Copenhagen is one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in Europe. Whether you’re after unforgettable fine dining, a rush of adrenaline or a relaxing city break, there is something for everyone in Copenhagen.
There is so much to see and do in the Danish capital that it can be hard to know where to start. To help make trip planning a little easier, I’ve compiled a list of the 20 best things to do in Copenhagen.
From iconic buildings and world-famous attractions, to lesser-known spots off the beaten track, there is plenty to discover in charming Copenhagen.
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1. Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens is a world-famous amusement park in Copenhagen. Founded in 1843, Tivoli is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world and remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
Tivoli covers an area of 34 acres and features a tantalising variety of rides, dining options, and entertainment venues. Hop from roller coaster to carousel, take a boat out on the serene lake or stroll through the beautiful gardens. Then settle down in one of the many restaurants, cafes or bars to re-fuel.
The park is open year-round, and visitors can enjoy the rides and attractions regardless of the weather. Tivoli is particularly renowned for its spectacular fireworks display, which takes place every Saturday night during the summer months.
Tivoli Gardens is a truly enchanting place that provides visitors with a unique blend of history, culture, and fun. It’s no wonder that it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Denmark.
Top tip: It’s worth spending at least half a day in Tivoli Gardens, as there is so much to see and do. Check out the schedule of events before you visit so you can catch a show or two.
2. Reffen street food market
Reffen street food market in Copenhagen is a must-visit for any foodie. Set in an old industrial area in the Refshaleøen district of Copenhagen, the market is full of stalls selling delicious global cuisine.
There’s something for everyone, from Thai curries to Greek salads to Indian roti. The market is also a great place to people-watch, as locals and tourists alike flock to Reffen to enjoy the tasty food and vibrant atmosphere.
The market is open all year round, and in the summer months, there is also an outdoor seating area where visitors can enjoy views of the nearby harbour. There is no better spot to spend a balmy summer evening in Copenhagen.
Reffen is the perfect place to experience the best of Copenhagen’s food culture, and it is sure to leave visitors with mouth-watering memories.
3. Go skiing at Copenhill
Copenhill is a man-made ski slope in Copenhagen that offers dry slope skiing all year round. The slope is made up of synthetic grass and plastic, which does take a bit of getting used to when you’re used to seeing snow beneath your skis!
Located on top of a power station, the ski slope offers breathtaking views across the city. Copenhill was created with sustainability in mind, and all of the materials used to build the facility were sourced from recycled or upcycled materials.
The slopes at Copenhill are open year-round, and they are regularly maintained to ensure that they are safe and enjoyable for all who use them. In addition to skiing, Copenhill also offers a variety of other activities, such as hiking, climbing, and biking.
Whether you’re an experienced skier or you’re just looking to try something new, Copenhill is sure to provide some unique entertainment for an hour or two.
Top tip: Wear clothes which you don’t mind getting marked. If you fall or carry your skis on your shoulder, the silicone used to make the slope slippery can mark. It’ll wash out but worth keeping in mind.
4. Go swimming in one of the harbour baths
The Copenhagen harbour baths are a great place to go swimming, especially on a warm summer’s day. Spread out across the city, you can take a dip before or after exploring all that Copenhagen has to offer.
The water is clean and refreshing, and many have lifeguards on duty. For an authentic Danish experience, the Copenhagen harbour baths are definitely worth a visit.
Whether you’re swimming laps or just taking a peaceful dip, the harbour baths are a fabulous way to enjoy Copenhagen’s unique blend of old and new.
Discover the best swimming spots and harbour baths in Copenhagen.
5. Chill at the beach
Copenhagen is home to some truly beautiful beaches. Nestled along the city’s coastline, these beaches offer residents and visitors alike a chance to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.
From Charlottenlund to Amager, there are a number of inviting beaches in Copenhagen. Whether you’re looking for a place to sunbathe or take a dip in the water, a beach visit is one of the best things to do in Copenhagen.
The beaches are all part of the social scene in Copenhagen too, with a buzzy but chilled atmosphere. If you’re feeling active, you can go surfing, walking or biking too.
