Copenhagen is filled with wonderful places to visit, and the toughest question can be which ones to choose. We make the decision a little easier with a rundown of the ten places you really shouldn’t miss before you bid farewell to the Danish capital.
- Tivoli Gardens. One of Copenhagen’s most popular attractions allows the child inside everyone a little playtime, and when night falls, Tivoli really does appear magical. The sparkle isn’t free, however: you might want to check your bank balance first.
- The Little Mermaid. True, this humble tribute to H.C. Andersen’s most beloved creation is something of an anticlimax for most visitors, but it’s a great place to people-watch – and the walk up here affords some lovely views over the harbor.
- The Round Tower. Europe’s oldest working observatory is almost 350 years old, and – aside from star-gazing – is used for art exhibitions and chamber concerts. This unique piece of renaissance architecture continues to fascinate modern visitors, and the panoramic views from the top cover all of downtown Copenhagen.
- Rosenborg Slot. Most come here simply to catch a glimpse of the nation’s crown jewels, but what was once the summer residence of Christian 4th offers insight into the life of Denmark’s best-known king – and in spring and summer, the surrounding gardens come alive with sun-worshipping locals.
- Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket. Quite possibly Copenhagen’s most attractive museum, this beautiful building has a vast display of ancient artefacts and impressionist paintings. Allow yourself enough time for refreshments under the palm trees in the museum’s Winter Gardens.
- Gammel Strand. This idyllic canalside street offers visitors not only an upscale street market – lucky punters may come away with some cut-price Royal Copenhagen china – but also the Fotografisk Center and Gammel Strand, two art museums with interesting touring exhibitions.
- Slotsholmen. A small island with an entire nation’s history, take a walk through four incarnations of Christiansborg Castle, from the one-thousand year old fort of Absalon to the present building shared by Royalty and Parliament, as well as Thorvaldsens Museum and the Royal Danish Armories.
- Amalienborg. This Rococo square is remarkably peaceful, providing you don’t visit on April 16th, when Queen Margrethe celebrates her birthday by greeting well-wishers from her balcony. It’s also the place to see the daily changing of the guard.
- Statens Museum for Kunst. The thousands of works of art on show at Denmark’s National Gallery have been arranged somewhat untraditionally, and you can view Danish avant-garde paintings alongside the classics – and enjoy the wide and dramatic ‘Sculpture Street’, one of the gallery’s many architectural surprises.
- Nyhavn. Some tourist traps are worth braving the crowds, and this attractive harbor street just off Kongens Nytorv square is one of them. Filled with cafes and traditional Danish restaurants, Nyhavn comes alive with the first signs of spring.
Photo of The Round Tower courtesy of Jesper Vang Hansen.