So Many Things To Do In Copenhagen

So Many Things To Do In Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

So Many Things To Do In Copenhagen For 5 Days

On a 5 day stay, we found many things to do in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen was the staring port for our Baltic cruise in the fall. We arrived in Copenhagen five days before the cruise started. This ensured we got on local time and recovered from travel and jet lag. And we sampled some of the things to do in Copenhagen.

As we wandered in Copenhagen, we saw the art and architecture in the streets. We got another perspective when we toured on the canals of Copenhagen. For panoramic views, we climbed high over the city. When we visited the palaces and castles in the city, we learned a little about the history of this area. And there was always great food and drink that kept us fuelled up!

We Started Our Baltic Cruise In Copenhagen

On our visit to Copenhagen, we stayed at the Crowne Plaza Towers close to the airport. We were initially worried about being so far from downtown. But there was both a train and subway station a very short walk from the hotel. Public transit was made easy after we bought a Copenhagen Card.

We got a great upgrade at the Crowne Plaza as IHG Rewards Spire Elite members. We were happy there was lots of space and we spread out. The lounge facility for Concierge guests at this hotel was pretty sparse and not really a great space to lounge or work. We were spoiled at Intercontinental Hotels with awesome concierge level service. The level of service varied dramatically by person at this Crowne Plaza.

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One of the most interesting thing about the hotel was the large treed atrium. When we wanted a green space to enjoy when it rained outside, we found lots of benches and tables under the trees.

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The hotel offered a paid shuttle to the cruise terminal. This was an easy option for us. Although it put us on the ship later than we could have boarded.

The weather in Copenhagen was rainy and cold for the first few days. When it cleared a bit, we went out and explored. We found lots of things to do in Copenhagen.

Explore the Old Royal Palaces In Copenhagen

We visited the old and new royal palaces in Copenhagen. The historic palace for royalty in Copenhagen was the Christiansborg Palace. We saw this large site from the outside as we moved about Copenhagen on foot, by bus and on our two canal tours. The palace housed the national parliament, the Prime Minister’s office, the Supreme Court and the Queen.

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We did not tour inside of Christiansborg Palace but we did visit the underground ruins. This gave us a sense of the history of the many buildings erected on this spot.

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We also saw the Royal Palace at Amalienborg. The building had four identical classical palace façades. We timed our visit right and saw the changing of the Guard.

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Amalienborg Palace Guard Changing - Things To Do In Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

On this stop we toured the Amalienborg Museum. It was our first look at the life of royalty in Copenhagen.

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We enjoyed our first look at the royal palaces in Copenhagen.

Wander In the Beautiful Rosenborg Castle

On our visit to the Rosenborg Castle, we started at the the Botanical Gardens. It was a lovely outdoor break. Even if we did not have time to explore the Palm House and other greenhouses on this visit.

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But from the Botanical Gardens, we got our first view of Rosenborg Castle before we moved through the King’s Gardens to the fairy tale castle.

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We spent most of our time wandering the inside of this beautifully restored castle. Every room brought yet another magnificent sight. It took us back in time. And a stop at the Treasury gave us a glimpse of the Crown Jewels.

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We were glad we planned a long visit to the Rosenborg Castle. The castle and palaces of Copenhagen were definitely interesting things to do in Copenhagen.

Head Up The Round Tower For A Panoramic View

The first spot we headed for a panoramic view of Copenhagen was the Round Tower (Rundetaarn). The Round Tower was built as an astronomical observatory and was the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. As such it was visible over the buildings in town. It was part of the Trinitatis Complex and when we entered we got a glimpse into the Trinity Church.

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Round Tower Outside - Things To Do In Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Round Tower Trinity Trinitatis Church - Things To Do In Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

We headed up the tower on the broad ramp. This helical corridor was used to move equipment to the observatory. It was wide enough that Czar Peter the Great rode his horse up followed by a horse-drawn carriage in 1716. The walk up the ramp was about 200m even though the tower was only 36m tall. Along the way we peeked out the windows over the rooftops.

