29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen

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29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen

The capital of Denmark is a popular playground for young as well as for grown persons. The world’s oldest amusement parks is just one of the city’s popular attractions. The trendiest shopping and nightspots, the historic places and museums and much more should be on your bucket list. Here’s our guide to 29 attractions you should consider when visiting Copenhagen.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Main entrance at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Photo: Wikipedia

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is one of Copenhagen’s most treasured museums containing Carl Jacobsen’s private works from 1842-1914 and renowned for its extensive collection of Mediterranean antiques and 19th century art (among the biggest collections in the world). Exhibitions include works from Ancient Egypt as well as paintings by Monet and van Gogh, and sculptures from Greece, Denmark and France.

Tivoli Gardens

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Main entrance Tivoli Gardens. Photo: Peter Holliday/Visit Copenhagen

Built in 1843, Tivoli Garden is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world and has been a firm fixture in the lives of Danes for generations. If you’re traveling with kids it’s an absolute must, but the amusement park is full of iconic sites of its own. Among its attractions are the Chinese-style Pantomime Theatre with open air-seating, the modernist concert hall and the Chinese tower overlooking the boating lake.

Skip-the-line Tickets: Tivoli Gardens Fast-Track Ticket

Little mermaid statue

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
The little mermaid. Photo: Visit Copenhagen

This instantly recognizable statue sitting on a rock next to the Langelinie promenade is surely the most famous landmark in the city.

The sculptor Edvard Eriksen created the mermaid in 1913 as a tribute to the author Hans Christian Andersen, and it’s inspired by Andersen’s eponymous fairytale.

When you get up close to the statue what will surprise you is how small it is, but you’ll have to take a photo because it’s simply one of those international identifiers.

Jægersborggade

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Jægersbogade. Photo: Visit Copenhagen

Time for a fancy slow day wandering around and sampling delicious coffee, cakes and independent shops? These cobbled streets lined with trendy bars, boutiques and cafés are perfect for wandering – and photographing too.

Favourites include Inge Vincent’s ceramics workshop, craft store Vanishing Point and jewellery designers Ladyfingers. And when you’re just about ready for a snack, stop at the Coffee CollectiveAssistens Kirkegård, a leafy cemetery at the street’s southern end, is exceptionally picturesque and where famous Danes such as Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard are buried.

Rosenborg Palace

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Rosenborg Palace. Photo: Thomas Hyrup Christensen/Visit Denmark

Originally built as summer Royal residence, this stunning Dutch Renaissance era castle is today a museum and home to Denmark’s crown regalia. Rosenborg Palace is surrounded by peaceful parkland in the center of Copenhagen.

Its distinctive spires, copper roof, intricate brickwork and well-kept gardens featuring a moat make Rosenborg one of the more intriguing buildings in all of Denmark. Visitors see tapestries depicting King Christian V’s war victories adorning the Knights’ Hall, a museum exhibiting the Royal Collections and the crown jewels.

Despite its location in the center of Copenhagen, the castle is surrounded by beautiful parkland. If you don’t have time to visit the castle museum, a walk through the gardens still lets you take in the attractive architecture.

Strøget

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Strøget. Photo: Visit Copenhagen

This pedestrian street runs on and on, and whether you’re up for high-street or high-end shopping the chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

It’s among the largest pedestrian malls in the world. If you want to find some independent shops then follow Strøget into the Old City and then try one of the narrow side streets.

There’s a wonderful mix of old specialty businesses that go back generations and hip boutiques for young fashionistas.

Recommended tour: 2-Hour Private Walking Tour

Design Museum Copenhagen

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Design Museum. Photo: Visit Copenhagen

Design Museum Copenhagen was founded in 1890, when Denmark’s industrial enterprises were celebrating the eminence of their Sponsored content products. In the course of the 20th century, Danish design – especially furniture design – achieved worldwide renown. After two years of renovation, Design Museum Copenhagen reopened in June 2022.

Nyhavn

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Nyhavn. Photo: Wikipedia

At the narrow waterway of Nyhavn in Copenhagen, a famous landmark from 1661, colorful old wooden schooners line the quay, and the north side is a charming combination of sailors’ bars and new restaurants. Nyhavn is also a great place to join a canal tour. To escape the crowds, pop into Kunsthal Charlottenborg, a Baroque building on Nyhavn’s south side, home to a contemporary art gallery and a beautiful café, Apollo.

