Looking for the best things to do in Copenhagen? I will do my best to help!;) I get so many questions about Copenhagen from travelers every day, so I now decided to write some posts in English now and then – in order to be able to answer some of all these great questions.
Also on Instagram I recently asked what you would like to read more about, and @r_s_w wrote; “Your top 10 things you love about Copenhagen”. I take that as a challenge. But 10 attractions AND food at the same time would be too much at one time, so lets start with the attractions;
things to do in COPENHAGEN – IN GENERAL
- The colorful houses
Maybe a more indefinite attraction since it’s “happening” all over the city, but I can really recommend you to visit all the small streets with beautiful houses in that light up in the colors of the rainbow. Nyhavn is an obvious one – but also very (most) touristy. Instead you should visit some of the more hidden streets; Olufsvej (Østerbro), Magstræde and Landemærket (inner city), Sankt Hans Gade (Nørrebro), Overgaden oven Vandet (Christianshavn.)
- Copenhagen’s canals and harbour baths
Copenhagen by water is just amazing. You can go by boat, kayak – or why not go for a swim? Even during winther. It’s totally normal;) A canal tour is touristy but a great way to see the city. “Netto-bådene” is the cheapest alternative, but you can also rent your own boat, for example via GoBoat. The most popular harbour bath is the one at Islands Brygge.
- Søerne / The Lakes
The Lakes connect the whole city – from Østerbro to Nørrebro/Inner city, Vesterbro and Frederiksberg. Not hidden or anything *at all* but I love the lakes! My photo album contains at least 150 pictures of this particular location. It’s incomprehensibly beautiful when “red sky” hits the city and water becomes ice. Even when the leaves fall from the trees, it’s like stunning. Fun fact; The lakes water was used for drinking until 1959.
Not everybody knows this, but Copenhagen actually has a big beach very close to the center and during summer time this is the best place to be for the locals. Here you can do a lot of different outdoor activities; you can go for a swim, run, kite surf, play miniature golf or barbecue with family and friends. I use to live close to Amager Strand and I loved to go here for a walk at all times of the year.
- Refshaleøen (La Banchina)
The new hip area where you’ll find the popular and most visited in 2016; Copenhagen Street Food – but also a lot of calm, unspoiled areas.With the new bike bridge “Inderhavnsbroen” (which it took like forever to built) this area has become so attractive and the feeling when you bike from Nyhavn to Refshaleøen, sorrounded by water, is amazing! I can recommend you to go to the area around Amass and La Banchina, where it’s more calm and nice. La Banchina is the place to be on a sunny day and during winther time you can even go here for a winter dip with sauna afterwards.
This church has a very twisted appearance and a majestic tower that glitters in the sun, which makes it an attraction in itself. The view from the top is amazing too, you can see Sweden on the horizon and – of course – the famous Christiania as well as the authentic area nearby that is also a must see. From the tower you can get some great pictures of Copenhagen’s classic roofs.
- Christiania / Christianshavns Vold
Many people know more about Christiania than Copenhagen. I love the area around Christiania more than Christiania itself. Take a long walk on the other side of “Nemoland”around the small lakes, the small houses and the idyllic desolate ambiance that you find here.
If you wanna understand the Danish mentality and the background of the welfare system and the working class this is the place to go. Here you can get an idea about Denmark in the 1900s, at its best – and most authentic. Conditions for families of up to 10 members in a small room – and not forgetting the past working conditions for men and lack of same for women. You can also find old school coffee and biscuits cake in the café, visit Madam Blue’s kitchen, and try to wear Thorvald Staunings beard for a while. Hungry after the visit? Go to Copenhagen’s market place; Torvehallerne nearby and visit the many food stalls or buy local products.
Botanical garden full of exotic and beautiful plants from the whole world – more or less. Some of the trees are more than 100 years old. There is a bridge that crosses the lake and the whole area is very clean and spacious. The pretty white stairs might be some of the most photographed objets in the city. It’s totally free to visit but it’s closing down at 4 pm during the autumn and winther period and at 6 pm during spring and summer.
