9 of the best things to do in historic Copenhagen

things to in Copenhagen - cover

Probably one of the best city breaks in the world, Copenhagen is a fantastic holiday destination.

A popular port of call on many cruise itineraries, the city welcomes millions of tourists each year.

Below, our carefully chosen selection is sure to provide plenty of ideas if you are thinking of visiting this glorious city.

1. Explore Tivoli Gardens

things to in Copenhagen - Tivoli Gardens

One of the most popular attractions in Copenhagen, Tivoli Gardens has been open for over 100 years.

Offering a range of themed events and attractions throughout the calendar year, Tivoli Garden provides over 600 different experiences to visitors each year.

Upon the parks opening day, the great Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen was among some of the first visitors to the newly opened park.

Soon after, he released his popular novel ‘The Nightingale’, inspired by his visit to the Park.

Marking Tivoli Gardens’ 175th anniversary, the park put on a wonderful ‘Winter in Tivoli’ experience in celebration.

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2. Stroll along Nyhavn

things to in Copenhagen - Nyhavn

Known throughout the world, the historic waterfront, Nyhavn, is one of the city’s main attractions.

Dating back to the 17th century, the waterfront is characterised by colourful buildings and numerous restaurants and cafes that offer a break and the opportunity to enjoy some great local delicacies.

Try the scrumptious looking Smørrebrød a piece of local Rye bread topped with a whole host of different moreish toppings.

Hans Christian Andersen himself used to live on the waterfront, at no. 20. Whilst living here, he wrote the classic tale ‘The Princess and the Pea’.

Just a short walk away, you can let your food settle by catching a performance at the Royal Danish Playhouse.

It is easily spotted, just look out for the dramatically stylish piece of architecture that almost floats on the water.

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3. Visit some Icons

things to in Copenhagen - Fountain

Just south of the Citadel lies the iconic Gefion Fountain.

A rather large fountain, when you first encounter it, the design will leave you thoroughly impressed.

Featuring some tiered steps, the water flows down the gentle slope. Before be sent back up the top of the glorious fountain.

A great stop during daytime or expertly lit up at night, the fountain is one of the city’s most popular landmarks.

Paying tribute to the wildly popular novel by former city resident Hans Christian Andersen, the Little Mermaid Statue, known locally as Den Lille Havfrue, is one of the city’s main attractions.

The statue rests on a rock close to Langelinie promenade, around 30 minutes on foot away from Nyhavn.

Commissioned by the son of the famous Carlsberg brewery founder, the statue is symbol of the city.

The fairy tale has inspired countless ballet performances, particularly the Royal Danish Ballet, since the novel first hit the shelves.

Unfortunately, the statue’s fame has attracted vandalism in the past, but the city has been quick to repair any damage as soon as possible.

One of Denmark’s most popular exports, a visit to where Carlsberg beer was first originally brewed is a great attraction to visit whilst on holiday in Copenhagen.

‘The Exbeeriance Route’ is popular self-directed option when visiting the brewery.

Learn about the history of Carlsberg, dating back to 1847, and how it has grown in popularity around the world.

Walking through highlights including the Old Brewhouse and a massive bottle collection, there are also some stables still in use to this. Say hello to the resident horses.

To toast it all off, take time out at the end of your tour of brewery by stopping by the Jacobsen Brewhouse.

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4. Christianbourg Palace

things to in Copenhagen - Christianbourg

Built on an inlet in Copenhagen, Christianbourg Palace serves as both a Government building and Palace.

Dating back to the 18th century, the Palace is an especially regal building.

When you arrive, you will be greeted by a stately waterfall overlooked by a statue of King Christian IX riding a horse.

The Palace is perfect for a spot of exploration.

The Throne is where Queen Margrethe II of Denmark receives her guests. Featuring some wonderful marble decorations, and of course, the thrones themselves, this is the most important room in the Palace.

Follow some wonderful historic tapestries and you can trace back over 1000 years of Danish history. Found in the Great Hall, the tapestry’s visualise some of the country’s most dramatic moments including the 17th century siege of Copenhagen by Swedish forces.

A palace that has been reconstructed multiple times over the years, we recommend taking in ‘The Royal Residence in flames’ exhibition to learn more about the violent fires that have destroyed two previous incarnations of this wonderful Palace.

Thanks to the fires, the oldest part of the Palace is the trusted stable complex, dating back to the 18th century.

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5. Wander around the Zoo

things to in Copenhagen - Zoo

Away from Royal matters, whilst in the city, Copenhagen Zoo is a must.

One of the oldest zoos in the country and indeed Europe, the Zoo is a great way to catch a sight of thousands of animals that you may never encounter in the wild.

Key experiences found in the Zoo include both the recently opened Elephant House, designed by Norman Foster of Reichstag fame, and the Arctic Ring, home to cuddly looking but extremely dangerous Polar Bears.

From a great underwater viewing point, you can catch the Polar Bears swimming around in this modern enclosure.

If you happen to be extremely organised and fancy trying your hand at being a Zookeeper, Copenhagen Zoo offers the chance to help out for a day, and even help train one of the resident camels.

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6. Kastellet

things to in Copenhagen - Kastellet

The Kastellet, or Citadel, is a wonderful Fortress dating back to the 17th century.

Open to the public, Military personnel still use the Citadel.

A popular tourist stop, visitors often elect to take stroll along the grass-covered fortress ramparts, allowing to take in some wonderful views of the city.

Close by lies the famous Gefion Fountain. Referencing Norse mythology, the Gefion Fountain depicts the goddess Gefjon ploughing a field with the help of her trusty animals.

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7. Frederick’s Church

things to in Copenhagen - Marble Church

Known as the Marble Church, Frederick’s Church can be found in the Frederiksstaden district.

Opened before construction was completed, it took another twenty years (1894) until the Church was complete.

A popular wedding venue, the church is beautiful with a crowning glory, a large copper dome roof, visible for miles around.

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8. National Gallery of Denmark

things to in Copenhagen - Gallery

Also geographically in the centre of the city, the National Gallery of Denmark is the country’s cultural heart.

A historic building with a modern extension added during the 1990’s, the Gallery hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the calendar year.

Guided tours are available that can shed further light on key exhibitions.

Currently, the gallery is hosting ‘Danh Vo – Take My Breath Away’.

Displaying thousands of different pieces, there is plenty to take in during a visit to this national treasure.

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9. Rosenborg Castle

things to do in copenhagen - Rosenborg Castle

Sure to be a highlight on any trip to the city, Rosenborg Castle is crammed full with Danish treasure including the very important Danish Crown Jewels.

The Castle is beautifully decorated with many citing the Knight’s Hall as the most stunning room.

Period pieces adorn the walls of the castle’s interior telling the story of the country’s history.

Be sure to stop by the Throne Room. Here, lion sculptures surround and protect the throne.

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Browse a fantastic selection of accomodation throughout the city here.

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