22 Best things to do in Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, located on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand and is connected to the smaller island of Amager by a number of bridges. The city is located just south of the Scandinavian Peninsula, which it is a part of.

Copenhagen is about 85 km northwest of Malmo, a city of Sweden, and about 145 km southeast of Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark.

Copenhagen is often considered one of the most liveable and happiest cities in the world, thanks to its high quality of life, low crime rates, shorter workdays, free college tuition, and more holiday days.

Some of the best things to do in Copenhagen is visiting famous attractions such as the Tivoli Gardens, which is one of the world’s oldest amusement park and garden; the Little Mermaid statue which was designed according on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen; the Nyhavn, picturesque waterfront area; and the Royal Palace of Amalienborg, the residence of the Danish royal family. 

Copenhagen is also best known for its beautiful architecture, rich cultural history with a number of museums and galleries, including the National Museum and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. 

There is a vibrant nightlife, and thriving food scene, with many Michelin restaurants that serve  the traditional Danish food and Nordic cuisine.

Copenhagen is also famous for its bike-friendly infrastructure and its high number of people who ride bikes as a form of transportation. 

Best things to do in Copenhagen, Denmark

1. Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is one the best things to do and see in Copenhagen for families and kids, and couples of all ages. This amusement park and garden was visited by famous people such as the fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen and Walt Disney. 

Inside the garden, you can find rides, games, restaurants, theaters, fountains, as well as attractions such as the Demon and Golden Tower.

Tivoli Gardens is home to three outdoor stages, with lots of live music. The Friday Rock is held in summer every Friday.

Tivoli Gardens is not only a popular attraction in Copenhagen for families and children but also a romantic place for couples because it has romantic settings with a green flowering park, lights hanging from the trees, as well as restaurants and cafés.

You can try traditional Danish and International food at the oldest restaurant in Tivoli called Grøften. 

Tivoli Gardens is conveniently located in the Copenhagen city center, within easy walk from the Copenhagen Central Station and the City hall.

2. Little mermaid statue

The Little Mermaid statue is an icon and a symbol of Copenhagen and Denmark, and is one of the most photographed statues in the world. 

It is a 1.25 meter tall sculpture of a mermaid sitting on a rock, with her arms wrapped around her tail, at Langelinie in Copenhagen harbor.

The Little Mermaid sculpture was created based on the famous Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale about the mermaid waiting for her prince on land.

The Little Mermaid was a gift for Copenhagen from the founder of Carlsberg beer, Carl Jacobsen, who fell in love with the mermaid after watching a ballet performance based on the fairy tale at the Royal Danish Theatre.

Little mermaid statue was created in bronze and granite by Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen, and was unveiled in August of 1913.

3. Strøget

Strøget is 1 km long pedestrian streets, making it the longest of its kind in Europe. Located in the center of Copenhagen, Strøget spans from the City Hall Square to Kongens Nytorv.

It is a famous shopping area that is packed with both affordable and luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Zara, and  H&M. 

In addition to the shopping, the street is also home to plenty of restaurants, cafes, and tourist landmarks such as the Church of Our Lady, Stork Fountain, Helligåndskirken, and Courthouse.z

4. Nyhavn (New Port)

Nyhavn is one of the things that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Copenhagen. Formerly a 17th century canal, it is now a well-known waterfront entertainment district that is packed with beautiful old townhouses, historical wooden ships, bars, cafes and restaurants.

Many historic houses have been converted into classy restaurants that dominate the old port. You can enjoy a relaxed vibe by the canal, listen to jazz music, enjoy dinner and beer at the quayside.

This is also an area where Hans Christian Andersen used to live and wrote the fairy tales The  Little Claus & Big Claus, Tinderbox, The Princess &  the Pea. 

Nyhavn is well-located close to the Little Mermaid statue, Tivoli Gardens amusement park, and the pedestrianized shopping high street of Strøget.

If you are foodies, there are many cafes and restaurants to explore. You can check out the Michelin-starred AOC, Kokkeriet, and Torvehallerne fresh produce market.

5. Nationalmuseet (National Museum of Denmark)

The National Museum of Denmark has a vast collection of Danish culture and history, making it the largest cultural history museum in Denmark. 

The museum is set at the corner of the Botanical Garden, near Nørreport Station. You can enter and see its exhibits for free.