The Round Tower

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
The round Tower. Photo: rundetaarn.dk

The Round Tower, a world away from the bustling streets below. Built by the King in 1642 in order to continue the groundbreaking research of astronomer Tycho Brahe, the tower is best known for its rooftop observatory, still used by astronomers to this day. The former library once used regularly by Hans Christian Andersen now hosts special events and workshops.

Visitors can look inside the observatory and take in the view of old Copenhagen from the top, which is well worth the $6 entrance.

National Museum

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
National Museum. Photo: Visit Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s National Museum is the sort of attraction in which you could lose hours without realizing. There’s a remarkable wealth of artefacts here, from all eras of Denmark’s past.

If you see nothing else, take a look at the Trundholm Sun Chariot. It’s a Bronze Age item, dating to 1400BC, with a bronze statue of a horse pulling a gold disc representing the sun.

According to Norse mythology the sun made its way across the firmament like this, towed by a divine horse.

The Vikings are also well-covered by this museum, and many artefacts from this collection were sent on a tour of the world in 2014.

Tip – Check out this 5 star day trip: Copenhagen: Roskilde, Frederiksborg & Kronborg Day Tour

Copenhagen Botanical Garden

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Palm House at Botanical Garden. Photo: Wikipedia

Located in the city center since 1870 and home to more than 13,000 plant species, this is the greenest place in town.

It’s ideal for a leisurely stroll when you want to escape the crowds. Highlights include a rhododendron garden, rock gardens featuring plants native to Europe’s mountainous regions, and the Palm House; one of the garden’s 27 historic glasshouses, it features cast-iron spiral staircases leading to a walkway above the treetops. During summer, visitors can also explore the garden’s butterfly house, and there’s a small shop selling plants and seeds, allowing you to take home some botanical magic as a souvenir.

Christiansborg Palace

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Christianborg Castle. Photo: Mikkel Grønlund/Kongelige slotte

Fans of hit Danish political drama Borgen will surely want to visit Christiansborg, home to the executive, legislative, and judicial power in Denmark.

Because of past fires, this powerful building displays influence from three eras of Danish architecture. Much of the palace was built in baroque revival style, while the neoclassical chapel and original baroque showgrounds are among the exceptions.

Visitors to arguably the most important building in all of Denmark can see the tapestry-laden Great Hall, used for state occasions and ceremonies. The palace chapel, decorated with beautiful frescoes and still used for royal weddings and christenings, is another highlight.

Since the 18th century, the palace grounds have been home to horses owned by the Royal family. The Royal stables, which include the gold-leaf-coated Golden State Coach, are open for a few hours most afternoons.

Book online: Copenhagen City & Christiansborg Palace Private Walking Tour

Related: Fairytale Castles in Denmark

Rent a bicycle

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Bikes. Photo: Thomas Høyrup/Visit Copenhagen

Copenhagen is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. Almost everyone who lives here rides regularly, and it’s so safe that you’ll see many people on bikes without helmets.

The city is flat of course, which helps, but the cycle lanes are very broad and since it helps keep pollution down, people are encouraged to cycle whenever they have to make a trip.

There are countless companies offering rentals in Copenhagen.

Amalienborg Palace

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Sunset at Amalienborg castle. Photo: Martin Helberg/Visit Copenhagen

The four identical palaces built around an octagonal courtyard make Amalienborg a striking residence for the Danish royal family. Despite being home to the Queen of Denmark during the winter and the Crown Prince couple throughout the year, the palace complex remains open to visitors.

Attractions include the daily changing of the guard ceremony and the Amalienborg museum with a focus on the history of the Danish Royal family. Quirky highlights include the private studies of previous monarchs and the enormous collection of smoking pipes. Many of the Danish royal family have been heavy smokers.

History lovers can save money as combination tickets are available for Amalienborg and Rosenborg Palace.

Christiania

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Christiania Photo: Peter Holliday/Visit Copenhagen

They do things differently in Christiania, on the site of old military land in Christianshavn.

It’s a commune that was established back in 1971 on the back of the counter-culture movement.

Nearly half a century later it continues to thrive, although things have been bumpy along the way as the people who live and work here wrangle with the Danish government for more autonomy.

The best way to describe it is as a peaceful park, with historic army warehouses and barracks taken over by artists’ studios, organic shops, restaurants, and music venues.

Because of the drug activity here it’s a good idea to be aware of the various “do’s and don’ts” before entering.

