If you’re looking for a European city where you can easily explore on your own by foot, look no further, go to Copenhagen. Copenhagen has easily navigable public transportation systems, walkable streets, and almost every Dane speaks English.
You can fly to the capital of Denmark in under two hours from London and about eight hours from Newark International Airport, NJ (EWR). There are very few direct flights from the USA to Copenhagen. However, there are many connecting flights from Amsterdam, Paris, or London. This is our run-down of the best things to do in Copenhagen:
1. Visit castles and palaces
Visit Copenhagen, the official Copenhagen tourism website listed eight castles and palaces that will awaken your inner monarch. For starters, we recommend just visiting two: Rosenborg Castle and Christianborg Palace.
Rosenborg Castle presents 400 years of royal art treasures, the Crown Jewels and Royal Regalia. Located in the King’s Garden at the center of Copenhagen, Rosenborg Castle isn’t massive, and you can cover it within three hours. Start from the ground floor and work your way up to the first and second floor before ending back downstairs in the basement where you can find the treasury.
The “Crown of the Absolute Monarchs,” weighing two kilograms and used at coronations of Christian V to Christian VIII, is on display in the basement. Other fascinating objects in the basement include Rosenborg wine from the 1590s, the queen’s crown, and regalia.
You’ll learn Danish Royal History from room to room. The Great Hall, also known as The Knight’s Hall on the top floor (second floor) with 12 tapestries, coronation chairs, and three silver lions, was last to be furnished (completed in 1624) in the castle.
Christianborg Palace is a palace and government building located on the island of Slotsholmen in central Copenhagen. Some of the rooms in the palace are still being used to house foreign state leaders. The palace was completed in 1928, and it presents 800 years of Danish history. The palace has five attractions: The Royal Reception Rooms, The Royal Kitchen, The Ruins, The Royal Stables, and The Palace Chapel. You can choose to visit all five or just The Royal Reception Rooms.
The Tower standing at 348 feet (106 meters) is the highest tower in Copenhagen. Accessing the tower is free, but there’s always a line, and you are subject to a security screening before taking the elevator to the top. There’s a restaurant at the tower that offers magnificent views of the city.
2. Enjoy coffee and pastries
Coffee and pastries go hand in hand. The good news is Copenhagen has you covered on both fronts. Visit Copenhagen provides a good list of the best bakeries you can visit. Good coffee and pastries are everywhere, even if you go to chain coffee shops and bakeries like Espresso House and Lagkagehuset.
3. Take a self-guided walking tour in Copenhagen
All the main attractions in Copenhagen are within walking distance. Pack a good pair of walking shoes and take a walk to the following places:
- Round Castle
- Strøget Street – a car-free shopping street
- Nyhavn – the iconic colorful houses by the canal
- The Black Diamond
- Royal Library Garden
- Kastellet Military Barracks
- The Little Mermaid
4. Sample local food in food halls
Go to Torvehallerne, a food hall that has 80 shops offering Danish foods and drinks, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, coffee, and cheese. Stop by at Hallernes for Scandinavian Smørrebrød (open-faced sandwich). For coffee, get it at Coffee Collective, one of the best places for coffee that happens to have a branch at Torvehallerne.
Another place to sample Danish food is at Tivoli food hall, located next to Tivoli and across the street from the Central Station. Hallernes has a store in Tivoli serving the same type of open-faced sandwich.
5. Join a Copenhagen bike tour
If you’re tired of walking, why not join a Copenhagen bike tour with Cycling Copenhagen. Choose the Urban Tour where you’ll discover residential neighborhoods, learn about Danish cycling culture, and find out more about life in Copenhagen.