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Copenhagen attractions

Top Copenhagen sights

Split by lakes and surrounded by sea, an energetic and hip waterside vibe permeates Copenhagen (København). It’s one of Europe’s most user-friendly (and trendy) capitals. Zip around the city on a bike or sit back and relax in a boat while you take in the sights.

  1. Stroll around superb Tivoli
  2. Explore the art scene in Copenhagen
  3. Discover Copenhagen’s peaceful Botanical Garden
  4. Explore Norrebro, a trendy area of the city
  5. Visit the Little Mermaid
  6. Tuck into a tasty Danish pastry

Copenhagen is a welcoming, compact city with a centre largely given over to pedestrians (and cyclists). There’s an emphasis on café culture and top-notch museums by day, and a thumping live music, bar and club scene by night. So get booking your next break to one of the top Scandinavian cities.

1. Stroll around superb Tivoli

Tivoli is the one of the most famous Copenhagen tourist attractions. It’s an entertaining mixture of landscaped gardens, outdoor concerts and fairground rides. You’ll probably hear it before you see it, thanks to its high perimeter walls and the constant screams from the roller coasters. On a summer evening when the park is illuminated by thousands of lights and lamps reflected in the lake, it’s one of Scandinavia’s most magical experiences.

Best for: Outdoor fun

While you’re there: Make sure you visit the National Museum, which has excellent displays on Denmark’s history.

2. Explore the art scene in Copenhagen

Founded by Carlsberg tycoon Carl Jacobsen, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is Copenhagen’s finest classical and modern art gallery. There’s a knockout selection of Greek and Roman sculpture on the first floor as well as some excellent examples of modern European art, including Degas casts, Monet’s The Lemon Grove and works by Gauguin, Van Gogh and Danish Golden Age artists like Eckersberg.

Best for: Art lovers

While you’re there: Conclude your visit with a slice of delicious cake in the café beside the delightfully domed winter garden.

3. Discover Copenhagen’s peaceful Botanical Garden

The Botanisk Garden is dotted with greenhouses and rare plants. It’s one of the most impressive Copenhagen attractions and is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon in the city. The neighbouring National Gallery has bright and spacious galleries holding a vast collection of art, from minor Picassos to major works by Matisse and Titian.

Best for: Nature and culture

While you’re there: If you’re looking for more art visit the Hirschsprung Collection. It holds a collection of twentieth-century Danish art.

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4. Explore Norrebro, a trendy area of the city

Norrebro is crammed with some of Copenhagen’s best cafés, shops, bars and clubs, mostly centred on Sankt Hans Torv. The Barcelona club is a top place to enjoy plenty of cocktails. Caution is advised, particularly at night: but it’s home to most of Denmark’s most happening hangouts and the resplendent Assistens Cemetery . It’s a tranquil cemetery which locals use as a park in summer, and that has Hans Christian Andersen among its permanent residents. Looking for Copenhagen holidays? Book ahead in the summer when the city can get busy.

Best for: Feeling like a local

While you’re there: For another trendy spot, Vesterbro is full of fun art galleries, bars and restaurants.

5. Visit the Little Mermaid

Just north of the Kastellet, a star-shaped fortress with five bastions on a corner overlooking the harbour, sits the Little Mermaid, a magnet for tourists since her unveiling in 1913. A bronze statue of the Hans Christian Andersen character, it was sculpted by Edvard Eriksen and paid for by the founder of the Carlsberg brewery. Over the years she’s been the victim of several attacks, having her head and arms chopped off and even being blown up by a bomb in 2003 - and also spent much of 2010 at Shanghai’s Expo - but she remains the most enduring symbol of the city.

Best for: Essential sightseeing

While you’re there: Don’t miss the Christiania area. It’s full of art galleries, cafés, restaurants and music venues.

6. Tuck into a tasty Danish pastry

The Danes take their bakeries seriously and you’ll see them all around Copenhagen. The range of loaves and pastries on offer is almost intimidating, but staff will happily advise. As well as rundstykker and flaky pastries, most bakeries offer affordable sandwiches. Conditori La Glace is Copenhagen’s oldest confectioner (dating to 1870) and is an essential stop for cakes and freshly made hot chocolate. This is the top Copenhagen sightseeing experience for foodies.

Best for: A taste of Denmark

While you’re there: Other specialities worth seeking out include the tasty and classic røget sild (smoked herring).

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