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