You can learn about life in Denmark from prehistory to the present days through its galleries, artifacts and objects, and a collection of ethnographic items from all over the globe. 

6. Christiansborg Palace

Christiansborg Palace was Scandinavia’s largest castle, which was once the residence of the King and Queen, but today it is home to the office of Denmark’s Prime Minister, the national parliament, the Ministry of State, and the Supreme Court.

Copenhagen was established on the location of Christiansborg Palace in 1167, by Absalon, a bishop of Roskilde town.The castle has been expanded and burned down many times. 

Christiansborg Palace is located on Slotsholmen island, which is surrounded by narrow canals. and home to the  Old Stock Exchange, Royal Library, and the Royal Library Garden.

You can visit the Queen’s reception rooms, with beautiful interiors, paintings and arts, as well as the ruins of the outer wall of the first castle, the palace church called Christiansborg Palace Chapel.

You can climb up to the tower and enjoy the views over the city from its highest point. There is also a guided tour to visit the Danish parliament, and the royal stables where you can see white horses and carriages, as well as a court theater and royal kitchen.

7. Rent a bicycle

Copenhagen is one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities. The city has more bike streets than cars.

Renting a bicycle and cycling is one of the fun and relaxed ways to explore the city. There are many bicycle shops in the city. When deciding to rent a bike, you should know the rules of cycling and some of the cycling traffic signs.  

There few places that you can rent a bike, including:

  • There are white city bikes (Bycyklen) at docking stations around the city.
  • Donkey Republic bikes isa  cheaper alternative to the city bike
  • Renting from your hotel or hostel
  • Local bike shops in Copenhagen where you can rent a specific type of bike or need a longer rental period.

8. Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden has the largest collection of living plants in Denmark. Founded as a medicinal herb garden for the University of Copenhagen, today, it covers 10 ha of land, filled with Scandinavian plants and is a great place to relax and picnic, 

There are Danish plants, perennial plants, a rock garden, and a rhododendron garden, as well as the 19th century historic glasshouses.

You can also find a growth house, a flower shop, a café and a butterfly house, which is open only in summer. The Botanical Garden provides guided tours, educational programs, and events throughout the year.

The Botanical Garden is located in the Parkmuseerne museum district, within walking distance from the Nørreport Station. 

9. Freetown Christiania

Christiania is a community that operates independently with its own laws and own flag. The neighborhood was built in 1971 by a group of artists and activists from a former military base that sat abandoned for many years.

Christiania has developed into a unique community with its own set of rules and regulations, including a ban on cars and hard drugs. 

The community is known for its vibrant street art, music scene, and alternative lifestyle, and attracts many tourists who come to experience its countercultural atmosphere.

Christiania has also faced controversy and legal challenges over the years, particularly related to the open sale of cannabis in the area.

Freetown Christiania is located in Christianshavn and easy to reach by public transport such as metro, bus or bike.

10. Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Palace is one of the most popular attractions in Copenhagen, located in the heart of the city. Founded by King Christian IV between 1606 and 1624, Rosenborg Castle was used as the summerhouse of the Danish royal family until the 19th century, and now serves as a museum.

This Renaissance castle is very well preserved  with some rooms the same as it originally built in the 17th century.  

The castle is a fine example of Danish Renaissance architecture and is decorated with works of art and antiques. 

The castle is now a museum, and it is open to the public for guided tours. You can see a collection of royal artifacts, expensive clocks, a music cabinet, and the crown jewels of Denmark, as well as the throne room and the king’s bedchamber.

11. The David Collection

The David Collection is a fine and applied arts museum located in the heart of Copenhagen. It has a large collection of Islamic art in Scandinavia, as well as applied art & furniture, and 18th century art works of Europe. 

The David Collection is named after its founder, Christian Ludvig David, who was a Danish lawyer, businessman, and art collector.

The Davids Samling museum has a variety of exhibitions, lectures, and cultural events throughout the year. You can find a library and an auditorium.

The David Collection is part of the Parkmuseerne museum district, overlooking the Rosenborg Castle Garden. You can access all six museums with a ticket to Parkmuseerne.

12. Bakken Amusement Park

Bakken Amusement Park is one of the world’s oldest amusement parks, located only a short car drive from Copenhagen. Bakken Amusement Park offers free entrance.

