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Things to do in Copenhagen

What to do in Copenhagen.

Are you looking for things to do in Copenhagen. Copenhagen is the Capital of Denmark. Copenhagen is a very nice city and it is easy to find out what to do. I admit that I am a Danish national and my heart beats for Copenhagen. However I also hear lot of positive things about Copenhagen from everyone I meet who has visited.  In this post I am gonna give you insight from a local on what I think you should do when visiting Copenhagen. Basically this is going to be a bit different from what you read in the guide books since I do not have a clue what those books are saying about Copenhagen.

Ask a local

I am a local and if you have any questions to this article or in general just ask and I will be happy to reply you if I can help. If you leave a comment below I will see it and reply to you asap.

My top 10 list of best things to do in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a big city and at the same time a small city. You can more or less walk to every part of the city. Otherwise take a metro and walk the rest of the way. In my opinion taking a walk or maybe bicycle is the best way to experience Copenhagen. Like any other big European tourist city you will also find a jump on – jump off bus taking you to all the attractions. However this is also a bit expensive.

#1 Visit Tivoli Garden

No matter if you are a tourist or a local Tivoli Garden is one of the best and most visited attractions in Denmark. The Tivoli concept has been exported to as far away places as Japan. Unique for Tivoli in Copenhagen is that it is located in the middle of the city just next to town hall and walking street. Tivoli is an amusement park and a garden at the same time. Tivoli is one of the eldest attractions in the city and one of the eldest amusement parks in the world.

Visit Tivoli’s website for more info

#2 City walk to The Little Mermaid, Langeline and Amalienborg

This is one of the 3 city walks I would recommend. It would be like a 5 Km walk and you would see so much more on the way than if you just take a bus. Find your way to Østerport and walk through the old military facility called Kastellet. On the other side of this you will find Langelinje  which is one of Copenhagens most famous streets. Langelinje is the host of some tourist shops and the harbor front where all cruise liners arrive. Most famous in Langelinje is the Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid is one of the most marketed tourist attractions for Copenhagen. It is smaller than you think but the symbolism is significant. The Little Mermaid is sitting looking over the harbor protecting the ships coming in. In the old days the mermaid was at the very entrance to the harbor so it was the last things ships saw when they left and the first thing they saw when they came back.

You can walk along the harbor front all the way back to the city. On the other side of the harbor front you will see the Grand New Opera house. This Opera house was donated to the City of Copenhagen by Maersk McKinney Møller who was one of the most prominent business men in Denmark throughout history. When you are right in front of the opera house walk to the  right for a few hundred meters. You will now arrive at Amalienborg. Amalienborg is hosting the Royal Danish Family and both the Queen and the future King lives here. You will see 4 buildings and the Queen and the Crown Prince have one each to live in.

Walking back towards the city you will end up in Nyhavn which is another famous attraction.

I estimate you can without problem make this walk in 3 hours and still have plenty time to stop and take pictures.

#3 City walk: Nyhavn, Kongens Nytorv, Walking Street, Rådhuspladsen

Start in Nyhavn the old harbor and have a look at the atmosphere and the buildings. These are historic buildings and there is a unique atmosphere. At the end of Nyhavn you see Kongens Nytorv (The kings new square). Here you can see The Royal Theater and Magasin a found shopping mall. Cross Kgs Nytorv and arrive at the walking street named Strøget. This street is one long walk of shops and no traffic. At the end of the Strøget you arrive at the square in front of Town Hall named Rådhuspladsen. Spend 15 minutes here just breathing the atmosphere and enjoy the views.

#4 Istedgade – the worlds first legal red light street

Denmark was the first country in the world to make pornography legal. Copenhagen became the symbol of this and tourist came to Copenhagen to buy magazines and watch shows. The center of these activities where Istedgade. Today Istedgade still has shops from this point in history but the shops are about to disappear. The market for the products have moved online and tourist can buy everything in their own countries now. Istedgade still has some of these shops left and still host the red light district of Copenhagen – just not to the same extent as before. The area today has become a trendy area for the hipsters and students of Copenhagen as well.

#5 Christiania – free town

The free town Christiania was founded in 1971 when a group of hippies decided to start living inside an empty military facility. The goal has been to make Christiania independent of the rest of Denmark. The whole occupation is in reality illegal but nothing has been done and since 1971 this Christiania has developed into one of the most visited attractions in Copenhagen. Here you find home made crafts and other souvenirs to buy. However the most famous thing inside Christiania is the “Pusher Street”. Christiania is the center of the Hash trade in Copenhagen. The Pusher street has been allowed to exist by the police and politically because they never escalated into hard drugs. As a matter of fact the ones living there get very angry if someone brings hard drugs inside. Be careful not to take pictures when you are there. Christiania is safe and everyone is welcome – except for the police.

More info about Christiania

#6 The parks and Gardens: Kongens Have & Frederiksberg Have

Copenhagen has some amazing parks and gardens all over the city. So when you look at the map you should give your self time to visit a few of them. Unlike other big cities in the world Copenhagen is very safe. So everyone is hanging out in the public areas for walk or picnics when the weather is nice. Try visit Frederiksberg Have or Kongens Have on a summer day and you will see the football field sized grass lawns packed with Danish students, elderly people and families. The parks are for everyone. It does not matter if you are rich or poor. Some bring laptops and others bring a book. It is up to your own imagination.

#7 Rent a bike and pedal around

In Copenhagen you find bicycles everywhere. Everyone is bicycling and you can in several places see double bicycle lanes for the peak hours. The locals who live inside the Center of Copenhagen often say they do not need a car because they can bike everywhere. So why not try do as the locals and rent a bike and pedal around instead of taking a bus or taxi?

#8 Amager Beach Park

In Amager you will find the beach park. This is a man made several kilometers long beach park with lots of sand and water obviously. Perfect for swimming during the summer. But here you can also rent kayaks and wind-surfing. The area is nice for walking or rollerblading with a concrete path from one end to the other. When you walk here you have a view over Copenhagen City and in front of you lies Øresund. What you see on the other side of Øresund is Sweden and the Swedish city Malmo.

 #9 Make a picnic in a park or by the sea

Buying food and drinks in cafe’s and restaurants is very expensive in Denmark. Many Danish people solve this by making their own picnics. The beaches and parks are so wonderful so why not make you own. Go to a supermarket and buy bread, meat, cheese and some lettuce. Go to a beautiful green public area and enjoy the city for free. And the drinks you drink are also supermarket priced. You will save money and enjoy the city like a Danish person would. If it is in your temper it is also in some places possible to bring a BBQ so you could make your own meat. If you want to make BBQ ask around for the closest place for you to do so.

#10 Visit Nyhavn for a drink or food

Nyhavn is the grand old harbor. In old days Nyhavn was a sleezy area for distribution of stolen goods and prostitutes walking around the streets. Drunks walked the streets at night and you should be careful to walk in Nyhavn. Today this image is completely changed. Bustling with life and cafe’s and restaurants side by side Nyhavn has developed into  the number one outside drinking and eating area for locals and tourist. On a bright sunny summer day the place is packed with people. This is one of the must do’s when staying in Copenhagen.

More information about Copenhagen

If you want more detailed information about Copenhagen I recommend you to visit these sites:

Official tourist guide to Copenhagen and the capital region of Denmark

Visit All About Copenhagen for information about city areas and restaurants in Copenhagen

 Visit for city information, events calendar and practical information for tourists

By Steffen Kristensen

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