city break in COPENHAGEN – cozy and crazy

Copenhagen has many sides that can be explored even in a short city break: Romantic castles and crazy neighborhoods, the oldest amusement parks, and modern art. And the Copenhagen Card allows exploring at a very reasonable price.

Christiansborg castle in Copenhagen on a city break
Danish as can be: The iconic Christiansborg castle with its highlight, the royal reception rooms.

Scandinavia is beautiful: There are modern cities and cute little towns, rambling woods, broad sand beaches along the Northern Sea (which is actually part of the Atlantic Ocean), and the Baltic Ocean.

And where there is water, there are islands; actually Scandinavian countries consist of many islands – and the most rugged one is Denmark.

Germany is actually the only neighboring country from where it’s possible to get to Denmark without wetting your feet. You can cross a practically non-existent border North of Flensburg. I once took a hike in a forest close to Flensburg and came accidentally out in Denmark – different language and more importantly different currency. I had to pay for a small bottle of water and ice cream by credit card.

This changed a bit in 2015 when many refugees came to Europe and Denmark and Sweden began to control their borders.

Going to Copenhagen: The journey is the reward

Anyway, if you are going to Copenhagen from Germany, it’s much nicer to take the ferry – it makes the journey so idyllic.

Ferry from Putgarden to Denmark when going on a city break in Copenhagen
On the ferry from Putgarden to Denmark: You probably won’t get stuck in traffic.

When you are driving or taking the Flixbus or take the train from Germany, you can cross a bridge to the island of Fehmarn and take the ferry at the harbor of Puttgarden on Fehmarn’s Northern tip.

All passengers are requested to get out and spend the crossing on deck – actually for security reasons, but who wants to sit in a moving garage with no windows when you can spend an hour watching the waves roll, hearing the seagulls scream and smelling the salty air of the sea!?

Another hour travelling on land and you reach Denmark’s capital.

Copenhagen has over 602,000 inhabitants who share a little over 86 square km resp. a little over 33 square miles. It is connected to Malmö in Sweden by the Øresundbridge.

If you chose to fly in, Kastrup airport is about twenty minutes from the main station, trains are going every couple of minutes. Copenhagen’s strong suit is not only its beauty, but it’s mainly its diversity. It’s a city of so much history and so many stories – very old and just recent.

But Copenhagen is also a Scandinavian capital, and that’s synonymous with neck-cutting prices. All the more surprising that – while it’s really difficult to tighten your belt when it comes to lodging and food – you can easily save a lot on a fun, diverse, and cultural program: Get the Copenhagen Card as soon as you arrive and forget about fares and entrance fees for your entire stay!

Copenhagen Card and other great deals

You can get very far with Copenhagen Card – metaphorically and literally speaking: Whether you chose the 24-hour card, a 48-hour card, a 72-hour card or a 120-hour card, you can use all public transport like trains, busses, harbor busses, and the Metro in the entire Copenhagen Region – even from and to the airport. There is an adult card that starts at 57 €uro for 24 hours and costs up to 135 €uro for five days. Kids between 10 and 15 years of age pay about half, two children under 10 are included in an adult card.

While unlimited mobility is already great, the variety of attractions to choose from will simply blow you away: There are 83 attractions to visit! Even if all of them were in the center of Copenhagen, I bet that even in five days you couldn’t manage to see them all.

I don’t know you, so obviously I don’t know what you are mainly interested in. I’m mainly interested in art, but also in history and traditions. Therefore I introduce the places I’ve visited. Fortunately, the Copenhagen Card People have a really good and informative Website where you can get information on more sights that I possibly don’t care too much for.

If you don’t have that much time to spend in Copenhagen (which would be a pity), the ticket for the Parkmuseerne, the six museums in the park area might be a better deal. For DKK 195 resp. 31 USD you have free admission to The Hirschsprung Collection, SMK – National Gallery of Denmark, Natural History Museum of Denmark and Rosenborg Castle, 10% discount on publications at The David Collection, and a free cinema ticket to ordinary film screenings at The Cinematheque.

Gardens and Parks

Of course, a walk through Copenhagen’s manicured parks like Kongens Have (a rather French style) and Østre Anlæg (rather English) is free.

