As soon as you step foot in Copenhagen, you’ll see immediately why it’s considered the happiest city in the world.
Maybe it’s the plethora of outdoor spaces where people can soak in the fresh air and spend time in the lakes, mountains, and parks. Perhaps it’s the historical landmarks, like the royal castles and stone fortresses that give character to the tree-lined city streets. Or, it’s merely the laid-back atmosphere and sense of contentment that you see on faces of the locals.
Whatever it is, Copenhagen is doing it right. Danes are some of the happiest people in the world – and why would they not be? They live in a city that is overflowing with activities day and night while also remaining peaceful and cozy. And if you’re planning a trip to Copenhagen, you’re making a smart decision! During your visit to this prosperous city, you too can experience life in Copenhagen like a local.
With our curated list of places to visit in Copenhagen, you can explore what the Danish lifestyle is all about. Wander through thousands of years of history, shop for the trendiest souvenirs, and dine on some of the best dishes in Northern Europe. Whether you’re here for a weekend getaway or staying for the whole summer, you’ll love spending time here in Copenhagen!
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Best Places to Stay in Copenhagen
The best thing about staying in Copenhagen is the diverse choices of hotels and hostels. You can find a chic boutique overlooking the canal just as quickly as an upscale luxury hotel. And if you’re on a budget, you’ll be happy to know that there are tons of clean and spacious hostels to choose from too.
And while accommodation in Copenhagen can be quite expensive, remember that you’re paying for quality. Paying attention to all the little details, hotels in Copenhagen are known as some of the cleanest in Europe!
Best Hostel in Copenhagen: Urban House Copenhagen by MEININGER
This award-winning hostel is one of the trendiest and most fashion-forward places we’ve seen in Copenhagen! Stay in a mixed dorm or private ensuite room, and enjoy the best of what the city has to offer. Perfect for a young or solo traveler, the hostel has an on-site bar, billiard and game room, and even a mini cinema theater! And if you’re looking to meet a few new friends, take advantage of the hostel’s bike tours and yoga classes.View on HostelWorld
For more hostel options, check out our Best Hostels in Copenhagen guide.
Best Airbnb in Copenhagen: Bright Private Room
This home is perfect for couples that want to get a cozy, relaxing experience in Copenhagen. The apartment is just as inviting as the host and gives off an organic brightness from the interior to the gateway to the balcony. It’s quiet and near the beautiful canals to go for a dip in. In the room, you can enjoy cooking yourself a simple meal with the kitchenette. Although this is a room in an apartment it is set up very private, nice and spaced out, so you don’t feel like you are in anyone’s space -which is a BIG plus.View on Airbnb
Best Budget Hotel in Copenhagen: Wakeup Copenhagen – Bernstorffsgade
This clean and modern hotel is one of the best places to stay in Copenhagen. Everything is self-service, from the coffee machines in the lobby to the check-in and check-out process. And while the rooms are on the smaller side, they’re spotless, organized, and contain everything you need for a stay in the city.
There is even a shared lounge and high-floor bar with sweeping views of your surroundings. And since you’re only 600-meters from the central station and Tivoli Gardens, you’ll be in the center of it all!View on Booking.com
Best Luxury Hotel in Copenhagen: citizenM Copenhagen Radhuspladsen
Copenhagen is known for it’s sleek and modern design, which is undeniably represented throughout the glamorous citizenM Copenhagen Radhuspladsen! With bright, colorful rooms, and contemporary Danish furnishings, it’s one of the best places to stay in Copenhagen. Each room comes with a futuristic Moodpad, which controls everything from temperature, blinds, lighting, and even the flat-screen TV!
But best of all, the hotel is in the center of everything you want to see in Copenhagen. It’s just a few steps from Tivoli Gardens, City Hall, and Hans Christian Andersen Fairy-Tale House.View on Booking.com
Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Copenhagen:
- Shop until you drop on Strøget, a lively pedestrian street that’s home to everything from high-end designers to high street fashions.
