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The 20 Best Things To Do in Copenhagen For First-Timers


Planning to take a trip to Copenhagen in the near future? If so, congratulations on your trip to the capital city of Denmark. If this is your first visit to the city, then you are probably wondering where to go first and what to do while you're there. The truth is that there are so many remarkable things to see and experience that you won't have any problems finding several. There are some things, however, that you might not be aware of, so we've prepared a guide that outlines the 20 best things to do in Copenhagen for first-time visitors, for your consideration.

Black Diamond Library

20. Visit the Black Diamond Library

The Black Diamond Library is one of the most highly recommended stops if you're a book and library enthusiast. While it's not at the top of the list for those who are not thrilled with books, it's one that we had to include in case you are. It's a great place to start your tour of Copenhagen. Even if you're not an avid reader, this modern building is free to get inside and it is truly an architectural work of art.

Tivoli Gardens

19. Spend the day at Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is one of the best tourist attractions in the city of Copenhagen. It's a must-see whether you're traveling alone or with your family, Tivoli Gardens features a Japanese garden for relaxation and viewing the wonders of nature. This attraction was first opened to the public in August of 1843 and it is Denmark, as well as the world's second-oldest amusement park that is still in operation. This is a 20-acre attraction that you will need at least four hours to get the most from your visit.

The Little Mermaid

18. See The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is another popular tourist attraction in Copenhagen. The sculpture was created by Edvard Eriksen upon his commission by brewing giant Carl Jacobsen. While watching a theater performance of the Hans Christain Andersen fairy tale, he fell in love with the character and insisted that she be represented through a sculpture. He made a gift of the bronze and granite statue to the City of Copenhagen. The model for the sculpture was Eline Eriksen, Edvard's wife.

Rosenborg Castle

17. Tour the Rosenborg Castle

The Rosenborg Castle is another must-see for any first time visitor to Copenhagen. Construction of this castle was completed in 1606 and it was originally created to serve as a summerhouse. This is a project that was commissioned by Christian IV and it stands as an important piece of Danish history.


16. Take a tour of Nyhavn

Nyhaven is a district in Copenhagen that draws a great many tourists. It's ideal to take a photo of this colorful area that is located on the waterfront. It features a canal that provides many tours for visitors and this is largely known as the entertainment district in the city. The waterfront was established in the 17th century and it starts at Kongens Nytorv to the harbor that is located to the south of the Royal Playhouse. You'll find plenty of restaurants, bars, and cafes to grab a snack, a full meal or a beverage in a setting that features buildings built in the 17th through 18th centuries.


15. Sample the authentic food of Papiroen

Papiroen is known as "the food street" in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is a street that is filled with a variety of food truck vendors and it's also where you can get your fill of authentic Danish street food. This is by no means fancy dining but it will give you a sense of the true flavor of the city.


14. Shop at the marketplace at Torvehallerne

Torvehallerne is another place that you must visit when you're in Copenhagen. It's an urban covered marketplace that is loaded with a variety of gourmet foods, local produce, desserts, and beverages. This is an experience that you will not soon forget. It gets busy almost every day but it is well worth the time to visit. You may find your next favorite food while you're there because there are many one-of-a-kind foods that you can't find elsewhere.

Carlsberg Museum and Business Center

13. Visit the Carlsberg Museum and Business Center

The Carlsberg Museum and Business Center is another popular tourist attraction in Copenhagen. The museum is located right by the previous home of Carl Jacobsen and the very first sculpture collection that he amassed. He is a benefactor who has commissioned multiple sculptures.


12. Eat at Marchal

While you're in Copenhagen, you absolutely must dine at Marchal. This is a Michelin Star restaurant and one of the finest in all of Copenhagen. You can enjoy breakfast, lunch, tea, or dinner at the restaurant. It's expensive, but this is a once in a lifetime experience for the average person. The chef is reputed for his gold plated desserts and other gourmet offerings. The restaurant has been in operation since 1755 which adds to the value of the experience.

Kronborg Castle

11. Tour Kronborg Castle

Here is yet another unforgettable experience that awaits you in Copenhagen. No trip to the city is complete without a visit to Kronborg Castle. It is a 16th-century castle that was made complete with royal chambers and a banqueting hall. It is the model for Hamlet's Elsinore.