However, a visit to the famous amusement park ‘Tivoli’ right across from the main station is not free at all. Built in 1843 as one of the first amusement parks worldwide – and mind you the very oldest one is in Copenhagen, too: it’s the much less known Dyrehavsbakken (no wonder it’s less popular – try to pronounce this name…). Anyway, Tivoli counts today with 23 fairground rides and 37 different restaurants, furthermore theaters, a small lake, and more.

Tivoli at Copenhagen on a city break
Whoever is looking for amusement: Here’s the main entrance.
(Photo: Tivoli)

I’m not into amusement parks at all and I’m even less into amusement parks from 1843, but about 4 million visitors per year prove me wrong.

However, entrance to the ‘Tivoli’ is included in the Copenhagen Card, but none of the rides. Still, especially when you have a little spare time before your train is due, you can spend it at the ‘Tivoli”s garden instead of the station’s arrival hall.

Tivoli 
Vesterbrogade 3
1630 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 15 10 01
Email: info@tivoli.dk 

Opening hours: Please check their website for the date you need – there are so many variations that it would make a too-long list. Thank you for your understanding.

Castles and Fortresses

Amalienborg

Although Amalienborg should be Copenhagen’s most important castle since it’s actually the Queen’s and her family’s home, it’s the most unadorned of them all.

Amalienborg castle in Copenhagen on a city break
Unspectacular Amalienborg palace.
(Photo: Thomas Hoyrup Christensen)

Its four residences were built between 1750 and 1760. One part is a museum and can be visited, but if you don’t have time to visit too many sights, I would rather visit Rosenborg for the unique wooden decoration and Royal Reception Rooms at Christiansborg Palace if only for the at first crazy carpets by Bjørn Nørgaard describing in bright colors Denmark’s history.

 If you have much time and happen to be a royalist, be my guest at Amalienborg (or of course rather the Queen’s guest…).

Amalienborg Slot 
Christian VIII’s Palæ
1257 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 15 32 86

Opening hours: Please check their website for the date you need – there are so many variations.

Christiansborg

This castle, although it’s not the royal family’s home, is actually at least as interesting as Amalienborg and most importantly the building looks much more like we imagine a castle.

It has a quite wild – and hot! – history: Today’s building was built only from 1907 to 1928, yet it’s already the fourth castle since the very first one, built by bishop Absalon in 1167, was destroyed in fights in the 15th century. The following two castle buildings burned down in 1794 resp. 1884.

Library at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen on a city break
I could easily live with a library like this one.

Since 1918 Christiansborg castle houses the Danish parliament. Some parts can be visited whereby the Royal Reception Rooms, which are used for official occasions, are the most interesting part. They are richly adorned with furniture and decorations. Some were rescued from the two earlier palaces.

The most surprising are the tapestries by Bjørn Nørgaard, depicting scenes from Danish history, but in colors and style that you would not expect in such a venerable place.

The Royal Reception Hall at Christiansborg in Copenhagen on a city break
The grand hall with the unusual tapestries by Bjørn Nørgaard.
The Royal Reception Hall at Christiansborg Copenhagen on a city break
There are charts with very thorough descriptions of each of the tapestries explaining the depicted scenes and portraits.

Besides the Reception Rooms, there can be visited the royal stables, the royal kitchen as well as the ruins of Absalon’s castle underneath Christiansborg Palace.

Christiansborg Slot
Prins Jørgens Gård 5
1218 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 92 64 92
Email: christiansborg@natmus.dk 

Opening hours: Please check their website since the hours to the various parts of the castle differ.

Rosenborg

This Renaissance castle, built from 1607 to 1617, was the summer residence of King Christian IV. It houses the Danish royal treasure chamber. Since 1833, this building is a museum, housing highly interesting pieces of furniture and decoration such as the ivory throne and the three silver lions whose replicas are exhibited at the Victoria&Albert museum in London.
Also Christian IV and Christian V golden crowns can be admired.

Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen on a city break
At Rosenborg, surrounded by a manicured garden, we are getting much closer to a fairytale-like appearance of a structure.

The painting collection includes portraits of Johan Friedrich Struensee, physician of the insane King Christian VII, and lover of his wife Queen Caroline Mathilde. Thusly secretly governing the country for almost two years, Struensee was arrested and executed in 1772.

Rosenborg Slot 
Øster Voldgade 4A
1350 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 15 32 86

Opening hours: Just like Amalienborg, I kindly ask you to check their website for specific dates and hours since there is a long list.

