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A city that is known for its architectural beauty, royal castles and picturesque canals, Copenhagen has plenty to offer for both first time and returning visitors. Get a birds-eye view of the city from Christiansborg Palace, take a stroll along Stroget and see the famous Little Mermaid statue. From its colorful houses in Nyhavn to the hippie haven of Christiana, here are some of the best things to do in Copenhagen.
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Take a waterside stroll in Nyhavn
A colorful postcard image of Copenhagen, Nyhavn is the city’s old harbor that used to welcome sailors from around the world. It’s backed by the sight of renovated townhouses from the 18th century and is dotted with upscale restaurants and cozy cafes, with many historic wooden ships still docked in the harbor. Rest your feet at the quayside, sample some of the local delicacies and listen to jazz music.
Enjoy the fairytale ambiance of Tivoli Gardens
Founded in 1843, Tivoli Gardens is considered a national treasure, beloved by the likes of Hans Christian Andersen and Walt Disney. You’ll find everything here, from exotic architecture and historic buildings to lush gardens, all covered in a blanket of thousands of colored lights. Take a whirl on the thrilling Vertigo ride, go on the wooden roller coaster or catch one of the live performances held throughout the week.
See The Little Mermaid
No trip to Copenhagen is complete until you see the famous Little Mermaid statue up close and personal. Inspired by a fairytale from Hans Christian Andersen, this bronze and granite sculpture attract visitors who want to take a photo and admire the views from the Langelinie Pier. It’s one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2013.
Take a tour of Kronborg Castle
Considered the most famous Danish castle, Kronborg Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known worldwide from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. You’ll find grand fortifications with bastions and casemates that were used to protect the Danish land, and a tour of the grounds leads you through beautifully decorated rooms with baroque and renaissance interiors. An added bonus, you can even catch a live performance of Hamlet in the open-air stage in the courtyard.
Explore The National Museum
You’ll find an impressive collection of artifacts at The National Museum, with exhibitions from the Stone Age, Viking Age, Middle Ages and modern Danish history. Built in 1744, this museum displays an ethnographical collection, a coin and medal collection and the well-preserved remains of the Huldremose Woman that dates back to the first century, while kids can go on a Viking ship and see a kitchen from the Middle Ages.
Admire the city from above at Christiansborg Palace
Christiansborg Palace contains the Danish Parliament Folketinget, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of State. Parts of the palace are used by the Royal Family for various functions and events, while the Great Hall showcases some of the Queen’s tapestries that depict 1,000 years of Danish history. Climb atop the 347-foot tower for panoramic views of the entire city, from the historic heart of the city to the bridge leading to Sweden in the distance.
See the home of Danish Royalty at Amalienborg Palace
If you’ve got a taste for royal history, visiting the Amalienborg Palace is a must. Denmark’s royal family still resides inside the palace complex, while the museum with its beautiful Danish Rococo architecture offers exhibits that detail one of the world’s oldest monarchies. You’ll see the private room interiors of kings and queens and a large garden room. Don’t miss seeing the changing of the Royal Guard ceremony every day at noon.
Sample beer at Visit Carlsberg
You can explore the location of the first Carlsberg Brewery on a guided tour, where you can learn about how they’ve been making beer since 1847. Enjoy the interactive exhibitions, and discover the world’s largest beer bottle collection, an old brew house and award-winning stables. Wrap up your day with a ride in a horse-drawn carriage and quench your thirst with a beer tasting experience.
Get retail therapy on Stroget
Take a stroll along one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe on Stroget, which is located in downtown Copenhagen. Dotted with numerous shops, you’ll find luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Prada in addition to budget-friendly labels such as H&M and Zara. Admire sights like the Church of Our Lady and the Stork Fountain along the way, and watch street performances by acrobats, magicians and musicians.
Climb to the top of the Round Tower
The Round Tower is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, as it is the oldest observatory in Europe and built in the 17th century and is a go-to spot for city views. Climb up the spiral walkway to reach the top, which is encircled by an outdoor platform where you can soak up beautiful views of the city. The walk also leads to a library hall that once housed the entire book collection of the university.
Meet exotic animals at Copenhagen Zoo
You can easily spend an entire day exploring the Copenhagen Zoo, which is home to elephants, hippos, lions and monkeys. Housing over 3,000 animals and 264 species, the zoo’s lush rainforest features anything from free-flying birds and butterflies to snakes and crocodiles. The little ones will delight at the chance to pet African dwarf goats, watch polar bears and observe elephants as they bathe in the water.
Take the entire family to Bakken
The world’s oldest amusement park, Bakken was opened in 1583. You’ll find more than 30 thrilling rides that include Ferris wheels and drop towers, it’s the Rutschebanen that is it’s most famous, as it is a vintage wooden roller coaster that has been in operation since 1932. It also features an expansive park area dotted with 400-year-old trees and 2,000 free-range deer.
Say hello to underwater creatures at National Aquarium Denmark
One of the largest aquariums in Northern Europe, the Den Bla Planet, National Aquarium Denmark gives visitors the feeling of being underwater. It’s Ocean Tank is its highlight exhibit, where hammerhead sharks swim next to rays and moray eels. Visit the Coral Reef section to see colorful fish or the Amazonas area to see birds flying around, while piranhas and anacondas swim under the big waterfall.