6. Wander around Freetown Christiania
Freetown Christiania is a unique and fascinating place. Located in the heart of Copenhagen, it is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood with its own set of rules and regulations.
Freetown Christiania was founded in 1971 by a group of squatters who occupied an abandoned military base. Today, it is home to around 850 residents, many of whom live in makeshift houses and engage in alternative lifestyles.
Freetown Christiania has its own laws and government, and residents have created their own customs and traditions. Visitors to Freetown Christiania are welcome, but there are some rules that must be followed. For example, you cannot take photos of people without their permission.
You don’t need to spend long here, but it’s worth touring the community and visiting the local markets and shops. If you’re looking for an unusual and memorable travel experience in Copenhagen, Freetown Christiania is definitely worth a visit.
Top tip: If you’re travelling solo, just bear in mind that you may feel a little uneasy wandering the community, especially if it’s not busy. That’s certainly not to say that you shouldn’t visit, but choose a busier time of day so that you can be amongst other tourists.
7. Hire a boat and explore the canals
Hiring a boat is a great way to explore the canals of Copenhagen and see the city from a different perspective.
There are many companies that offer boat hire. The most popular option is GoBoat, which offers electric boats that you can drive yourself. FriendShips is another option that offers both electric and rowboats.
Both companies offer a variety of boats, from small boats for two people to larger boats for up to 12 people. Prices vary depending on the size of the boat and the length of time you want to hire it for, but you can expect to pay around 1000 DKK per hour.
You can usually either purchase a food and drink package from the boat company or bring your own. I highly recommend coming armed with a chilled bottle of wine to enjoy while you paddle through the canals.
Top tip: Beware of any bridges which are marked as low on the map. When the tide is high, the boat won’t fit under and you could have a bit of a collision if you’re not careful!
8. Climb to the top of the Church of our Saviour
Church of our Saviour in Copenhagen is a beautiful baroque church with an iconic helix spire. Located in the middle of the city, it is an iconic landmark and popular tourist destination.
Built in the early 18th century, the church tower offers breathtaking views across Copenhagen. However, reaching the top of the Church is no easy feat – it requires a steep climb up 400 steps!
The climb is worth it, though, as visitors are rewarded with stunning panoramic views of Copenhagen. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to Sweden!
Top tip: This is not an accessible attraction and in some places it’s more like climbing a ladder than steps. You may have to wait to enter, as the number of people needs to be limited due to the very tight stairways.
9. Explore the botanical garden
The Botanical Garden in Copenhagen is a must-visit for any nature lover, spanning over 10 acres. Home to more than 13,000 different species of plants, it is a veritable paradise for botanists and nature lovers alike.
The garden is divided into several different sections, each with its own distinct character. The herb garden, for example, features a wide variety of medicinal plants, while the rose garden is home to over 200 different varieties of roses.
Visitors can also explore the arboretum, which contains trees from all over the world. Or the Japanese garden, with its tranquil ponds and bridges.
Stroll through the gardens and admire the diverse plant life, or take a more active role and help with the gardening tasks. There is also a café on site, where you can relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Whether you are interested in botany or simply enjoy spending time in nature, the Botanical Garden in Copenhagen is sure to provide a memorable experience.
10. Visit Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a popular art museum and one of the best things to do in Copenhagen. It was founded in 1889 by Ny Carlsberg Breweries owner Carl Jacobsen to house his collection of antiquities and sculptures.
The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum comprises an array of ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman sculptures, as well as a significant collection of modern art. It is particularly known for its extensive collection of casts of sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens.
Visitors can explore the museum at their own pace, or take part in one of the guided tours that are offered daily. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a popular destination for both tourists and locals, and is an excellent place to learn about the history of art.
The museum is open every day except Monday, and admission is free for everyone. It’s located a short walk from the Nyhavn district and the Copenhagen Zoo.
11. Visit Rosenborg Castle and the King’s Garden
Rosenborg Castle is a beautiful Renaissance castle located in Copenhagen. Visitors can explore the castle’s lavish gardens and grandiose interiors, and learn about the Danish royal family’s fascinating history.
