Tourist attractions in Copenhagen

Attraction Notes Details & rating
Amalienborg Why go?4 Rococo palaces built around an octagonal square, this is where the current royal family live. One of the palaces is open to the public.

How to make the best of it?

Take some time to have a look round the square, the new garden that is along the canal front, and look along the Golden Axis on which the square, the Marble Church and Opera House lie along.

Visit Christian VIII’s Palace, which is open all year round.

The square is lovely, great to watch the guards and enjoy the views. The palace is probably strictly for the royalists – it was ok, but not riveting. So we’d recommend a walk but leave the palace unless you really are interested in Rococo and royalty.mid rating from us.

Open every day in Summer. 70kr, under 17s free

Marble Church(Marmorkirken) Why go?Stunning church that was originally going to be built out of Norwegian marble (it wasn’t!)

How to make the best of it?

When you’ve had a look round inside, sit down and look at the ceiling – very lovely. Tours into the top of the dome everyday at 1pm and 3pm – be prompt – they won’t wait!

Then walk around the outside and look at the statues.

Very quiet, peaceful and spiritual – this is a real church and although they welcome visitors, they ask for silence. A lovely place to catch your breath and appreciate beautiful architecture.Top rating from us.

(A word about the statues outside – don’t think of Dr Who!!)

National Museum Why go?Copenhagen doesn’t have a city museum, but this is the history and culture of the Danes from prehistoric times to now.

How to make the best of it?

Take a map and audio guide from the front desk and unless there is something you especially want to see, head for The Danish Middle Ages and Renaissance on the 1st floor, and then the Stories of Denmark on the 2nd floor. If you have children under 12 – make sure you go to the children’s museum on the ground floor – fab!

Quite an eclectic collection – all things Danish and then a load of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities. This is a very traditional museum and we rather liked finding hidden treasures.It’s free, so you feel it’s ok just to have a quick run round. On that understanding, it gets a top rating from us.
Canal Tour Why go?The canals are very much a part of this city. A real life person guides the tours – so you get commentary about what you’re actually in front of! Different perspective & lots of information about the influence of the sea o the city.

How to make the best of it?

The tours go from Nyhavn and they are not all the same! Check the itinerary, prices and length of time. Try to get as close to the guide as you can – that way you’ll hear and be able to ask questions easily. If it’s not really really hot, take a coat or jumper – it’s always much colder on the water!

We tried out the cheaper tour that lasted 70 minutes. (Havnerundfart) It was great! You stay near the main part of the City and get lots of interesting snippets of information about the buildings and the Danish Navy. Sit on the right hand side of the boat if you want the best views of the little mermaid statue. Top ratings from both of us
Slotsholmen Why go?This is the island that Copenhagen started from. There are several important buildings and interesting things to see here – not least the fabulous architecture.

How to make the best of it?

Although it sounds remote, it’s actually quite hard to see that this is an island! From the map you can see that it is surrounded by water. Lots to see, but if you’re pushed for time go for the Ruins under the Palace which give a great insight into the castles and battles for Denmark through the years. Then visit the stable museum and you might be lucky and see the horses or the carriage drivers practicing.

We’ll agree that this doesn’t sound exciting, but the ruins in particular are fascinating! Well displayed and labeled it’s interesting and really helps you access the story of Copenhagen.Top ratings from us.

40dk for the ruins, 20dk for the Stable Museum

Closed Mondays

NY Carlsberg Glyptotek Why go?‘Glyptotek’ means collection of sculpture – which is what this is! This is a stunning building, huge collection of sculpture along with a very well respected collection of paintings from Denmark’s ‘Golden Age’ and an excellent collection of French impressionists and post impressionists.

How to make the best of it?

Collect a map and start off from the Winter Garden to look at the sculptures, then head upstairs for the painting collections. You can take photos (without flash) and you can make drawings and sketches.

Sue loved this as she really likes sculpture. She also thought the building was lovely – airy, big, loads of natural light. Shame the staff were so spectacularly unhelpful – perhaps they were having a bad day? Russell less enthused with the downstairs but very impressed by French art collection.Top rating from Sue, mid from Russell.

60dk, under 18s free.

Closed Mondays

HC Anderson Museum Why go?Home city of HCA, this museum aims to celebrate his stories.

How to make the best of it?

It’s organised so that you follow a route along which are scenes as if they were from Selfirdges Christmas windows with the story either playing on a tape of written out.

Sue says don’t go!! This is a soulless activity that manages to de-lovely-fy some of the best children’s stories ever written! Low rating from her. Russell says she’s exaggerating and whilst it’s not great, he thinks children might like it and gives it a mid-rating. (but what does he know??)
Statens Museum for Kunst(National Art Museum) Why go?This is Denmark’s National Gallery and has a fabulous collection of art.

