The capital city of Denmark, Copenhagen is one of the most culture rich and touristy cities of Europe. In this travel piece, I will guide you about Copenhagen’s most visited locations and give a clear understanding of how one can utilise the limited time to tour the entire city.
Ideally, in your first entire day in Copenhagen, you should explore all those locations that require no tickets. In this way, you can get an understanding of the city. On the second and third day, you can use the city card to visit the interiors of museums, palaces and art galleries.
As Copenhagen is relatively a small city. Its population is around 6.5 lakh. Tourist locations here are at a walking distance from the city centre.
In any major city, the first day can be started either from the city centre or historic old town. You should start from the city centre so that you can enjoy the city’s outdoors and get familiar with its network of public transport. This way, when you finally get the city card, you can utilise the limited and expensive time wisely.
The Little Mermaid:
You can started off your day from the city’s main photographic outdoor monument, The Little Mermaid which is Copenhagen’s favourite selfie and postcard picture spot. The statue has been here since 1913. It symbolises Copenhagen in a similar way like Manneken Pis symbolises Brusells or Statue Of Liberty does New York. The Mermaid statue is a little small but is extremely popular.
After visiting the statue, you can head towards Copenhagen’s historic military barracks known as Livgardens Kaserne which is one of the most well preserved castles in entire Europe. Built in 1663, its storage houses could hold a large amount of food which was enough to feed 1800 soldiers along with their families to survive for four years. The Commanders House, Historic Gunpowder and the arms storage are preserved till date.
Nyhavn – New Harbour:
The New Harbour is Copenhagen’s most expensive and most beautiful tourist site. If you search for Copenhagen online, 99% of the pictures that you see will be of this place. It is known as Nyhavn in the local language. It has somehow become the identity of Copenhagen. This picture perfect, eye candy, photogenic location was built in the 17th century. Danish and Swedish empires used to be enemies at a time. When the Danish Empire defeated the Swedish, they made the prisoners of war dig this canal. For a very long time this area was quite infamous due to the beer culture and prostitution, but today this has become a very popular tourist place. A lot of hourly boat rides start from here which I would recommend for everyone to take as you can get an entirely different view of the city from these boat rides. Sweden is quite cheaper as compared to Denmark. Honestly, this place is very expensive. If budget is not your concern, you can enjoy some exotic food at the fine restaurants around the New Haven area.
After New Harbour, you can visit a city within a city, Christiania where you can meet a lot of people and enjoy night parties.
Copenhagen Waterfront Area:
You can walk towards the city’s waterfront area after exploring historic military barracks or New Harbour and can enjoy the views of small monuments and places enroute. When you reach the city’s waterfront area, you see a lot of private boats docked. Walking through the dockyard in summer, you can notice a lot of locals relaxing and enjoying the small summer in Denmark. Over here, people get very excited on a hot sunny day just like they do in Dubai on a rainy day. Summers are extremely small here, so whenever the sun is out, locals get out of their homes to sunbath at the banks of canals or rivers.
As all of the locations mentioned above are outdoor locations and require no ticket, so you can explore them on your first day for free.
Copenhagen City Card:
A real traveller just after seeing the main monuments and scenic beauties and after clicking some selfies, never considers that he or she has seen the entire city. It is necessary for the tourist to see the entire city. Other than parties, nightlife and fun stuff, your Copenhagen travel list should include the historic palaces, museums, monuments and scenic boat rides. The best way to experience all this in Copenhagen at minimum expense is through The City Card or Pass.
Copenhagen City Card costs around 570 Danish Krone and includes the city’s 86 top attractions. It’s up to you how many of these you can visit in a limited time.
On your second day, you should explore city’s historic monuments, museums and art culture by using the Copenhagen Card which gives you access to around 60 museums, public transport and also canal tours.
If you don’t want to invest in these expensive cards or if you are on a tight schedule or if you are interested in visiting a few attractions, you can choose your preferred top attractions on the websites of these cards and passes and you can visit the official website of Copenhagen’s tourism as well where you can get all the important information such as the city’s top attractions, interesting activities and even shopping details and most importantly some valuable budget tips.
Copenhagen City Hall:
You can get a bus outside of central station which will take you straight to the City Hall. Copenhagen’s City Hall or the Municipality Office and most European City Halls are located at the city centre. The City Card also includes a guided tour of the City Hall in which you can also go up its tower. Court marriages are common in western countries and are done in these City Halls.
National Art Gallery:
After the City Hall, you can visit the National Art Gallery of Denmark. Art Galleries can help you get colourful insights on the eventful history of Europe.
The Royal Palace:
At the centre of old town and in Amalienborg Palace Complex is situated the royal residence of Copenhagen’s present queen, Margrethe II. It houses the present queen of Denmark since 1972. A part of the complex is open for tourists. If you want, you can go inside and have a look at their reminiscence and their architecture. As this palace has limited access for public, only a few historic rooms are on display in their initial setup. This family has been ruling Denmark for more than 1000 years. At present day, the constitution is monarchy but their royal linage goes back 1000 years.
After a 2 minute walk from the palace, you arrive at a 18th century church, Lutheran Church also known as Fredrick Church. If you visit any European church, don’t forget to look up at the ceilings as they are painted extremely beautiful.
The Christiansborg Palace is another major tourist attraction. In this palace, it is mandatory to wear plastic shoe covers so that the visitors don’t spoil its amazing flooring. In these palaces and museums, there is always an English tour going on, so if you don’t want to pay for one, you can just walk with them and enjoy a free tour. Other than Italian marble and French furniture, the other special things you see here are the carpets hanging on the walls. This art form is known as Tapestries and are a type of carpet. Other than that, there are huge reception rooms where the Queen gives out National Awards.
After exploring the major tourist attractions, you can go for a boat ride at the end. During these rides, you can see a lot of important buildings one of which is Copenhagen Opera House. As real estate is super expensive at the city centre, a lot of people stay in houseboats. It’s not like the entire city is always on boats or on water, it’s just that they enjoy outdoor weather a lot in summers.
Tivoli Amusement Park:
To enjoy the night life of Copenhagen, you can visit Tivoli amusement park which looks amazing during night because of its wonderful lighting. Only entry is included in the Copenhagen Card while the rides cost around 30 to 50 Krone here. You can also get the unlimited ride pass for 230 Krone if you want.