The Danish capital Copenhagen is one of the most beautiful and pleasant cities in Scandinavia. It is also ideal as a city trip, because you can easily spend two to three days there to discover the many beautiful places and sights. From impressive bridges, parks and castles to cozy squares and streets: you will find it all in this city. Picturesque Nyhavn and the famous Little Mermaid are of course a must for every visitor. Don’t forget to explore one of Copenhagen’s excellent museums. The beautiful castles and the famous Tivoli amusement park are also recommended. What should you see and do in this vibrant city?
- Sights and beautiful places in Copenhagen: what to see and do?
- Amalienborg Slot
- Churchill Park
- The little Mermaid
- Rosenborg Castle
- Museums in Copenhagen
Sights and beautiful places in Copenhagen: what to see and do?
Copenhagen is a pleasant, modern city with a lot to experience. You can enjoy walking or cycling there and there are many museums, castles and other sights. In the summer, many festivals and concerts take place in the many parks and gardens. Just outside the city are the beautiful beaches of Amager and the Danish Riviera.
The city has something for everyone. There is a wide range of activities and attractions. Take at least a day to explore the center and visit beautiful places such as Nyhavn. You can easily spend a few hours in Tivoli. A visit to one of the beautiful castles is also recommended.
The Rådhuspladsen in Copenhagen / Source: Bill Ebbesen, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)
Rådhuspladsen is one of the most beautiful squares in Copenhagen. Tall, impressive buildings surround the rectangular square. In the middle is a small pedestrian island.
Two buildings in particular attract attention. The Palace Hotel has a spectacular facade with large and small towers. But the town hall (Rådhuset) with its belfry is especially worth seeing. Be sure to take a look here for the beautiful view of the city and the harbor from the 105 meter high tower. You ‘only’ have to climb three hundred steps for this.
On the ground floor you will find a striking astronomical clock made by Jens Olsen. It shows the orbit of the planets and calculates the next solar and lunar eclipses very precisely.
Next to the town hall you will see a bronze statue of two trumpet players on the left. To the right of the building is the beautiful Dragon Fountain from 1923. On the square there is also a statue of the famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, sitting with a book. In the small museum at house number 57 you get an idea of his life, work and travels through wax figures, reconstructions and documents.
Strøget is a long street between Rådhuspladsen and Kongens Nytorv (New King’s Square). It runs straight through old Copenhagen and forms the backbone of the city. A walk down this street is a must. You can enjoy shops, restaurants and terraces. There are often also musicians and street artists at work. Along the way you will also discover many beautiful places and sights.
This way you pass Gammeltorv (the Old Square). It is the oldest market square in Copenhagen. In the center is the beautiful Caritas fountain from the seventeenth century. On the other side is Nytorv (‘New Square’) where you can still see the old town hall in one corner.
The Amagertorv square is also beautiful with the Stork Fountain (Storkespringvand) and the Church of the Holy Spirit (Helligåndskirke) in a beautiful, peaceful garden. The church and garden once belonged to a medieval monastery that has now disappeared.
A bizarre tradition in Copenhagen calls for young midwives to dance at the Ooievaarsfontein at the end of their studies. After all, legend has it that storks from Egypt bring the babies.
House of the Holy Spirit
On the corner with Klostergården you come to the House of the Holy Spirit, Copenhagen’s only intact medieval building. It dates from 1296. The beautiful vaulted hall is especially impressive.
Don’t forget to stop at Højbro Plads, a busy square and the historic center of the city. You will often find many street artists here. A nice place to take a breather on one of the cozy terraces! On the square you will notice an impressive statue of Bishop Absalon.
The entrance to the Tivoli amusement park / Source: Elgaard, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)
Tivoli is one of Copenhagen’s most famous sights. It attracts more than four million visitors per year. It is one of the oldest and most original theme parks in the world, located between the famous Hanging Gardens of Tivoli. King Christian VIII had the park constructed in 1843. You will find 38 restaurants and cafes and more than 25 attractions. Concerts often also take place there. Especially in the evening, tens of thousands of lights create an enchanting atmosphere. The park also hosts one of Denmark’s most popular Christmas markets in winter. There is always something going on in Tivoli: shows, fireworks, a summer festival and open-air concerts with major international stars.
