Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, is a metropolis with a cozy small-town vibe. Copenhagen is an excellent destination for a weekend getaway with several historic landmarks, significant buildings, and remarkable sights.
What are the best things to do in Copenhagen, Denmark?
Read this guide to plan an awesome trip to Copenhagen with some budgetary tips to help you along the way.
Enjoy the beauty of Nyhavn
Nyhavn is a great place to start your trip to Copenhagen.
I’ve been here countless times and never get bored of it. I love wandering around Nyhavn, enjoying a drink while watching the world hustling by.
I love the colorful vintage houses in Nyhavn that date back to the 17th century. Facing the canal, these houses create a beautiful reflection that tells us the stories of Copenhagen throughout the centuries.
Nowadays, Nyhavn has become one of the trendiest hangout spots in Copenhagen, lined with bars and restaurants that are packed with locals and tourists.
You can find a great choice of beers with different meal courses or street food from food stands and restaurants in Nyhavn.
In particular, you should not miss out on the opportunity to try Smørrebrød – a typical Danish meal consisting of a piece of buttered rye bread with various savory toppings to suit your tastes.
Please note that the cost of meals and beverages can be a little on the pricey side in this area, but they’re worth it. You can soak up some of the best experiences in one of the top locations in Copenhagen.
This area is a lovely place to get a drink or two at night as there are several bars around.
If you’re on a budget, I would suggest buying some drinks from convenience stores or supermarkets, then sitting by the canal and having a good time with your friends.
Tips: You can join Copenhagen’s free walking tour to explore this beautiful city. Also, purchasing Copenhagen City Card (which covers activities, entrance fees to attractions, and transportation fees) is a good idea.
Take a Canal tour at Nyhavn
Taking a canal tour is one of the best things to do in Copenhagen. From the Nyhavn boat terminal, you can get on a canal tour. Two tours cost 40 DKK or 85 DKK.
What could be more enjoyable than relaxing on a boat trip, with the serenity of the water, and appreciating all the different sides Copenhagen has to offer?
A 60-minute boat trip will take you to explore a great mix of the old and new Copenhagen.
The boat trip covers different famous attractions in Copenhagen, including the Christiansborg Palace, the Amalienborg Palace, the Marble Church, and the Little Mermaid (which you will see from the rear only).
Also, you will get the chance to wonder at some of the city’s grand, more modern architecture, such as the Opera House, Black Diamond (the Royal Danish library), and the National Theatre.
Notably, the canal tour goes under some of the canals and brings a fascinating experience.
Overall, the canal tour offers a unique way to give a general overview of the city’s highlights and brings a fascinating experience.
Bike around the city
Welcome to Copenhagen, a city of bicycle heaven. So biking is a must-try activity here!
In Copenhagen, people cycle every day; in the sun, rain, or even snow! I often see when it’s super cold and snowy outside, in the beautiful winter months, people still riding their bikes.
I sometimes have difficulties walking to Netto (a cheap grocery store in Copenhagen). How do they do that? Hmm, I don’t know! The Danish spirit is strong!
Long story short, everyone has a bike here. So even if you visit Copenhagen for a day or two, you can still experience the biking culture by renting a bicycle and exploring the city. There’s a large number of cycle paths and lanes, so it’s safe to bike around.
You can also explore Copenhagen attractions and learn about the city’s history with a 3-hour bike tour. Make sure to dress for the weather, though.
Enjoy Nordic cuisine at Torvehallerne
Located near Nørreport station, Torvehallerne is the biggest market hall in Copenhagen. There are more than 60 shops in the two buildings, selling everything from fresh fish to upmarket gourmet dishes.
The Torvehallerne market hall is a great place to visit in Copenhagen whether you fancy a tasty meal prepared for you or you’re into food shopping.
You can enjoy wandering around various stalls, and there’s always plenty of samples to pick and try!
There’s a variety of fresh seafood, cheese, meat from the butchers, bread, cakes and pastries, sweets, condiments, and different grocery items.
