Copenhagen: attractions. What to do, where to go?
Copenhagen – the capital city of Denmark
It is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Copenhagen is the buzzing capital that mixes a fairy-tale atmosphere (Hans Christian Andersen lived there), royal history, modern architecture and loads of culture and attractions of all kinds. Copenhagen is the most populous city in Denmark with a population of almost 800 thousand. It is situated by the strait of Øresund, on the coast of Zealand Island with some parts of the city on Amager Island. The Øresund Bridge connects Copenhagen with Malmö in Sweden. There’s a lot to see and do in Copenhagen, so let’s start!
Have fun in Copenhagen
You may start with the Tivoli Gardens, which is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. It was opened in 1843 and hasn’t aged a bit in terms of fun. Even Walt Disney visited the park himself to look for inspiration for his own Disney World. The secret of Tivoli is that there is something for everyone: young and old. The gardens are beautiful throughout the year and the architecture is historic. You can either dine in one of the many restaurants or bring picnics to the gardens which is a very popular activity there. One of Copenhagen’s top attractions is a wooden roller-coaster ride in Tivoli. Opened in 1914 it’s one of the oldest in the world and still features a brakeman on board every train.
If you are hungry for more amusement, go to Bakken. It is just a 10 minute drive north of Copenhagen, located in the woods and Danes have been visiting it for generations. It opened in 1583 and is the oldest, still operating amusement park in the world. It is a great place of leisure for everyone. Bakken offers fun rides, bars & pubs with entertainment and live music. No big brands are allowed at the park and no neon signs. Instead, you get a blend of a historic venue with a modern feel and small independent shops. And the entrance is free.
When back in Copenhagen, go to Strøget – this is one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets and a perfect place to start sightseeing. The street is full of shops, from budget-friendly brands to some of the most expensive in the world. But it is not only about shopping. Strøget is a popular hangout for the city’s street performers like acrobats, magicians & musicians. When wandering the avenues, look up and down the side streets and you will see some of Copenhagen’s beautiful attractions like the Stork Fountain, Christiansborg Palace, City Hall Tower etc.
Don’t forget to visit arguably the most iconic landmark – the sculpture of The Little Mermaid. The sculpture made of bronze and granite depicts a mermaid becoming a woman, sitting on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade.
Art and culture in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is a great city for art and culture lovers and its inhabitants can boast about some great museums. The National Museum of Denmark, where you can travel back in time by viewing Denmark’s history, was once a royal castle and consists of exhibitions from the Viking Age through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to modern times. SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark is the largest art museum in Denmark and features outstanding collections of Danish and international art from past centuries. SMK is home to one of the world’s best Matisse collections.
There’s also the Museum of Copenhagen which wonderfully depicts 800 years of the city’s history. In just one hour it will bring Copenhagen history back to life with its interactive installations & sounds. You will see the city’s development from the Viking Age till the modern days.
Denmark and Copenhagen are both acknowledged for great design, so it is worth visiting at least one of the many modern and contemporary art galleries. To name just a few of the most famous ones: The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Nikolaj Kunsthal and ARKEN Museum of Modern Art.
Discover Danish architecture
Recently, Danish architecture has become popular around the world. Contemporary Danish architecture means lots of natural light, simplicity, sustainability, and comfort. If this is something you fancy – check out the Danish Architecture Center with its exhibitions, lectures and city walks focusing on the city’s development.
When it comes to the most iconic, historical architecture here are some of the top things to see:
Rosenborg Castle – one of the most significant and characteristic buildings in Copenhagen which nowadays houses some of Denmark’s greatest treasures as the Crown Jewels and Crown Regalia.
Christiansborg Palace – a former royal residence which is a government building these days. It is a seat of the Danish Parliament, the Danish Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court. The palace is also used by the Danish Queen for official events.
Nyhavn – this is a whole district and not just one building. Nyhavn, in English: New Harbor, is a very picturesque waterfront consisting of 17th and 18th-century townhouses and a canal that harbours historical wooden ships. This is a great entertainment area with bars, restaurants and cafes and you have undoubtedly seen it on Instagram.
Bike rental in Copenhagen
It is said that Copenhagen is the world’s most bicycle-friendly city and it is true. Bycyklen (the City Bike) is synonymous with Denmark’s capital. Infrastructure is key and you can safely get by bike everywhere. Bikes are really easy to get a hold of as bike rentals are all over the city. There are also guided bike tours focused on different aspects of the city. So, if you want to feel like a true Copenhagener – rent a bike and discover the city on two wheels.