Copenhagen, Denmark's charming capital, is a perfect destination for a 3-day city break. The city brims with culture, history, design and hygge, the Danish term for coziness. In this blog post, we share the ultimate guide to an unforgettable trip and the best things to do in Copenhagen, with tips on sights, activities, restaurants and more.
Stroll through the old city of Copenhagen
When visiting Copenhagen, the iconic harbor with its colorful houses Nyhavn is of course not to be missed. You can take a nice walk along the waterfront here and enjoy a traditional Danish breakfast in one of the cozy cafes along the quay.
Note that this is one of the most touristy places in Copenhagen, so prices are consequently higher here than elsewhere in the city.
Try to get near Amalienborg between 11:30 and noon, here you can observe the changing of the guard just like in London. This daily imposing ceremony is great fun to watch and you can observe from a closer distance compared to Buckingham Palace in London.
Nearby, then, you can admire the beautiful domed church, Frederick Church. This church is largely built in marble, which is why it is also popularly called the Marble Church. Definitely worth a visit too, the church is open daily from Monday to Saturday between 12:30-17h and on Sunday between 12:30- 17h, free admission.
End the day with a visit to Tivoli , the famous amusement park with beautiful gardens, exciting rides and various restaurants. If you are visiting Copenhagen with the kids, this should definitely not be missing from your visit. The Tivoli gardens open this year March 22 to September 22, 2024. Also open on Halloween between Oct. 10 and Nov. 3 and for Christmas between Nov. 15 and Jan. 5. Also nice to know is that you can stay at the Tivoli hotel, a very luxurious hotel in Copenhagen and it is definitely a unique experience to stay here.
Enjoy a mix of nature and history in Rosenborg & the botanical gardens
If you have to make a choice to visit a castle in Copenhagen, I would personally choose Rosenborg. Besides the castle, the gardens of Kongens Have are also worth seeing. This is also the oldest and most visited city park in Copenhagen. Book your tickets here.
The park is open daily between 7 am and 5 or 11 pm, depending on the time of year.
Not far from Rosenborg Castle you will find Botanisk Have, or the botanical gardens of the University of Copenhagen. The beautiful greenhouses from 1874 are definitely worth visiting. The botanical garden is actually part of the Natural History Museum of Copenhagen. Be sure to visit 'The Palm house' this includes the greenhouses full of exotic plants, also 'The Butterfly house' with its beautiful butterflies and super cute little exotic frogs is well worth a visit.
Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10-17h, in winter (between 1/10-31/3 open until 15h30.) Closed on Mondays except in July and August. Admission: 9.5 € for adults and 5.5 € for children between 3-17 and students.
Visit freetown: Christiania
This self-proclaimed semi-independent enclave was founded in 1971 by a group of hippies and anarchists on an abandoned 85-hectare military site in the Christianshavn district. Until 1991, this free city was tolerated and its inhabitants could do as they pleased. They paid no taxes and set up bars and restaurants without permits. The new law in 1991 made the self-government of this town legal but buildings from then on had to meet safety regulations and a building permit became mandatory. Despite the many tourists who now visit the district, it is still forbidden to take pictures there. Certainly not in Pusher Street, where all kinds of drugs are still openly sold. A visit to Christiania is fun, also because it is such a colorful and artistic neighborhood.
Check out one of the many museums in Copenhagen
As in any capital city, you will find numerous museums in Copenhagen. Here are some recommended ones:
NY Carlsberg Glyptotek:
This impressive museum is located within walking distance of Tivoli gardens. Opened in 1897, the Glyptotek houses more than 10,000 works of art from different eras.
The museum was founded by Carl Jacobsen, the founder of Carslberg beer. Besides the famous Danish brewery, this industrialist was mainly engaged in collecting art. He donated his entire collection to the public in 1888 and built the imposing Glyptotek for this purpose. In this museum, architecture is intertwined with the art objects, and the winter garden in the middle gives every visitor a chance to unwind in a special environment.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday between 10am-17pm, closed on Monday.
A ticket costs 17 € for an adult, free up to 18 years of age
TIP: Free admission every last Wednesday of the month.
Danish design museum & Dansk Arkitektur center
Here you dive into the world of Scandinavian design. Discover the evolution of Danish design over the years and admire innovative exhibitions.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday between 10am-6pm, closed on Mondays, Thursday open until 8pm.