Towers and Outlooks

Rundetårn

The Rundetårn to me is a mix between a fortress and a tower. It’s a remarkable structure: 34,8 m high and its lookout can be reached over a 209 m long corkscrew landing with no steps.

Rundetarn in Copenhagen on a city break
Walking up in circles…
Rundetarn in Copenhagen on a city break
…enjoying the view on the adjacent alleys.

The lookout was built from 1637 to 1642. Adjacent to the Rundetårn is the Trinitatis Kirke, the Trinity Church Sankt Petri Kirke that has been the German community’s parish church. Built in 1586, it’s Copenhagen’s oldest church.

Rundetårn 
Købmagergade 52A
1150 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 73 03 73
Email: post@rundetaarn.dk 

Opening hours: Here again – a broad variety of different hours…to be checked on their website.

Vor Frue Kirke 

I personally urge you to visit the classicist Church of our Lady, Copenhagen’s cathedral, if only for the gorgeous statues by famous sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen – we get to him later.

Vor Frue Kirke Copenhagen on a city break
The gang is all here: Jesus blessing and the apostles to his left and right – a mesmerizing sight.
(Photo: Peter Stevens / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nordique/)

Vor Frue Kirke – Københavns Domkirke 
Nørregade 8
1165 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 15 10 78
Email: kontor@domkirken.dk 

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 8.30 a. m. to 5 p. m. (Friday closed from 10.30 a. m. till noon) Sunday noon to 4.30 p. m.

Vor Frelsers Kirke

Our Saviour’s is another tourist magnet mainly for the 400 steps there are to climb to the top.

Vor Frelsers Kirde Copenhagen on a city break
For me: The horror!
For over 60,000 brave climbers each year: Great fun!

While the first 250 are inside the tower, the last 150 are outside…and the higher you get, the tighter are the steps: Welcome to 90 glorious meters above street level! But you are really, really close to Our Saviour who is standing on a golden globe.

Vor Frelsers Kirke
Skt. Annæ Gade 29
1416 København

Open daily 10 a. m. to 4 p. m. (Sunday 10:30 a. m.)

Rådhus

…and yet here comes another opportunity to get all dizzy and nauseous: climb up the 300 stops from street-level to the tower and you find yourself on one of Copenhagen’s highest building up about 106 meters.
Either freak out – like me, or enjoy the fantastic view – like everyone else.

Since it’s actually the town hall, public opening hours are pretty restricted: You can on go on the tower Monday to Friday at 11 a. m. and 2 p. m. and on Saturday at noon.
Guided tours in English are available Monday to Friday at 1 p. m. and on Saturday at 10 a. m. and in Danish Monday to Friday at 10 a. m. and 3 p. m. and on Saturday at 11 a. m.

Rådhus
Rådhuspladsen 1
1599 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 66 25 86
Email: rundvisning@okf.kk.dk

Børsen

My favorite tower is the tip of the stock exchange: four dragon tails twisted around each other.

Boersen Copenhagen on a city break
These dragons are all tails and toes.
(Photo: Daniel Rasmussen) 

You’ll find Børsen, one of the most eclectic buildings in Copenhagen, right in the neighborhood of Christiansborg castle.

Built by King Christian IV in the early 17th century it was used as a commodity exchange and was thusly one of the first European exchanges.

The building has been owned since 1857 by the chamber of commerce and is not open for tourist visits. However, its various rooms and halls can be rented for special occasions.

Painting and Sculptures

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek 

Mr. Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914) was a good doer. Not only did he brew beer, no, in addition, he also founded the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, a museum with a great collection of ancient and modern art.

Wintergarden at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen on a city break
The Glyptotek’s elegant center is the lush
Wintergarden right behind the entrance hall.
(Photo: Morten Jerichau)

Apart from about 10,000 artworks, the building itself is a highlight – mainly the beautiful winter garden right adjacent to the entrance area where you can just listen to the fountain and enjoy the sight of lush plants – or have a light snack at the ‘Café Glyptotek’.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek 
Dantes Plads 7
1556 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 41 81 41
Email: info@glyptoteket.dk 

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a. m. to 6 p. m. (Thursday to 10 p. m.)

SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst 

The National Gallery of Denmark SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst), located next to Nørreport station, is Denmark’s largest art museum.

