10 Best Tours and Excursions in and around Copenhagen

With its compact size, its canals and its cycle paths, Copenhagen is ideally suited to a wide range of sightseeing tours, either independently or with a guide. Sightseeing buses and canal boats take visitors around the city's major sights throughout the year - including hard-to-get-to attractions like The Little Mermaid and the Opera House - with audio guides in a wide variety of languages and most operating on a hop on, hop off schedule. You set the pace and you can even buy a combi ticket for both bus and boat.

Those feeling like something more active can try seeing Copenhagen like the locals do - from the seat of a bicycle on a 'Bike Copenhagen with Mike' tour. Alternatively, Running Tours of Copenhagen are becoming increasingly popular, while more specific tours include the self-guided tour of the old Carlsberg brewery run from the Carlsberg Visitor Centre or even a spooky nighttime tour from

Day trips from Copenhagen are easy to make if you have the time, either on a guided bus excursion around north Zealand's historic castles or independently using Denmark's excellent train connections. Thanks to the bridge, a daytrip to Malmo in Sweden couldn't be easier, while the attractive city of Odense on Funen is a must for any fans of storyteller Hans Christian Andersen.   


City and Harbor Tour
Photo courtesy of

Combine two different sightseeing tours in one day, at your own pace, by buying a combi ticket for the Hop on, Hop off bus and canal tours of Copenhagen. Take in the city's palaces and museums by bus and then feel a cool breeze in your hair as you take in the rest of the city from the sea. The bus makes 12 stops, the boat 14, many of which are the same - you choose which direction you want to make your visit from.

Local Expert tip: Bus and canal tours run all year round - though with more departures in high season.

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City Centre
Photo courtesy of arranges guided night-time tours of Copenhagen's spookiest spots: Clad in long capes with a lamp in their hand, the suitably creepy guides reel off hair-raising tales of poltergeists and restless souls as they lead you around the Danish capital. Tours include the chance to go inside one of the city's most haunted houses and a visit to a forgotten, hidden cemetery. Tours in English are available for private groups only, to be booked in advance (min. charge DKK 1700 for up to 17 people). Private tours include tours for kids or dinner (at a sutiably haunted restaurant) followed by a ghost tour.

Local Expert tip: Copenhagen by night can be a spooky place - if you want it to be.

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Outside the city
Photo courtesy of Andrea Lai

Despite living in the shadow of neighboring Copenhagen, Malmö is a destination in its own right, with an attractive old town area combined with a dynamic harborfront that includes architectural wonders like the Turning Torso (pictured). Easily reached from Copenhagen on a daytrip thanks to the Øresundsbroen - the train takes just 45 minutes - shoppers can get more out of the Swedish kronor and enjoy the hospitality and easy pace of Swedish culture. Malmö has its own, smaller version of Copenhagen's walking street Strøget, a large pedestrian square (Gustav Adolfs Torg) and the charming old town of Gamla Västera, home to some cute craft stores. There is also Folkets Park, numerous cultural attractions, including Malmö Konsthall, Malmö Opera and a new museum of modern art, the Moderna Museum - an offshoot of the internationally-renowned museum of the same name in Stockholm. For summer sunseekers, there are also plenty of attractive beaches situated along the coast on either side of the city.

Local Expert tip: Try heading to Malmo over the bridge and returning via Helsingborg-Elsinore via boat.

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H. C. Andersen Tour to Odense
Photo courtesy of Kevin Andersson

An ideal daytrip idea for all lovers of fairytales is a tour to the Funen city of Odense, childhood home of H.C. Andersen, where you can visit the H.C. Andersen Museum and the storyteller's childhood home, as well as a number of other well-preserved buildings Andersen frequented. Check out Odense's online tourist information service for plenty of inspiration on how to follow in Hans Christian Andersen's footsteps, including an app for iPhone and Android. Odense also has an open-air museum village, a modern art museum (Brandts) and lively center with shops and cafes; easily enough activities to spend a whole day here. Odense is well-connected to Copenhagen by direct train and the journey time is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Local Expert tip: Note that both the Andersen museum and house are closed on Mondays.

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Outside the city
Zealand Castle Tour
Photo courtesy of Palace and Properties Agency

A six-and-half-hour bus tour from central Copenhagen to the castles of north Zealand, running from Apr to Sept. The tour heads first to Hillerød and Frederiksborg Castle, home to Denmark's Museum of National History (entry included in tour price). There is a quick photo stop outside Fredensborg Palace, home to the Danish crown prince couple, surrounded by idyllic Esrum Lake, before the chance to enjoy a walk around the bastions of Hamlet's famed castle at Kronborg, after which the tour returns to Copenhagen along the scenic coastal road. This tour is arranged by the same business as other sightseeing bus/canal tours in Copenhagen and leaves from Axeltorv at 10.15am daily in high season and on weekends Oct-Apr.

