The best tourist attractions in Copenhagen: Your ultimate guide to the Danish capital’s best sights

Copenhagen is one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, and you’ll struggle to run out of things to do if you happen to find yourself in Denmark’s capital for a few days. But with so much to explore, how do you narrow down the best tourist attractions in Copenhagen so you can see the bulk of them?

Denmark’s largest city has centuries of history that you can feel as you walk along the pretty cobblestone streets or along the waterfront. But these days, Copenhagen is about more than just cute colorful houses that belong on the front of chocolate boxes; more modern attractions have also emerged in recent years.

Regardless of what you’re interested in, you’ll find a whole host of things to see and do in the Danish capital. To help you plan your trip better, we’ve compiled our ultimate list of the top tourist attractions you should see in Copenhagen.

Nyhavn

Let’s start with perhaps the most obvious of our Copenhagen attractions. Iconic Nyhavn is the starting point for many tourists on their Danish adventure, and you’ve almost certainly seen this beautiful harbor in the majority of articles you’ve read — or videos you’ve watched — about the city.

Nyhavn has a lengthy history, dating back to the 17th century. In the olden days, it was one of Copenhagen’s less-polished areas — and well-known for numerous hedonistic activities that took place in this quarter.

Since then, it’s been spruced up significantly and is probably the most desirable spot in the entire city. The district has had some pretty famous residents in the past, notably the iconic Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen — who lived in two houses here during his time on this planet.

Today, Nyhavn is pleasant enough if you do nothing but stroll around. However, you’ll also find a wide selection of bars and restaurants — though we should warn that prices can be pretty high.

One nice thing about Nyhavn is that the locals love it just as much as the tourists, and you’ll hear plenty of Danish being spoken throughout the day. On a summer’s day, the best thing you can do is join the locals with a can of beer and sit alongside the waterfront.

If you want to take a boat tour around the city, you can also join these at Nyhavn. To get to the harbor, hop on the metro to Kongens Nytorv and walk away from the main shopping street.

You can find our guide to Nyhavn here. And you can take a boat tour along the main harbor and adjoining canals, depart from Nyhavn.

Tivoli

Tussling with Nyhavn for the top spot on our list of the main attractions in Copenhagen is Tivoli. This amusement park is, put simply, fantastic.

Throughout the year, Tivoli has several themes that add an extra something to your experience. Arguably the best time to go is in fall when the park is decorated with pumpkins and other pretty earthy colors. Winter is equally as magical, though, even if it’s a little chilly.

In addition to the rides, which you’ll need to pay extra for, you can enjoy fine dining at several restaurants in Tivoli. The amusement park has a pretty extensive food hall featuring some of the city’s most popular establishments.

Even if you’re not interested in thrills or food, Tivoli is worth the entrance fee just to walk around. Evenings are the most magical time to visit, even if it does get a little crowded.

Tivoli is right next to Copenhagen Central Station, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding it. A standard entry ticket costs 145 Danish Kroner, and an annual card is priced at 399 DKK. The amusement park closes intermittently throughout the year; check before your visit to ensure that it’s open.

Book your ticket online, here.

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is a must-see tourist attraction in Copenhagen. And it’s a must-see for one reason: to say that you’ve seen it. That’s pretty much all there is, though.

The statue is one of the Danish capital’s best-known sites and attracts countless tourists year-round. After braving the rain and wind along the waterfront, they find a minuscule figure perched on top of a rock with a swarm of tourists surrounding it. Think Mona Lisa, only outside, raining, and 3D.

Over the years, the Little Mermaid statue has been vandalized several times. Previous incidents include sawing body parts off and throwing paint over it. However, we’re pleased to report that the current version is still in one piece — and we hope it is for your trip.

The Little Mermaid is in Østerbro, which is one of Copenhagen’s inner-city neighborhoods. To get here, you can walk in a northerly direction from Nyhavn; it’ll take you around 30 minutes, but it’s a very pleasant walk when the sun is out.

