A unique harbourside capital city, Copenhagen is a great place to visit on a longer holiday or short city break. If you’re looking to soak up the culture and history of Denmark, then there’s no better place to go.
So even if you’re only in Copenhagen for a short time, this article will give you the highlights and must-do activities for your trip.
Where is Copenhagen?
Copenhagen is located to the east of the main (or capital) region of Denmark. It spans both the Zealand (Sjælland) and Amager islands and is separated from Sweden by the strait of The Sound (Øresund). The largest city of Denmark, it's a commercial and residential centre as well as the base for the country’s government.
What to do in Copenhagen
From trying the local cuisine to exploring the city on two wheels and finding out all about this northern European nation’s culture and history, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Copenhagen.
Explore like a local
Copenhagen has a reputation as the world’s best bike city. With 350km of cycle lanes and paths to explore, this mode of transport is an ideal way to get around. With plenty of bike rentals and tours on offer, it's a great way to see the best of Copenhagen’s architecture, outdoor art and alternative districts such as Christiania, safely.
Uncover Danish history
Some of the best examples of late baroque architecture are just a stone’s throw away from the harbourside. The central district is home to many astounding castles and palaces including the Royal Family’s Amalienborg Palace and Rosenborg Castle which is home to the crown jewels.
Step back further in time with a visit to Christiansborg Palace. It boasts more than 800 years of history, is built upon a medieval fortress and is now home to Denmark’s Parliament, the Prime Minister’s office and Supreme Court.
Sample a smørrebrød
Home to the famous Noma restaurant, Copenhagen is world-renowned as a foodie destination. Tovehallerne, Koedbyen and Reffen are all districts that are packed with international cuisines and local treats such as flæskesteg, hønsekødssuppe and, of course, the famous and delicious smørrebrød.
If you’re visiting in winter, then the Christmas markets are also a great place to sample some classic festive dishes and snacks.
Get a better city view
If you want to see the best of Copenhagen’s skyline, then climbing up the steps on the outside of the Church of our Saviour or discovering the Rundetarn are must-do activities. Both are unique pieces of architecture in their own right, they also offer stunning rooftop views of the capital both in the sunshine and under starlight.
Soak up some culture
There’s plenty of culture, art and music to enjoy in Copenhagen. The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum is one of the city’s most historic and central, having opened in 1897. Similarly, the National Museum of Denmark is a great place to find out more about the country’s history, with a Viking experience and plenty of exhibitions to enjoy.
If you’re looking for afternoon or evening entertainment, then exploring the public park and outdoor cultural space of the Superkilen or catching a show at the Copenhagen Opera House is recommended.
What to see in Copenhagen
Though the weather in Copenhagen can sometimes be cooler and unpredictable, there are plenty of sights in the city worth wrapping up warm for. Whether you fancy some retail therapy or want to watch the world pass you by, here are some of the best attractions in Copenhagen.
If you’re looking to pick up a new outfit, souvenir or exciting bargain, then the Stroget is more than one kilometre worth of shops. Big brands and budget stores are all right next to each other, so you’re sure to find exactly what you need here. Plus, there are street performers to enjoy and plenty of sights nearby to break up your day of shopping.
Zoo and Aquarium
If the weather gets a little too much or you are visiting with family, then heading to the Copenhagen Zoo or Aquarium is a great way to fill a day. The biggest underwater attraction in northern Europe, the zoo is also one of the oldest, having opened in 1859. Spot the world’s rarest species and take part in special family activities, all within easy reach of the city centre.
The Little Mermaid
The world-famous Little Mermaid statue on Langelinie Pier was donated by a rich brewer and has been a feature of the city since 1913. Inspiring the fairytale written by writer and resident of the city, Hans Christian Andersen, the sculpture continues to capture the attention (and camera lenses) of visitors today.
The Nyhavn Waterfront
Revered for its vibrant beauty, Copenhagen’s 17th-century waterfront and canal, Nyhavn, captivates visitors with its picturesque scenes. The area is populated with a number of fantastic bars and restaurants where you can experience the local cuisine.
Bask in the Danish capital’s charm with its crystal-clear waters, historic ships and the bustle of local life. Be sure to catch a sunrise or sunset on deck for a particularly stunning view.
Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens is detailed with exotic architecture and lush gardens making for a quaint, magical atmosphere. Whilst it is primarily an amusement park, there are plenty of beautiful sights to behold beyond the thrills of traditional rollercoasters.
Experience the allure of the hanging gardens, the peaceful setting of the orangery and the splendour of the Nimb water fountains. The gardens also host a number of firework displays and open-air shows throughout the year, so you’re sure to be entertained on a visit here.
How to travel around Copenhagen
Visitors can easily travel to Copenhagen by plane or ship. Copenhagen cruise port is the largest in Denmark, meaning cruise ships can get right to the heart of the capital city.
Unlike traditional ocean liners, a Copenhagen cruise holiday aboard a Fred. Olsen ship offers an experience like no other. Our smaller-sized cruise ships can venture into narrower waterways and sail right to the heart of the destinations on our expertly-crafted cruise itineraries.
Travellers will be able to get closer to inspirational destinations and indulge in their cultural thrills in a more intimate fashion.Explore our cruise holidays to Copenhagen and discover how you can fall in love with the Danish city by visiting on a Fred. Olsen ship.