9 must-sees in Copenhagen

Photo: Kim Wyon

All capitals have their classic sights - the things you just have to see and do - and Copenhagen is no different. We will guide you to some of Copenhagen's most iconic attractions and experiences, from Nyhavn to Tivoli, Strøget and Amalienborg, so you can tick them off on your list.

Photo: Martin Heiberg - Copenhagen Media Center

Tivoli Gardens: A worldclass amusement park

Tivoli is the most popular attraction in all of Denmark for a reason. Over 4 million visit the park every year and it is not surprising considering how much Tivoli has to offer. Come for the wonderful atmosphere, the wild rides, the restaurants and the concerts. Tivoli is also open during Halloween and autumn holidays, Christmas and New Year and their new winter season in February.

An iconic corner in Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark
Photo: @koblua

Nyhavn: A Danish Classic

The name Copenhagen comes from the words for "Merchant Harbor" for a reason. Nyhavn used to be one of the hubs for the ship merchants of yesteryear. With its colorful facades, Nyhavn is a compulsory stop on the classic list. Although it may be busy with tourists from all corners of the world, finding a place on one of the many outdoor dining venues is usually easy. Sit down and enjoy a sandwich and a cold beer and indulge in some primo people-watching. Christmas time opens with a cozy Christmas market in Nyhavn, the epitome of hygge.


Amalienborg: The Queen's palace

Amalienborg Palace is the Queen's residence in Copenhagen. The palace consists of four separate rococo palaces around a square, two of which are open to the public. One houses a museum where you can view almost 400 years of royal history in the form of paintings and other objects, and in the second you can get a close look at what the Danish royal residence is like on the inside. Do not miss the changing of the guard that happens every day at 12 noon.

The popular shopping street Strøget in Copenhagen
Photo: Ty Stange - Copenhagen Media Center

Strøget: Copenhagen's shopping street

Strøget is the central pedestrian street at the center of Copenhagen's major shopping area. There's everything you could want nearby, from budget options and small independent shops to some of the world's most exclusive brands. The stretches and the many small side streets are full of shops, cafes and restaurants with something for all tastes. If you want to shop for classic Danish design, you can visit Georg Jensen, Royal Copenhagen or Illums Bolighus.


Canal tour: See the city from the water

When the weather is nice, a canal tour is a great way to see iconic sights around Copenhagen. Jump on at Nyhavn or near Christiansborg and follow a tour that takes you past the Opera House, The Black Diamond library and The Little Mermaid sitting on its rock. You continue through Christianshavn's cozy canals, full of houseboats and lined with charming old buildings. 

Rundetårn in Copenhagen
Photo: Daniel Rasumussen / Copenhagen Media Center

The Round Tower: Copenhagen's historic vantage point

The Round Tower, built in the 17th century, is Europe's oldest functioning observatory and is used extensively by amateur astronomers. Once you get to the top via the spiral ramp, you'll see a striking view of Copenhagen from a viewing platform running around the tower. Horses used to drag carts loaded with books up to the university library at the top, hence the spiral ramp instead of stairs.

Rosenborg Castle in King's Garden, Copenhagen.
Photo: Martin Heiberg - Copenhagen Media Center

Rosenborg Castle: A Renaissance gem in the middle of town

Rosenborg Castle is a 400-year-old Renaissance castle located in the center of Copenhagen. In addition to the beautiful exterior and the royal palace park, there is a lot to discover inside the castle. Inside, you can see three life-size silver lions keeping watch, and do not miss the Danish crown jewels that can only be worn by the Queen and only when they are within the borders of the country.


Christiania: Copenhagen's free town

Christiania is a colorful and controversial area in Copenhagen that is definitely worth a visit. The sanctuary was started as a social experiment in the 70's but has survived and is today a popular excursion destination for both tourists and Copenhageners. There are several good cafes and restaurants where you hang for a while and look at the people's life after a walk among the hilarious and odd houses of Christiania.

Please note that some visitors may find Christiania, particularly the area around Pusher Street, to be rough. For your own safety, we recommend that follow the Do's and Don'ts signs up at the entrances and refrain yourself from taking any photos or videos.

Smørrebrød, Aamanns
Photo: Columbus Leth / Copenhagen Media Center

Smørrebrød: Classic Danish Food

We finish this list with a dish that is as iconic as Tivoli or The Little Mermaid, namely the smørrebrød (sounds kind of like "smuurreh-bruuldt"). Try this delicious open-faced sandwich at one of Copenhagen's restaurants for the perfect end to your trip. The hardest part might be choosing where to eat, like the popular Aamanns or at Schønnemanns, one of Copenhagen's oldest restaurants.