- Explore the country’s rich history at the National Museum of Denmark.
- Dine on creative and delicious Copenhagen cuisine at Restaurant Krebsegaarden.
These are the BEST Places to Visit in Copenhagen!
#1 – Tivoli Gardens
Easily one o the most fun places to check out in Copenhagen!
- The second oldest theme park in the world
- Rides, events, and shows
- Fun for kids and adults of all ages
- Inspiration for Disneyland
Why it’s awesome: Filled with excitement and adventure around every corner, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens is thrilling amusement for the whole family. Built in 1843, it’s the world’s second oldest amusement park. And with 4.6 million visitors each year, Tivoli Gardens is the go-to destination in Europe for rides, concerts, games, and good old fashion fair food. It even served as the inspiration and model for Walt Disney’s Disneyland!
What to do there: We hope you’re ready for an action-packed day, because there are plenty of activities to do in Tivoli Gardens. There are dozens of rides for adults and kids, but nothing as thrilling as Rutschebanen, and 1914 wooden roller coaster. But besides rides, visitors can also watch free pantomime shows, listen to live music and wander through the on-site aquarium. The park also hosts a variety of events and concerts, including ballet shows, jazz festivals, and even marching band performances.
#2 – Strøget
- One of the longest and most influential pedestrian shopping malls
- Shops, boutiques, and stores galore
- Tons of restaurants and cafes
- Central to Copenhagen’s main attractions
Why it’s awesome: Copenhagen’s most popular shopping destination runs down Strøget. Running over 1.1km through the city center, it’s one of the largest pedestrianized malls around! Here, you’ll find a wealth of shops, especially high-end luxury brands. But most impressively, Strøget’s pedestrianization in 1962 was influential to Copenhagen’s culture and led to further pedestrian-only access around the city. And this concept spread beyond Copenhagen! Pedestrian and bicycle-only access is an approach that has been adopted around the world.
What to do there: If you have deep pockets, then you’ll love spending an afternoon shopping down Strøget. From international clothing brands to Danish design pop-ups, Strøget is home to a large variety of shops for every taste. But that’s not all! There are tons of restaurants, bars, and cafes when you need a quick bite to eat. And during the warmer months, you can find street performers like acrobats, musicians, and magicians entertaining the visitors and pedestrians passing through.
#3 – Nyhavn
A beautiful and scenic place to see in Copenhagen!
- 17th-century neighborhood
- Vibrant, colorful homes and antique wooden boats
- Tons of restaurants and cafes
- Visit the homes of Hans Christian Andersen
Why it’s awesome: You’ll feel as if you’ve transported back to the 17th century when you stroll through the waterfront district of Nyhavn. Lined with brightly colored houses and shops, Nyhavn is a laid-back destination for an afternoon visit. You can still spot the old wooden ships bobbing in the harbor, many of which were built between the 1800s and 1900s. Whether you’re coming to walk the canal promenade, or stopping by after visiting the Veteran Ship Museum, you’ll enjoy a few hours in the quaint Nyhavn neighborhood!
What to do there: Grab a cup of coffee or a mid-morning brunch at one of the charming cafes in the area. You might be able to snag a window seat with harbor views! But if you can’t, you should still stroll through the waterfront admiring the old wooden ships that still float in the canal. And don’t forget to stop by the houses marked 18, 20 and 67. There were the different residences of author Hans Christian Andersen from 1845 and 1864.
#4 – Nationalmuseet (National Museum of Denmark)
- Located near Strøget street
- Explore 14,000 years of Danish History
- Exhibits on international archeology and art as well
- Learn about Viking history
Why it’s awesome: Filled with artifacts, items, and documents, the National Museum of Denmark will take you through centuries of Danish history. Fourteen thousand years of history to be exact! Dedicated to the natural science, conservation, and archeology of the country, you could easily spend an entire day wandering through these fascinating exhibitions and rooms.
