Top 5 Places in Copenhagen You’ve Never Heard of

Things to Do — By Jane Graham on August 6, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Want to see more of Copenhagen than just Tivoli Gardens and the Royal Palace? Let us show you the hidden gems of the Danish capital – five places just a stone’s throw from the well-trodden tourist routes but all too often overlooked.

  1. Grønnegård. Just minutes’ walk away from tourist traps like Amalienborg Slotsplads and The Little Mermaid, this beautiful garden, with its archway of linden trees, is an inner-city oasis hidden behind the Museum of Art & Design, Kunstindustrimuseet. The museum itself is a former hospital – the first in the country – and both building and garden are a perfect example of the detailed planning that went into the 18th-century district of Frederikstaden; so named after King Frederik 5 , the monarch who ordered it.
  2. Medicinsk-Historisk Museum. Almost next door to hidden gem no.1, this wonderfully obscure museum has finally woken up to its tourist potential and begun to offer both English guide sheets and guided tours in English during July and August. Housed in the former halls of the Royal Surgical Academy, this is the place to find old surgical instruments, creepy medical devices and even the chairs used to examine prostitutes during the 19th-century. Note the rather restrictive opening hours before you visit.
  3. Søndermarken and Cisternerne. At the far end of the popular Frederiksberg Have park lies its wilder neighbor, Søndermarken. As rambling as the former park is ordered, Søndermarken is a great place for dog walking, exploring and even sledging during the wintertime, being blessed with one of Copenhagen’s only steep inclines. Look hard and you will find the pyramid-shaped entrance to Cisternerne, a fascinating subterranean art gallery housed in an old underground reservoir and containing original and modern works of stained glass art.
  4. Nordatlantens Brygge. This cultural center in Christianshavn, dedicated to promoting art from the North Atlantic region of Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Isles, is hardly a mark on most tourist maps; interesting, then, that the country’s best-known restaurant, award-winning NOMA, happens to be housed in the building – an 18th-century waterfront warehouse on a historically important trading square.
  5. Den Hirschsprungske Samling. This art museum is a short walking distance away from national gallery Statens Museum for Kunst but nowhere near as well-known. With its small premises bursting with gilt-framed oil paintings this may not be the hippest of galleries, but its extensive collection of Danish paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries includes some of the country’s best-loved works and is a must for anyone interested in Danish art history.

Images: Photo of Grønnegård courtesy of Kunstindustrimuseet(top); image of ‘A Summer’s Day at Skagen Beach’ (1884) by P.S. Krøyer from the Hirschsprung Collection.

Looking for more hidden gems? Check out the guide ‘Copenhagen Off the Beaten Path’ for plenty more lesser-known places of interest.

Tags: hidden gems, museums & art galleries, Off the beaten path, parks and gardens