Top things to do in Copenhagen

By Amy Rosoman

Photography by fisfra / Getty Images

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Updated June 2019

The enchanting essence of Copenhagen will capture your heart, as well as your Instagram account. See the many sides of this cool vibe capital, from the colourful Nyhavn Harbour to the charms of Tivoli Gardens – take your next break in this easy-walking city. It’s time to create your own narrative, in this story-telling place.

See the city by bicycle

Join the locals and hire a bike. The cycling scene in Copenhagen is bigger than Amsterdam, with 350km of bicycle-friendly lanes and paths. See the best features of this charismatic city on two wheels, as you pedal alongside the water’s edge or cycle past Rosenborg Castle. Take a short ride north of the city to Klampenborg’s beautiful beaches or make tracks south to Amager Strandpark – pack a towel for water sport thrills.

Top tip: Check the weather and pick up a Copenhagen city bike for just a few euros an hour (around 25DKK) – these even come with built-in GPS, making it easy to see the highlights of this beautiful cosmopolitan and beyond.

Wander along to the Nyhavn Harbour, it’s bursting with colourful harbour-side buildings and beautiful boats line the picturesque Quay.

  • The only way to get around town is by bike. Photo credit: Maria Høgholm / EyeEm.

    Bike central

    The cycling scene in Copenhagen is even bigger than that of Amsterdam.

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  • The fairytale Mermaid statue. Photo credit: Gianni Marchetti.

    The Little Mermaid

    Sat on a rock by the water front, this little statue is a little wonder.£193 pp

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  • Freetown Christiana hangouts. Photo credit: Stephen Barnes / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Hippie town

    Relaxed vibes and awesome street art fill Christiana.

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Take a trip to Tivoli Gardens

A trip to Tivoli Gardens is a must – it’s a Danish national treasure. Explore a euphoric amusement park, take a ride on one of the world’s oldest wooden rollercoasters or hop aboard the classic carousel. Wander around the garden in late spring and summer – see the vivid tulips, row a boat on the lake, bring a picnic or grab a bite from one of the restaurants. Visiting mid-November to January? You’ll be in for a magically festive Copenhagen Christmas haven.

Top tip: Take a look at the Tivoli’s annual programme before you touch down in Copenhagen. There’s a wonderful variety of events on throughout the year, including music concerts and theatrical performances.

Discover Copenhagen’s culture

There are plenty of eye-catching places to see in this charming city, from fairy-tale fortresses to striking museums and pristine palaces. Venture to the beautifully modern Royal Danish Library and catch a show at the Royal Danish Playhouse. Immerse yourself in the Rococo architecture, including the mesmerising buildings of the National Museum of Denmark and Amalienborg complex of palaces – every corner you turn has a scene to admire.

Top tip: See another side to Denmark and stroll through Freetown Christiania, in the Christianshavn district. With its street art and hippie vibes, it’s worth a visit to see this independent community and its Green Light District. Before you leave, pop into Woodstock for a drink and live music.

  • Tivoli Gardens is magical city sight to see. Photo credit: Sigfrid López.

    Fairytale theme parks

    The second oldest theme park in Europe and an absolute treasure.£251 pp

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A hygge city

The capital of Denmark is renowned worldwide for its hygge elements and atmosphere (the art of cosiness). Whether you’re snuggling up in a café with Danish pastries on a rainy day, or clinking glasses with friends at a bar, Copenhagen is the place to do it. Wander along Jægersborggade Street and nibble home-made chocolates in Ro Chokolade, then pop into a wine bar with friends. Soak up this wonderful philosophy of living that you’ll want to take home with you.

Top tip: Venture into coffee shops, dotted around the city, which double-up as libraries and launderettes. Or savour a bite to eat in one of the cushy Scandi restaurants, with armchairs, log fires and blankets.

Copenhagen Restaurants

Relish the dining delights of Denmark. Copenhagen is home to a thriving social and foodie scene, from fresh seafood dishes and glasses of white wine along Nyhavn, to the abundance of independent food stands and trucks at Papirøen, the Copenhagen Street Food Market. Savour an array of mouth-watering bites at this hipster foodie mecca – tuck into plates of pulled pork burgers, tasty flatbreads and a variety of cuisine from around the world. Sip botanical gin and tonics, or choose from a variety of ales.