Alternatively, you can take the train or metro to Østerport station and walk. Mamorkirken metro station is another alternative, and so is the harbor bus; for the latter, you’ll need to get off at Nordre Toldbod.

You can learn more about the Little Mermaid here.

Magstræde

Copenhagen has no shortage of picturesque backstreets, and arguably the most famous (and pretty, for that matter) is Magstræde. This is one of the oldest parts of the city, and it feels surprisingly quaint when you consider that it’s right next to a couple of busier roads.

Magstræde is roughly five centuries old, and people still live in the houses that line both sides today. The street is also home to Gorm’s, which is one of the Danish capital’s best-known restaurants.

In a notoriously expensive city, Magstræde happens to be one of the best free things to do in Copenhagen — so if you’re traveling on a budget, you’ll probably find it of particular appeal. It’s also right next to Copenhagen Downtown Hostel, so you might want to consider using that as a base on your visit.

To get to Magstræde, you can either take the metro to Rådhuspladsen or Gammel Strand. From both of them, it’s a pretty straightforward walk. You can come at any time, but remember to be respectful of the people living in the houses there.

Rosenborg Castle

One thing that many tourists notice when they first visit Copenhagen is how many castles and churches there are. One of the prettiest is Rosenborg Castle, which is just a stone’s throw away from Nyhavn and Kongens Nytorv.

Rosenborg Castle dates from the 17th century and is built in a distinct renaissance style. When you visit, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ve suddenly been transported across Europe to another bike-crazy country: The Netherlands.

The castle is located in Kongens Have, which is one of Copenhagen’s many broad green spaces. During the summer, this is a fantastic place to kick back with a few friends and enjoy a picnic or some drinks. Walking around the outer area is free; there are military barracks behind, which you cannot take photos of.

If you want to explore the castle’s interior, you can do this too; tickets are very affordable. Normal entry costs 125 DKK, and students can get a slight discount — knocking the amount they owe down to 80 DKK.

You can also buy combined tickets where you also tour Amalienborg Palace (more on that in a moment), along with annual passes if you plan to stick around.

Rosenborg Castle is a short walk from Nørreport station.

Rundetårn

How does walking up a spiraling walkway to take in a view of Copenhagen from above sound? Disorienting?

Personally, we would say pretty fun.

One of the coolest attractions in Copenhagen is Rundetårnet, which translates to English as the Round Tower. That’s pretty much what it is from the outside — a tower that happens to be round.

When you go in, however, the magic happens. Its interior is very picturesque, and you can stop by on the way to the top to enjoy a few exhibitions and a quick trip to the toilet. As you make your way up, you can also get a taste of what you’re about to see from the various window holes peeking out to different corners of the city.

When you get to the top of the Round Tower, you’ll be greeted with a wonderful view of Copenhagen from all corners. You’ll be able to see all the way over to Sweden, along with watching planes land at Copenhagen Airport. Once you’re at the top, you can stay as long as you want — as long as you come back down before closing time.

Entry to the Round Tower is pretty affordable and will only set you back 40 DKK. It’s open daily from 10:00 to 21:00; if you want to catch a killer sunset, winter is the best time to visit when the days are short.

The Round Tower is on Købmagergade, which is a short walk from Nørreport station.

Christiansborg Palace

Up until recently, skyscrapers were almost non-existent in Copenhagen. And even to this day, the number of tall buildings is thin on the ground. So much so that Christiansborg Palace, one of the oldest structures in the Danish capital, remains one of the highest too.

Christiansborg Palace is a building you’ll be very familiar with if you’ve watched the hit Danish TV series Borgen (and if you haven’t, you should probably change that sometime soon). In real life, the Danish Prime Minister works here too — but did you know that you’re allowed inside?

At the top of Christiansborg Palace, you’ll find an observation deck that overlooks Copenhagen from over 100 meters. Compared to the Round Tower, you’ll get an even better view — though you should definitely include both of them on your itinerary.