Okay first I have to say; I’m a big fan of politics and the political game, and therefore I might be more passionated about Christiansborg than the average Dane. BUT you have to book a guided tour in here and see the underground excavations, the Royal Stables, The Throne Room etc. So impressive. Also you can actually dine in the tower of the Parliament; Tårnet. And the food is actually very, very good! Also; remember to visit Bibliotekshaven just next to Christiansborg. A small, relaxed and very adorable hidden park. And while you are here: Take a look at the untraditional library; The Royal Library on the other side of the road where students are working hard and taking a break in the sun (if its there.)
Many people love Vesterbro but to be honest this is not my favorite area when it comes to attractions. Well, yes when it comes to shopping, dining and going out, this area is the best. So many opportunities (ideas will follow in my foodie guide). However for me Vesterbro is more a place where you walk around and just observe the often chaotic and vibrant atmosphere.
A cemetery situated between Vesterbro, Sydhavnen and Valby which is definitely worth a visit. This is the largest cemetery in Scandinavia and a paradise for nature lovers.
- Kødbyen and Halmtorvet
No doubt – this is Copenhagen’s hipster area number 1. For me the ambiance is a bit hard and cold but I am a huge fan of Kødbyens Mad & Marked which takes place here in Kødbyen every weekend during spring and summer (and other special occasions – like Christmas).
A more hidden, local park at Frederiksberg which you have to check out if you’re in the area. It’s very close to the popular park “Frederiksberg Have”, but I like this one more! Here you can find rare and beautiful plants and flowers, there’s a very pretty rose garden, a pond, a creek, one rockery, a forest, groves and open areas. And there’s a cool greenhouse-café, where you can have coffee and a light lunch.
Life-affirming sightseeing, you could say. And maybe it’s not bad, considering that it was indeed the cisterns that helped Copenhagen out of epidemic wave in the late 1800s. Here you will find a huge water reservoir and a urban stalactite cave – an underground treasure in Søndermarken where the ambiance is nostalgic, beautiful, frightening and solemn. Various exhibitions regularly.
- Assistens Kirkegården and the area around
This is actually a cemetery where the author H.C. Andersen is buried, but Copenhageners use it as a park year round and even go for a run in here. It’s always stunningly beautiful here, and furthermore it’s located in one of the most unique, local areas in Copenhagen; Nørrebro – the multicultural, hipster area (not as hipster as Vesterbro, but still hipster;)) Nørrebro is a perfect location for going out as well. Check out streets like Elmegade and Griffenfeldsgade.
- Brumleby (and Olufsvej)
When I have guests from abroad I always show them this “secret” place at Østerbro. Brumleby used to be a cheaper and healthier housing alternative for the working class. Around 2500 people lived in the 550 apartments(!) but today it’s one of the most expensive areas in the city. The buildings are yellow and so idyllic and cute. Remember to check out Olufsvej while you’re in the neighbourhood – one of the pretty colorful streets. Also Nordre Frihavnsgade is an awesome street with lots of local shops.
Denmark’s first real urban roof farm. Former the restaurant Stedssans was here but now they have different happenings. Check out the calendar and news on the website.
The Little Mermaid is a very touristy place that locals hardly ever visit but her neighbor; Kastellet on the contrary is a place where you will see Copenhageners on the first day of spring going for a long run or walk with a coffee to go. Even when it’s snowing, this place is absolutely fantastic. By the way, this was the place where the royal doctor Struensee was put in “jail” after his affair with Caroline Mathilde in the 1700s. Which reminds me that I will soon have to watch “En kongelig affære” (“A Royal Affair”) again.
So many more things to do in Copenhagen. ENJOY!;)
Maybe you also wanna check out; Brunch in Copenhagen: my 10 favorites!
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