Also, you can find beautiful flowers with a great selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. There’s also a wide range of restaurants offering a variety of dishes at Torvehallerne.
I would suggest trying Smørrebrød here. The traditional Smørrebrød with fish is a tasty choice for lunchtime. It will be even better with local craft beer.
Tips: The indoor sitting area is bustling, so you might want to grab a seat first if you go with friends. You can also explore Copenhagen’s culinary culture with the Copenhagen Food Tour.
Have a great view of Copenhagen from Rundetaarn
Would you like to see Copenhagen’s beautiful surroundings and rooftops with a 360° view?
Rundetaarn is the place for you!
The Rundetaarn (or the Round Tower as it’s known in English) is a 17th-century tower that Christian IV of Denmark built as an astronomical observatory.
While most towers require you to climb an infinite number of steps, the Round Tower is an accessible ramp, except for the last few steps via a narrow spiraling staircase.
I love walking up to the top of the tower and enjoying the view of Copenhagen. There are plenty of windows on the way, and the views from them are great too.
Have a fun day at Tivoli gardens
Located just across Central station, Tivoli is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world.
Although it’s not particularly huge compared to other modern-day amusement parks, Tivoli’s compact nature gives it a real charm.
With a beautiful central lake and iconic rides such as the classic 1914 wooden coaster, Daemonen coaster, Starflyer, and Vertigo, there’s fun for all the family.
The rides are great. Some offer an intense experience with several inversions and drops, while others provide a more relaxing time – rides such as the Flying Trunk – a sit-down fairy tale story ride, and Mine – an indoor boat ride.
There are many souvenir shops, food stalls, and a great variety of restaurants for dining in Tivoli. At night, the park is impressive with lights and decorations.
On special occasions, Halloween or Christmas, for example, you can have an even more spectacular experience!
I spent a whole day there with friends, and it was enjoyable. If you stay in Copenhagen for a long time, consider buying the annual pass to Tivoli.
Tips: As the ticket price does not include the entrance to the rides, you may consider buying the 1-day ultimate rides ticket if you would like to try more than one ride here. Also, the Copenhagen City Card covers an entrance fee to Tivoli Gardens.
See the Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is an iconic attraction in Copenhagen that you should not miss. This character was created by one of Denmark’s most famous fairy-tale authors, Hans Christian Andersen.
The statue, as you might expect, is a tourist hotspot and is often surrounded by people trying to get their perfect holiday Instagram snap.
So, it might be not your cup of tea if you aren’t overly keen on crowded places. However, in my opinion, to visit Copenhagen and not see her would feel like a missed opportunity.
I was surprised that the statue was quite small compared to what I expected, but the view from the harbor was stunning and worth the visit.
Visit Kastellet (The Citadel)
When you’re around Little Mermaid, don’t miss Kastellet.
Kastellet, or The Citadel, is a beautiful fortress surrounded by a moat with grassy ramparts.
It’s an exciting place to know more about the history of Copenhagen since it was used as the city defense system. Visitors can see the old guns, port harbor, ferry terminal, riverfront, and train station on the other side.
Wandering around the beautiful area, you can also see a windmill, St. Alban’s Church, and Gefion Fountain nearby. Although the military still uses the Kastellet, it’s a public park, and you are free to walk around the grounds.
Explore Freetown Christiania
Freetown Christiania is a unique place to visit in Copenhagen. I was surprised when I visited the area because it was very different from the city.
Walking into Christiania was like being transported into a different place – a complete contrast to Copenhagen’s “proper” society.
With creative houses, art galleries, music venues, and beautiful scenery, Christiania is an alternative area that has a vibrant vibe.
You can see (and smell) weed here, and a few signs remind you not to take photographs because it can infringe on the weed-sellers if they’re in the photo. Other than that, it’s a cool place to visit in Copenhagen with lots of graffiti.
Visit Amager Strandpark
Amager Strandpark is a beautiful public park on Amager island. The area is easily accessible by the Metro and is a short walk.