Entry to the observation deck at Christiansborg Palace is completely free. You can also check out various rooms inside, though you’ll need to pay for these — and you can do so at the palace. There are also several organised tours you can book.

Even if you don’t go inside, Christiansborg Palace is well worth a wander around at ground level. At its base, you’ll find a large courtyard with distinctive alleyways that are excellent for keen photographers. On top of that, you’ll find another garden worth strolling around if you go down one of the side-alleys at the foot of the building.

To get to Christiansborg Palace, your best transport option is the metro to Gammel Strand. It’s also an easy walk or bike ride from the city center, though.

BLOX

So far, we’ve mainly covered some of Copenhagen’s older attractions. So, we figured that it was time to let one of the new kids on the block take center stage. BLOX is an iconic waterfront structure right next to Lille Langebro and within view of Copenhagen’s city hall.

BLOX has several facilities, including a gym owned by the popular Scandinavian chain SATS. If you have a little cash to splash, you can also rent an apartment here for a pretty hefty monthly fee.

However, the main reason that tourists would visit — unless you’re trying to beat your personal best on your squat — is for the Danish Architecture Center. Here, you can discover why this small land in the north has managed to become such a powerhouse in design.

The Danish Architecture Center is worth visiting for adults and kids alike. You’ll find a range of exhibitions throughout the year, along with a playground outside and a café with a great view over Copenhagen.

Entry to the Danish Architecture Center costs 115 DKK for adults; children up to 17 years old go for free. Students and people aged between 18 and 25 can get a discount, with their tickets costing 60 DKK.

To get to the Danish Architecture Center, you can cycle for a few minutes from the city center. Alternatively, you can get the metro to Rådhuspladsen and walk.

Amalienborg Slot

London has Buckingham Palace, and Copenhagen has Amalienborg Slot. Denmark and the UK share more in common than a love for beer and football; they both have a Royal Family, and the Danish version is very well-loved here.

For most of the year, the Danish Royal Family lives in Amalienborg Palace. If you want to learn more about the history of Denmark’s monarchy and marvel at the interior, you can purchase entry tickets for 125 DKK or 80 DKK if you’re a student. Like the Danish Architecture Center, everyone up to 17 years old goes for free.

Outside, Amalienborg Palace is pleasant for a quick walk around. If you come here at midday, you can watch the changing of the guards without paying; you might also notice them walking through Copenhagen on their way to the palace.

To get to Amalienborg Palace by public transport, you can get on the metro to Marmorkirken. From there, it’s right behind the iconic Marble Church.

Botanical Gardens

Oddly enough, one of the main attractions in Copenhagen can be pretty easy to miss. We’re talking about the Botanical Gardens, which is beautiful on both the inside and out.

Inside the palm house, you’ll find a broad collection of plants from all around the world. One particularly interesting quirk is that you can find a greenhouse indoors with air conditioning, making it possible for plants that grow in the Arctic to live.

Even if you don’t go inside, you can walk around the outdoor gardens for free. Here, you’ll find plants from across the globe as well — though we should note at this point that you’re not allowed to bring pets.

If you want to go inside, tickets to the palm house cost 60 DKK. Getting here is pretty simple; the gardens are right behind Rosenborg Castle. So, your best options transport-wise are Nørreport station or Kongens Nytorv.

Nyboder

One of Copenhagen’s most unique features is the number of centuries-old houses that you’ll randomly find in various corners of the city. Nyboder is one of the most beautiful and peaceful quarters, and it’s sandwiched perfectly between Østerbro and the inner city.

Nyboder is a row of houses that dates back to the 15th century. These homes were originally designed for housing sailors and their families and have kept their exclusive vibe ever since then. Today, this corner of Copenhagen is one of the most desirable — and getting a home here is extremely difficult if you don’t know someone.

You’re allowed to walk around the area at all times of day, but again, you must remember that people live here — so you should be respectful and not make too much noise. If you want to learn more about the district, you can visit the Memorial Rooms on Sundays between 11am and 2pm.