Get off the beaten path: Free Spirited 1.5-Hour Guided Walking Tour

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Det kongelige akademi

Louisiana Museunm of Modern Art is an impeccably designed, impeccably located museum with a world-beating modern art collection.

Louisiana’s permanent collection comprises more than 4,000 works produced since 1945, including pieces by Picasso and Giacometti, while its Sculpture Park houses works by Alexander Calder and Henry Moore.

The building itself is considered a significant work of Danish modernist architecture. There’s also Louisiana’s idyllic location on the coast north of Copenhagen. Louisiana is packed with classic and contemporary Danish design, plus a wide selection of books and exhibition posters, and it is pretty much a destination in itself.

Frederiksberg Palace

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Fredriksberg Castle. Photo: Wikipedia

Known for its postcard-worthy setting, this magnificent hilltop palace is surrounded by delightful formal gardens that are a wonderful place to relax when the sun shines.

The gardens of Fredriksberg Palace in Copenhagen are a popular recreational area in the summer.

The baroque architecture of the palace itself, the beautiful gardens and the Chinese pavilion are all landmarks in their own right.

The Chinese Pavilion was built in the late 18th century as a gift from the Danish East India Company. A wonderful example of Chinese-inspired architecture of the time, the ornate interior of the pavilion was once used as a Royal tea house.

A former summer Royal residence, Frederiksberg Palace today houses the Royal Danish Military Academy. Guided tours in English are infrequent but the complex is still worth a visit to admire the palace in its superb setting.

Included in: 4-Hour City Walking Tour with Rosenborg Castle

You can also combine a walk here with a visit to the nearby Copenhagen Zoo.

The David Collection

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
The David Collection. Photo: Wikipedia

Visit the personal art collection of the Danish businessman C. L. David, who donated both the building, his former home, and these art pieces, which include the largest ensemble of Islamic art in Scandinavia.

There are also exhibits of Danish modern art, paintings from the 19th-century Danish Golden Age and European art in the 18th-century.

The marquee attraction is the Islamic section, with exquisite pieces gathered from Spain to India and spanning the 800s to the 1800s.

Calligraphy is prominent, but there are also beautiful glass and ceramic items here. Entrance to the attraction is free.

Superkilen

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Superkilen. Photo: Wikipedia

Superkilen is a 55,000-square-foot urban park designed with the help of the surrounding community.

The award-winning Superkilen celebrates the multicultural melting pot that is Norrebrø and exemplifies the power of inclusive design. Constructed in 2012, it stretches for a kilometer through one of Denmark’s most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods and contains more than 60 objects that reflect each of the cultures that inhabit the area. Look out for swing benches from Iraq, a boxing ring from Thailand, and rubbish bins from Blackpool.

Bakken Amusement Park

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
From Bakken. Photo: Jacob Lisbygd/Visit Copenhagen

An earthy alternative to Tivoli Gardens, Bakken is an amusement park that has been located right here since 1583. As you might guess, this makes it the oldest operating amusement park in the world.

Bakken sits hidden in beech woodland a few kilometers up from Copenhagen and after Tivoli Gardens it’s the most popular tourist attraction in Denmark.

Bakken’s attractions have a nostalgic, old-time quality: Take Rutschebanen, with its rickety wooden scaffold, dating back to 1932, or the Hvile music hall, which hosts cabarets.

Entry to the park is free but you buy tickets to each ride.

Smørrebrød restaurants

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Danish smørrebrød. Photo: Smor Copenhagen

Difficult to pronounce (try ‘smurr-brull’), Denmark’s classic open-faced sandwiches are a traditional lunchtime dish every visitor should try. Practically synonymous with Danish cuisine, smørrebrød comprises thin slices of rye bread topped with ingredients like pickled herring, fried plaice and chicken salad. Though you’ll find dozens of smørrebrød joints across the capital, it’s worth splurging and picking a place that uses fresh seasonal ingredients. Our favorites include old-school specialist Kronborg, trendy Selma and Aamanns 1921, set in a historic building in the center and happy to pair your dish with a glass of homemade snaps.

Church of our Saviour

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Vår Frelser Kirke. Photo: Visit Copenhagen

This church has the best view in Copenhagen, as voted by Copenhageners.

It’s a baroque building from the mid-1700s and you’ll notice the unusual spire from a distance.