What to do there: Explore ancient relics from the Viking and Ice Age, admire religious artwork from the middle ages, and learn about the Danish daily life of today. But Danish history isn’t the only thing on display in the museum.
There is also an extensive collection of Greek, Italian, Egyptian, and Near East objects. The highlight of the museum is the Golden Horns, where are reconstructed sculptures modeled after the 400AD Iron Age horns that were excavated. And don’t miss the Chariot of the Sun, a bronze-age disc that depicts the sun being pulled across the sky by a chariot horse.
#5 – Copenhagen Botanical Garden
One of the nicer places in Copenhagen to site see!
- Over 13,000 species of plants
- 27 glasshouses – some are from the mid-1800s
- orchids, cacti, medicinal, and rose plants
- Visit the on-site seed bank
Why it’s awesome: Covering 10 hectares, the Copenhagen Botanical Garden is a blissful escape from the bustling metropolis of the city. Maybe you’re a fan of botany, or perhaps you simply like to walk around a blooming garden. But either way, you’ll love admiring the lush, vibrant in the Copenhagen Botanical Garden. And besides flowers, the garden is known for its historical glasshouses, many of which date back almost 200 years! And best of all, the garden is entirely free to enter and visit.
What to do there: With over 13,000 species of plants, flowers, and trees, the Copenhagen Botanical Garden has something blooming around every corner. The garden is divided into different sections and includes exhibits on Danish plants, perennial plants, and annual plants. But besides the plants, the garden is also home to 27 gorgeous glasshouses.
Visit the Palm House, which at 3,000 square meters large, contains a variety of exotic plants. And, don’t miss visits to the air-conditioned glass house, which re-creates a suitable temperature for arctic species, and the cacti and succulent glass house.
#6 – Rosenborg Castle
- 17th-century Renaissance castle
- Built by Christian IV
- See royal artifacts like thrones, gemstones, and silver
- Walk the beautiful outdoor gardens
Why it’s awesome: For a taste of luxury,stop by Rosenborg Castle, one of the most famous places to visit in Copenhagen. Built in the 1600s as Christian IV’s summer palace, the castle is now a stunning example of Dutch Renaissance architecture. And while the stone, exterior of the building is a sight to see on it’s one, it’s what lies inside that is truly memorizing.
What to do there: As you tour the castle, there are several distinct places that you cannot miss. First is the long hall, which was initially used as a ballroom and royal reception room. At the end of the hall is the regal, coronation chair, where many of the country’s kings and queens would sit and reign. A visit to the castle also includes entrance to the Rosenborg Collections, a museum of artifacts and objects from Danish royal history.
Many of the items belonged to the kings and queens themselves, including 17th-century Venetian glass, dinnerware, and even the crown jewels! Afterward, you can rest in the Rosenborg Castle Gardens, Denmark’s largest and oldest garden.
#7 – Superkilen Park
Quite the quirky place in Copenhagen!
- Urban park development
- Ethnically and culturally diverse park
- Walk a brightly paved pink path!
- Have a BBQ or meet with friends in the Black Market
Why it’s awesome: Step inside a world of urban, artistic development by visiting Superkilen Park in the diverse Nørrebro neighborhood. Spanning 30,000 square meters, Superkilen is comprised of three different areas, each one representing a different theme and color. But besides the large-scale designs, the park is filled with foreign influence. The benches, streetlamps, fountains, and even signs have been collected from over 50 different countries.
What to do there: Depending on what outdoor activities spark your interest, there are a ton of things to do in the artistic center of Superkilen. First, you have the red square, most notable for it’s shockingly neon pink public walkway. Next is the Green Park, a lush park filled with rolling hills and picnic areas. Finally, there is the Black Market, an area made with dark, black asphalt and most commonly used as the public gathering center of Superkilen.
