The Perfect Copenhagen Itinerary
City meets greenery and nightlife, welcome to Copenhagen, Denmark! This beautiful city has a great variety of things to do, making it a favorite among tourists and locals. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a longer vacation, the Danish capital is the perfect place. Wherever you look, you’ll see majestic buildings, green spaces, cozy pubs, and all kinds of restaurants. Our hometown is only 30 minutes from Copenhagen, which has made it an obvious destination to visit as often as we get the chance since it’s one of the best places we know, check out our Copenhagen itinerary!
How to Get to Copenhagen
In addition to flying to Copenhagen Airport, there are very good train and ferry connections between Sweden and Denmark, as well as between Germany and Denmark.
By train, you can travel from large parts of Sweden to Denmark, and from the nearest city, Malmö, in Sweden, it takes just 10 minutes over the Øresund Bridge. If you want to go to Denmark’s capital city, the best option is to get off at Hovedbanegården, the train station in the middle of the city. From here, you can find one of the ticket machines and continue your train journey in Denmark if you want to go to another destination.
If you are in northern Europe and want to travel to Denmark, the easiest way is to take the train from Germany to the Danish capital. Copenhagen is connected to Hamburg with 3 to 5 daily ICE and EuroCity trains. These trains take the ferry from Rødby to Puttgarden, one of the three remaining train ferry services in Europe.
Once in Copenhagen, it is definitely easiest to get around by bicycle. The city is known for its well-developed bike lanes and since many attractions are close to each other, we recommend renting a bike.
What to Do in Copenhagen
Just next to Copenhagen Central Station lies a world of fairytales, exotic environments, and major attractions. Tivoli Gardens is a world-class amusement park with top-notch attractions, great restaurants, and a lot of music and cultural events which makes it one of the best things to do in Copenhagen.
Tivoli is constantly renewing itself with experiences that cater to thrill-seekers, but if you don’t like speed, you can always just stroll around the beautiful gardens or try the famous soft-serve ice cream they got there. The world’s best ice cream if you ask us.
With a huge selection of different rides, there is something that suits everyone at Tivoli. There are particularly three roller coasters we like, and they’re for those who want some speed and adrenaline. One of the top attractions is “Rutschebanen”. It’s one of the world’s oldest still-functioning roller coasters, built in 1914. Over a million passengers ride it every year, and it has become a true classic. Another spectacular attraction is the ride “The Star Flyer”, where you sit in swings 80 meters up in the air with a view of the entire Copenhagen and the Øresund Bridge that connects to Sweden.
In the Food Hall at Tivoli, you can indulge your taste buds in any of the 15 food stands, where you’re guaranteed to find something that everyone will enjoy. In the stands, you can find everything from street food burgers and pizza to sushi, rye bread, and smørrebrød. There’s always free entry from the street, but you can also enter the Food Court through the courtyard that leads straight into Tivoli.
It’s truly a unique culinary experience in the heart of Copenhagen, where you can enjoy your meal in one of the cozy corners among the food stands or take it home as takeaway.
In addition to food, you can also buy endless snacks inside the area. There’s everything from fried churros to candy sticks in all the colors of the rainbow. Spun sugar is available for those with a real sweet tooth, or why not treat yourself with a cold slushy?
A personal favorite at Tivoli is the restaurant Sticks n Sushi with a view over the lush amusement park.
The best time to visit Tivoli is during the summer when live music is played every day from one of the many stages inside the area. There’s everything from jazz to rock and even modern pop music. It’s not uncommon for big international artists to have concerts at Tivoli and some of the biggest names who have played there over the years are Elton John, Lady Gaga, and Mark Knopfler. So after a packed day of rides and food, you can stay at Tivoli until the darkness falls and experience music at its best.
In addition to music, you can also watch pantomime theater and ballet performances with costumes and scenery created by the Danish queen.
Rosenborg Castle is a royal hermitage located in the King’s Garden in the heart of Copenhagen. The castle was built by one of the most famous Scandinavian kings, Christian IV, in the early 1600s. Rosenborg is owned by the Danish royal family and is still a well-known museum today. In the castle’s basement, you can find the “treasure chamber” which contains the Danish Crown Jewels and the regalia of the realm. Many also want to see the Knights’ Hall with the coronation thrones and three lifelong silver lions standing guard. Tapestries hanging on the walls celebrate battles between Denmark and Sweden.