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When we reached the top, we found the observatory. At the top there was a narrow spiral staircase to the outdoor platform. Only one person went up or down at a time so we waited for our turn. When we went outside we got panoramic views around Copenhagen.

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Round Tower Observatory - Things To Do In Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

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Round Tower Views - Things To Do In Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Heading up the Round Tower for a panoramic view was definitely one of the first things to do in Copenhagen for a different perspective.

Finding Panoramic Viewpoints Was One Of The Picturesque Things To Do In Copenhagen

We had the Church of Our Saviour on our plans for another panoramic view. It was a baroque church with an external spiral winding staircase. It stood high above the city and we easily spotted its distinct shape as we moved around Copenhagen.

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The black and golden spire went up 90 metres and the external staircase turned four times counterclockwise around it. The spire was topped by a golden globe and Christ with a banner.

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The lines were long and we ran out of time to climb the staircase at the Church of Our Saviour. But we were sure we missed another great panoramic view of the city. Climbing high for another perspective was certainly one of the things to do in Copenhagen.

Look Inside Of Frederik’s Church

Frederick’s Church was also known as the “Marble Church” for its rococo architecture. The original building plans showed that the church was to be built almost entirely from marble. But after financial challenges, it was finally built mostly with limestone. It’s classic green copper dome was visible as we walked around Copenhagen.

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This church had the largest church dome in northern Europe. It spanned 31m and rested on 12 columns. It was believed this was the inspiration for the dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. We found two decorative organs and an angel in stained glass as we wandered around the inside of the church.

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On some days, guided tours to the top of the church dome were available. From that viewpoint, there was yet another panoramic view of the city and harbour. The tour was not available the day we visited. But this would be another of the great things to do in Copenhagen to plan ahead for.

Visiting Nyhavn Canal Was One Of The Iconic Things To Do In Copenhagen

A stop at the colourful Nyhavn Canal was on our list of things to do in Copenhagen. The shops along the bank were painted in colourful hues matched only by the interesting boats docked in the canal. Along the banks we found a wide choice of cafes and restaurants. Most of the spots had outdoor patios for great people watching.

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Nyhavn Canal - Things To Do In Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Nyhavn Canal - Things To Do In Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Our canal boat cruise went up the Nyhavn Canal. So we also saw the boats from another perspective.

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Nyhavn Canal.jpg

The 17th-century baroque palace, Kunsthal Charlottenborg was located right on the canal. This was Copenhagen’s largest space dedicated wholly to contemporary art. We knew there were interesting collections inside when we saw the way the canal front of the building was decorated.

The art piece on the outside was called “Soleil Levant” by Ai Weiwei. It was made from 3,500 salvaged life jackets from refugees that arrived on the Greek Island of Lesbos. It was designed to put focus on the international refugee crisis.

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We were glad we planned a slow leisurely stroll along the Nyhavn Canal.

Take A Canal Boat Cruise

We were amazed at the canal system we found on our visit to Copenhagen. Two canal boat tours ensured we saw Copenhagen from yet another perspective.

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Canal Cruise Tour - Things To Do In Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

We saw many of the city’s tourists spots as we moved through the different neighbourhoods. A great tease that sent us to search out these sights for a closer view.

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A canal cruise was certainly one of the iconic things to do in Copenhagen.

Enjoy The Art And Architecture Around Copenhagen

There was much to see as we walked around Copenhagen. Wandering around gave us a great introduction to the city. Everywhere we looked we found fascinating architecture. And an amazing variety of statues.

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Along one street we found an interesting display of photography. The large canvases were placed at walking level and we were fascinated with the variety in the art.

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We enjoyed our time when we just strolled the streets of Copenhagen.

Eat Local in Copenhagen

Local spots to eat were easily found when we wandered around Copenhagen. Our first lunch was at the Kanal Cafeen on the canal. We watched the canal boat tours as they went by.

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We found great food when we stopped for lunch and dinner as we wandered in Copenhagen. Everywhere we went there were variations on the open faced sandwich. Seafood was available for our open sandwich. And if we wanted to eat like the locals, there was smoked herring.