To get to Nyboder, the best option is Østerport station. Both the S-train and metro run here; from the station, it’s a short walk down towards Marmorkirken.

Strøget

Depending on your viewpoint, Strøget is a blessing and a curse. It’s the best place in the city to go shopping, and it connects the main square to Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn. But on the other side of things, the street can get pretty crowded — especially on weekends.

Nonetheless, Strøget is one of the top tourist attractions in Copenhagen. The street is lined with stores featuring some of the world’s most famous brands, including a huge LEGO shop. Towards the end of Strøget, you’ll also find ILLUM — one of the most exclusive department stores in Denmark.

ILLUM is a great place to go shopping for Scandinavian clothing brands, and you can enjoy the chaos from above by grabbing a spot on the rooftop. Right next to ILLUM is the HAY House, which is the flagship store for Denmark’s best-known design brand.

All along Strøget, you’ll find several bars and restaurants to accompany the shops. During the weekends, much of the crowd will be tourists — be prepared to hear multiple Swedish accents!

To get to Strøget, you’ve got a wide range of options. You can get the metro to either Gammel Strand, Kongens Nytorv, or Rådhuspladsen. From any of them, the street is within walking distance.

Freetown Christiania

One of the most interesting quarters of Copenhagen is Freetown Christiania. This community has been ongoing for five decades and has featured in international headlines on more than one occasion.

The exact number of people living in Freetown Christiania is unknown, but estimates put the number between 850 and 1,000. Inside, you’ll find a mixture of housing styles — along with a lot of pleasant nature for you to take in.

Freetown Christiania is perhaps best known internationally for marijuana. However, it’s nowhere near as common to sell the drug here as was previously the case — and if you choose to, you should remember that possession of it is illegal in Denmark.

The area is well worth a walk around, but you should remember that photos inside are not allowed in some cases without prior permission. If you’re in doubt, ask. And regardless, you should never take pictures of people buying or selling marijuana.

To get to Freetown Christiania, hop on the metro to Christianshavn. From there, it’s a short walk.

You can learn more about Freetown Christiania here.

Christianshavns Kanal

Christianshavn is one of Copenhagen’s most iconic districts, and these days, it’s also one of the most desirable to live in. The neighborhood was inspired by the Canals of Amsterdam; to this day, it maintains a distinctively Dutch look and feel.

Christianshavns Kanal is nowhere near as touristic as Nyhavn, but it’s still one of the must-see Copenhagen attractions. Here, you’ll find plenty of colorful houses with the beautiful Vor Freslers Kirke rising dominantly in the background.

Right next to Christianshavns Kanal, you’ll also find the first-ever Lagkagehuset — one of Denmark’s most famous bakeries, which has since gone global. If you’re from the US or the UK, you might know of it as Ole and Steen.

To get to Christianshavns Kanal, you can walk or bike over the bridge from Nyhavn. Alternatively, get on the metro to Christianshavn station; it’s a few hundred meters away.

Find out more about Christianshavn here.

Copenhagen is a tourist’s dream

So, there you have it. Here’s our list of the best tourist attractions in Copenhagen! Truth be told, we could have gone on for a while longer — but we wanted to make sure you had a digestible amount of information that you could then use to determine which are the absolute must-see places in the Danish capital on your visit.

Throughout Denmark’s largest city, you’ll find a wealth of dynamic experiences — ranging from food to culture and everything in between. It’s no surprise whatsoever that Copenhagen’s stock increases every year, driven by its creative population and an approach to living that more cities should emulate.

The best tourist attractions in Copenhagen are varied, but that’s not all there is to see in this area. Just across the water from Copenhagen is Sweden, where you’ll find its intriguing third-largest city Malmö.

In recent years, it has become much easier to travel between Denmark and its Nordic neighbors, and many people commute daily across the border.

If you’re looking for an international day trip, why not read up on how to get from Copenhagen to Malmö?

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