The interior of the castle is well-preserved and it truly feels like a journey back in time when you walk through the doors. You can experience the king’s private writing desk, and his bathroom, and see wax figures of former royal inhabitants. Rosenborg also houses an exquisite collection of Flora Danica and one of the world’s finest Venetian glass collections, both located in the tower chambers
Pro tip: If you buy a Copenhagen City Card, you get free admission to over 80 attractions, including Rosenborg Castle and Tivoli, as well as free public transportation throughout the capital region. The Copenhagen card is a no-brainer for all art lovers and is the best way to explore Denmark’s history!
Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen is one of the most interesting squares in the city and if you visit Copenhagen, sooner or later you will discover that you are standing there. It is located at one end of Strøget and used to function as a meeting place in the old town as it was close to everything. Around the square, you can see some of Copenhagen’s most famous buildings.
In the middle of the square, there is a well-kept green area, whose centerpiece is decorated by a statue of King Christian V. It is perfect to sit and have a cup of coffee in the sun and watch the high-pulse vibe on the square.
The Little Mermaid Statue
Copenhagen’s most famous attraction (difficult to understand when you see it) – The Little Mermaid statue. The Little Mermaid has been sitting on her rock in Langelinie at the entrance to Copenhagen’s harbor for over a hundred years. She was commissioned by brewer Carl Jacobsen from Edvard Eriksen in 1909 after he saw a ballet performance at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen.
The performance was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of The Little Mermaid. The mermaid is hopelessly in love with a human prince and it’s a really sad story. Disney released a classic version of the tale in 1989 with a bit more friendly feel to it.
The ballerina who played The Little Mermaid in the ballet was named Ellen Price. She was the model for the sculpture’s head, but the body was made after the artist’s wife. The work was completed in 1913 and was donated by the patron Carl Jacobsson to the city of Copenhagen. Since then, she has been sitting there on her rock.
Although the statue today is a copy, incredible numbers of tourists visit the small unassuming statue of The Little Mermaid every year, often crowding around her. The children who are expecting to see a colorful Ariel are about to be disappointed, we certainly were.
At the beautiful Amalienborg Palace in the city centre of Copenhagen, you can immerse yourself in Danish history mixed with a generous dose of royalty. The palace is located in the heart of Copenhagen and consists of four almost identical rococo palaces that form an octagonal palace courtyard with the grand and frequently photographed equestrian statue of King Frederik V in the center.
Amalienborg was designed in the 17th century by architect Nicolai Eigtved and is today considered one of the most prominent works of classical Danish architecture. The palace has been owned by the Danish royal family since 1794 and over the centuries, all four palaces have been used in rotation. Christian VII Palace now serves as the queen’s guest residence and accommodates royalties, heads of state, and other important guests from other countries during their visits. In Christian VIII Palace, you will find the palace museum where you can embark on a 150-year-long journey focusing on the Danish royal family and its history. Frederik VIII Palace is, fittingly, home to Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, and their children, while Queen Margrethe resides in Christian IX Palace. These two palaces are not open to the public.
Daily at 11:30 a.m., the Danish Royal Guard marches the short distance through the streets of Copenhagen to Amalienborg for the changing of the guard at noon. On days when the queen is home, the Royal Guard is accompanied by the Royal Danish Army Band. This is something special to see if you’ve never seen it before.
Christiania is colorful, different, and controversial. And it’s more than just a neighborhood – it’s a lifestyle that began as an idealistic social experiment.
Christiania is one of Copenhagen’s most visited tourist attractions, and it’s not hard to see why. The small town within the city was established in 1971 when squatters cut holes in the fence of an old military area on Rådmandsgade and settled in the barracks. The area quickly became known as pusher street or green light district, where you could buy marijuana in small booths. Even today, Christiania is a collectively governed sanctuary where the sale of cannabis takes place openly, despite Denmark not having legalized it. This makes the place a completely unique destination within the city center of Copenhagen with a very different and free culture. If you’re only looking for a one-day itinerary of Copenhagen, this is definitely one place you must see.
To get a complete experience of Christiania, buy one of their locally brewed beers and stroll at your own pace along the beautiful architecture. Walk along the streets and admire all the colorful wall paintings, beautiful sculptures, and the shops in the wooden booths. If you get hungry, which a lot of people often get in Christiania, you can sit down at one of the area’s many cafes or restaurants to enjoy a good munch.
For all the music lovers, there are many concerts held at Nemoland and Loppen with live music on stage in the middle of the town area, and there is usually a very nice atmosphere.