Built in the early 17th century, the castle was originally intended as a summer residence for King Christian IV. Today, it houses the Danish Crown Jewels and is one of the best things to do in Copenhagen.
The King’s Garden is particularly worth a visit, as it is one of the oldest and most beautifully-preserved Baroque gardens in Europe. The garden features numerous sculptures and fountains, as well as a stunning array of flowers and trees.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Rosenborg Castle and the King’s Garden on a sunny day, you’ll be treated to a truly magical experience.
12. See the iconic view at Nyhavn
Nyhavn is one of Copenhagen’s most iconic – and heavily Instagrammed – landmarks. The picturesque canal is lined with colourful townhouses and boats, making it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
Visitors can take a stroll down Nyhavn’s cobblestone streets, relax at one of the many outdoor cafes, or take a boat ride through the canals. Nyhavn is also home to a number of historic buildings, including the Royal Danish Theatre and the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxed afternoon by the water or a taste of Denmark’s rich history, Nyhavn is sure to have something for you.
Top tip: Visit early in the morning to get a more peaceful experience of the area.
13. Try the Smørrebrød restaurants
Smørrebrød is a type of Danish open sandwich that is traditionally made with rye bread, butter, and various toppings. For an authentic experience of Danish cuisine, visiting one of these eateries is one of the best things to do in Copenhagen.
Smørrebrød restaurants are typically small and intimate, with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients. The dishes are often highly creative, and the presentation is always artful.
But more than anything, Smørrebrød restaurants offer a glimpse into the heart and soul of Danish culture. These restaurants are not just about food – they’re about community, conversation, and connection.
Smørrebrød restaurants can be found all over Copenhagen, and they offer a wide variety of options for both meat-eaters and vegetarians. Whether you’re looking for a light snack or a hearty meal, you’re sure to find something to your liking at one of these eateries.
14. Statens Museum for Kunst
The Statens Museum for Kunst, or SMK for short, is one of the most popular museums in Copenhagen. As Denmark’s national museum for art, it is home to an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art from across Europe.
The museum’s collection spans a wide range of artistic styles and movements, from the early Renaissance to contemporary art. Plus, you can see works by some of Denmark’s most famous artists, including Jens Juel, Christen Købke, and Laurits Tuxen.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of temporary exhibitions, which feature both local and international artists. In addition to its wide range of artworks, the SMK also has a spacious garden that is perfect for a summer picnic.
Whether you are a fan of art or just looking for a place to relax, the Statens Museum for Kunst is definitely worth a visit.
15. Hire a bike or e-scooter to get around
Hiring bikes and cycling around Copenhagen is a great way to explore the city. It’s fun, it’s cheap, and it’s a great way to see the sights. There are plenty of places to hire bikes and the various apps make it easy to get going.
To save your legs the effort and for a bit of extra fun, hire electric scooters to get around. Just make sure you follow all the rules and regulations of using an e-scooter. For example, you must wear a helmet and it’s strictly one person per scooter.
Cycling or scooting is a fantastic way to get around Copenhagen, especially as the city is very flat. You can explore all sorts of different areas, and you’ll get a great workout too.
16. Dine at The Alchemist
The Alchemist is a bucket list worthy restaurant in Copenhagen that offers an unforgettable dining experience. It’s not so much a restaurant as a fully immersive experience.
The 50-course tasting menu (yes, really!) is constantly evolving, and the chefs use only the finest ingredients to create dishes that are both beautiful and delicious. Many of the dishes – or ‘impressions’ as the restaurant describes them – make a statement on the climate crisis and sustainability.
The service is impeccable, and the atmosphere is truly one-of-a-kind. The Alchemist has been awarded two Michelin stars, and it is considered one of the best restaurants in Copenhagen, if not the world.
If you are looking for a truly memorable dining experience, The Alchemist should be at the top of your list.
Copenhagen is a truly remarkable city with plenty to offer discerning visitors. From museums and gardens to beaches and boats, you’ll be spoilt for choice with things to do in Copenhagen.
Looking for more travel inspiration from the Danish capital? Stay tuned for my Copenhagen travel guide, coming soon! If you’re planning a visit, discover hotels in Copenhagen.