Copenhagen: 15 of the best sights and day trips – our tips and must see sights!

by | Sep 13, 2016 | Blog, Copenhagen, Latest Posts |

Copenhagen is a fantastic city break option with lots to see and do: the cosy city has many must see sights, beautiful architecture and colourful canals! We spent a fun 48 hours wandering the Copenhagen streets, sampling its top sights and embracing the vibrant energy of the city before taking some amazing day trips to its surrounding castles, cathedrals and even another country! Here’s our tips for sightseeing and our guide to its must see sights, perfect for a two or three day stop in Copenhagen. Enjoy!

Copenhagen sightseeing tip: Copenhagen has a reputation for being an expensive city and we have to agree on the food and drinks end, although. Public transport and bikes are reasonably priced ways to get around and lots of awesome sights are free to see!

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Meandering through the city streets on a bike = not expensive!

1 | Nyhavn

Nyhavn, with its brightly coloured buildings lining the canal, is the perfect place to spend a lazy evening relaxing by the water with a beer. A former bustling port and home to Hans Christian Andersen (he lived in No. 20) today the area is alive with restaurants, pubs and clubs.

Copenhagen sightseeing tip: Nyhavn is one of the best photo spots in Copenhagen and a great place to people watch while chilling with a drink!

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The beautiful Nyhavn

2 | The Little Mermaid

A trip to Copenhagen has to include a visit to its most famous resident, The Little Mermaid. We went at sunset and sunrise and were rewarded with stunning views and were fortunate to have the place almost to ourselves. She was every bit as iconic as we imagined!

Copenhagen sightseeing tip: We’ve heard so many mixed reactions to the Little Mermaid Statue. Be aware, it’s a long walk from Copenagen town centre and it can get very busy with tourists during the day. However, if you’re prepared to get up early or visit in the evening the Little Mermaid is one of Copenhagen’s top sights!

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We thought she was awesome! The Little Mermaid

3 | Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is a kitschy amusement park located in the centre of Copenhagen where visitors are in good company: Hans Christian Andersen and Walt Disney visited the park many times in years gone by and it continues to entertain kids and adults alike.

Copenhagen sightseeing tips: The park closes during some of the colder months of the year so be sure to check the opening hours if you are planning a visit.

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The bright lights of Tivoli

4 | Kastrup Sea Baths (Kastrup Sobad)

This beautiful outdoor swimming area, known locally as ‘The Snail’, is a stunning outdoor open sea bath with awesome views of the Oresund bridge to Sweden. The below freezing temperatures meant that it was a little cold for a swim but we still loved exploring the stunning construction and imagining ourselves diving into the sea on a sunnier day!

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The funky Kastrup Sea Baths

5 | Church of Our Saviour 

The Church of Our Saviour, with its winding spire, is a Copenhagen skyline highlight and a climb to top is rewarded with awesome views of the city. The bell tower pops into life every hour with a beautiful melody and the church is beautiful on both the inside and the out.

Copenhagen sightseeing tips: Access to the spire is closed during some of the winter months of the year so be sure to check the opening hours if you are planning a visit.

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The Church of Our Saviour and its winding spiral

6 | Hans Christian Andersen Statue

One of Denmark’s best known literary exports, Hans Christian Andersen, who was born and raised in the city, makes frequent appearances throughout Copenhagen. Our favourite is a bronze statue where Hans sits with a book in the Copenhagen City Hall Square. In case you’re wondering, he is the author of epic fairytales including The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling, both of which were penned in Copenhagen.

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Watching over Copenhagen: Hans Christian Andersen

7 | Freetown Christiania

Who knew there is a hippie commune in the middle of Copenhagen? We definitely didn’t and, when we wandered into the freetown of Christiania, we weren’t sure what to expect. It was established by a group of free spirits, under a ‘social experiment’, who occupied an abandoned military barracks on the site and went on to develop their own rules which are autonomous from Denmark laws. Christiania is a mix of colourful houses, gritty street art and cheap food trucks with vegan foods aplenty. You might notice the overpowering smell of hash dominating the airways as walk through: essentially soft drugs, while still illegal, are freely available within the commune.

Copenhagen sightseeing tip: It’s clearly marked on the rules of entry but a word of warning: do not take pics within Christiania, the locals will not take kindly to any kind of photography especially around Pusher Street and we did see some confrontations. It is nice to walk around Christiania during the day but do exercise caution at night.