If you visit Christiania, don’t forget to follow the rules and instructions posted on the information signs at the sanctuary’s entrances. These include visitors not being allowed to photograph, run or talk on their mobile phones within the sanctuary’s borders – especially on and around Pusher Street.
Strøget is located in the inner city of central Copenhagen and is a famous pedestrian street that runs between Rådhuspladsen in the west and Kongens Nytorv in the east. Its length of about 1.1 km makes it one of the longest pedestrian streets in the world. As Strøget is connected to Købmagergade, Kultorvet, and Frederiksborggade, which are also pedestrian streets, it becomes a very large car-free area in the middle of the city where you can stroll around.
On the pedestrian street, you can spend hours shopping if you want, with shops such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Birger Christensen, and Royal Copenhagen. Of course, this is also where you can find different chains such as H&M, small shops, and concept stores such as the Lego Store. Along the entire Strøget, there are plenty of food options and small kiosks selling ice cream.
If you don’t want to walk from Central Station to Strøget, which takes about 15 minutes, you can always use Copenhagen’s well-developed public transportation. Also, some of the best restaurants are located on this street.
Just a short walk from Strøget is the botanical garden. With more than 13,000 different plant species, this is a place for the plant-lovers. Inside the area, there is also something that appeals to those with a passion for architecture. They have combined 27 greenhouses and built a gigantic glasshouse that is a must-visit! Walking around the botanical garden is free, but if you want to enter the Palm House, you must pay a small fee. Inside the Palm House, there is also a 16-meter steep spiral staircase for those seeking some adrenaline.
In some parts, they have also installed heaters that simulate a tropical climate, making it possible to grow plants from all over the world. The garden also has a butterfly house where, for a small admission fee, you can watch amazing butterflies in a relaxing environment. Note that the butterfly house is only open during the summer season.
The botanical gardens are only 5 minutes from Nørreport Station, which makes it a great option to get there. When we have sunny days in Copenhagen, we almost always spend a few hours in this great place!
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Glyptotek)
When mentioning Carlsberg and Denmark in the same sentence, most people probably think of the famous beer. But the founder of the Carlsberg Brewery also had a passion for art and built up one of the largest private art collections of his time. In 1897, the Danish state built a place to store Carlsberg’s art collection.
The Glyptotek contains ancient art, such as sculptures from Egypt, the Middle East, Italy, and Greece. In addition to the ancient art, there is also newer art featuring artists such as Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, and many more.
The Glyptotek is not only an impressive museum but also a majestic building. Take the opportunity to visit the Winter Garden, which is a room filled with different plants, palms, and art.
The Folketinget, or “The Castle” as it is also called, is Denmark’s parliament and an important part of the country’s democratic system. Located at Christiansborg Palace on Slotsholmen in central Copenhagen, the Folketing has held legislative power since the Danish Constitution was introduced in 1849.
Although the monarch has limited power and primarily serves as a symbolic representation of the country, the parliament has a crucial role in developing and shaping Denmark’s laws. Originally, there were two parliamentary chambers, but since 1953 it has been a unified parliament.
Visiting the parliament is both an interesting and educational experience. The meetings are open to the public, and a free 45-minute guided tour is also offered. During the tour, you will see the Prime Minister’s portrait, the Chamber, the galleries, and the board committees. Note that visitors must first go through security, which can take up to 15 minutes, so it is best to arrive early. There are also lockers at the entrance if you need to store your belongings during the visit.
So if you are visiting Copenhagen and are interested in laws and politics, it’s a perfect time to take a trip to the Folketing and experience Denmark’s democratic process up close.
Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen has a fascinating history. Formerly home to Denmark’s royalties, it now houses the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court, and the state’s ministries.
As soon as you step inside the doors, you are transported back in time with beautifully decorated rooms, authentically furnished with fantastic art. The golden rooms and beautiful salons are decorated with details that will blow your mind! Some of these are still used by the Danish royal family for various functions and events. These include the Tower Room and the Oval Throne Room where foreign ambassadors are received by the queen.
Another highlight of the palace is the Queen’s Tapestries, located in the great hall. Here, you can admire a series of eleven enormous woven carpets that were commissioned by the Danish business community to celebrate Queen Margrethe II’s 50th birthday. The motifs are based on Bjørn Nørgaard’s full-scale drawings and depict Denmark’s history over 1000 years.
Other exciting experiences at Christiansborg Palace include a chilling tour of ruins discovered under the palace, including a medieval wall. For families with children, there is also an app to download that takes children on a treasure hunt through the palace’s halls. With clues located in different parts of the palace and the help of your companion Professor Blom, you must find a way to stop a cunning thief who plans to steal the palace’s treasure.