Local Expert tip: Take in all of the major Zealand castles in one day.

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Running Tours Copenhagen
Photo courtesy of Running Tours Copenhagen

Raise your pulse, train your body and throw in a whole load of sightseeing with a guided running tour of Copenhagen, with longtime runner and Copenhagen resident Troels as your guide. Tours range from the 8km, 90-minute grand tour of Copenhagen to a lsightly shorter 6km run, a nighttime tour and even a pub run that includes liquid refreshments along the way. Tours can be booked by email or phone and are cheaper if you book as a group - all start on the City Hall Square, Rådhuspladsen. Running Tours Copenhagen is a member of Global Running Tours and has had excellent reviews on Lace up your running shoes and try some active sightseeing.

Local Expert tip: Try a guided running tour of Copenhagen - then head out on your own.

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Bike Copenhagen with Mike
Photo courtesy of Mike Sommerville

Get off the well-worn tourist trail and experience first-hand the unique bike culture of Copenhagen with born-and-bred Copenhagener Mike Sommerville. Bike Copenhagen offers a choice of five leisurely cycle tours, plus private made to order tours--mainly daytime and one evening--that enable everyone, regardless of age and fitness, to enjoy Copenhagen's history and architecture in a more eco-friendly and relaxed way. The 2.5 hour, 8 mile daily city bike tour runs at 10.30am virtually all year round and again at 2.30pm Apr-Oct), except when Mike is vacationing (check website for details) though dress warm and be prepared for cold weather and possible cancellations! Other tours run in summer months only, and all start at the downtown Sankt Peders Straede address. You don't need to be an amazing cyclist, and bikes are provided.

Local Expert tip: Bike Mike's rule - talking is done at specific talk stops along the way.

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Hop On - Hop Off Bus Tours
Photo courtesy of City Sightseeing

The city sightseeing buses are 'Hop On, Hop Off' so you decide how much of the tour you want to include and board just as you would a regular bus. The approx. 1 hour tours run all year round and has frequent departures throughout the day (more in high season), starting from outside the landmark Radisson Blu Royal Hotel (opposite Tivoli Gardens and a stone's throw from the city's tourist office), though you can board at any of the stops, including one that departs from outside the cruise ship dock. Buy the ticket from the bus driver as you board or in advance, online or at the tourist office. The classic, hour-long Mermaid tour on the well-known red double decker bus tours the city's best known sights, including the Little Mermaid, while the modern green bus tours are designed for guests who want to see the city in a short space of time.

Local Expert tip: Audio guides available in Danish, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Russian, and Swedish.

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Carlsberg Visitor Centre is basically a 90-minute self-guided tour through two centuries of brewing history in 10,000 sq.m of former production halls and includes a visit to the stables--though the dray horses only pull the brewery carts for show these days--as well as to the peaceful Jacobsen's Garden, with its collection of sculptures. It ends on the first floor of the Jacobsen brewhouse in the centre's bar, where you can exchange the vouchers handed to you at the beginning of the tour for a beer or soft drink of your choice. Worth visiting even if you're not interested in beer, simply to learn more about fascinating arts patron and entrepreneur Carl Jacobsen. With the exception of the small Jacobsen brewhouse, brewing no longer takes place on the premises, and instead Carlsberg Byen is being developed as a cultural quarter. Children are welcome when accompanied by an adult.

Local Expert tip: A fascinating tour that comprises far more than just beer, including magical old architecture and even the brewery's drayhorses.

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A canal boat is a great way to get around Copenhagen as well as the perfect means to take in some sightseeing. Two companies offers boat tours in Copenhagen, Canal Tours Copenhagen and the blue Netto Boats. The sightseeing boats of Canal Tours Copenhagen depart at regular intervals from a number of stops, most notably Nyhavn, and offer both self-guided tours and ones with onboard tour guide (languages offered include Danish, English, Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish). While the shortest tours take you around the city's harbor, a longer trip takes you out to the island of Trekroner Fort, part of Copenhagen's 19th-century defensive ramparts. Cultural collaborations are also offered, with jazz tours and opera tours during Copenhagen's numerous summertime cultural festivals.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: See Copenhagen from a quite different perspective with a sightseeing tour by water.

Local Expert tip: A hop-on, hop-off canal tour enables you to visit a number of sights around canals and harbor, all on the same ticket.

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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