Travel Guide To Copenhagen: Things to do and (General) Places to Eat

So you’re going to Copenhagen, now what?

Well, I’ve curated a list of 16 places you can see in Copenhagen, two of which are food-related areas. All of these places are hard-of-hearing friendly in various ways, which makes this a pleasant trip. Also, this itinerary can be done in 48 hours, or you can extend it throughout a four-to-five day trip. Whatever works—and you do you.

1. Nyhavn

Colorful, historic waterfront with homes that date back to the 1600 and 1700. It’s the most picturesque place in Copenhagen with tons of tourists. The location also houses many different bars, restaurants, cafes, and dessert places, all of which have outdoor seating. From here, you can watch people and enjoy the sight of wooden ships coming in and out of the canal. Also, the houses numbered 18,20, and 67 were homes to the author, Hans Christian Andersen, throughout his life.

2. Amalienborg Palace

North of Nyhaven, you find Amalienborg, the home of the Danish Royal Family. It consists of four identical palace facades, named after previous kings of Denmark: Christian VII, Christian VIII, Frederick VIII, and Christian IX. It was originally built for four noble families, but when the Christianborg Palace burnt down in 1794, the royal family bought the palaces and moved in, living there ever since. In the central plaza of the four palaces you’ll find a statue of King Frederick V, the founder of Amalienborg, on a horse. You can get a tour of one of the Palaces, and learn about the history of the place; however, bear in mind that one of the palaces is still home to the Royal Family, and the other two may not always be accessible for various reasons.

3. The Marble Church

Leaving Amalienborg Palace, head to the west, to find the Marble Church, also known as Frederiks Kirke. It is a beautiful piece of rococo architecture, and is an Evangelical Lutheran Church. It is currently under renovation, so you may see scaffolding surrounding the area, but you still should be able to go in.

4. St. Alban’s Church

North and east of The Marble Church, as you walk to the next major location, you will find St. Alban’s Church nearby a garden, and a canal. It is known as the English Church, and is an Anglican Church in Copenhagen, built in a Gothic Revival style. Absolutely gorgeous from the outside, it is a good place to photograph. That said, it may not be open and accessible for the public, as when I went, it was closed.

5. Kastellet

North of the church, you will find the Kastellet—the fortress. And honestly, you cannot miss it on a map—it looks like a big turtle or star (your choice). It was used in WWII, and continues to be an active military area belonging to the Danish Defence Ministry. So don’t be surprised to find some people in uniforms with rifles/guns walking about. That said, it is a peaceful, protected area that serves as a public park. It’s popular for runners who can use the trails around the Kastellet to get in the exercise, or for people who wish to take a stroll. The site also includes two small museums, manned by volunteers.

Also, absolutely love the bright red colors of the Kastellet’s building, and it is very well taken care of.

6. The Little Mermaid Statue

At the tip of the North-Eastern part of the Kastellet, across the canal that surrounds it, you can find the Little Mermaid Statue. Many people say that it is a tourist trap, and I’m inclined to agree. Because of it’s popularity, there are hundreds of tourists at the Little Mermaid statue, so unless you go super early in the morning, or very very late at night, you’re not bound to get it to yourself. And the background behind the Little Mermaid is not that interesting. (Personally, I’m more partial to Warsaw’s Little Mermaid, but I am biased *wink*.) That said, sometimes you do have to allow yourself to go see these super popular places at least once in your lifetime, even if many people say they’re tourist traps, because this Little Mermaid is one of the most recognizable figures of the city, and who doesn’t want to show the one thing that everyone knows about the city?

Now, while there, I noticed that people were climbing across the rocks to get really close to the mermaid, so that they can stand next to it. Please don’t do this—it is dangerous, unless you have good shoes and know how to climb rock, because they are slippery and uneven, which is not good for you if you fall.

7. Rosenborg Castle

Heading back south through the Kastellet, towards the west, you’ll find a patch of green, next to which you will find the Rosenborg Castle. It is a Dutch renaissance castle that was originally build as a country summerhouse in 1606. It used to be a royal residence until 1710, after which it was use in that capacity only twice. The Castle is now a museum that is open to the public for tours and houses a museum exhibiting the Royal collections, and various Danish artifacts. Next to it, you will find the Kongens Have (the King’s Garden), also known as the Rosenborg Castle Garden. These gardens very much function like a local park, so don’t be surprised to see many locals hanging out on the green spaces, relaxing, reading and doing other outdoor activities.