Robert Smithson (1938-73), Eight-Part-Piece (Cayuga Salt Mine Project), 1969 at the SMK in Copenhagen on a city break
Mimi and I reflected in Robert Smithson’s Eight-Part-Piece (Cayuga Salt Mine Project).
I was very brave – or maybe reckless – to hold a phone over the mirror (= ooops, slippery hands…)
Kirsten Justesen: Omstaendigheder/Circumstances at the SMK in Copenhagen on a city break
Kirsten Justesen Omstӕndigheder/Circumstances

It houses a permanent collection of Danish and international art from the past seven centuries and organizes many interesting special exhibitions.

Modern Danish art from the 19th century at the SMK in Copenhagen on a city break
Modern Danish art from the 19th century.

I particularly like the sinister, a little depressed Danish impressionism by Krøyer, Hammershøi and their contemporaries.

SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst
Sølvgade 48-50
1307 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 74 84 94
Email: smk@smk.dk

Opening hours Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a. m. to 5 p. m. (Wednesday to 8 p. m.)

Den Hirschsprungske Samling

The Hirschsprung Collection is even more focused on Danish art from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its focus lies on the Danish Golden Age and the melancholic Skagen painters showing the hardship of life on the Northern shores.

Den Hirschsprungske Samling in Copenhagen on a city break
Small, yet very complete: Housing Heinrich Hirschsprung’s collection of Danish artists.
(Photo: Den Hirschsprungske Samling)

Whether Købke, Krøyer, or Hammershøi, besides their great talent, these artists allow you to peep into Danish households of the poor and the wealthy alike.

Den Hirschsprungske Samling
Stockholmsgade 20
2100 København
Phone: + 45 – 35 42 03 36
Email: dhs@hirschsprung.dk

Opening hours Wednesday to Sunday 11 a. m. to 4 p. m.

Thorvaldsens Museum

I already mentioned superstar Bertel Thorvaldsen above: Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) was one of the many classicist artists who had found their artistic cradle in Rome, and that he was an important part of this artists’ circle prove many paintings depicting him either working on his sculptures or celebrating life with his peers.

Bertel Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen on a city break
Follow the leader: Guided tour with Jesus at the Thorvaldsen Museum.
(Photo: Christian Alsing)

The museum that houses a nice collection of his statues and friezes was opened in 1848 as Denmark’s first museum. Its size and decoration alike are quite impressive.

Thorvaldsens Museum
Thorvaldsens Plads 2 1
213 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 32 15 32
Email: thm@thorvaldsensmuseum.dk

Opening hours Tuesday to Sunday 10 a. m. to 5 p. m.

Ethnics and Cultures

The Worker’s Museum 

Although this museum is probably one of the less popular with the tourist crowd, I like it a lot. When travelling I always enjoy getting a feel for the destination’s everyday life, and this museum allows in a very cute and entertaining way to approach the Danes next door.

Worker's Museum Copenhagen
Great fun also for kids to see how people used to live before there was an iPhone.
(Photo: Arbejdermuseet)

Besides a permanent exhibition with old gear and tools from the past century, there are also temporary shows of very Danish topics.

I personally recommend a visit, it’s not very big, anyway, and it’s of course included in the Copenhagen Card.

The Worker’s Museum 
Rømersgade 22
1362 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 93 25 75
Email: info@arbejdermuseet.dk 

Open daily from 10 a. m. to 4 p. m. (Wednesday to 7 p. m.)

The Danish Jewish Museum 

Jewish Danish Museum Copenhagen
Winding, claustrophobic architecture which is
common to all Jewish museums designed by
Daniel Libeskind
(Photo: J. Bitter/M. Bredt – bitter bredt fotografie)

The Danish Jewish Museum in Copenhagen presents Jewish life in Denmark through 400 years. The venue was designed – like many Jewish museums such as the one in Berlin and also the Felix-Nussbaum-Haus in Osnabrück/Germany – by star architect Daniel Libeskind.

Like at all these venues, the building’s layout and conception are in close dialogue with the exhibition itself.

Especially interesting and very touching is the section about the rescue of the Danish Jews from Nazi prosecution during WWII: The Danish resistance movement managed to evacuate 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews together with their 686 non-Jewish spouses across the sea to neutral Sweden. Sadly an exceptional rescue.

The Danish Jewish Museum 
Proviantpassagen 6
1218 København
Phone: + 45 – 33 11 22 18
Email: info@jewmus.dk 

Open Tuesday to Friday 1 p. m. to 4 p. m., weekend noon to 5 p. m. (June to August Tuesday to Sunday 10 a. m. to 5 p. m.)