Top tip: Discover a feast of flavours in the capital. Be sure to order a Danish classic, smørrebrød (open-sandwich). Pick your favourite filling, sauces, sides and wash it down with a pint of Carlsberg (brewed in Copenhagen).

  • Enjoy a tipple at The Jane.

    Hit the town

    Lose yourself in the hidden passages and secret doors of this happening bar.

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  • Cosy up in the Lidkoeb.

    Discover the hot spot whiskey bar

    Warm up in this homely bar with scrumptious drinks and glowing atmosphere.

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  • Street Food in the city. Photo credit: Ulf Svane / Copenhagen Street Food.

    Spoilt for choice

    Find yourself an abundance of foodie delights and indulge.

See Nyhavn Harbour

Wander along to the Nyhavn Harbour, it’s bursting with colourful harbour-side buildings and beautiful boats line the picturesque Quay. Take a seat outside one of the tantalising restaurants in the warmer months, or cosy up and people-watch from one of the many bars and cafes come wintertime. Stroll to the end of the harbour to find inner city sparkling harbour pools – come rain or shine, do it like the Danes and jump into the refreshingly cool waters.

Top tip: Hop aboard a canal cruise and see Copenhagen by water. Book our bus and cruise combination ticket, Copenhagen Panorama Sightseeing to see the best of Copenhagen.

Copenhagen Nightlife

With a collection of cool bars, hipster hangouts and underground venues, sip cocktails into the night or dance until dawn. Head to Gråbrødre Square, for an evening at The Jane – a great escape for cocktail schmoozing and Mad-Men décor which will keep you guessing. Look out for secret doors leading to even more bars within. Or visit Lidkoeb in Vesterbrogade. Lap up the chic interior, try a naughty Nordic cocktail, and test out the house specials. If the drinks are flowing order nibbles from the snack menu, the bar stays open until 2.00 am.

Top tip: Venture to the area of Nørrebro with its energising galleries, clubs and bars – pop along to see how the atmosphere changes from day into night.

Visit the Meatpacking District of Copenhagen

Make tracks to the creative Meatpacking District. The area is home to an abundance of appetising restaurants, from gourmet menus to cheese-melting burger joints – you won’t go hungry here. But there’s more than just food to discover. From captivating photography exhibitions at the Centre of Photography, to the curious Galleri Bo Bjerggard and Gallery Poulsen, you’ll be inspired by the intriguing pieces at these art galleries.

Top tip: Take a break at Mesteren & Lærlingen for a cheap (ish), cosy drink, with an atmosphere for all ages and a slice of live music.

See the Little Mermaid

Venture past the mesmerising Gefion Fountain, wander through Langelinie Park (the blossom flourishes beautifully here in spring) and amble along to visit The Little Mermaid sculpture and admire the views. Although it’s famous for being the second-most disappointing attraction in Europe – it’s still worth seeing. You’ll see more of Copenhagen with a walk or cycle here. On your way, look up at the Iver Huitfeldt Memorial and loop back round inland and make a stop at the magnetising Frederik’s Church.

Top tip: The Little Mermaid attracts tourists from all over the world, so getting a glimpse of it through the hordes of bobbing heads can be tricky. Visit early in the morning or later in the evening for a better view, at a more peaceful time.

Where to stay:

Imperial Hotel

Choose a stylish four-star stay close to Copenhagen’s highlights. After an adventurous day of sightseeing, dine in the hotel’s Ristorante L’Appetito for tantalising dishes – it’s a popular spot for locals and tourists on sunny days for alfresco feasting.

Book a stay at the Imperial Hotel

Andersen Boutique Hotel

Each room at this contemporary four-star retreat is uniquely decorated. Head to the Lobby Lounge and start your day with a Nespresso coffee, then pick up your hotel Handy Smartphone for free internet access, as well as free local and international phone calls – so you’re ready to explore the city.

Book a stay at the Andersen Boutique Hotel

AC by Marriott Copenhagen Bella Sky

Take a break at a four-star boutique hotel. After spending days out and about in Copenhagen, return to unwind in the rejuvenating spa, then make your way to the 23rd floor for an Asian-fusion dining experience with mesmerising city views, at SUKAIBA.

Book a stay at the AC by Marriott Copenhagen Bella Sky