Prior to arriving, I did very little research to learn about Copenhagen. When I travel, I generally do have a pretty detailed plan of attack. However, with the internet these days, I actually find it’s much nicer to just go with the flow. There were many really neat things about the city, so I thought I would share the 10 things you must see in Copenhagen Denmark.
10 Things You Must See in Copenhagen Denmark
1. Nyhavn (And a Note About The Food)
My very favorite street/area of the city is Nyhavn. It is quintessential Copenhagen. It is a cute little street with a canal running down the middle, lined with colorful, angular buildings. This is also one of the main eating areas in the city. I loved the energy because there are so many people who just relax outside of the cafes enjoying food and drinks.
The best food I had in Denmark was when I got muscles and frites. The muscles were so fresh and delicious. I had fish a few times, and if you like fish, then I’d highly suggest it. Before I arrived, a few different people told me to try the smørrebrød – which are basically open-faced sandwiches. They are a fairly famous food in Denmark, so I figured I had to at least give it a try. Well, I have to tell you, I think they are horrible. Most of them include a whole bunch of mayo and many of them include fish. I personally do not like mayo, so the overly saucy fishy flavors just didn’t work for me, and the bread is oh-so-dry.
The other food you should definitely have in Copenhagen is a waffle or waffle cone. There were several ice cream shops along the Nyhavn and they all looked delicious. The one I did try was quite good too.
2. Rosenborg Castle & The King’s Garden
3. Freetown Christiania
4. Canals (Go on a Canal Tour)
My absolute favorite part of the trip was going on a canal tour. There are several different boats for which you can buy tickets right down by Nyhavn. The tour was just over an hour and you really get to see so much of Copenhagen by boat. Our tour guide spoke a few languages, including English, so it was fun to hear more about the city from the canal view.
6. City Hall Square
There are a lot of gorgeous old buildings in Copenhagen, and the City Hall is no exception. I especially liked the city hall square because it was a place for convening. We happened to be in town during their elections, so there was just a lot going on. There was one man who was painting all over the city square grounds. I couldn’t read it, but it almost seemed as though it was in protest, based on the way he was interacting with other people in the square.
7. Gefion Fountain
Completely unexpectedly, we found our way to the Gefion Fountain. After leaving Rosenberg Castle, we walked a ways and ran into it. This fountain is so gorgeous, and it is not too far from where the Little Mermaid Statue is. As I talk about in a bit, I actually preferred this fountain much more than the mermaid statue. The fountain sculpture was breathtaking and it also had a nice view.
8. Royal Library Garden
The Copenhagen stock exchange buildings are quite lovely. You will see them if you go on a canal tour of if you do a walking tour of the city. The architecture is quite stunning, so you’ll definitely want to walk by.
10. Tivoli Gardens
Why Didn’t The Little Mermaid Statue Make My List?
I have no idea why this statue is on the things you must see in Copenhagen Denmark list. There is nothing about this statue that makes it so special, in my mind. It sits just slightly in the water on a rock. I suppose the location makes it somewhat interesting, but I did not find it overly pretty and definitely not very special. I thought the Gefion Fountain was far more beautiful, and I happened upon it during my walk to see the Little Mermaid statue.
Based on my own internet research, I guess this statue is famous for two reasons. First, it’s been there for over 100 years. Second, its based on a Hans Christian Andersen book by the same name. The part I found most interesting about this statue is that she’s been vandalized many times and has even been decapitated several times. If you’re in Copenhagen for several days, then it’s worth the walk because the statue is right by the water and it is a really pleasant walk. But if you’re super short on time, I would not go out of my way to see this statue. The pictures you see on the internet are more impressive than the statue in person.
Would I Go Back?
Overall, I absolutely loved my time in Copenhagen. The people were so very friendly, everyone speaks English (which makes it so easy to get around and communicate), its a very walkable city, it’s so clean, and it was just a very peaceful place to be. Copenhagen had such a good energy. I don’t think I’ve ever visited another fairly large city that felt as warm and laid-back as Copenhagen. Unlike other European vacations I’ve been on, I definitely felt refreshed when I got back. If you do get the chance to visit, you should. There are so many things you must see in Copenhagen Denmark. It’s definitely a city I enjoyed, and I think you would too.
P.S. if you’re looking for a great Copenhagen hotel, I stayed here and had such a lovely view.