A walk along the beach or a dip into the ocean would make a great day in Copenhagen. It’s great to have a picnic in this area while enjoying the spectacular view of the impressive Øresund bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden.
Enjoy an evening at Rosenborg Castle and the Botanical gardens
Located in the King’s Garden, Rosenborg Castle is a renaissance castle featuring royal art treasures.
Each floor is full of ornate decorations and artifacts, with a separate basement area displaying the royal crown jewels.
The castle has free WiFi, and you can get a lot of information being guided room by room, object by object, throughout your visit.
Near the King’s Garden is the beautiful Botanical gardens. The gardens are free entry, but the Palm House requires an entrance fee. The central gardens are quite small, so it only takes about 30 minutes to visit.
Visit Christiansborg Palace
Christiansborg Palace is one of the must-visit places in Copenhagen. Located on the islet of Slotsholmen, the Palace is the heart of the Danish parliament and Supreme Court.
Some parts of the Palace are open to visitors, but wandering near the palace is already enjoyable.
The Tower, The Royal Kitchen, The Royal Stables, The Ruins, and The Royal Reception Rooms are accessible to the public, and it takes about 2 to 3 hours if you would like to see everything in depth.
Tips: You can visit the Royal Kitchen under Christiansborg with Copenhagen City Card.
Wander around the town
Copenhagen is full of colorful houses, so wandering around the Old city is enjoyable.
It will be a huge miss if I don’t mention the Strøget – one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe. The road runs from the East – the Town Hall Square to the West – the King’s Square (Kongens Nytorv) and Nyhavn.
You can find many shops along the streets, from budget-friendly shops to luxurious ones, including Louis Vitton, Illum, Burberry, etc.
Also, it’s a great place to grab a bite for lunch or dinner and enjoy the view as there are lots of cozy cafés and restaurants alongside the pedestrian street.
Have a Hygge time
What is Hygge?
Hygge is a Danish term that shows cozy contentment and pleasant feeling with basic things in life, whether you’re alone or with friends, at home or outside.
You can enjoy the Hygge time by having a cup of coffee with a candle glowing on the table. A piece of cake will be a huge bonus too. Danish bakery is delicious.
Read more: Cheap places to eat in Copenhagen.
Party till morning in Copenhagen
What to do in Copenhagen at night? Explore bars and clubs, or even better – Join the Copenhagen pub crawl.
At night, the city is so lively with different bars and clubs to try. Although drinks are quite pricey, you can have pre-drinks first (with drinks buying from convenience stores) and then a few drinks later at the bars.
Some of my favorite areas are the Meatpacking district and near Gammeltorv square area.
Observe the architecture of Black Diamond – Royal Danish Library
The Black Diamond is an architectural gem in Copenhagen. A trip to Black Diamond is a great thing to do in Copenhagen if you have extra time in the city.
The Royal Danish Library has black glass in a distinctive shape with black facets that mirror the water and the sky at the harbor front, creating an impressive view. Also, Black Diamond is an excellent place to study.
Other great places to visit in Copenhagen (or nearby)
- National Museum of Denmark
- Opera House
- Kronborg Castle
- The Deer Park
- Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
- Cathedral & Museum in Roskilde
Where to stay in Copenhagen?
I would suggest staying at Airbnb or Couchsurfing to get a chance to see Danish indoor design. Alternatively, you can book budget hostels or stay at fancy hotels depending on your budget.
Tips for visiting Copenhagen
Please note that visiting Copenhagen on a budget can be a difficult thing to do. However, there are plenty of free places to visit in this beautiful city.
As some of the attractions in Copenhagen may cost an entrance fee, you may choose not to enter and observe the architecture from the outside (which can be a huge miss). You can purchase the Copenhagen City Card that covers attractions, activities, and public transportation.
Again, Copenhagen is one of the most expensive cities in the world, so I hope you can enjoy Copenhagen on your preference.