Freetown Christiania 

Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen on a city break
I hardly miss an occasion to play the fool.

Since 1971, ‘Freetown Christiania’ is a world-famous ‘alternative’ neighborhood project at the Christianshavn district.

It is spread over 34 hectares (0,13 square miles) on the former Bådsmandsstrædes-barracks and includes the historical embankment.

The Burghers of Christiania consider themselves living in an autonomous freetown: The project was initially started as an angry answer to the housing crisis, it is a hippie initiative and a squatter movement – including all advantages and disadvantages; and of course a tourist magnet.

Christiania (Main Entrance) Prinsessegade/Bådsmandsstræde 43
1407 København
Phone: +45 3295 6507 (Information), +45 21 85 38 78 (Guided Tours)
Email: nytforum@christiania.org (Information), bestilling@rundvisergruppen.dk (Guided Tours)

Daytrips and Excursions

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art 

Louisiana - Giacomett
Whether inside – enjoying the huge collection of
sculptures by Giacometti….
(Photo: Ty Stange)

A day trip that almost everybody does is a ride to the extraordinary Louisiana Museum of Modern Art – extraordinary for its exhibition as well as for its location: 35 km North of Copenhagen, it is located in a huge garden on the shore of the Øresund, the sea between Denmark and Sweden, so that even families with small kids can spend the entire day.

You can look at the amazing art collection of over 3,000 modern works – completed by temporary special exhibitions, you can have a snack at the cafeteria or your own picnic on the lawn – or you sit on the rocks and watch the sea.

…or outside overlooking the sea or admiring one of
Calder’s mobiles – everybody loves Louisiana.
(Photo: Kim Hansen/Louisiana Museum)

Louisiana is a dreamy place for everybody, and that was Knud W. Jensen’s intention when he founded the venue in 1958.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art 
Gammel Strandvej 13
3050 Humlebæk
Phone: + 45 – 49 19 07 19
Email: mail@louisiana.dk

The venue is open Tuesday to Friday from 11 a. m. to 10 p. m. and on weekends to 6 p. m.

ARKEN Museum of Modern Art 

Getting to the ARKEN Museum of Modern Art is a bit of a drag, but I find it’s absolutely worth it, especially on a nice day. It’s located in Ishøj, and while the trip there by train is no biggy, to continue to the beach where the ARKEN is located can result in a long walk along the freeway since bus 128, which takes you there, runs only every half an hour.

Arken Museum in Copenhagen
Already the museum building is an attraction in itself: it’s a ‘stranded ship’ just meters from the beach and the sea.
(Photo: ARKEN Museum of Modern Art)

Besides special temporary exhibitions, they pride themselves to have really outstanding pieces by Damian Hirst, Ai Wei Wei, and Grayson Perry, to mention only the most famous and eclectic.

The Walthamstow Tapestry
Copenhagen sure has its share of crazy tapestry:
Grayson Perry The Walthamstow Tapestry
(Photo Anders Sune Berg)

ARKEN 
Skovvej 100
2635 Ishøj
Phone: + 45 – 43 54 02 22
Email: info@arken.dk 

Opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. (Wednesday to 9 p. m.)

Frederiksborg Palace 

Like Louisiana, Frederiksborg palace, apart from Rosenborg castle my favorite ‘slot’ (castle), is also situated north of Copenhagen, namely in Hillerød. This palace, surrounded by a lush garden, was built by King Christian IV – like Rosenborg castle – in the renaissance style at the early beginning of the 17th century.

Frederiksborg Palace
…and yet another dreamy ‘Slot’: Majestic Frederiksborg is housing i. a. the Danish Museum of National History.
(Photo: Klaus Bentzen)

Since 1878, it houses The Museum of National History, and walking through the beautiful rooms, thoroughly arranged and decorated, is an encounter with many important epochs of Danish history.

Particularly impressive is the castle’s chapel.

Frederiksborg Palace
Møntportvejen 10
3400 Hillerød
Phone: + 45 – 48 26 043 9
Email: dnm@dnm.dk

Opening hours

April to October: Monday to Sunday 10 a. m. to 5 p. m.

November to March: Monday to Sunday 10 a. m. to 3 p. m.

