What to do during a weekend in Copenhagen
Denmark

15 of the Best Things to Do in Copenhagen

on
February 10, 2019

Hygge masters, innovative designs and overpriced coffee, Copenhagen was my first introduction to the Scandinavian culture. Visiting in January, it was (very) cold but the layer of snow covering the cobblestone streets gave it a fairytale-like charm. Copenhagen is a great city trip destination and if two to three days in a city isn’t a lot, it is enough to see the main sights and get a feel of the capital. So without further ado, here are the best 15 things to do on a weekend getaway in Copenhagen!

One of the things to do in Copenhagen is visit Nyhavn!

Visit Nyhavn

I would lie if I said I didn’t rush straight to Nyhavn as soon as I landed in Copenhagen. The picture-perfect colorful 17th and early 18th century houses combined with the boats tied up at the dock are one of the city’s most notorious sights. Stroll along the canal and stop at one of the cafes or restaurants bordering the waterfront to enjoy a coffee with a view.

The famous Little Mermaid sitting in Copenhagen is one of the best attractions in Copenhagen.

Look for the Little Mermaid

Yes, you read that right. The Little Mermaid is from Denmark. Well, at least the author of the fairytale, Hans Christian Andersen, was. Although the original tale is a little darker than the Disney movie we all came to love, it’s still worth paying a visit to the bronze statue of Den lille Havfrue standing along the Langeline promenade.

Visit Rosenborg Castle in the King's Garden in Copenhagen.

Travel back in Time at Rosenborg Castle

Set in the beautiful King’s garden, Rosenborg Castle is an example of the typical Danish architecture of the 17th century. The castle is the former residence of the royal family and was built by Christian IV in the Dutch Renaissance Style. It started as a summer palace and underwent four stages of development to become the castle you can visit today. If you’re into the monarchy, don’t miss out on the Knight’s Hall and the coronation thrones, as well as Denmark’s crown jewels. Opening hours vary according to the season and general entrance costs 115 DKK.

Rent a bike in Copenhagen.

Bike Like a Local

The Danes take biking very seriously, much to my delight. Spoiled with bike lanes equipped with their very own traffic lights (and bike bridges!), exploring the city on two wheels is a real pleasure and the only way to do it to experience what local life is like. Rent a bike in one of the many bike shops around town or get around with a city bike.

Try Danish Pastries

You know I have a major sweet tooth so I would never pass on the opportunity to try local sugary delicacies… and you shouldn’t either! Danish pastries are a roll of pure deliciousness… but they’re actually not Danish. They’re Austrian! In Danish, they’re called Wienerbrød (Vienna bread). But don’t let this keep you from treating yourself!

Visit the Marble Church in Copenhagen

Marvel at Marmorkirken

Marvel, marble… See what I did there?! (Hum, ok). The Marble Church officially called Frederikskirken is one of the most beautiful buildings in Copenhagen and one of the most impressive. Its sheer size and distinctive green dome inspired by St Peter’s Basilica in Rome makes it stand out in the royal neighborhood. The entrance is free so don’t hesitate to step inside to check out the marble interior. It costs 35 DKK to get up the dome but you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of the city.

Watch the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen.

Watch the Changing of the Guard at Amalienborg

Located right next to Marmorkirken, Amalienborg actually comprises four palaces surrounding a courtyard with a statue of King Frederik V standing proudly in the middle. Amalienborg is the current residence of the royal family. Go at noon to see the changing of the guard taking place. You can also visit the museum that tells the story of the Danish royal family. Opening hours vary and general entrance costs 105 DKK.

Nyhavn neighborhood in Copenhagen

Taste New Nordic Cuisine

Calling out all the foodies out there! You’ve probably heard of the two-Michelin-star Noma Restaurant, famous for its innovative dishes imagined by its founders, chef René Redzepi and Claus Meyer who reinvented Nordic Cuisine. The keys are simple: simplicity, purity, freshness and local high-quality products as expressed in their manifesto. If you have the opportunity to book a table at one of the best restaurants in the world, do it. However, there are other options to get a taste of New Nordic Cuisine including dining at Kadeau, Manfreds, PONY and BRUS between others. Alternatively, pick up a cookbook and give it a go at home!

Panoramic View of Copenhagen from the Round Tour

Get up the Rundetaarn

The 17th century tower is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe and boasts an outstanding panoramic view over Copenhagen. Walk up the Round Tower’s spiral ramp to reach the observation deck and enjoy a break halfway through the climb at the old library turned into an exhibition room. Opening hours vary according to the season and general entrance costs 25 DKK.

Stop by Christiansborg Castle

Check out Christiansborg Palace

Today the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of State, Christiansborg Palace used to be up until 1794 the main residence of the Danish kings. Some rooms are however still used by the Royal family for events. You can visit the ruins, royal receptions rooms, kitchen, and stables. Open hours vary so consult their website before going.