The Royal Stables are also located in Christiansborg Palace, where you can see the royal horses. When the Queen hosts New Year’s Eve and other large parties at Christiansborg Palace, the beautiful white horses are tightened in front of the Gold carriage in splendid gala harnesses and they take the queen from Amalienborg to Christiansborg Castle.
If you are in Copenhagen and looking for a fun day out with family or friends, Bakken is an excellent choice and one of our personal favorite things to do. Located in the beautiful Dyrehaven forest, just a ten-minute drive north of Copenhagen, or accessible by public transit, it is the oldest amusement park in the world. Bakken is a unique place that combines a historic and nostalgic environment with modern and fun attractions and rides. Best of all, admission to the park is completely free! So if you just want to stroll around the park without going on any rides, it’s free.
Bakken has something for everyone, regardless of age. There is a large selection of games, attractions, restaurants, and ice cream stands located in a classic fairground environment which guarantees you’ll have a good time. Every day, there is also entertainment for both children and adults. Bakken has a special place in the hearts of many Copenhageners and tourists and is truly one of our favorites when it comes to amusement parks. It’s a place where you can relax and enjoy life in nature while having fun with your loved ones.
The Christmas market in Copenhagen is without a doubt one of the coziest places to visit to brighten up the cold winter months. This time of year the whole city is lit up with lights, markets, and food stalls. Visit the 600 square meters ice rink and skate around under the stars. During the Christmas market, food is of great importance and everywhere you can enjoy classic Danish confectionery, food, and pastries.
This is an ideal place for boosting your Christmas spirit!
Don’t miss the floating Lucia parade on December 13th, where hundreds of kayaks dressed in Christmas lights illuminate Copenhagen’s canals. It is truly a magical experience!
Frederik’s Church, also known as the Marble Church, is a beautiful Evangelical Lutheran church. The church was designed by Nicolai Eigtved in 1740 and features a stunning rococo style. It has the largest church dome in Scandinavia, spanning 31 meters and resting on 12 columns which is pretty impressive when you see it.
The church was originally intended to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the first coronation of a member of the House of Oldenburg, but construction was delayed due to budget cuts and Eigtved’s death in 1754. In 1770, the original plans for the church were abandoned.
After standing as a ruin for almost 150 years, the remains of the incomplete church were sold to Carl Frederik Tietgen in 1874 on the condition that he would build a church in a style similar to the original plans and donate it to the state when it was complete.
Tietgen hired Ferdinand Meldahl to design the church in its final form and financed its construction. The church opened to the public on August 19, 1894.
Gammel Strand is one of Copenhagen’s most popular streets, and it’s easy to see why. Cozy restaurants and small shops make this street a perfect pitstop where you can take a picture of the famous colorful houses from the 1700s and 1800s! Why not take a canal cruise or a canal boat tour? Gammel Strand is a starting point for canal cruises which is a great way to see the capital of Denmark, so if you have time, it’s a great idea to hop on a boat and experience Copenhagen’s architecture and beauty from a canal tour. Many magnificent buildings are promised!
The Opera House
The Copenhagen Opera House was a gift from the A.P. Møller and Chastine McKinney Møller Foundation to the Danish people. It is truly a magnificent sight to behold. The building spans over 41,000 square meters, with five of its fourteen floors underground. The main stage can accommodate up to 1400 people, and its walls are clad in southern German Jura Gelb limestone with an elegant foyer made of Sicilian Perlatino marble. But it is the roof of the main auditorium that really catches one’s eye, with 105,000 sheets of 24-carat gold leaf adorning the ceiling, equivalent to a whopping 1.5 kilograms of gold.
The house is managed by Det Kongelige Teater and is one of the most modern and well-equipped opera houses in the world. Not only does it have a main stage, but also five other stages that connect directly to it, allowing large sets to be easily moved in and out. Depending on the size of the orchestra, the theater can accommodate between 1492 and 1703 people, with individually angled seats for the best possible experience.
The orchestra pit is one of the largest in any opera house, providing excellent sound quality for the orchestra, and behind the scenes, one can see all parts of the theater. The opera is located in Copenhagen, right across from Amalienborg, the royal palace and home to the Danish royal family, on the waterfront. A guided tour covers most of the building, including both the auditorium and behind-the-scenes areas, so one can truly experience the entire opera house up close. If you look across the canal you’ll also see the Royal Danish Playhouse which is an incredible theater.
