As the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen (København in Danish) has a long and rich history. It was the center of the Danish empire for hundreds of years, and, as such, it is home to many palaces, historic buildings, and cultural relics. But modern Copenhagen is not a city steeped in the past. The town’s classic architecture and canals are juxtaposed by modern infrastructure, new buildings, and a high tech transit system. But more than that, Copenhagen one of my favorite cities in the world. I’ve been here countless times and never get tired of my visits. The city is beautiful, clean, scenic, historic, and the locals always fun to hang out with. There is just a spirit and vibe that screams “Life is good here”. It’s infectious and will have you wondering why more places are like this. Use this travel guide to learn how to save money in the city and spend a few extra days here. You won’t regret it!
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Copenhagen
2. Take a bike tour
3. Take a boat tour
5. Hang out in Nørrebro
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Experience the “Morning Bars”
There’s actually more than one morning bar in Copenhagen. “Morning Bar” is a term for the late, late (early morning) bars that open after the clubs close. Danes like to drink and tend to stay out at these bars until about 9am The most famous is Louise’s.
2. Experience the nightlife
Copenhagen has a variety of pubs, lounges, and clubs. This city doesn’t start pumping until about 1 am and goes very late (see above morning bars). I would try to spend at least one night out.
3. Christiansborg Palace Ruins
Underneath this palace in the middle of the city, you can see the ruins of Bishop Absalon’s fortress, which dates back to 1167. It’s dark and damp down there, giving it a very crypt-like and ancient feel. I was really impressed with the detailed information provided about the fortress and its path to the current palace. Adult admission is 150 DKK, however it’s free with the Copenhagen Card.
4. Round tower
Rundetaarn is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. And through a long, tiring walk to the top, it provides a sweeping view of the old part of Copenhagen. Admission is 25 DKK.
5. Church of Our Saviour
Located near Christiania, this church is worth seeing for its giant spiralling bell tower. The interior of the church is basic and features a few interesting paintings, but the winding tower is what makes it worthwhile. It has always been regarded as something of a test of manhood to climb up and touch the globe on the summit, nearly 350 feet up in the air.
6. Hans Christian Andersen Museum
While this is really “made for children” and features Disney-like displays and sets, I really liked this museum. Inside, you get to read all of Andersen’s children’s tales, which were a lot shorter and darker than I had thought. It was quite the eye-opener. Disney lied to me all these years. Admission is 60 DKK for adults, 40 DKK for children.
7. The Historical Museum
The national history museum has many exhibits relating to Danish history and Viking weapons. Skip the Museum of Copenhagen, though. It was awful and didn’t cover much. The national museum is much better. Admission is 75 DKK.
8. Danish National Gallery
The Danish National Gallery (free entry!) has great art from the likes of Rembrandt, Picasso, and Matisse. There are also a number of paintings by Danish artists from the “Golden Age.” Admission is 110 DKK, and free for anyone under 18.
9. Little Mermaid
It may be small, but this statue makes for some excellent pictures. And, since it is near a park that is very much worth visiting, there’s no reason not to head over and snap a photo. Watch out for hordes of tourists trying to get into your shot, though.
10. Kastellet Park
Kastellet used to be a fortress guarding the city, but is now a public park, a cultural-historical monument, and is also used for military purposes. The park has great gardens, trees, and ponds surrounding it. It’s right near the Little Mermaid and is a wonderful place to relax on a warm day.
11. Shop at a flea market
In the summer months there are numerous flea markets around the city that are great to browse. Many are open just on the weekends and offer an assortment of odds and ends. Nørrebro Flea Market is Denmark’s longest and narrowest, stretching 333 metres near Assistens Cemetery on Nørrebrogade.
12. Travel to Malmö
For a day trip, consider visiting Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city. It’s under an hour away, and you can spend some time strolling the historic city center. You’ll also get to cross the famous Øresund bridge, a landmark made famous by the hit Scandinavia crime drama The Bridge (Broen in Danish).
13. Enjoy Roskilde
Known as the ancient city of Denmark, Roskilde was Denmark’s capital from 960 to 1536. This is an amazing city to view the country’s history, whether it be at the various churches, brick building lined streets, or the Viking-influenced museums. This small city is close to Copenhagen so it’s easy to get to. The Roskilde Cathedral is the most famous in the country. It is also host to Europe’s largest music festival every June.