Copenhagen attractions

Attractions in Copenhagen, Denmark: A Travelogue

We visited both Copenhagen and Malmö in the same trip because we wanted to explore the cultural and geographical attractions that the Øresund Region has to offer. The proximity of these two cities, connected by the Øresund Bridge, made it a convenient choice for our trip. We were intrigued by the idea of experiencing two countries and cultures in such close proximity. Copenhagen appealed to us with its rich history, iconic landmarks and vibrant city life while Malmö, just a short train ride away, enticed us with its modern architecture, relaxed atmosphere and multicultural influences. 

To get from Copenhagen International Airport (Kastrup Airport) to the city centre of Copenhagen, there are a few transportation options:

  1. Metro (M2): The Copenhagen Metro is one of the most convenient ways to reach the city centre from the airport. Follow the signs for the metro, which is located in Terminal 3. Take Line M2 (Green Line) towards Vanløse and get off at either “Nørreport Station” or “Kongens Nytorv Station” for access to the city center. The journey takes approximately 15-20 minutes.

  2. Train: You can also take a train from the airport to the central station, Copenhagen Central Station (København H). The train station is connected to the airport terminal. The journey takes around 15-20 minutes. Trains run frequently, and it’s a convenient option if you’re staying near the central station.

  3. Taxi: Taxis are readily available outside the airport terminals. It’s a more expensive option compared to public transportation, but it can be convenient, especially if you have a lot of luggage or are traveling in a group. The journey to the city center usually takes around 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic.

Hotel prices in Copenhagen are not cheap. Nonetheless, here are recommendations for budgetary or mid-range hotels located throughout the Copenhagen city centre with decent reviews:

Generally speaking, hotels in Malmö tends to be somewhat cheaper than in Copenhagen. However, prices can vary significantly depending on various factors, including the type of accommodation, location within the city, the time of year, and local events. Due to the close proximity of the two cities, we stayed at the First Hotel Jorgen Kock, which is just a few minutes walk from Malmo central station. We paid around USD 100 for a base room including breakfast. The hotel is situated approximately 1 km from the Malmo city centre. 

Getting from Malmö to Copenhagen and back is relatively straightforward, thanks to the Øresund Bridge connecting the two cities. The most common method of travel between Malmö and Copenhagen is via Train (Öresundståg):

  • From Malmö to Copenhagen: You can take a regional train, known as Öresundståg, from Malmö Central Station (Malmö C) to Copenhagen Central Station (København H). Trains run frequently, and the journey takes approximately 30 minutes to cross the Øresund Bridge. You’ll arrive at the heart of Copenhagen.

  • From Copenhagen to Malmö: To return to Malmö, simply catch an Öresundståg from Copenhagen Central Station to Malmö Central Station. The process is the same as when traveling in the opposite direction.

Getting Around in Copenhagen

We took the Hop-on Hop-off bus tour (USD 35 per person) to get around in the Copenhagen city centre. The bus provided a flexible and informative way to visit key attractions in the city (these are further described below). The bus tickets can be bought online via this link

Attractions in Copenhagen

1. The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is a modest and relatively small bronze sculpture located on a rock by the waterside in the city’s harbor. It is a well-known symbol of Copenhagen and Denmark. The sculpture depicts a mermaid with a rather somber expression, sitting on a rock and gazing out to sea. The statue is a popular tourist attraction, but its size and appearance may not live up to some people’s expectations, especially if they are anticipating a grand or elaborate monument (see the pictures below). Its charm lies in its simplicity and its connection to Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of the same name, which is known worldwide. Visitors typically stop by for a quick photo opportunity or a short visit, but there are limited activities or features surrounding the statue itself.

Copenhagen attractions
The Little Mermaid
Copenhagen attractions
Crowds @ The Little Mermaid

2. Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is one of the world’s oldest amusement parks, first opened in 1843. It is a well-established and historic attraction in the heart of the city. The park features a mix of traditional amusement park rides, games, gardens and dining options. Overall, Tivoli Gardens is a well-preserved piece of Copenhagen’s history and a pleasant place to spend time, but it may not provide the same level of excitement or novelty as some other amusement parks. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance or online for about USD 23 (link). 