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Salads were easy to find with lots of veggies. When I wanted something hot for lunch, the hot pork dish came loaded with fried onions. Of course, David was always in search of a good dark ale so he tried several of the local beers .

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Eating local food and drinking local beer was one of the tasty things to do in Copenhagen.

Of Course We Found Chocolate In Copenhagen

When we wanted dessert, we knew where we wanted to go. The Hotel Chocolat Cafe was a chocolate lover’s dream. There were several interesting flavours of hot chocolate, all served with a thick and tasty chocolate whipped cream. Of course, we did not share!

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The store was filled with chocolate of many flavours. We were tempted by many but stopped to consider the champagne flavoured truffles. Of course they came in both regular and pink champagne flavours!

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We often searched out chocolate when we travelled. This chocolate stop was such a success we visited the Hotel Chocolate Cafe on our visit to Edinburgh. And sought out the cacao plantation for Hotel Chocolat on the Caribbean Island of St Lucia.

Consider A Copenhagen Card

We bought a 72 hour Copenhagen Card. It was easy to use the card when we hopped around the city on public transit. If you plan to use it for transit, make sure to pick it up at the airport.

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We took advantage of the Copenhagen Card and did two different canal tours. The card got us in for free to several different indoor exhibits. But for the sites we visited, we did not get priority access. Luckily Copenhagen was not too busy when we visited.

It probably did not make financial sense for us to get a Copenhagen Card. But it was very convenient to not worry about paying at every stop we visited. And we would have saved money if we visited everything we planned for our visit to Copenhagen.

Five Days Was Not Enough

Five days was a decent amount of time to visit Copenhagen. But jet lag and rain slowed us down so we missed some of the sights we wanted to visit.

We saw a lot in the local Copenhagen area. But even when we visited some sites, we only got to enjoy the outside views. We had planned to enjoy Tivoli in the evening but we did not plan our days well enough. Staying out of town made spontaneous visits a little harder.

On this trip we ran out of time for any day trips out of Copenhagen. We were sad we did not see some of the palaces and castles out of town. There were UNESCO sites like Stevns Klint and the chalk white cliffs of Mons that we saved for a return visit. It was a good thing we saw the White Cliffs of Dover later in this trip. And staying outside of town like we did, we originally thought we would cross the channel and visit Malmo in Sweden.

There were so many things to do in Copenhagen. But we still left many things for return visit.

Enjoy Your Visit to Copenhagen

We were glad that we planned a few extra days in Copenhagen before we headed off on our cruise with Oceania Cruises. It was great to recover from our travel and jet lag for a few days. We were ready to go when we started our cruise through the Baltic region.

There were lots of things to do in Copenhagen. We enjoyed just wandering the streets in the city. A canal cruise in Copenhagen gave us one perspective. And then we headed high and got panoramic views. We enjoyed the chance to see several of the beautiful palaces and castles in Copenhagen. Good food and drink was easy to find. Even if we got distracted by chocolate shops more than once.

What was you favourite of the things to do in Copenhagen? What did we miss that should be on a first visit?

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About TravelAtWill 634 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

40 Comments

  1. Even though I’ve been living in Europe for 5 years, I still have not been to Copenhagen. It looks like such a cool place. I would definitely go up to the top of the Round Tower to get good photos. Also riding in the canal seems like a very Copenhagen thing to do.

  2. I dont know if my waistline can survive traveling with you guys cause between all the amazing beer, food, and most importantly chocolate you found in Copenhagen, I would get fat!! I have a wee bit of an addiction to chocolate!
    But with that said, perhaps all the street hiking you did amid the Art And Architecture Around Copenhagen could help me burn off those calories. Of course there is always the staircase to those views atop the Church of Our Saviour that could help. Darcee & I love exploring Churches in Europe so Fredrick’s Church would be a must for us.