Louisiana Museum of Art

10. Visit the Louisiana Museum of Art

You'll have to travel about 35 km to the north of Copenhagen, but it's worth the trip to see the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. It's on Humlebaek's Oresund Sound shores. This is the single most visited museum in the country of Denmark. The extensive collection of modern art exhibits ranges from the World War II era to the present and all of the exhibits are permanent. The museum itself offers a lovely example of Danish architecture and it is filled with so many interesting and moving exhibits that this is one museum you'll want to visit.

Royal Danish Theatre

9. Catch a show at the Royal Danish Theatre

If you're a lover of the Ballet, then you absolutely must catch a performance at the Royal Danish Theatre. Regular performances of a variety of popular Ballets are held. It's important that you purchase your passes in advance to ensure admission to the show. This is a popular venue and it would create an unforgettable memory of your trip to Copenhagen.

Royal Danish Guard

8. See the Changing of the Royal Danish Guard

Another interesting thing to do while you're in Copenhagen is to witness the Changing of the Royal Danish Guard. This is a spectacular ceremony that takes place from Rosenborg Castle to Amalienborg Palace. The main event is held at the Palace with guards making the change at 12:00 daily. The march from Rosenborg Castle begins at 11:30 am.


7. Take a shopping strip on Stroget

You'll have to walk but taking a tour of Stroget for shopping is another popular tourist activity. Stroget is an area of Copenhagen that is completely free from cars and it is located in the city's center. This is one of the most popular shopping areas in the city. It's known as a pedestrian shopping street and it is designed specifically for those who are shopping on foot. The length of the street is approximately 1.1 kilometers so it's also a great way to get some exercise and stretch your legs.


6. Go into the Rundetaarn

Rundetaarn is also known as The Round Tower. This tower was previously known as Stellaburgis Hafniens, and it is found in the central part of Copenhagen. This is a 17th-century tower that was commissioned by Christian IV of Denmark to serve as an astronomical observatory. It has tremendous historic value to the people of Denmark and multitudes of tourists flock to the tower where they can gain entrance and obtain some of the most remarkable views of the city. Yes, you're allowed to walk through the tower.

Copenhagen Coffee Lab

5. Visit the Copenhagen Coffee Lab

If you're a coffee drinker then you will want to make a trip to the Copenhagen Coffee Lab. This is one of the most famous coffee roasteries in the country. It's only been in operation since 2013 but in that time it has established a strong reputation throughout all of Europe. The name is descriptive of what they do best. They create custom coffee roasts in search of perfection. If you're not fond of coffee but you know someone who is, this is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir gift for friends and loved ones.

CopenHot Spa

4. Experience a CopenHot Spa

You'll need to book this one in advance but we promise that you'll never forget the experience. CopeHot is a sailing hot tub. This very special sauna is built into a sailing ship and they take up to five people per trip to cruise around the harbor that is located at Northern Copenhagen for magnificent views and the most relaxing sauna on the face of the earth.

canal tour

3. Take a canal tour

One of the best ways to see the city of Copenhagen from a fresh perspective is by taking a canal tour. You'll get a better view of some of the attractions from the waterways and you will be guided by knowledgeable staff who can tell you more about the various sites. Most tours start at Gammel Strand or Nyhavn and you can jump on and off the boats at different locations as often as you like.

Kings Gardens

2. Visit the Kings Gardens

The Kings Gardens are an attraction within themselves, also known as Kongens in Danish. This is the oldest park in Copenhagen that was established in the early part of the 17th-century. While you're visiting the park that was commissioned by King Christian IV, you'll find a lot of historical buildings to visit including Rosenborg Castle, which is a tour that should probably be done by itself. This is where the Royal Guards are housed in the Rosenborg Barracks. There are multiple monuments and statues to view at the park as well as a multitude of concerts, exhibitions, and other events that are held regularly through the summertime. There is also a moat and a playground at the park.


1. Take a bicycle tour of the waterfront

Before you end your trip to Copenhagen, sign up for a bicycle tour of the waterfront. This could be one of the most unforgettable experiences of the trip. The waterfront is filled with new enhancements to the city with some of the most magnificent examples of modern architecture. Keep an eye out for the "Crystal and Cloud" building as well as the SEB Bank building which is elevated on a raised landscape. The tour will take you by some of the tallest skyscrapers in the city with several popular landmarks. There are loads of restaurants and unique businesses and plenty of places to stop for a quick snack or beverage. There are also several historical buildings on the waterfront. This is a tour that can be done when you first arrive in Copenhagen to get an idea of where to eat or visit first or a great way to end your trip. Make sure to bring your camera or smartphone because you'll want to snap some photos of the amazing sights that you see.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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