Dyrehavsbakken was founded in 1583, and is a popular place for  families, young couples and seniors with children’s amusements, restaurants, pubs, bars, and live music.

There are plenty of rides, games, and attractions, including roller coasters, a haunted house, a water park, and a theater. 

The park is open seasonally, typically from late April to late September.

13. Church of our Saviour

Church of our Saviour is one of Denmark’s most well-known churches, located in the Christianshavn district. It is known for its spiral tower and spire rising above Copenhagen’s skyline.

This Baroque-style church was designed by the architect Lauritz de Thurah, and was completed in 1752.

You can climb over the 400 steps staircase to the top of the spire, and nejoya panoramic view of the city. The Church of Our Saviour is a popular tourist destination in Copenhagen, and it is also an active place of worship for the local community.

14. Going out enjoy vibrant nightlife

Copenhagen is famous for its lively nightlife, with a wide variety of bars, nightclubs, traditional Danish pubs, and live music venues. 

There are numerous areas in Copenhagen to enjoy nightlife such as the Vesterbro trendy neighborhood, Nørrebro multicultural neighborhood, Christianshavn, which is home to the city’s best live music venues, as well as Strøget pedestrian shopping street.

to experience the city’s nightlife at its best, consider visiting during the summer months when the days are longer and the weather is warm. 

Regardless of where you go, it’s important to remember to drink responsibly and be mindful of local laws and customs.

15. Danish cuisine

Copenhagen is known for its thriving food scene, with many top restaurants that serve  the traditional Danish food and Nordic cuisine. 

Some traditional Danish food are:

  • Smørrebrød, a slice of buttered rye bread, known as rugbrød, topped with various ingredients such as meats, cheeses, and vegetables. 
  • Stjerneskud, or shooting stars, is a slice of rye bread with a fried filet of plaice,topped with shrimp, a slice of fried bacon, and a fried egg.
  • Stegt flæsk, sliced, boiled pork served with boiled potatoes, parsley sauce, and a variety of pickled vegetables
  • Danish pastries, made from a soft, buttery dough called puff pastry or wienerbrød dough.
  • frikadeller, Danish meatballs
  • Danish beer, with world-renowned Carlsberg and locally-brewed beers
  • Oysters
  • hot dogs

16. Reffen street food market

Reffen is an organic street food market in Meatpacking District with over 50 food stalls from all over the world, offering a variety of local and international street food, drinks, and live music. 

Some of the food stalls that you can find at Reffen include Danish hot dogs, Thai noodles, Japanese sushi, and American-style burgers. 

There are also several bars and music stages, making Reffen a great place to spend an evening out in Copenhagen. Reffen street food market is open Thursday to Sunday.

17. Smørrebrød restaurants

Smørrebrød is the most famous dish in denmark. It is a traditional Danish dish that is a slice of buttered rye bread, known as rugbrød, topped with various ingredients such as meats, cheeses, and vegetables.

Some of the best places to try Smørrebrød and experience traditional food are:

  • Schønnemann, the king of the Danish open-faced sandwich
  • Aamanns, served both traditional and modern dish
  • Orangeriet, serves classic Danish cuisine with a modern twist.
  • Orangeriet
  • Kronburg
  • Kanal Cafeen
  • Mad & Kaffe
  • Cafe Dyrehaven
  • Slotskaelderen

18. Skiing at Copenhill

Copenhill, also known as Amager Bakke, is a waste-to-energy power plant that features a ski slope on its roof. The slope offers a variety of runs for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities.

In addition to the ski slope, Copenhill also has a climbing wall and a hiking trail. If you’re interested in visiting Copenhill to go skiing, it’s a good idea to check the operating hours and rates on the facility’s website before you go. 

It’s also a good idea to bring your own ski equipment, as rentals may not be available onsite.

19. Copenhagen’s harbor baths and beaches

You can go for a swim in the many centrally located harbor baths and beaches such as the Amager Beach Park and the Islands Brygge Harbour Bath with its five basins.

Swimming in Copenhagen is extremely safe, with clean water. Some of the baths and beaches to check out are:

  • Amager Beach Park
  • Bellevue Beach
  • Fisketorvet Harbour Bath 
  • Kalvebod Brygge Harbour Bath
  • Islands Brygge Harbour Bath
  • Nordhavn Sandkaj Harbour
  • Kastrup Sea Bath on Amager Strand
  • Nyhavn Havengade
  • Ofelia Beach Copenhagen
  • La Banchina
  • Sluseholmen Harbour Bath 
  • Svanemølle Beach

20. Copenhagen Canal Tour

Taking a traditional canal tour, or a romantic gondola, is one of the best things to do and see in Copenhagen for couples and people of all ages. 

