrive.
It’s also a city where can you visit one of the oldest Luna parks in the world, ride the waves of its famous waterways and gorge on delicious street food.
All within one day!
Whether due to its amazing castles, its stunning waterways or beautiful places in Denmark, that are a stone’s throw from the city. You’ll have an epic time exploring all the best places to see in Copenhagen for sure!
That being said, planning your time efficiently here can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’ve got to herd friends. Which, can sometimes feel like herding cats.
So, if you find yourself in that position, take a look below at some of the best places to see in Copenhagen when you first visit. Have the best time.
1.) Eat at the best street food markets
There are a good few street food markets to visit in Copenhagen. Each of which will ensure that you never run out of delicious opportunities to fill your tummy.
Head to Reffen that is the perfect place to visit as this is where locals and visitors alike start their evenings in the city. Head to one of the many worldly and unique stalls that sell everything from juicy steaks and Japanese food to craft beers that are out of this world.
Saying that, Torvehallerne Market is the perfect place to enjoy a weekend brunch or even buy some of the freshest seasonal ingredients to make your very own.
Take a wander through the stalls and discover some of the high-quality products that this market offers. Just be prepared for slightly higher than average grocery prices (though it is arguably worth it!).
Koedbyen is the city’s cool Meat Packing District Market in Copenhagen that’s a hit with locals and visitors alike. Head here for a quick bite to eat in one of the many street food stalls and check out the local bars here that open until quite late!
Visiting the food markets are a must in the city and one of the best places to see in Copenhagen when you’re feeling hungry.
2.) Tivoli Gardens
No first-time visit to Copenhagen is complete without a trip to Tivoli. It’s easily one of the greatest and quaintest theme parks in all of Europe and so much fun to visit.
Said to be the inspiration behind Walt Disney World, Tivoli is a truly stunning inner-city park that’s filled with some impressive and historic rides that we totally loved during our visit.
Hop on board the Rutschebanen Rollercoaster, a 100-year-old wooden masterpiece that weaves in and out of a (faux) snow-capped mountain. All whilst in the centre of Copenhagen.
Just be sure to book these Tivoli Garden tickets before setting foot in the city. This way, you won’t have to worry about the park reaching capacity.
3.) Walk the spiralled walkway of Rundetårn
For a few Euros, you can grab yourself a really great view of the city that is situated on the top of Rundetårn.
Walk the spiralled and slightly dizzying reverse-style helter-skelter walkway to the top.
Then again, there are actually no steps, just a constant and gentle incline until you reach the summit. It’s pretty epic and one of the best places to see in Copenhagen on a first trip to the city.
4.) Explore Rosenborg Castle
There are lots of castles to explore in Denmark, with Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen being a top favourite.
Head here to discover a truly stunning piece of Danish history and the ornate yet beautiful artistry of the castle which embodies Danish architectural prowess at its finest.
Honestly, if you love castles, you’ll find this one of the very best places to see in Copenhagen. That being said, give it a miss if you’re not into historical spots.
5.) Pop to see The Little Mermaid
Loved or loathed, a fleeting trip to see the Little Mermaid should be on every first-timer’s visit to Copenhagen.
Some people (including me) feel underwhelmed when visiting (probably because it was over-hyped before they visited) but for lots of visitors, it is a photo opportunity of the city’s most famous landmarks, where you can spend 10 minutes or so viewing her statuesque pose.
Take of it what you will, but you kinda can’t miss it when visiting for the first time.
6.) Hop on a canal tour
There are many ways to see the city of Copenhagen, with its waterways being one of the best! Board a boat near Nyhavn harbour area and discover a whole new perspective of Copenhagen.
Top tip: Many of the boat tours also include a stop by The Little Mermaid, though the photographic perspective is not as great as seeing her from the land. It’s easily one of the best places to see in Copenhagen to see the city from a different perspective.
7.) Grab a dog
If you’ve ever visited a Scandinavian country, you’ll have to realise that their love of hot-dogs is deep and very real. It’s not just any old sausage slapped in a 3-week old bun (served to you at a cinema), these hot-dogs are deliciously gourmet.
Hot dogs can be found in many of the market stalls or even in the central district of Copenhagen.
If you’re not ‘into’ bread buns, then that’s no problem. You can get these replaced with creamy mash or some seasonal beets, too. All served with your very own type of sausage, cooked just how you like it.
8.) Visit Den Blå Planet
Den Blå Planet (The Blue Planet) is one of the biggest aquariums in all of Europe.
Housed in an impressive building, this aquarium is an education centre that teaches the importance of protecting our oceans and the animals that live within it.
10.) Party at Blågårdsgade
This area of Copenhagen is fun!
Filled with lots of chilled out local bars, live music venues and a buzzing atmosphere, this area is a great place to spend a Saturday evening out with friends and locals alike.
11.) Kayak the waterfront
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and fancy something with a more of a workout than a cruise of the harbour, hop on board your very own kayak.
Kayaks can be used within certain parts of the waterways in Copenhagen and is a really unique way to get around the city. Though, nowhere near as much fun if you fall in.
12.) Stay at Kong Arthur
This is my favourite hotel in Copenhagen! It’s such a lovely hotel that has some of the nicest rooms ever.
They serve a pretty mean breakfast and even have their own (not so) secret spa that’s under the hotel itself.
Top tip: To save money, book during off-peak rates and take advantage of their free happy hour in the early evening.
13.) Enjoy the colourful houses at Nyhavn
Every picture you’ll ever find of Copenhagen will include these colourful houses.
Take a wander around the area and enjoy some of the pretty little homes, cafes and shops that make up this part of town. It’s easily one of the best places to see in Copenhagen.
Top tip: Prices for food here tend to be a little higher due to the volume of visitors, so take that into account if you plan on dining around here.
14.) Thorvaldsen’s Museum
Bertel Thorvaldsen is arguably one of Denmark’s most famous artists from Copenhagen.
His craftsman skills were obtained from a rather long residency in Rome (some 40 years). When he returned, he brought a wealth of artefacts, beautiful art and stunning new artistic perspectives for the city to enjoy.
Nowadays, Thorvaldsen’s Museum is like stepping back in time to see some of the very best in classical architecture.