There’s a dark tower wrapped by a ribbon of gold that spirals its way to the top.

This is the handrail for the stairway, and the climb to the viewing platform, via 400 steps, is definitely not for the vertigo sufferers!

Those last 150 steps are outside the building, but if you keep it together you’ll have glorious vistas of Copenhagen as your reward.

You can even see the ships entering the harbor from here.

GoBoat

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
GoBoat. Photo: Visit Copenhagen

One of the most enjoyable ways to see Copenhagen is by spending a couple of hours skippering a solar-powered GoBoat around the harbour.

No experience is required to operate a GoBoat. They putter around at a leisurely pace, giving you plenty of time to take in the sights, including Christiansborg (aka the Danish parliament), the striking modern architecture of the Black Diamond Library and the Royal Danish Opera House, plus the canals and multi-coloured houses of Christianshavn. Remember to bring a picnic; GoBoats seat up to eight around a small table.

Nørrebro

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Nørrebrogade. Photo: Wikipedia

Younger visitors can party all night at clubs in Nørrebro  that stay open ’til five in the morning and represent all sorts of scenes. Older visitors can head for traditional beer houses (Bodegas) or jazz clubs, or get some high culture at the Royal Danish Theater. There’s also a guided tour to enjoy the nightlife: Copenhagen Bar Crawl (Carlsberg, Pubs, Nightclubs, & More).

Amager Strandpark

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Kite surfers at Amager Strandpark. Photo: Wikipedia

Five kilometers of clean, sandy beaches south of the city center – with spectacular views of the Øresund Bridge.

Copenhagen may not exactly scream ‘beach holiday’, yet the Danish capital boasts several superb spots for swimming, sunbathing and seaside fun. The biggest and best is Amager Strandpark, which is easily reached by bike or metro. While its soft, sandy beaches are the main attraction, the lagoon is popular with kayakers and kite surfers, and the path winding through the dunes draws joggers and rollerbladers all year long.

Refshaleøen

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Reffen. PR photo/Visit Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s buzziest neighborhood. On the northern outskirts of the harbor, post-industrial Refshaleøen is a creative quarter with a growing food scene.

Culture vultures shouldn’t miss the large-scale installations at the Copenhagen Contemporary art gallery, while design devotees will enjoy rummaging amid the mid-century furniture at the B&W flea market. Bring an appetite, though. Foodies are spoilt for choice here. Thronging street food market Reffen (summertime only) offers budget-friendly options, while La Banchina is Copenhagen’s trendiest spot for sundowners.

Torvehallerne

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Torvhallerne. Photo: Martin Heiberg/Visit Copenhagen

Torvhallerne is a gourmet food market that is a must-stop on the Copenhagen culinary trail.

Torvehallerne is a foodie’s paradise, its twin glass halls housing a cornucopia of seasonal fruit and veg, baked goods, fresh meat and seafood. There are also plenty of tempting food stalls where you can pick up a scrumptious dish or two to enjoy on the go or at one of the tables outside. Our favorites include gourmet porridge at Grød and confit duck sandwiches at Ma Poule.

Værnedamsvej

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Værnedamsvej. Photo: Visit Copenhagen

Værnedamsvej connects upmarket Frederiksberg with trendy Vesterbro, this shopping street oozes charm and has even been dubbed Copenhagen’s ‘Little Paris’.

From independent bookshops to exotic florists, you’ll find lots of lovely shops in this instantly likeable neighborhood. Værnedamsvej gets its charming Parisian vibe from the presence of the city’s only French lycée and the array of bars, cafés and delicatessens that wouldn’t be out of place on the Left Bank. We recommend Café Viggo, which serves a mean galette, and Falernum, one of the city’s fanciest wine bars.

CopenHill

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen
Copenhill. Photo: Getyourguide

This urban sports area and ski slope on top of the city’s newest waste management center is possibly Copenhagen’s quirkiest attraction – a ski slope atop a tall waste-recycling plant. Designed by starchitect Bjarke Ingels, the artificial ski slope plus inner-city hiking area is the ultimate offbeat way to experience the city. If you don’t fancy adventure sports, you can walk up and stop for views of the Øresund strait as you go.

As you see, Copenhagen is full of intriguing neighborhoods and things to do, Enjoy!

29 Best Attractions in Copenhagen, compiled by Tor Kjolberg.

Feature image (on top): Cityscape and skyline by Copenhagen Lakes Photo: Wikipedia