Along Købmagergade street you will find the thirty-five meter high Rundetårn (Round Tower). Hans Christian Andersen mentioned the tower in his work ‘The Tinder Box’. King Christian IV had it built in 1642 as an observatory. It is the oldest observatory still in use in Europe. Climbing the tower is definitely worth it, because a spectacular view of Copenhagen awaits you at the top.
According to legend, during his visit to the city in 1716, Tsar Peter the Great ascended the tower on horseback, with the Tsarina in his wake in a carriage pulled by six horses.
Nyhavn, perhaps the most beautiful place in Copenhagen / Source: Witizia, Pixabay
Many tourists consider Nyhavn (the new harbour) to be the most beautiful neighborhood in Copenhagen. Here you will find the famous street that you have probably seen in photos: houses with striking beautiful colors next to the blue water. The famous writer Hans Christian Andersen also lived in this district for a while.
The neighborhood is teeming with cozy restaurants and bars. Nyhavn is the place in Copenhagen to enjoy a drink on a terrace. There are beautiful sailing ships on the water . At the jetty at the end of the harbor basin at Kongens Nytorv square you can take a boat trip on the canals. Cruise lines offering excursions include ‘Netto’ and ‘Canal Tours’.
Amalienborg Castle is one of Copenhagen’s most beautiful sights. You can visit the castle and see the study of King Christian IX and many other beautiful rooms with beautiful furniture. The castle is also the official residence of the Danish royal family.
Changing of the guard
If the Queen is present, the changing of the guard takes place at noon. A beautiful ceremony that attracts many tourists.
Behind the palace, past the Toldbodgade, you will find a garden on the quay with a view of the former harbor. On the other side is the beautiful Operahaus from 2005, designed by the architect Henning Larsen.
Churchill Park is very popular with Copenhagen residents. It is therefore a pleasant park. You will find it north of Amalienborg. The old Citadel (Kastellet) is located in the middle of the park. Reeds and weeping willows surround the moat around this old barracks from the eighteenth century. Along the shore you can also see the beautiful Gefion Fountain. The fountain contains the statue of a woman taming two pairs of bulls.
The famous Little Mermaid / Source: Witizia, Pixabay
The little Mermaid
The symbol of Copenhagen is of course the statue of Den Lille Havfrue (The Little Mermaid). In reality it is a bit disappointing for most visitors. After all, the statue is much smaller than the photos suggest. Moreover, the background with a series of factories and industry is not exactly picturesque.
Yet you cannot visit Copenhagen without seeing the statue. On a rock at the entrance to the harbor, her gaze gazes into the distance. The bronze statue was made by Edvard Eriksen, as a tribute to Andersen and the Danish bond with the sea.
Rosenborg Slot is a beautiful castle from 1633. It has been well preserved. Only part of the moat has disappeared. The Danish king Christian IV had it built as a summer palace. But it kept getting bigger. Eventually the country retreat became a royal residence.
The interior includes a stunning collection of works of art, objects, jewellery, paintings, tapestries and rare furniture. King Christian IV’s study has remained virtually intact. The large hall on the top floor is also very impressive. In the basement you will find a treasury where you can view the crown jewels.
Museums in Copenhagen
Copenhagen has some excellent museums. During your visit to the city you can easily visit one of these fascinating places.
Statens Museum for Art
Art lovers should not miss this museum. There are departments with Danish art, where you can see masters such as Jens Juel and Abildgaard. But other European art is also discussed. The museum has an extensive collection of works by Dutch and Flemish Masters such as Bruegel, Rembrandt, Rubens, Hals and Memling.
This museum is interesting for those who are fascinated by history. The pride of the museum is the section on Danish prehistory. There are many bronze and gold objects, such as the sun chariot from the twelfth century BC found near Trundholm. The Viking period is of course also discussed extensively. You will also discover many objects from antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Children will especially like the separate children’s museum and the halls with toys from yesteryear.
Other museums in Copenhagen
A few examples of other museums in Copenhagen are:
- Teatermuseet: a real royal theater from 1767
- Thorvaldsens Museum: dedicated to Bertel Thorvaldsen, the greatest Danish sculptor
- Tøjhusmuseet: the history of Danish military history from the fifteenth century to the present
- Dansk Jødisk museum: the history of Judaism on Danish soil
- Dansk Design Centre: for those who are fascinated by design and furniture
- Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek: a rich collection of art, mainly from antiquity, including one of the eight gates of ancient Babylon, sarcophagi and Etruscan art
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