And while you walk through the three colorful regions, you’ll be able to pick out the different artifacts that were curated from dozens of different countries. Try and find the English trash bins, the Moroccan water fountains, and the French utility hole covers!
Quick Note – Staying Safe in Copenhagen
Compared to most European cities, Copenhagen is exceptionally safe for tourists. Some say it’s even one of the safest countries in the whole world! And while it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter any crime or violence during your travels, there are still several safety precautions you should take to ensure a pleasant trip.
Although theft is relatively uncommon in Copenhagen, petty crime can still pose a risk. And similar to any other major city around the world, you should always be aware of your surroundings. That also means keeping an eye on your personal and valuable belongings with in public, and especially in busy, tourist areas.
And while female and solo travelers should pay extra attention to their surroundings, they should also feel safe when traveling through the city. Copenhagen is a progressive and forward-thinking city and welcomes all types of travelers with open arms.
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
#8 – Freetown Christiania
- Liberal and progressive lifestyle
- Yoga and meditation studios
- Open Marijuana shops
- One of the most unique places!
Why it’s awesome: For one of the most unusual things to do in Copenhagen, venture over to the small commune of Freetown Christiania. Created within a deserted 1970s military zone, Freetown Christiania is now home to around 850 residents and is a symbol of progressive and liberal Danish lifestyle. Meditation, farming, and yoga are just of a few of Freetown Christiania’s favorite activities. The locals have even created their own set of rules (separate from the federal governments)!
What to do there: One of the main attractions for tourists in Freetown Christiania is Pusher Street. Here, hash and marijuana are sold from many shop stalls and stands. And while weed is not technically legal, marijuana sales have been openly allowed by the Danish Government for the past 15 years. As the fourth most popular attraction in Copenhagen, Freetown Christiania is a slice of alternative, liberal, and laid-back paradise that cannot be found anywhere else in the world! This is a must for backpacking Copenhagen.
#9 – Bakken Amusement Park
Awesome place to visit in Copenhagen with kids!
- The oldest amusement park in the entire world!
- Started as a destination for clean water in the 1500s
- Dozens of rides and roller coasters
- Completely free to enter.
Why it’s awesome: Often overlooked for the Tivoli Gardens amusement park, Bakken Amusement Park is still overflowing with thrilling rides, entertaining shows, and mouth-watering snacks. And at 550 years old, it’s the oldest amusement park in the entire world! Back then, the grounds were discovered and made famous for its fresh spring water source. Inevitably, this attracted large crowds and soon, entertainers and shop keepers. And over time, Bakken became a popular spot for cabaret shows, circuses, and theme park rides. Now, it’s a bustling attraction that is entirely free to enter!
What to do there: If you’re looking for an exciting day of fun, then Bakken Amusement Park is for you! There are six large-scale roller coasters, several dozen carnival rides, and a handful of live shows. But don’t skip a ride on the Rutschebanen, a 1932 wooden rollercoaster that’s guaranteed to make your heart race! And when you get hungry, you’ll have a variety of dining choices, from classic street food stalls to upscale buffet and gourmet restaurants.
#10 – Rundetårn
- 17th-center observation tower
- Built without stairs – only a winding ramp to the top
- Sweeping views from the observation deck
- On-site observatory
Why it’s awesome: Have you ever climbed all the way to the top of a tall tower…without using the stairs? Well, you can during your visit to the historic Rundetårn! Directly translated to the round tower, the Rundetårn was built by Christian IV in the 17th-century and remained one of Copenhagen’s most unusual landmarks.
Standing 34-meters high, the top of the Rundetårn can be reached by a long spiral ramp that winds through the center of the tower. While stairs may seem like the more practical option, the choice for a ramp is relatively straightforward. It made bringing heavy and fragile equipment to the top of the tower easier!