Copenhagen attractions
An entrance to Tivoli
Copenhagen attractions
Band @ Tivoli Garden entrance

3. The Royal Danish Playhouse

The Royal Danish Playhouse is a modern waterfront building that serves as a venue for theatrical performances, primarily focused on drama and dance. The Playhouse’s architecture is characterized by its sleek and minimalist design, blending contemporary elements with traditional Scandinavian aesthetics. It is situated by the harbor, offering scenic views of the waterfront, but the interior spaces can be somewhat austere and functional in design. The Playhouse often hosts a range of theatrical performances, from classic plays to modern works and contemporary dance.

Copenhagen attractions
The Royal Danish Playhouse

4. City Hall Square (Rådhuspladsen)

City Hall Square, or “Rådhuspladsen,” in Copenhagen is an urban space situated at the heart of the city. Dominated by Copenhagen City Hall’s imposing red-brick structure, it primarily functions as a bustling transportation interchange with buses, trams and pedestrians constantly moving through. The square is surrounded by commercial establishments, offering convenience for shopping and dining. It serves as a central point for navigating Copenhagen and occasionally hosts public events.

City Hall Square

5. Strøget

Strøget is a well-known pedestrian shopping street in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe and stretches for approximately 1.1 kilometers (0.68 miles) through the heart of the city center. The street is lined with a mix of international and local shops, boutiques, department stores and restaurants, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking retail therapy. The architecture along Strøget is diverse, with a blend of historic and modern buildings, but it lacks the grandeur of some of Copenhagen’s other architectural landmarks. Additionally, the street can get quite crowded, especially during peak shopping hours and tourist seasons, which may not be conducive to a quiet or leisurely stroll.

Copenhagen attractions
The start of Stroget

6. Canal Tour

Canal tours in Copenhagen offer a picturesque and informative journey through the city’s historic waterways. Visitors board boats that traverse canals and harbor areas, providing a unique perspective on Copenhagen’s architecture and landmarks. These tours typically feature informative commentary in multiple languages, enhancing the understanding of the city’s history and culture. Passengers can relax in comfortable seating while taking in iconic sights like the Little Mermaid statue, the Royal Opera House and Christianshavn’s canals. 

Copenhagen attractions
Canal Tour
Boat - Canal Tour
Copenhagen attractions
Under the bridge!
Copenhagen attractions
Under the bridge!
Copenhagen attractions

7. Nyhavn

Nyhavn, located in the heart of Copenhagen, is a historic and vibrant waterfront district known for its colorful buildings, picturesque canals and bustling atmosphere. This iconic area offers a postcard-worthy setting with its row of 17th-century townhouses painted in bright hues, creating a visually striking backdrop for cafes, restaurants and bars that line the canal’s edge. Nyhavn is a popular destination for both tourists and locals, attracting visitors with its lively ambiance and a wide array of dining options. While it has a charming and photogenic appeal, it’s essential to note that Nyhavn can get quite crowded and prices at the establishments here tend to be on the higher side catering largely to the tourist crowd.

Copenhagen attractions
Canal along Nyhavn

8. Freetown Christiania

Freetown Christiania, located in the heart of Copenhagen, is a unique and alternative community known for its countercultural values and lifestyle (read: hippie). Established in the early 1970s on the grounds of an abandoned military barracks, Christiania operates as a self-governing and autonomous neighborhood. It has a reputation for its colorful graffiti-covered buildings, communal living and a strong emphasis on individual freedoms and artistic expression. Visitors can explore the area’s vibrant street art, quirky architecture and a relaxed atmosphere, but it’s important to note that Christiania has had a complex relationship with Danish authorities due to issues related to drug trade and legality.

While some areas are open to the public, others are private, and photography is often restricted to protect residents’ privacy. Hint: The easiest way to reach Christiania is to take public transportation. You can use the Copenhagen Metro and get off at Christianshavn Station. From Christianshavn Station, it’s a short walk to Christiania. Follow signs or ask locals for directions.

Copenhagen attractions
Boating structures @ Freetown Christiania

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