8. Botanical Gardens

Just west of the Rosenborg Castle, across the street, you’ll find the Botanical Gardens, which are known as the University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden. It covers 10 hectares and is known for it’s extensive complex of historical glasshouses dating from 1874.

9. Torvehallerne

Just south of the Botanical Gardens, you’ll find this food hall, which is a great place to do your groceries, or grab a coffee. You can also buy meals as well as sit down to eat, restaurant style. It’s only open until 5, 6, 7 or 8 pm depending on the day, so definitely not a place to go for late dinner, if that’s your style, but it’s a good choice for lunch or midday snack. It seems to be popular amongst locals as well, so don’t be surprised to mingle with them.

10. Rundetaarn

After you’v eaten your lunch, head east again, along Frederiksborggade, which then turns into Kobmagergade. On the corner, of Kobmagergade and Landemaerket, you’ll find the Rundetaarn, also known as the Round Tower. It is a 17th century tower that was one of the many architectural projects of King Christian IV. Originally purposed as an astronomical observatory, it is well known for its ramp, a helical corridor that was an equestrian staircase, leading to the top. Rumor is that someone too a ride in a car up this ramp some time ago, although that’s never been proven. The tower is part of the Trinitatis Complex, along with the Trinitatis Church. There is a glass door from the tower that allows you to look into the church. Once you reach the top, you get beautiful views of the city.

11. Stroget

Keep going down Kobmagergade, and you will begin entering the shopping district with the high end shops. When you reach the Lous Vuitton on the corner, make a left, and you’ll enter Stroget, which is a pedestrian only street that runs from the King’s New Square (by Nyhaven) to the City Hall. This street is perfect for shopping, with a mix of businesses that have been around for generations, and newer, brand-name companies. Even North Face has a store here.

But, keep in mind—Denmark has a 25% tax. And nothing is cheap.

12. Tivoli Gardens

Heading straight past the City Hall, you can visit the Tivoli Gardens, which is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, as well as a pleasure garden. It is pretty popular with locals and tourists alike, and looks absolutely gorgeous from the outside.

13. Christianborg Palace

From Tivoli Gardens, head back north through Stormgade. Soon, you’ll come upon the Christianborg Palace. It is a palace and a government building. It is the seat of the Danis Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court of Denmark. Parts of it are used by the Danish Monarch, as well. It used to be the Royal Palace until the fire in 1794, after which it was rebuilt, and then starting in 1849, it became the seat of the parliament. You can visit the inside of the palace, as several portions of it are opened to the public. For example, you can check out the Royal Reception Rooms, unless they are being used by the Royal family for public functions. You can also visit the Royal Stables, unless the horses are out to pasture.

14. Black Diamond Library

Behind the Christianborg Palace, on your way to the next destination, you can make a stop at the Black Diamond, which is the extension of the Royal Danish Library. The two are inter-connected through an indoor pathway, and while the whole library is not accessible to the public, you can at least go inside and enjoy the architecture, as well as get a different vantage point. You can also sit on the outside of the Black Diamond Library and enjoy the views of local life. Because this is a library, despite it’s high ceilings and glass-structure, it is a very quiet place, so this is a good location to find some respite from loud noises, echoey halls, and the usual hustle and bustle of the city.

15. Vor Frelsers Kirke

Known as the Church of Our Saviour, it is a baroque church famous for its helix spire with an external winding staircase that gives amazing views of central Copenhagen. Word of warning though—if you’re scared of heights, and/or tight places, this is NOT for you! The staircase is really high, and becomes narrower as you get closer to the top. In addition, it gets super windy up there. If you’re not that adventurous to go to the very top, the first level of the outdoor staircase is very good for seeing the views of the city.

The church is also known for its carillon, a musical instrument consisting of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells that are played serially to produce a melody or a chord. It is the largest in Northern Europe, and plays every hour. So make sure to be careful when walking up the tower to avoid being in the belfry when the bells start playing.

16. Vesterbro

This used to be the meat-packing district of Copenhagen, with lots of businesses in the meat industry. In recent years, it has become a hip section of the city with shops, art galleries, bars and cozy restaurants. You can get something to eat here at various restaurants, with foods from different cultures easily accessible. To get here, you can either grab the metro or the bus, but each way you would still have to transfer at different locations to make it to the final destination.

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