What to do there: If you’re willing to walk the 210-meter spiraling ramp to the top, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the city from the observation deck. The deck sits high above the rooftops of the city, which means you’ll have unparalleled views of Rosenborg Castle, the Marble Church, Christiansborg Palace, and Copenhagen City Hall.
The Rundetårn is also the site of an observatory, where budding astronomers and general visitors can gaze into the bright, starry night sky.
#11 – Church of our Saviour
One of Copenhagen’s coolest historical sites!
- Winding gold and black spire
- A stunning, ornate altarpiece
- 1920s concert Carillion
- Voted best views in all of Copenhagen!
Why it’s awesome: With its golden spire and singing bell tower, the Church of our Saviour is an impressive Dutch Baroque church from the 16th and 17th-centuries. Marked by it’s vibrant, red and yellow tiles and towering helix spire, it’s one of the most stunning pieces of architecture in the entire city. And most importantly, the views from the top of the spire are outstanding, and were even voted the best views in all of Copenhagen by local residents!
What to do there: Admiring the church and spire from the outside is a must. The external, winding staircase that leads to 90-meters to the top is ornately decorated in a black and gold coat of paint. The church is also known for its Carillion, or bell towers, which is the most extensive system in all of Northern Europe. And on the inside, the altarpiece is also a beautiful masterpiece. The rose, gold, and blue curves depict a scene from the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is being comforted by several, large marble angels.
#12 – Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
- Sculpture art museum
- Antique and modern exhibits
- Come to a classical concert day!
- Thousands of paintings as well
Why it’s awesome: Art lovers will enjoy a relaxing visit to Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an art museum with some of the most impressive sculptures and statues in the country. With over 10,000 works of art, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek contains Egyptian, Greek, Roman, French, and Danish sculpture exhibits. And if you happen to visit during an event day, you’ll have the opportunity to see the auditorium, which is often used for classical concerts and performances.
What to do there: As you explore the gardens and rooms in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, you can’t miss the following fan favorites. The Hall of Roman figures depicts larger than life Roman gods and emperors. The Egyptian collection contains 2,000 pieces of ancient artifacts, like mummies! And while the main focus of the museum is on the sculptures, there is also an extensive painting collection. You’ll find French Impressionist, Danish Golden Age, and Post-Impressionist pieces in the museum.
#13 – Amager Strandpark
One of the most underrated places to see in Copenhagen!
- Located on the artificial Amager Island
- Outdoor activities for the whole family
- Kayaking, swimming, picnicking, skateboarding
- On-site swimming pool
Why it’s awesome: When you need a break from the city, head to Amager Strandpark, Copenhagen’s blissful beach! Located on the artificial island of Amager, this 2-kilometer long beach park is full of fun, outdoor activities. One side of the island is scattered with white, sandy dunes, and is the perfect spot for relaxing or sunbathing. The other side is a shallow lagoon, where you’ll find plenty of families and leisurely swimmings enjoying the warm waters. Just be prepared for the water to be a little chilly. After all, you are in Denmark!
What to do there: There are tons of fun activities to participate in on Amager Strandpark. It’s the perfect destination for running and walking, as several trails lead around the island. You’ll also find kitesurfers and kayakers in the water, cruising around the lagoons in the early spring and summer. And when the heat sets in, you can take a dip in the water. The shallow pools and waves make it an ideal spot for families and swimmers!
#14 – Carlsberg Brewery
Cool place to see in Copenhagen with friends!
- Headquarters for Carlsberg beer
- Take a guided tour or eat at the restaurant
- Visit the beautiful sculpture garden
- Try Carlsberg beer, straight from the tap!
Why it’s awesome: While Copenhagen might not be known for its beer, the city is still home to one of the most popular breweries in the world. At Carlsberg Brewery, you can explore the headquarters and first location of this detectible Danish brewing company. Founded in 1847, the brewery produces the classic pilsner, a special brew strong lager, and even an Elephant beer! If you’re a beer fanatic, or simply craving something refreshing during your trip to Copenhagen, don’t forget to visit the Carlsberg Brewery!