How to make the best of it?

It’s huge, so you won’t see it all, but make sure that you look at Sculpture Street which joins the two buildings together, have a look at rooms 217 and 201 which have the most enormous number of pictures on the walls, and then look at the connections draw between the rooms that surround these two – a really interesting way of curating the gallery.

We really enjoyed this because it made us think! The museum is organized through connections which helps the non-artist to start to understand eg Rubens and his religious pictures are connected to Motensen who’s work is about emotion and spirituality through the abstract. Both make use of colour and form to put their work together.Top rating from us!
Rosenborg Slot Why go?Fairy tale style castle, surrounded by the Kongens Have park, this is atmospheric and interesting. Various rooms are open to the public, the crown jewels are kept here. The park is an attractive mix of formal and informal gardens.

How to make the best of it?

Do the palace first – it’s quite small, and the rooms are lovely. Move on to the crown jewels and then take a walk around the park. Look out for the guards changing over – you’ll hear the flute before you see them if it’s the afternoon!

The palace is very interesting and it is all so very pretty, and the grounds are like a proper old fashioned park – trees you can climb, lots of grass for sitting on and then formal gardens for sitting in too.Top rating from us!
Rundetarn(Round Tower) Why go?Great views from the top – wide spiral ramp to walk up to get there. Exhibitions at the top and on the way.

How to make the best of it?

Take time out form the shopping to have a look up here – it used to be the observatory for Copenhagen and also held the library where Hans Christian Anderson wrote some of his stories. Take time to visit the church next door – very pretty.

It’s a long way up, but Russell says it’s worth it for the view – and regular savvy readers will know how he feels about heights!The church is worth a visit – clean lines, calming and restorative.

Behind the tower are the little independent shops run by artists – quirky and different.

Open top bus Why go?Hop on, hop off – goes from the cruise port and covers the main sites, with an audio guide.

How to make the best of it?

If you get on at the cruise port, you’ll be able to get back without worrying about transport. There are 3 tours with the Classic one stopping at the cruise dock – this will take about an hour, but has a good range of stops.

Usual domestic over this – Sue loves them and we did this on our first trip to Copenhagen. The audio isn’t bad either. Russell says we could get on a local bus, have more of an adventure and spend less money!Top rating from Sue, low from Russell
Design Museum and SAS Hotel Why go?If you’re looking for examples of scandanavian design, then the lobby of the SAS hotel is known as an example of iconic 60s design. The Design museum has a changing range of exhibits.

How to make the best of it?

These are both small and really only of interest to those really into design. If you are – then you’ll want to look round both thoroughly.

Usually we’d be raving about this sort of thing, but not this time. SAS hotel is just a hotel lobby where they’ve made a feature of not re-decorating and the design museum is too small. Low rating from both of us.
Nyhavn Why go?The brightly coloured houses and picturesque canal scene are pure Copenhagen. This is a bustling street of boats, bars and restaurants.

How to make the best of it?

Walk up and down the cobbled streets, pick a café that you like the look of, or go round the corner and get an icecream to bring back – then sit and watch the world go by!

This ended up being our base camp! It’s easy to find and is a great place to use as a landmark. Lovely atmosphere whatever time of the day or night. Expensive restaurants, but our experience was that the food was good.Top rating from both of us.
Stroget Why go?The man shopping street of Copenhagen – from department stores, to exclusive designers, to mainstream – this is a lovely area to explore.

How to make the best of it?

Make sure that you visit at least on of the department stores – Illum is a lovely one, and then wander. Royal Copenhagen lets you have a go at flatware painting in its upstairs showroom. If there is still a bit of chill in the air, the cafes provide fleecy blankets for you to snuggle in when you sit outside. Follow Stroget all the way down to the City Hall and you’’ meet the street entertainers.

It’s shopping! How bad can it be?? We really liked the mix of shops, and found that if you wander down the side streets you start to find more unusual shops. The Copenhagen shop was fun – the instructors are very patient and when we visited they were desperate for someone to join in!Top rating from both of us. This is a lovely shopping area.
Tivoli Why go?This was where Walt Disney got his idea from! Tivoli holds a million memories of childhood for Danes & is a vital part of Copenhagen.

How to make the best of it?

It’s expensive to get in, so make sure you have 2-3 hours to spend in there. Get hold of the map and see what takes your fancy!

Russell has been here and said it was very pretty, beautifully put together and a surprising number of apparently good quality places to eat and drink.Top rating from him.