A ticket costs: 17.5 € for an adult, free for children under 17.
The Danish Architecture Center is highly recommended for its exterior alone. After all, it is located in BLOX. You can also book your ticket to the Danish Architecture Center here.
One of the best things to do in Copenhagen is admiring the architectural delights
Did you know that Copenhagen was the Unesco World Capital of Architecture in 2023?
As such, there are some incredibly beautiful examples of modern architecture, I list them here for you:
Opera House: this neo-futuristic building in the shape of a ship's captain's cap was designed by Henning Larsen, it is therefore located on an island in Copenhagen harbor.The building is a gift from Maersk, the largest oil and shipping company in Denmark.
Det Kongelige Bibliotek: this feat of modern architecture combined with the back facade of the old library is a must-see in Copenhagen! The combination of both buildings also makes this the largest library in Northern Europe. Because the modern building resembles a diamond, it is also called the Black Diamond. The contrast between the front and back facade is enormous.
Axel Towers: this building consists of 5 towers that are all connected. It houses stores, cafes and offices.
Circle Bridge: Designed by Olafur Eliasson, this bicycle and pedestrian bridge is located over the southern mouth of the Christianshavn Canal, in downtown Copenhagen.
Danish cuisine and great places to eat in Copenhagen
Smørrebrød: These open sandwiches are a Danish classic. Topped with various ingredients such as smoked salmon, liver paste, eggs and herbs, smørrebrød are a must-try for lovers of savory toppings.
Frikadeller: These Danish meatballs, usually made from pork or a mix of pork and beef, are seasoned and fried until juicy and flavorful. They are often served with potatoes and a sauce.
Æbleskiver: These small, round poffertjes resemble Dutch poffertjes but have a uniquely Danish twist. Often served with powdered sugar and strawberry jam, they are a popular treat, especially during the winter months.
Smørrebrød met Herring: Try a smørrebrød topped with herring, a fish often associated with Scandinavian cuisines. Herring is often marinated and served with onions, pickles and sauce on rye bread.
For smørrebrød and other typical local delicacies it is best to go to Torvehallerne, at this covered market you will find Hallernes Smørrebrød, the best in Copenhagen!
Are you more for sweet? Then visit the famous bakery Skt. Peders Bageri where they sell heavenly cinnamon rolls among other local pastries. You can find this bakery at Sankt Peders Staede 29. Open all days from 7:30am-17pm, on Saturdays until 4pm and closed on Sundays.
Our favorite restaurants in Copenhagen:
This delicious restaurant, serves dishes inspired by Greek and southern Italian cuisine. The delicious fresh bread here is also a must try!
You can find Delphine at Vesterbrogade 40.
This restaurant is another fairly hidden gem in Copenhagen. You will find delicious cocktails and you can eat delicious tapas Spanish-Italian style. Perfect for dining like a local.
Yellow is located at Kapelvej 1.
Gammeltorv is the oldest part of Copenhagen, so they have been serving beer here since 1671. Cafe Gammeltorv opened its doors in 1902. here you will find all the Danish lunch classics, always freshly prepared by the chef. You'll also find plenty of delicious local beers and more than 45 kinds of snaps. Open from Tuesday to Saturday between 11h30-17h, on Sundays between 12-16h.
Lodging in Copenhagen
This cute vintage hotel is very well located, walking distance from Tivoli and close to the metro. You can also rent bikes there to explore the city by bike. You will feast your eyes in this hotel, both in the lobby, breakfast room, room and even the corridors. Everywhere you will find vintage furniture and items from the 50s, 60s and 70s. If you are not so familiar with Danish design from this period, you will find the free Alexandra Chronicles newspaper in your room where you can read all about the concept! Book it here.
If you love pure luxury you should definitely book hotel Nimb, with its 38 rooms this extremely luxurious hotel belongs to the Small Luxury Hotels of the world. On the roof there is a terrace with a swimming pool and a fantastic view of the city.
Additional tips for visiting Copenhagen
Buy a Copenhagen Card for free admission to more than 80 attractions and free use of public transportation.
Rent a bike to explore the city in an easy and fun way.
Download the Visit Copenhagen app for useful information about the city.`
Learn a few basic words in Danish, such as "hej" (hello) and "tak" (thank you).
Copenhagen is a beautiful city with a lot to offer for an unforgettable city break. With these tips, you are ready to plan your trip and enjoy all that Copenhagen has to offer!