What to do there: To really see the workings of a real brewery, try to score tickets with a guided tour. Here, you can learn about this history of the beer and even enjoy a few samples at the end! The brewery is also home to the largest unopened beer collection in the world, with 22,000 bottles stacked from floor to ceiling. And when you feel like venturing outside, you can walk through the on-site sculpture garden, which displays some of .C. Jacobson’s (Carlberg’s founder) private art collection, and the stable, home to a several furry and friendly Carlsberg horses!
#15 – Torvehallerne Market
A must-see for foodies!
- Dozens of delicious food stalls and booths
- Try local Danish dishes
- Shop for culinary souvenirs
- Sample fresh produce and locally sourced ingredients
Why it’s awesome: No vacation would be complete without sampling some of the local and delicious delicacies! At Torvehallerne Market, you can find all sorts of Danish and international specialties. Situated inside two large, glass halls, the market is the perfect destination for a late-morning breakfast or brunch. There are over 60 different stalls serving everything from fresh produce and aromatic spices to juicy meats and gourmet desserts.
What to do there: Come hungry, because you’ll want to eat, eat, eat at Torvehallerne Market! For those who are eager to sample some Danish cuisine, try and open-faced smørrebrød sandwich with your favorite deli toppings. Or, taste the fresh and crispy fried fiskefrikadelle, or fish cake. And if you’re looking for a unique souvenir, you can pick it up at Tovehallerne Market. They sell packable chocolates, teas, wines, and spices to take back home!
#16 – Copenhagen Opera House
- National opera house of Denmark
- Located opposite the main castle Amalienborg
- Buy tickets for an upcoming concert
- Explore the surrounding areas
Why it’s awesome: Nestled right on the banks of Holmen Island, the Copenhagen Opera House is one of the most famous places to see in Copenhagen. Not only is the modern architecture equipped with the latest theatrical advancements, but it’s also one of the most expensive theaters in the world, costing over $500 million to build. With one main stage and five smaller auditoriums, it can seat up to 1,700 guests and aims to provide world-class views from every angle in the house.
What to do there: The best way to see the opera house is by watching a performance or show from the audience. Whether you’re listening to a symphonic concert or watching a live ballet performance, you’ll be able to see the magic of the theater how they were meant to be seen. But if you are in Copenhagen during the off-season, don’t worry! You can still book a tour of the auditoriums and even the backstage rooms of the opera house!
Get insured for your trip to Copenhagen!
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We hope this list gives you an overview of what amazing things there are to see and do in Copenhagen. From the second you hop off the plane, you’ll have a variety of activities and experience at your fingertips! One thing we want you to be aware of is the Copenhagen Travel Cost. The city isn’t the cheapest, especially if you don’t plan ahead and set up the right travel budget.
History and architecture buffs can explore the historic landmarks and royal palaces scattered throughout the city. Art lovers will enjoy the vast variety of museums, from ancient paintings to contemporary sculptures. And outdoor enthusiasts will love the lush, green parks and gardens where they can escape the bustle of city life.
But most of all, we hope you get the opportunity to live a bit more like the locals in Denmark. With a passion for culture, and thirst for travel, and a friendly, open mind, you too can be as happy as the people of Denmark!
Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going.
Need More Inspiration?
- Backpacking Scandinavia Travel Guide • Norway, Finland, Sweden, & Denmark
- 12 Best Hostels in Copenhagen • Kickass Denmark Travel Guide
- Where to Stay in Copenhagen – Hidden Gems
- 27 FUN things to do in Copenhagen on ANY Budget
- Best Airbnbs in Copenhagen
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Writer and Editor, Ana Pereira is a California native, inspired by Earth exploration and introspection. Recently, she spent several months exploring Africa and South Asia. She spends most of her “down-time” out in the wilderness, climbing, hiking, and beyond, and is feverishly passionate about travel and health.