Less than two hours from several UK airports, Copenhagen is the perfect European city break for those looking to cram a bit of culture into a long weekend. The Danish delight was ranked the number one city destination for 2019 in Lonely Planet’s recent annual guide, and with museums and gorgeous architecture galore, we can see why.
For those planning a trip, we’ve rounded up 10 things you’ll want to see and do on your holiday with the help of Chris Blume from TripExpert.com – a site hosting traveller reviews from people who have either lived or travelled extensively in the region.
1. Take a trip to Rosenborg Castle
With its picturesque gardens and stand-out Renaissance facade, Rosenborg is is home to the Danish crown jewels – but history buffs will also love learning about the fascinating reign of Christian IV, who was King of Denmark for almost 60 years.
“Father of more than 20 children, there are reminders of him everywhere. In a naval battle in 1644, a Swedish cannonball blinded him in the right eye — don’t miss the ear ornaments he gave as a gift to his mistress, made out of the shrapnel,” Blume says.
2. Enjoy the winter garden at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Don’t be fooled by the name, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek has nothing to do with beer – but the art museum is funded by the famous company. Inside expect breathtaking sculptures alongside jaw-dropping architecture. Oh, and lots and lots of plants. “Our favourite space is the domed Winter Garden, with its ponds, palms and miniaturised sculptures — and a fine cafe,” says Blume.
3. Snap a photo at Nyhavn
Nyhavn is one of the most iconic spots in Copenhagen – formerly the busy commercial port, now its rainbow houses clustered by the water’s edge house bars and restaurants. Yes, it’ll have its fair share of tourists (and local’s too!), but with the bars spilling onto the quayside and great options for food, you’ll want to join them. Sporty sorts can also beat the crowds by hiring kayaks.
4. Try the alternative amusements at Tivoli
Amusement parks are not typically high on our list of must-sees in Europe, but Tivoli is no ordinary amusement park. “There are open-air shows, flower gardens, and excellent restaurants, all paired with the down-to-earth fun and irreverence that makes Copenhagen unique,” says Blume.
5. Treat yourself to Smørrebrød
‘Bake Off’ fans will recognise Smørrebrød, the traditional Danish open-faced sandwiches almost transformed into art forms with their beautiful toppings, from this year’s competition, and there are plenty of places to buy them in Copenhagen. Head to Torvehallerne where the food market has these and much, much more.
6. Roam about the Royal Library
Known as the “black diamond”, the Royal Library’s harsh exterior encases a lofty inside you wouldn’t expect. Bookworms will love the “grand architecture and great views” as much as the extensive range of literature.
7. Drool over interiors at Designmuseum Danmark
There’s more to Danish design than hygge (although we have to admit it’s still our favourite part). Head to Designmuseum Danmark to find out about Danish design through the ages and how it helped define European 20th century taste.
Take a walk through Christiania
A “free town” within the city, Christiana – a car-free enclave of about 900 people – was founded by anarchists, hippies and artists in 1971. Now you can tour its eclectic mix of homemade houses, mini art galleries and music venues, alongside cheap and organic eateries – and high street of hashish dealers. “It’s become an extremely popular tourist attraction so you may find some difficulty getting a sense of its true character beyond the smell of weed, but it remains a uniquely Copenhagen experience,” says Blume.
The reviewers at TripExpert.com voted Vesterbro their favourite neighbourhood in Copenhagen, calling the main thoroughfare “one of the city’s prettiest streets”. “You’ll come across wine bars, flower shops, and even a design concept store called Playtype for font nerds,” says Blume.
10. Grab a hot dog
After all that exploring you’re bound to have worked up a post-Smørrebrød appetite. Thankfully, there are hot dog stands all over the city. The rød pølse (red sausage) is the king of fast food in Denmark and a must-try. It typically comes smothered in onions, pickles and ketchup or Danish remoulade. Perfect for lunch on the go or at the end of a night out.