Copenhagen City Hall
In the middle of Copenhagen, you will find Copenhagen City Hall. It’s a beautiful and historic place that is really worth a visit. Here, you can explore the romantic style that the building exudes, inspired by the town halls in Italy. Martin Nyrop, the architect behind the city hall, created a timeless classic when he designed this impressive building between 1892 and 1905.
Today, the city hall is used for Civic Council meetings, weddings, and national celebrations. But there is also another hidden gem here – the city hall library, which, despite no longer functioning as a library, has now become a perfect reading room for studying in a calm and relaxing atmosphere.
And if you dream of getting married in a beautiful and historic environment, you can now do so in the fantastic wedding hall at Copenhagen City Hall. So whether you are an architecture lover, a prospective bride, or just a curious visitor, Copenhagen City Hall is a place you do not want to miss during your visit to the city.
If you’re interested in Danish historic buildings, then Kronborg Castle is a destination for you. The castle, located on a peninsula about 500 meters from the center of Helsingør, has played an important role in Scandinavian history and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage site list in 2000.
With about 200,000 visitors every year, Kronborg is a popular tourist destination. Since 1938, several parts of the castle have been open to the public, giving you the opportunity to explore the fantastic interiors and impressive Renaissance architecture.
One of the attractions of the castle is the basement, where you can see a plaster figure of the sleeping ‘Holger Danske’. According to legend, he will wake up if Denmark is threatened by an external enemy.
In addition to this, the Danish Museum of Maritime and Commercial History is also on-site, providing a fascinating insight into Denmark’s maritime and trade history.
As if that weren’t enough, Kronborg is still used by the Danish royal family for representative events, and the cannons at the castle fire salutes on royal anniversaries or when the royal ship Dannebrog sails past. Definitely worth a visit!
Pro Tip: In Copenhagen, there are even local guides who are so passionate about the city that they organize a free walking tour for those interested in seeing all the city’s wonderful sights.
National Museum of Denmark
At the National Museum of Denmark, you can find everything from Viking treasures to Egyptian mummies, Renaissance art, and contemporary objects. It’s really like traveling back in time.
One of the most exciting exhibitions at the museum is “The Vikings”, where you can meet Queen Tove and other Vikings, warriors, housewives, and farmers. Many of them have jewelry from Denmark’s largest treasure chests. It’s so fascinating to see these objects that have survived for thousands of years.
Another important permanent exhibition about Danish antiquities includes national treasures such as the Sun Chariot, which is over 3,000 years old, the Bronze Age Egtved Girl, and an incredible collection of archaeological finds from the Viking Age.
The National Museum also has a huge ethnographic collection, classical and Near Eastern antiquities, a coin and medal collection, and a toy museum. You should also visit the Victorian apartment Klunkehjemmet, which has remained unchanged since 1890. It’s like stepping back in time when you enter here.
If you want a more structured tour, you can choose from the guided tours of one hour that include Danish history, the Family Tour, or the Tour around the World. During July, August, or September, there are also guided tours in English.
The building is also historically significant. The National Museum is located in the Prince’s Palace, which was built by the court architect Nicolai Eigtved between 1743 and 1744. Although it is no longer used by the royal family, the grand hall is still elegant enough to suit princes and princesses. The corridor between the rooms and the bedrooms, called The Gallery, also has plenty of space for impressive craftsmanship. It’s amazing to think of all the history that has taken place in these rooms.
Round Tower (Rundetårn)
Discover the magical history behind Denmark’s oldest functioning observatory, the Round Tower. The tower is almost 35 meters high and was built by King Christian IV in the early 1600s, during a time when Denmark was known for its astronomical achievements thanks to the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. After Brahe’s death in 1601, the king built the tower as a tribute to Brahe’s research and to continue his work.
Despite the tower being almost 400 years old, it is still in use today, and amateur astronomers from all over the world visit the Round Tower to look up at the stars and get a closer look at the universe. But the Round Tower has much more to offer than just the observatory. Inside the tower is a fantastic library hall that once housed the entire university’s book collection.
Hans Christian Andersen, one of Denmark’s most famous writers, visited the tower as a young man and was allowed to use the books in the university library – as long as he put the books back in the right place after use. It was here that his passion for literature was ignited and later he returned to the Round Tower several times in his writings.
So if you’re interested in astronomy, or literature or just want to experience Denmark’s rich history, take a trip to the Round Tower and see for yourself what this amazing place has to offer.