It is a wonderful way to see the city’s attractions from the water such as the Little Mermaid, Copenhagen Opera House, Amalienborg Palace, and Christiansborg Palace.

The tours are typically offered by a variety of different companies and can be booked in advance or purchased on the day of the tour. 

21. Statens Museum for Kunst

Statens Museum for Kunst is the National Gallery of Denmark that displays a collection of Danish and international art from the 14th century to the present days.

There are art works of famous artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens, and Vincent van Gogh, as well as the temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, lectures, and workshops for the public. 

The SMKN is open Tuesday through Sunday, except Monday, from 10 am. to 5 pm.

22. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum is one of the unique things to do and see in Copenhagen.The museum shows both ancient and modern art, and is famous for its marble sculptures and its beautiful winter garden. 

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum was founded  by brewer Carl Jacobsen, who donated his collection of art and antiquities to the city of Copenhagen in 1888.

The museum houses an extensive collection of ancient art from Rome, Greece, Egypt, as well as a large collection of 19th and 20th centuries Danish and international art.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Copenhagen best known for?

Copenhagen is best known for being the capital and the largest city of Denmark. It is one of the most livable and happiest cities in the world due to its high quality of life and strong economy. The city is also known for its canals, bike-friendly streets, and world-class culinary scene, as well as being the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen’s, the Little Mermaid statue, and Tivoli Gardens.

What should you not miss in Copenhagen?

There are several things that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Copenhagen, including the Little Mermaid statue, Tivoli Gardens amusement park, Nyhavn waterfront, Rosenborg Castle, and Freetown of Christiania. Don’t forget to taste some delicious Danish pastries while you’re there.

How to spend 3 days in Copenhagen?

To make the most of 3 days in Copenhagen, start by exploring the city’s charming canals and colorful houses on a bike tour. Next, visit top attractions such as the Tivoli Gardens amusement park and the iconic Little Mermaid statue, as well as museums and art galleries. You can try Denmark’s cuisine such as the traditional smørrebrød at a local café. 

Is 2 days enough in Copenhagen?

Two days may be sufficient to see some of the main attractions in Copenhagen, but it may not be enough time to fully experience all the city has to offer. It really depends on your interests and how much you want to see and do.

What are the best things to do in Copenhagen for couples?

For couples visiting Copenhagen, some top activities include visiting Tivoli Gardens, strolling through the colorful Nyhavn waterfront district, touring the stately Rosenborg Castle, taking a canal boat tour, and trying traditional Danish pastries at one of the city’s many bakeries.

What are the best things to do in Copenhagen for young adults?

Copenhagen is a vibrant city with plenty to do for young adults. Some popular activities include exploring the many museums and cultural sights, such as the Danish National Gallery and Tivoli Gardens, as well as the Nyhavn waterfront and the Little Mermaid statue. You can enjoy dining and shopping in the trendy Vesterbro and Nørrebro.

What are the unique things to do in Copenhagen?

Some of the unique things to do in Copenhagen are checking out the Glyptotek art museum, climbing the Church of our Savior, hunt for the Six Forgotten Giants, swimming at Manon Les Suites eco hotel, visiting Freetown Christiania, Amaliehaven, and the Deer Park.

What are the best things to do in Copenhagen alone?

Copenhagen is a city with plenty to see and do, whether you’re solo or with a group. Some of the best things to do in Copenhagen alone include visiting the beautiful Tivoli Gardens amusement park, touring the historic Rosenborg Castle, checking out the city’s many museums and galleries, and strolling along the charming Nyhavn waterfront. You can also enjoy shopping and dining and a vibrant nightlife scene.

What are the free things to do in Copenhagen?

Copenhagen offers a variety of free activities, such as exploring the colorful Nyhavn waterfront, walking around the city’s charming streets, visiting the beautiful Rosenborg Castle Gardens, and taking a stroll through the Freetown Christiania commune.

See more: Where to Stay in Copenhagen 

So there you have it, the best things to do in Copenhagen, Denmark for your next trip. If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment below.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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