Although we usually provide lists of the best places to enjoy the city in a casual way – where to eat, drink, shop and so on – we can’t deny that the tourist attractions in Copenhagen are well-worth seeing, even if you’re a long-time local.
Whether you have 24 hours, a month, or the rest of your life, here are the important and interesting tourist attractions around the city:
Tivoli amusement park is great fun during the summer months, when the grounds are beautifully manicured and people are out in droves to play games and ride rollercoasters. It’s a great spot to take children or to enjoy a day of childlike fun. There are some fantastic restaurants connected to the park, including the elegant Nimb Brasserie. The park is also open during Christmas with a cozy Christmas market and during Halloween, when the decorations are silly-spooky.
1630 København V
Sunday – Thursday: 11.00am – 11.00pm
Friday & Saturday: 11.00am – midnight
Ticket price: 99 DKK, free for children ages 0-7. Re-entry tickets (day after) are 25DKK.
NB: this is an entrance ticket; rides cost extra.
THE ROUND TOWER (RUNDETÅRN)
For one of the best views of Copenhagen, take a stroll up to the top of the tower and enjoy looking out over this charming city. The tower is 36 meters tall and the walkway spiraling around the core is 209 meters, so be sure to lace up your sneakers.
1150 København K
Every day: 10.00am – 6.00pm
Ticket price: 25 DKK/adult, 5 DKK/under age 15
THE LITTLE MERMAID (DEN LILLE HAVFRUE)
Created in bronze by sculptor Edvard Eriksen in 1913, this beloved statue sits amongst the rocks and lapping water, cutting a slightly melancholic figure. Most note how small the statue is. Prepare yourself by reading Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid before having a look (or just watch the Disney movie – it’s a much happier ending).
→ THE LITTLE MERMAID
2100 København Ø
Viewing is free!
ROSENBORG CASTLE (ROSENBORG SLOT)
Built as a summer palace in 1606 for King Christian IV, this regal building soon became his favorite residence. Tour the Renaissance architecture, art and the many rooms of the palace. You can also view the Crown Jewels, if you’re into a little bling.
Øster Voldgade 4A
1350 København K
Every day: 10.00am – 5.00pm (4.00 pm outside of 1 June – 31 August)
Ticket price: 90 DKK/adult, 60 DKK/student, free/under age 17
NB: It is possible to buy a joint ticket for Rosenborg & Amalienborg Castles for 130 DKK
AMALIENBORG CASTLE (AMALIENBORG SLOT) & THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
The so-called “Winter Palace” is made up of four separate, identical buildings. In the courtyard stands a 1771 statue of King Frederik V. Inside you can tour royal interiors, including the rooms of more contemporary royals.
The changing of the guard takes place daily at noon. Den Kongelige Livgarde march through the city from Gothersgade 100 (the Royal Guard barracks) to Amalienborg. There are three types of guard changes: a King’s Watch, Lieutenant’s Watch and a Palace Watch.
The King’s Watch takes place only when the Queen is in residence. It is the biggest of the changes, led by a major or captain and includes the Danish flag. The Lieutenant’s Watch takes place when members of the royal family, but not the Queen, are in residence. It’s led by a captain or lieutenant and the size of the guard change fluctuates with how many royals are in residence. The Palace Watch takes place when no members of the royal family are in residence and is led by a sergeant. On special holidays, such as the Queen’s birthday, the Royal Guard wears red guard gala and carries flags with the royal coat of arms.
Christian VIII’s Palæ
1257 København K
Every day: 10.00am – 4.00pm
Ticket price: 90 DKK/adult, 60 DKK/student, free/under age 17.
NB: It is possible to buy a joint ticket for Rosenborg & Amalienborg Castles for 130 DKK
→ CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Christian VIII’s Palæ, Courtyard
1257 København K
Every day: 12.00 pm. Admission is free!