Big extra in Summer: The Palace can be reached by the ‘Little Ferry’ that sails ”Denmark’s most beautiful nautical mile” on the castle lake.

Sailing season: May 12 to September 17 daily from 11 a. m. to 5 p. m. (Sundays from 1 p. m.) every 30 minutes from three piers Hillerød Torv, Rosenhaven, and Baroquegarden approximately every 30 minutes.

Slotssøen 
3400 Hillerød
Email: info@partrederiet.dk

Roskilde Cathedral 

Today, Roskilde, located 30 km west of Copenhagen, is mainly famous for its wild rock festival.

But I, being an elderly lady not splashing in the mud flashing my private parts at rock festivals, I am rather amazed by the cathedral which is for good reason on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Roskilde cathedral
Roskilde Cathedral, the Danish kings’ and queens’ final resting place.
(Photo: Martin Heiberg)

The variety of graves is amazing. It was built in the 1170s by bishop Absalon – see also the above section on Christiansborg castle. Since then, the cathedral has been rebuilt several times.

Since the Reformation, all Danish kings and queens have found their final resting place here.

Roskilde Domkirke 
Domkirkepladsen 3
4000 Roskilde

Opening hours: April to September daily from 10 a. m. to 6 p.m. (Sunday from 1 p. m.) October to March daily from 10 a. m. to 4 p.m. (Sunday from 1 p. m.)

RAGNAROCK

Once in Roskilde, honor the tradition of rock music and make your trip complete by visiting RAGNAROCK, a new venue focussing on music and youth culture.

Roskilde
With the young crowd, Roskilde is rather famous for wild rock’n’roll than for kings’n’queens.
Fair enough that the relatively new music museum pays tribute to this tradition.
(Photo: Thomas Hoyrup Christensen)

RAGNAROCK 
Rabalderstræde 16
4000 Roskilde
Phone: + 45 – 46 31 68 54

Ragna rocks Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. (Wednesday to 10 p. m.)

Roskilde Museum 

Like I already explained above, I love to learn and get in touch about everyday life, and the Roskilde Museum focusses exactly on that: customs, culture, and history of Roskilde, the country’s first capital, since the times of the Vikings.

Roskilde Museum 
Sankt Ols Gade 18
4000 Roskilde P
hone: + 45 – 46 31 65 29
 Email: roskildemuseum@romu.dk 

By the Waters – On the Waters

Not only is Copenhagen located on an island shore, but it also has canals and lakes. So visiting Copenhagen is almost impossible without getting on board:

Canal Tour 

Taking the Canal Tour, which I really recommend, is the perfect way to get a good overview of the city – and at the same time get to see many of the most important sights.

Nyhaven Copenhagen
One part of Copenhagen not to be missed: The historic streets along the Nyhaven.

Just look around, listen to the guide and note which churches, castles, and other sights you are interested in to come back later and visit them on your own.

There are various tours, but the one that’s included in the Copenhagen card is the one that starts at ‘Gammel Strand’ (Ved Stranden).

But before you hop on the boat, don’t miss out on strolling up and down the Nyhaven with its colorful buildings today housing mostly restaurants and bars.

Canal Tours Copenhagen 
Gammel Strand 32
1200 København
Phone: + 45 – 32 96 30 00 (weekdays 8 a. m. to 4 p. m.)
Email: info@stromma.dk 

Lake Tour 

From May to September, when it’s hot and you want to enjoy Denmark’s lush green surrounding from the water, go on one of the boat tours on beautiful lakes and streams in North Zealand, just 20 minutes from Copenhagen: Lyngbysø, Bagsværdsø, Furesø, Vejlesø, and Mølleåen are awaiting you.

Baadfahrten
Sorgenfrivej 23
2800 Kgs. Lyngby
Phone: + 45 – 32 96 30 00
Email: info@baadfarten.dk

The ticket office is open Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 a. m. to 5 p. m. (weekends to 7 p. m.)

Den Blå Planet

Of course, you can also enjoy being by the water without actually going on the water: Why not taking a walk on the Amager city beach and then pay the aquarium, Den Blå Planet (The Blue Planet), a visit?!

Den Bla Planet
Truly amazing architecture – almost being part of the ocean.
(Photo: Adam Mørk)

Besides different aquariums showing life under and above water, they have also crocodiles and sea otters. Then, in their tropical rainforest, you will admire beautiful butterflies, birds, and the world’s biggest freshwater fish, the Arapaima.