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The entrance to Christiania

8 | Wander the streets

Copenhagen is one of those beautiful European cities where it’s a treat to simply get lost in the maze of cobbled, picturesque streets. Some of the nicest streets are located around the Nayvn area of city centre which is filled with quaint galleries, cafes, shops and bars. Our favourite find was the Bastard Cafe, a cafe filled with board games and locals, where we participated in a very competitive game of Scrabble!

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The quirky streets of the city!

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All the board games you could ever want!

9 | Take to the canals

We love taking to the water whenever possible in a new city and the maze of Copenhagen canals make it the perfect spot for a boat trip. Squeezing under the low bridges is an experience in itself and it’s a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Little Mermaid, Nyhavn, the quirky houseboats and stunning waterside buildings.

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The beautiful waterways of Copenhagen

10 | The Oresund Bridge

A trip to Sweden was inevitable for us and provides the perfect opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Oresund Bridge! The bridge is an engineering marvel and an iconic landmark connecting the two countries.

Copenhagen sightseeing tips: our favourite view of the bridge from the Denmark side were from the Kastrup Sea Baths. Malmo in Sweden also has fantastic views of the Oresund.

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The amazing Oresund Bridge!

Day Trips from Copenhagen

If you venture outside the city these are some of our favourite day trips from Copenhagen!

11 | Malmo, Sweden

Another country? Yes please! Malmo, in Sweden, is the perfect mix of city and sea and a great addition to any Copenhagen itinerary. Malmo has some colourful sights including the Knotted Gun, a non violence sculpture which was made as a memorial tribute to John Lennon, the Spectral Self Container, a colourful linked sculpture and the Old Town. Malmo is also home to the tallest building in Scandinavia, The Twisted Torso, which is one of the coolest buildings we’ve seen on our travels.

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The Knotted Gun

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Malmo Old Town 

11 | Frederiksborg Castle

Once home of the flamboyant King Christian IV, Frederiksborg Castle is a palatial complex 45 minutes North of Copenhagen. The grand castle is impressive both inside and out and the manicured gardens are a real treat.

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A snow covered Frederiksborg Castle

12 | Kronborg Castle aka Hamlet’s Castle

Kronborg Castle, 45 minutes north east of Frederiksborg, is the setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The castle is powerful and imposing on the outside and the surroundings of the unforgiving Baltic Sea only add to the dramatic atmosphere. The interior, plundered and destroyed during the wars, is sparse but the maze of dungeons underneath are unmissable. This UNESCO World Heritage Castle is absolutely worth the trip from Copenhagen.

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Kronborg Castle

13 | Roskilde

50 minutes west of Copenhagen, Roskilde is home to the Gothic style Roskilde Cathedral and the insightful Viking Ship Museum. The Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the burial place of 39 of the country’s Kings and Queens in tombs and crypts resting under the exquisite interior and beautifully high ceilings. With 1,000 year old Viking ships, The Viking Ship Museum is close by and is a real journey back in time.

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Roskilde Catherdral

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Royal tombs

Copenhagen: a UNESCO Road Trip

We’ve included these two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, within driving distance of Copenhagen, for any UNESCO fans out there. These, together with Roskilde Catherdral (13 on our list) and Kronborg Castle (12), will bring your Copenhagen UNESCO total to 4!

14 | Stevns Klint

Stevns Klint, just over one hour south of Copenhagen, is a stunning coastal cliff stop which also houses evidence of a meteorite impact that took place around 67 million years ago and is said to have caused the end of the Age of the Dinosaurs. Absolutely mind blowing! The views are really spectacular, with green fields and farmhouses in one direction and the Kattegat, leading to the Baltic Sea on the other. Crystal clear blue waters, an ancient church, a quaint cottage and the lighthouse are the beautiful highlights of the cliff walk.

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Stunning views at Stevns Klint

15 | Par force Hunting Landscape in North Zealand

The former royal hunting grounds of Store Dyrehave, Gribskov, and Jægersborg are located just north of Copenhagen and are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. These areas were used for the practice of hunting with hounds in the 17th and 18th centuries. The landscape was designed by a Danish King who was inspired by the stunning Palace of Versailles.

Copenhagen Sightseeing tip: this UNESCO is really just open green space and is for seriously obsessed UNESCO fans (which is how we’d describe ourselves!).

Map of the Copenhagen Sights

Be sure to expand the left hand menu and click the star to save the map to your google maps favourites!

So there you have it, 15 of Copenhagen’s must see sights from the highlights of the city itself to a little further afield. Now all that’s left to do is explore, explore, explore! Let us know in the comments if we missed any of your Copenhagen faves!

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