THE BLACK DIAMOND LIBRARY (DEN SORTE DIAMANT)
Located right on the water, this branch of the Royal Library is architecturally stunning. Built by Danish architecture firm Schmidt Hammer Larsen, the interior is just as worthwhile as the exterior. Tour both the modern front lobby and old-fashioned, cosy back rooms before enjoying a coffee in the cafe or, if the sun is out, right on the dock.
There are frequent concerts and lectures with affordable ticket prices held at the library so be sure to check out their online calendar for dates.
Expert tip: The ground-floor cafe is lovely, but for a super-duper cheap and hearty hot meal, the upstairs canteen (just to the left of the escalator if your back is to the water) is little-known and delicious!
Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1
1221 København K
Monday – Saturday: 8.00am – 10.00pm (July & August closes at 7:00 pm)
Admission is free!
STATENS MUSEUM FOR KUNST
The State Art Museum is not only a gorgeous building in the centre of the city, it’s also full of historical and modern Scandinavian art. They have fabulous European collections – everything from contemporary sculpture to important Impressionist works. The permanent collection is always free and the exhibits cost 50 – 110 DKK. There are often great events for kids; check out their calendar to find out more.
Sølvgade 48 – 50
1307 København K
Tuesday & Thursday – Sunday: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Wednesday: 10.00am – 8.00pm
THE BOTANICAL GARDEN (BOTANISK HAVE)
Part of the University of Copenhagen, the Botanical Garden is both a research centre and a place for all to enjoy the beauty of nature. The Palm House, a large greenhouse, has a staircase that allows you to walk amongst the tree tops and has the humid air of a tropical forest – a treat during winter! Take a walk through the garden itself, around the lake and venture onto some of the small, dirt paths. Each time you go, you’ll to find a new view or special spot. If you’re looking to buy plants, there’s a great nursery on the premises.
Øster Farimagsgade 2B
1353 København K
Summer (1 May – 30 Sept) Every day 8.30am – 6.00pm
Winter (1 Oct – 30 April) Every day 8.30 am – 4.00pm
Located in the Christianshavn borough of Copenhagen, Freetown Christiania is a commune founded in 1971 when a group of people broke down the surrounding fences and claimed the former military barracks. From its inception, Christania has had an open cannabis trade. Though marijuana is illegal in Denmark, the trade in Christiania goes on today on the dedicated “Pusher Street.” Christiania is home to about 850 inhabitants. It has restaurants, bars, museums and other cultural centres. If the weather is nice, you can go for a beautiful walk through the grounds and enjoy the lake-side view.
Expert Tip: You are not allowed to take pictures on Pusher Street. The no-camera signs are not a hollow warning; locals won’t take kindly to you bringing out your camera or trying to take snaps with your phone.
1440 København K
Since it’s a residential community, Christiania is always open. Check their website for the opening hours of specific restaurants, bars and shops.
THE CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR (VON FRELSERS KIRKE)
A church in the Dutch Baroque style, Von Frelsers Kirke warrants a visit for its beautiful interior, the largest carillon in northern Europe and its helix spire that offers a wonderful view of Copenhagen. The spire is made up of 400 steps running anti-clockwise and the last 150 are external (acrophobics beware!).
Sankt Annæ Gade 29
Opening Hours (Church):
Everyday: 11.00am – 3.30pm
Closed for sightseeing during services
Opening Hours (Tower):
Monday – Saturday: 9.30am – 7.00pm
Sunday: 10.30am – 7.00pm
Built on the site of the original Carlsberg Brewery, this visitor centre offers a fun tour that ends in the bar (as all good tours should). Taste beers as well as learn about the history of an important part of Danish culture.
Gamle Carlsberg Vej 11
1799 København V
Every day: 10.00am – 5.00pm
Ticket Prices: 85 DKK/adult, 60 DKK/student, free for children 0-5 years. Ticket price includes two beers or soft drinks.
DEN BLÅ PLANET AQUARIUM
The building, by architecture group 3xNielsen, is in and of itself worth a visit. But luckily there’s more to this aquarium. There’s a wealth of different marine life here as well as interesting ways to view and learn about it: a piranha feeding, a see-through tunnel and much more. Øst Cafe has a lovely view of the water – a great place to have a cup of coffee after a day on your feet.