Den Blå Planet
Jacob Fortlingsvej 1
2770 Kastrup
Phone: +45 – 44 22 22 44
Email: info@denblaaplanet.dk

The aquarium is open year-round daily Monday to Sunday 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. (Monday to 9 p. m.)

Phew – that sure is a long list, right?! And for those who still cannot believe it: Yes, all these attractions are included in the Copenhagen Card – and the transport there and back, too! 

Practical Information

Where to stay 

Copenhagen is really, really expensive when it comes to accommodation. I solved the problem by staying in the outskirts, namely at the Glostrup Park Hotel* in Glostrup. It’s only about 20 minutes from the main station plus a five minutes walk. There, you get value for an okay price. A good, generous breakfast buffet is included which is a big plus in an expensive city like Copenhagen.

However, on this map, you can check out more convenient lodging options*:

Booking.com

Where to eat  

Again: Copenhagen is really, really expensive – also when it comes to eating out.

Sandwich
Sandwiches – ‘Smørrebrød’ – are the fastest, cheapest….and even most Danish way to stuff face.

But you have to eat, so I tell you about a couple of places where a look at the prices will not spoil your appetite:

Paludan Bog&Café
Fiolestræde 10-12 (near the botanic garden)
1171 København
Phone: +45 33 15 06 75
Email: info@paludan-cafe.dk

They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (between 85 and 100 DKK / 13,50 and 16 USD) from 9 a. m. to 10 p. m.

Grød
Jægersborggade 50 (behind the botanic garden. This is the first and main of four locations around Copenhagen)
2200 København
Email: info@groed.com

Open daily from 7.30 a. m. to 9 p. m. (Saturday and Sunday 9 a. m.) – opening times of the other locations might vary a teeny bit.

Everything here is porridge/grits/legumes-based and costs between 60 and 80 DKK / 9,50 and 13,50 USD

Money

Although Denmark is a member of the European Union, it kept – just like Sweden by the way – its former currency, the Danish Kroner. At this moment (September 2021) the exchange rate is 1 US $ = 6,29 DKK (current rate) / 1 €uro = 7,44 DKK (current rate). Obviously, credit cards are widely accepted.

Language

Scandinavians are known for not being very affected by the building of the tower of babel – they seem to speak like every language on planet earth.

It still might be nice to be able to greet and thank in Danish, and on babbel you can reach this goal already with the first, free lesson.

Great Reads

There is, of course, the iconic, romantic story of the Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, but there are also the thrilling crime novels by Jussi Adler-Olsen.
Also, very recommendable is the book Countrymen by Bo Lidegaard dealing with the rescue of the Danish Jews to Sweden that I’ve mentioned above in the Ethnics section.

Pinnable Pictures

If you choose to pin this post for later, please use one of these pictures:

Pinnable Picture for the post on Copenhagen showing the port of Nyhavn
COPENHAGEN
Pinnable Picture for the post on Copenhagen showing Rosenborg castle
ROSENBORG
Pinnable Picture for the post on Copenhagen, showing the guards in front of Amalienborg castle
COPENHAGEN

Note: This post is being regularly completed, edited, and updated – last in September 2021.

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58 Replies to “city break in COPENHAGEN – cozy and crazy”

  1. Wow that is a long list of things to do and see in Copenhagen and I didn't know there was so much! 79 attractions, really? This is a very comprehensive list and hence very helpful for people like me who are most likely not going to get more than 3 days in the city, to pick and choose as per my choice, what all I want to do in a short span of time. My most favourite thing to do will definitely be visiting the castles and forts. I love the Amalienborg castle, it's gorgeous!

  2. I feel so embarrased reading this, because I went to Copenhagen, completely loved it, but didn't see many of these attractions! I did see Nyhaven and Christiania! That said, I have to go back and see the palaces, they're stunning! Also, the ferry from Germany to Denmark must be so scenic!

  3. My husband and I have never been to Copenhagen. If we're ever lucky enough to go, you can bet we'll make stops at Den Blå Planet (The Blue Planet) for him and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art for her. x

  4. Oh wow Copenhagen looks amazing! Ive never been but I've wanted to go to Tivoli for years now and its definitely part of our plans!

  5. Oh yes, a Danish Christmas market might be really beautiful – and the entrance to the site is included in the Copenhagen Card, so that's fine. Regarding the rides – I don't think it's worth it spending your time with something you can do anywhere in the world. Happy travels!