Walk around Christiania

Christiania is nothing like the rest of the capital. The former military base was turned into a “freetown” by a group of hippies in 1971 and is today home to about 900 people living alternatively. Between the colorful homemade houses, art galleries, workshops, and cafes, you’ll forget you’re in Copenhagen. Explore the neighboorhood but remember that it is a residential area and not just a touristic attraction. I didn’t take pictures but you can (except on Pusher Street). While the people of Freetown Christiania are allowed to do what they please as far as their living style goes, Danish law now does apply to the town.

Climb to the top of the Church of our Saviour

Located a block away from Christiana, stop by the Church of our Saviour on your way back to the center. Famous for its black and golden spire, the Church offers a 360° view over Copenhagen from the top of its tour. Reaching a height of 90 meters, you will have to climb up 400 flight of stairs to reach the top. The last 150 stairs are on the outside of the spire!

View over the bridge near Christiansborg Palace

Get lost at Glyptoket

Make time to visit at least one museum during your stay in Copenhagen. Most of them have a day during the week when the entrance is free so take advantage of it! I personally went for the Glyptoket museum, as much for its ancient and modern art collections as for the building in itself. It truly is a stunning museum with a beautiful indoor garden to relax in between galleries. Spare at least 3 hours to visit the collections that interest you most. Go on a Tuesday, it’s free! Otherwise, general admission costs 115 DKK. It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 18 pm and until 22 pm on Thursday.

A guide to the best things to do in Copenhagen.

Shop on Strøget

Head to Strøget to shop until you drop. The commercial area stretches over Frederiksberggade, Nygade, Vimmelskaftet and Østergade street. From high street brands to luxury boutiques, there’s something for everybody. Wander off the side streets to appreciate Danish architecture and enjoy a coffee break.

Square near Rådhuspladsen .

Stop by Rådhuspladsen

As you reach the end of Strøget, make a stop at the City Hall Square. Take a look at the Italian inspired Rådhus, which is actually the tallest building in Copenhagen thanks to its tour, and watch local daily life unfold. If you can’t make it to the Little Mermaid, there’s a statue of Hans Christian Andersen on the square so you can at least snap a photo of the fairytale’s author.

Swing by Nyboder’s Yellow Houses

A visit to Copenhagen wouldn’t be complete without making a detour through the historic neighborhood of Nyboder. The area features terraced houses that were built in the 17th and 18th century to provide housing for the personnel of the Royal Danish Navy and their families. The seemingly infinite rows of little identical yellow houses will give you an insight into how people’s houses used to be like back in the days.

One of the off the beaten path tourist attractions in Copenhagen is visiting the Royal Library.

Browse the Royal Library

Finally, check out the Royal Library and its extension, The Black Diamond, where a copy of all works printed in Denmark since the 17th century are archived! The old and new building are connected by a suspended bridge and besides being architecturally interesting, the new building offers beautiful views of the river.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article about Copenhagen and that it inspired you to visit the capital. Let me know in the comments what are the things you would want to do most in the city or what were the highlights of your trip if you’ve already been.

Safe travels,
Céline

Pin it for later!

Best Things to Do in Copenhagen
TAGS
10 Comments
  1. Reply

    Heather - That OC Girl

    February 17, 2019

    I would love to do every single thing you have in this post. This place looks absolutely adorable!! I’d love to bike around it in the summer time!

    • Reply

      wanderousheart

      February 18, 2019

      Copenhagen is beautiful ✨ Biking in the winter time is somewhat fun too and everybody does it!

  2. Reply

    Val

    February 18, 2019

    I can feel your struggle, I visited Copenhagen in December and it was freezing! But I enjoyed most of the things on your list here apart from visiting Nyboder’s Yellow Houses. Loved this city and your post brought back some good (and frozen!) memories!

    • Reply

      wanderousheart

      February 18, 2019

      Right?! We stopped in a cafe on our way to the Little Mermaid because we were freezing cold. What did you not like at Nyboder’s Yellow Houses? Thanks for reading!

  3. Reply

    Karletta

    February 18, 2019

    I’m officially in love with Copenhagen and I have never been there – thanks to your beautiful write-up. Your photographs are stunning and the way you share one piece of info before moving on to the next makes your piece a very easy read. Thank you.

    • Reply

      wanderousheart

      February 19, 2019

      Thank you so much!! That definitely happens a lot to me too… Love traveling vicariously through articles and blog posts online!

  4. Reply

    Renata Green

    February 18, 2019

    Copenhagen is such an inspiring city – there is so much to see! I always make sure to get a Copenhagen card to have free access to all these landmarks and museums. Never seen it covered in snow, though 😉

    • Reply

      wanderousheart

      February 19, 2019

      The Copenhagen card can definitely be a good deal depending on how many museums you’re planning on visiting! I, on the other hand, have never seen it during summer. Must be a completely different experience!

  5. Reply

    John

    February 19, 2019

    I’m backpacking through Europe next year and this is great for reference for me. I’d definitely try the Danish pastries lol.

    • Reply

      wanderousheart

      February 19, 2019

      It’s a must! Have fun!

LEAVE A COMMENT

CÉLINE GUNTHER

Welcome to Wanderous Heart! A travel blog sharing adventures around the globe to celebrate our world's beauty and inspire you to take on your own journey.

Follow on Instagram