Jacob Fortlingsvej 1
Monday: 10.00am – 9.00pm
Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00am – 6.00pm
Ticket Prices: 160 DKK/adult (150 online), 95 DKK/child ages 3-11 (90 online), free for children 0-3 years.
Take a Walk
The longest pedestrian street in Copenhagen and the best place to do a leisurely day of shopping. Shops range from budget-friendly such as H&M to high-end designers such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry, with everything in between. We recommend popping into Danish classics like Georg Jensen, Royal Copenhagen and Illums Bolighus, where you can find beautiful Danish interior design pieces. There are also an array of cafes where you can rest your shopping-bag holding arms.
No trip to Copenhagen would be complete without a walk along Nyhavn. This stretch of canal and pedestrian street is both gorgeous and buzzing; on a sunny day the place will be overrun with tourists and locals alike. Though there are plenty of restaurants and bars right on the water, we recommend checking out the side streets for better deals (and better food). Instead, grab an ice cream, a juice or a six-pack of beer and dangle your legs over the side of the canal while watching the tour boats go by.
THE LAKES (SØERNE)
This is one of the most popular walking spots in Copenhagen and with good reason. The view of from almost any angle of these three lakes is glorious; doubly so if you catch it during sunrise or sunset. The three rectangular, man-made lakes that run down the western side of the city are a great place to run, jog, walk or simply sit and take in the view – there are plenty of benches lining the paths. Though Sankt Jørgens Sø, Peblinge Sø and Sotredams Sø are considered separate bodies of water, they’re generally just referred to as “The Lakes.” The total distance around the lakes is 6.4 kilometres.
ISLANDS BRYGGE HARBOUR PARK (HAVNEPARKEN)
Located along the north-western coast of Amager, Islands Brygge Havneparken is a lovely stretch of walkable harbour. It’s perfect for a sunny-day stroll, a dip in the Islands Brygge Harbour Bath or checking out the occasional cultural events held along the walkway. See the Islands Brygge Culture House website for their calendar.
Starting at 48 EUR (approx. 350 DKK) for an adult’s 24 hour card, the Copenhagen Card is a great purchase if you’re planning to hit up more than one or two tourist attractions. It gives you entrance to 74 museums and tourist sites as well as free bus, train & metro transport. You get discounts on car hire, bike hire and loads of restaurants. In addition, you can bring two children under 10 on your adult card at no extra charge! The card comes in permutations of 24, 48, 72 and 120 hours.
This is especially recommended for short trips and for trips with young children.
RENT A GOBOAT
If you find yourself with a glorious day and want something fun but relaxing to do, rent a GoBoat. These motor boats leave from Islands Brygge and are rented by the hour (there are multiple hour discounts), with place for up to 8 people. You can also buy a picnic basket full of goodies from GoDeli before pushing off for a day of lazy, hazy maritime perfection.
Leaving from Islands Brygge 10
2300 København S
Every day 10:00 am to sunset
TAKE A BOAT TOUR FROM NYHAVN
Though there are lots of canal tour choices, we recommend Hey Captain. A little more expensive than the regular boat tours, it’s well worth if for a more personalised, intimate experience. It’s 200 DKK per person which is for a 75 minute tour around Copenhagen including 1 drink per person. You can also book a full boat at a special rate if you are a group of people up to 12 people that wish a private tour.
Otherwise, we recommend the Netto Boats because they offer a great tour for a very reasonable price. The tour is one hour and is in English, German & Danish. They leave from Holmens Church and Nyhavn every 20-30 minutes during operating hours. See all the big spots like The Little Mermaid, the Opera House and Amalienborg Palace in one go! Of course it’s preferable to go on a sunny, clear day, but the boats are partially covered in case of rain.
Leaving from Holmens Church & Nyhavn (Heibergsgade side)
Every day 10:00am – 5:00 pm (7:00pm July & August)