Families, couples and backpackers will all find things to do in Copenhagen, a harbor capital with charm, history and vitality

Something old, something new: Copenhagen offers visitors ultra-modern attractions and renaissance elegance. From hands-on museums and fairytale castles to elegant parks and visionary architecture, Copenhagen is perfect for sightseeing on a daytrip or longer.

Those travelling with children will find Copenhagen kid-friendly and packed with family-friendly attractions. Where else has a pleasure park in its downtown district? Tivoli Gardens makes our list with two centuries of old-world charm; more than nostalgia, Tivoli’s magic moves with the times and has concerts, rides and eateries to suit all age groups.

Copenhagen’s most famous icon remains The Little Mermaid: Her disappointingly small stature doesn’t stop hundreds of daily visitors from making the lovely harbor walk (or canal tour) up to her rocky perch.

Castles are plentiful in Copenhagen. While Amalienborg is the royal family’s residence, power base Christiansborg is shared between royalty and the state. Splendid Rosenborg Slot houses the crown jewels - also from the 1600s, the uniquely-designed Round Tower observatory provides one of the best views of Copenhagen.   

Copenhagen has an abundance of excellent museums and art institutions, making it hard to single out just one: We find the beautiful building of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, with its stunning winter garden, makes a hard act to follow. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art meanwhile makes an ideal day trip, located some miles north of Copenhagen.

For those who love to wander around, quayside street Nyhavn makes the ideal pit stop while free town Christiania is a must-see for those interested in alternative lifestyles.  

Freetown Christiania
Photo courtesy of Morten Bjarnhof

Copenhagen's pocket of autonomy and liberal ideology for more than four decades, the Free State of Christiania is one of Denmark's most visited sites. While strictly speaking Christiania is not an attraction and contains no actual sights, this...  Read More

City Centre
Photo courtesy of Dennis Jarvis

Nyhavn may be a tourist trap, but with good reason: On a sunny evening, it's one of the loveliest spots in Copenhagen. With its pretty painted houses clustered around the canalside (most of them restaurants and cafes), it's hard to imagine that...  Read More

Outside the city
Photo courtesy of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

This modern art museum on the coastal road north of Copenhagen is not only one of Denmark's top three contemporary art institutions; it's also the perfect venue for a day out in the country. With no reference whatsoever to the US state,...  Read More

Christiansborg Palace dominates Slotsholmen, where it all started back in the 12th century when Bishop Absalon built a castle in the midst of bogland and herring fishermen. Christiansborg is shared equally by the Danish state and its monarchy...  Read More

Rundetaarn (The Round Tower)
Photo courtesy of Morten Jerichau

The Rundetaarn dates back to 1642 and is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. Built on the orders of Christian IV, it forms one-third of the scholarly Trinitatis Complex, the other two being the university library and church,...  Read More

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Photo courtesy of Kim Nilsson

Arguably Copenhagen's most beautiful museum, the stunning building of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, situated at the back side of Tivoli Gardens, was built at the end of the 19th century by Dahlerup to house the growing collection of brewery...  Read More

Amalienborg Slotsplads
Photo courtesy of Klaus Bentzen

Amalienborg is actually a group of four Rococo palaces built around an octagonal square by royal architect Nicolai Eigtved in the 1750s. Of these, Queen Margrethe lives in Christian IV's palace with her husband, Prince Consort Henrik while Crown...  Read More

City Centre
Rosenborg Slot
Photo courtesy of http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-497325-baroque-castle-of-rosenborg-copenhagen-denmark.php

There aren't many castles that actually look like the trademark Disney one, with fairytale turrets raised high over Copenhagen's other rooftops, but Rosenborg does, and stone lions guarding the entrance, too. This castle was built as the summer...  Read More

Den Lille Havfrue
Photo courtesy of Erling A

The small, unassuming figure in bronze of Hans Christian Andersen's tragic heroine sits patiently on her rock, her head bowed, climbed on by tourists and buffetted by the waves. You might want to hate her, this rather over-rated tourist...  Read More

The raucous cries that emanate from Tivoli Pleasure Gardens can be heard a few blocks away, and the fact that Copenhagen can support such a centrally-located funfair kind of sums up its resident's take on the work-play balance. Tivoli wasn't...  Read More


Meet Jane Graham

After touring most of Europe in her twenties, Jane was charmed by Copenhagen's relaxed tempo and moved there from her native northern England in 1999. Four young children at home has meant...  More About Jane