If you know anything about me, it’s that I love a good city break. A quick getaway to a new city is an adventure I can never pass up. Most recently, I was in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark. I’ve rounded up a few of my recommendations for things to do while in Copenhagen.
I highly recommend purchasing the Copenhagen Card while you’re in the city. It offers unlimited travel and free entry to most of the attractions I’m about to list. Seriously worth it!
Now, I’m a languages girl – studied Spanish, lived abroad, and learning German on Duolingo. But, Danish is completely different to any languages I learned at school, so thank goodness that most people in Denmark speak English. At the airport, I activated my Copenhagen Card, securing me free train travel to our hotel.
This is where Google Maps and EU Data Roaming pretty much saved me. First, I ended up on the wrong platform, and nearly on a train to Sweden! That would have been bad, if not for me double checking Google and then confirming with a guard on the platform.
We stayed at Hotel Loven which was pretty much in the centre of everything – we could see Tivoli Gardens out the window and knew that the city centre was just a short walk away. It was a pretty basic room but the hotel offered communal kitchen facilities, which was perfect for travelling on a budget. Our first few hours were spent drawing up an itinerary, and then off we went to explore the city.
Copenhagen has a rich royal history, and the city is peppered with castles and palaces that each offer a unique story.
Famous for its guards, Amalienborg palace is a must-visit destination for anyone with the slightest interest in royal history. The palace itself houses a museum which takes you back through 150 years of Europe’s royalty, back to the Danish king Christian IX and Queen Louise. They were known as “the in-laws of Europe” because four of their children ascended to the thrones of England, Greece, Russia and Denmark. Entry to the museum is free with the Copenhagen Card.
Plan your trip to coincide with the changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place every day at 12 noon. They march through the streets of Copenhagen and reach the main square at Amalienborg at 12, so make sure you’re there to watch the intricate dance as the new guards take over from the old watch.
Set in the beautiful King’s Garden, Rosenborg castle features over 400 years worth of art, royal regalia and the crown jewels. The splendour of the throne room is a huge attraction, and the interiors of the castle are generally well-preserved, giving you a glimpse into royal life. Down in the vaults, you can see the crown jewels of Denmark. They’re behind glass though, so no trying on allowed!
Now home to the Danish Parliament, Supreme Court and Ministry of State, the stunning Christiansborg palace holds over 800 years of history in its walls. You can walk through the Great Hall where huge tapestries adorn the walls, depicting 1000 years of Danish history. Check out the historical ruins below, too. The Copenhagen Card will get you free entry.
Nyhavn is possibly one of the most iconic spots in Copenhagen. The old commercial port is now a hotspot for tourists to enjoy a cold beverage as the sun sets, or eat at a local restaurant by the waterside. Famous author, Hans Christian Andersen spent over twenty years living in Nyhavn by the port. Many of the buildings are originals that have been refurbished and are now excellent restaurants serving fresh seafood and traditional Danish meals.
Offering fantastic views over the city, Rundetaarn (or, the round tower) is well worth the climb. After a great leg work out, walking in a spiral of about 209m, you’ll find yourself at the top of the still-functioning observatory – the oldest one still in use in Europe. Inside, the library hall is often home to art exhibitions, but it used to be Hans Christian Andersen’s favourite haunt.
Fans of HCA’s fairytales shouldn’t missed the Little Mermaid statue, or Den Lille Havfrau in Danish. The bronze statue has been sitting on a rock at the Langelinie promenade since 1913 and is a popular tourist spot for fans of the story. There is also a museum dedicated to the author, which is ideal for families to visit. Experience a walk-through of Hans Christian Andersen’s life and some of his most popular tales.
Lovers of rollercoasters, rejoice! Tivoli Gardens is one of the world’s oldest theme parks and is open for business so thrill-seekers can enjoy themselves. Plus, they hold a regular fireworks display that you can easily watch from other areas of the city. The Copenhagen Card gets you free entry, but remember to splash out for the rides pass!
Copenhagen was the last trip abroad I took before the Covid-19 pandemic so it holds a special place in my heart. Once things get back to normal and people feel safe about travel again, I’d highly encourage you to visit and taste a crisp beer, smorrebrod and the rich history of Denmark’s capital city.