  6. We haven't had a chance to visit Copenhagen yet. Tivoli is supposed to have one of the top Christmas markets in Europe, so I'd love to visit during the holidays to see that. I don't really care about the rides either. And a canal cruise also looks like it would be lovely.

  7. You put that very nicely: Yes, I'm independent, yet not alone – the world is packed with nice, interesting people!

  8. Such great pictures! exploring world by yourself is great way to check your independence.

  9. These beautiful photos remind me of my trip there. What a beatiful country. I hope you enjoyed your trip.

  10. Oh my gosh, this is one of my dream destination! If ever I am given a chance to travel overseas, this is definitely one of the places I will visit! I only get a chance to see them on textbooks and magazines .. it feels like every corner of this place is picture worthy!
    You have captured them so wonderfully
    Thanks for giving us a virtual tour

  11. Woah! Thanks for putting Roskilde Cathedral on my list of places to see. I also love those unusual spires.

  12. Thanx for your lovely comments, guys. I'm glad I did inspire you – in case of further questions: you know where to find m….y blog <3

  13. Oh wow, the architecture in Copenhagen is quite amazing! I've never really checked it out until now, I'm speechless, I definitely underestimated it. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  14. Very nice article! I love Copenhagen, it was one of the first cities I've traveled the first time I went out of the country and it was stunning. I enjoyed it so much I didn't even mind the cold (it was November) I've been wanting to return for a proper visit for a while now, and seeing all these awesome places, I really need to start looking for plane tickets 🙂

  15. I had a small layover at Copenhagen Airport which was very beautiful but did not visited the city. But after reading your post, now I am regretting why I did not get inside.

  16. Copenhagen is the best. It is always in my dream bucket-list. You write a lot different. Never seen such a way of writing. Keep it up.

  17. I'm auf poverty jetsetter, too, and yes, Copenhagen is super-expensive especially regarding food and lodging. The only way I see how to save a little bit is to shop groceries and cook yourself if you have the chance. But like I wrote, you can see the attractions at a reasonable price using the Copenhagen card. Anyway, very happy broke travel 😁

  18. Brilliant post on Copenhagen. I really want to go there, but I'm sure ot wouldn't match my style of broke travel!

  19. Wauw, a very long and complete list for visiting Copenhagen!!! I will pass this on to a friend that is going there soon!! And I'll put Denmark, and more specific Copenhagen, on my own list 🙂

  20. Wait a minute, there’s a lot to do in Copenhagen and I didn’t think there was! I love going to castles, cathedrals and taking a boat on canals and it seems there’s ample of all these three things to do here!! Sounds super, have to visit soon, thanks for sharing!

  21. Wow! I have never been to Denmark but Copenhagen is on our list to visit. Though I never thought that there is so much place to visit and explore. Your post truly helps our planning. Thank you. – Eliza Casipagan

  22. Hi Kristina, there is simply too much to do and to see at Copenhagen when you include the outskirts like Roskilde. I assume you're from Czech Republic? Then it's not so far to Denmark, anyway 😉 Happy travels- stastnou cestu!

  23. Wow. Great pictures. Especially loved the architecture on the Amalienborg castle. Somehow Copenhagen has slipped under most tourists' radar. Guess its time to realign that radar:)

  24. I would love to visit Denmark it looks amazing and I have never been to that part of Europe. Thanks for sharing a great guide!

  25. Copenhagen is on my list of places to visit! I'll definitely have to keep in mind the Copenhagen Card for when I go. 🙂

  26. Awesome! I've been to Copenhagen, I love the city. However, I didn't know about Ragnarock, sounds like a cool stop. Next time I'm there I'll check it out for sure!

  27. Yes, the modern art scene is great – and at such exquisite venues, too. What's really super-expensive is dining out, the rest one can manage with a little planning and organization. Anyway, happy travels, Deborah!

  28. Beautiful Copenhagen, what a stunning view it was when you took ferry from Putgarden to Denmark. Amazing place

  29. The Copenhagen Card sounds like a must! It is a shame that Copenhagen is an expensive place to spend a few days to visit, but with some planning ahead and a bit of savings one can do it. You have presented a very useful introduction here. I personally would enjoy the modern art scene, visiting cafes, and just talking to people while wandering about.