  3. I love Copenhagen, and you are absolutely right: There is sooo much to see. Then, there are also all those great places like Luisiana or Frederiksborg on the outskirts. Its well worth it to get the Copenhagen Card – especially since Copenhagen is not exactly cheap. I had my most expensive open face sandwich for lunch: Two tiny pieces of bread for the equivalent of 15 Euros! This way, you celebrate each crumb 😀

  4. This looks so great. I just love the architecture in Europe, and it appears that Copenhagen lives up to that expectation!

  5. Copenhagen looks amazing! You highlighted so many beautiful places, like the Church of Our Saviour spire, what a cool architectural gem. I hope to visit this amazing city soon & I’ll be using all your great tips & recommendations.

  6. I went to Copenhagen many years ago, but it was only a long weekend trip and I did not see all you did. This is a great guide to Copenhagen and I can’t wait to explore all those old castles! Now I am thinking I need to make a re-visit to Copenhagen as soon as I can 🙂

  7. The Royal Palace at Amalienborg is a scene-stealer site! The “Soleil Levant” caught my attention and gave me goosebumps. Just by looking at it, it made me think of the society, politics, and art around the purpose for showcasing it.

  8. I visited Copenhagen a few years ago, and I fully agree with you – 5 days isn’t enough! I was there for 5 days and every single day was packed with things to do. If I return, I’ll definitely spend a solid week. And thanks for the tip about the Copenhagen card – would love to have that for 72 hrs!

  9. We only had a day in Copenhagen, one of our ports of call on a 2-week Baltic cruise. Thanks for showing me all the insides of the castles and churches. Missed seeing those.

  10. i only had six hours to explore Copenhagen. I knew I missed a lot, but I didn’t realize just how much! Thanks for this post. I’ll be exploring that palace stat!

  11. I don’t think I will climb the stairs at the Church of Our Savior even though the views are amazing from up there. Too scary for me, and too bad you didn’t get a chance to climb it. I remember seeing my parents’ pictures from Nyhavn Canal from years ago, and it’s still beautiful until today. It’s really a must do when in Copenhagen.

  12. Even thought you feel like you may have missed some things, you packed in numerous sites, food and tons of experiences while you were there. I can see why you would need more time though. Looks amazing!

  13. Love this post for this destination. So much of culture and heritage in this place. And such choices for palaces. I am quite enamored by Rosenborg Castle. It does seem very picturesque. This city will definitely need more than 3 memory cards for the pics

  14. Wow I like everything that you have mentioned in the post, castles, palaces and chocolates. I was supposed to go to Copenhagen the last time I was in Europe but unfortunately I could not make it. There are so many things to do and see. I will definitely get the Copenhagen card while I am there.

  15. There are a few places I have always wanted to visit and Copenhagen is one of them. The luxury of having 5 days sounds like a dream – I can’t wait for retirement! Thank you for adding viewpoints, this was the first I have read about the Round Tower and I’m adding it to my list right now. Too bad you weren’t able to climb the staircase at the Church of Our Saviour.

  16. Wow! Copenhagen is surely a great place for art and architecture lovers. I really loved the grand architecture of the churches as well as the street art there. Church of the Saviour looks like a must visit place. Copenhagen surely has a lot of attractions and I would love to visit there sometime. I also like the thoughtful concept of Soleil Levant.

  17. The underground ruins sound really interesting. Don’t think I’ve heard of Rosenborg Castle before, but it looks like out of a fairy tale. In Germany, when I grew up, we had herring all the time, so I’d feel right at home.

  18. It is the perfect timing for me to come across this post. We are also planning a Baltic Cruise with our parents next year and it will start from Copenhagen, where we plan to arrive 2-3 days before so that we can explore the city. We will definitely get the Copenhagen Card to make moving around convenient. I am happy to know there’s enough to keep us busy for those 3 days before we board the cruise!

  19. I have always wanted to visit Copenhagen. It is a pretty city and you guys planned it perfectly so that you can explore the city also before the cruise. The view from the round tower must be amazing for sure. It is quite interesting for me to witness the changing of guards in a palace. My son will love to be in that observatory and Rosenbourg castle of course.

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