Visiting a foreign country is always a great adventure! But what makes it really fun is knowing about the best places in advance and using this knowledge to your advantage when planning your days. This is why I decided to create this list of the places I personally found the most interesting during my short trip to Denmark. No more anxiety and not knowing what to do in Copenhagen!
When you ask someone to recommend you the best places to visit in Copenhagen, you’ll most likely hear about the popular museums, main shopping streets and, of course, the famous statue of The Little Mermaid (which as you might know often takes the first prize in any top of the most overrated and disappointing landmarks in Europe).
Well, this Copenhagen guide is totally different! You will not see any of these boring and usual things on my list. Instead, I’ll tell you the coolest spots where you’ll have the best time and also mention a couple of Copenhagen tourist attractions that are worth visiting and definitely won’t disappoint you.
Another cool thing is that most of them are within walking distance from the city center so no need to waste any money on transportation (which by the way is crazy expensive in this northern capital!).
So, are you ready to have some fun in Denmark? Here are the absolute best things to do in Copenhagen in no particular order!
1. Board Game Café – Bastard Café
This place has become my absolute favorite! We’ve been there two times during our three-day trip to Denmark and would love to go again! If you love board games as much as we do, you can’t miss it for the world!
Bastard Cafe is a cozy place in the heart of Copenhagen with the hundreds of board games for you to play! Some of them are free to play, some are paid. There isn’t much food choice there besides sandwiches and some snacks, but they have desserts and all kinds of hot chocolate! Sitting there, sipping the coziest drink with marshmallows and cream and everything and being involved in a cool game, you might realize what their famous hygge is all about.
Of course, the best way to visit it is with friends or whoever you are traveling with. Another option is to invite someone local or other travelers you just met! I can almost guarantee you’ll have a great time there. But even if you are a solo traveler and haven’t met anyone new yet, they have lots of games for one when you play against the game itself!
By the way, most of the games presented there are in English (and the minority is Danish-only) and they have tons of them (I believe the number is somewhere near 3000)! Literally every shelf in every room is filled with board games of all kinds, so everyone will find something to have fun with.
What can I say, I just loved it there! I wish there was something similar in my hometown.
2. Most instagramable place in Copenhagen – Nyhavn
This might sound obvious, but I just couldn’t not mention the canals.
Starting from Kongens Nytorv square (which also becomes magical every November when Christmas Market is out there!) and all the way to the Ferry Terminal, Nyhavn is the most wonderful place to have a walk! This waterfront promenade with a long row of the colorfully painted houses is what makes Copenhagen one of the most picturesque cities in the whole Europe.
Whether it’s a sunny summer day or a freezing winter one, you can always find a place outside of one of the cute little restaurants along Nyhavn, pick a comforting drink according to the current weather and watch people and ships coming and going with the best background ever. Just sit there, relax and embrace the beauty of it!
3. Star-shaped fortress – Kastellet
If you can spare a couple of hours for a nice tranquil walk, this is the place to go.
Kastellet (also known as a Citadel) is a greatly preserved fortress in the shape of a star (which BTW makes it easy to find it on a map!). It has much to tell from the historical point of view and you might wanna visit it as a part of a guided tour if you are interested in details.
The fortress was built in 1626 for military purposes and is still active in some way, but the entrance to the territory is free of charge. There are two gates to enter but the northern one was closed due to some construction when we visited. Being a star-shaped kind-of-island surrounded by water on all fronts, Kastellet may require some additional walking from you to enter it in case one of the entrances is closed.
Kastellet is not among the most popular landmarks in Copenhagen which makes is less crowded even in the most touristic times of the year. It has a lot to offer in terms of visually appealing area: rows of similarly painted bright-red buildings, a windmill, a church, and beautiful nature. Everything you need for a peaceful stroll!
It is also located in the same area as The Little Mermaid – just in case you still want to see that one with your own eyes and tick this box from your list of the must-see places to visit in Copenhagen.
4. The Royal Library Garden – Det Kongelige Biblioteks Have
Whether you love to read or not (I hope you do!), the Royal Library Garden is a Copenhagen absolute must-see. While the main building of the Royal Danish Library, called the Black Diamond, is located more to the south, the Garden is exactly in the center of Slotsholmen island. Surrounded by plenty of other historical buildings like Christiansborg Palace, the Royal Library Garden makes a great spot to relax in between sightseeing. Imagine this calm public garden with the facade of an old library building, lots of trees and flowers and a shallow pool with a fountain in the middle. You’ll have such a wonderful time!
You might want to visit the library too as it’s the largest one in the Nordic countries and the most significant one! The Black Diamond building was only built in 1999 and looks quite impressive from outside as it’s covered in glass and black marble.
5. Christmas Markets
Should you happen to visit Denmark at the end of the year, Christmas markets must be included in your route! European Christmas markets are no doubt the best and the most magical in the whole world and Denmark naturally keeps up with this definition.
Most of those markets appear around 18th November and remain open up to January. With all the things they have to offer you can rest assured they are included in any list of the top things to do in Copenhagen in winter. Christmas decorations and lights, local food, sweets and warm drinks, craft items, a good deal of gift ideas and the ultimate feeling of joy – this is what makes Christmas markets the perfect source of holiday mood!
If you need more details on Christmas Markets in Copenhagen, I have a whole other article. It contains the full info about the best Copenhagen’s Christmas markets I personally visited and liked as well as some advice on what to buy and taste there in terms of food and gifts!
6. The Blue Planet – National Aquarium of Denmark
Quite a place to visit, especially with children!
Located close to the Copenhagen Airport (we walked to the airport from there, but the road is not quite pedestrian-friendly), the Blue Planet is a great place to spend a few hours before your flight. If you haven’t been to many aquariums like that, you’ll be impressed by the amazing underwater tunnel where all the stingrays, hammerhead sharks and colorful fish shoals swim all around you! There aren’t many places in the world to experience the same feeling when a big shark divides the water surface just a few feet above your head.
As much as this place is entertaining, it is also educational: there are a lot of information stands in different areas with interesting facts about various fish species and corals. It will not only impress children but adults too! For example, I had no idea about the clownfish: apparently they live in groups with only one female who is in charge of the group, and when she dies, the largest male changes sex to take her place! And the aquarium is full of curious facts like that!
They also cover huge ecological issues like corals bleaching and plastic pollution of the oceans, which is by itself a good reason to take children there. Besides, there are tactile pools where you can touch stingrays, turtles and have a hand massage made by fish. They have sanitizers and all to make sure it’s safe!
If I haven’t convinced you to visit the Blue Planet yet, I give up! And let’s talk now about something totally different!
7. Freetown Christiania
Well, this one is the opposite of the previous – I wouldn’t recommend taking children there.
Christiania is a semi-independent hippie neighborhood – and gives you an alternative view at the perfect-looking clean and cozy Copenhagen.
There is a clear set of rules that you should be aware of before visiting it: first and foremost is that photos are forbidden in some areas due to the open selling of different types of cannabis which is still illegal in Denmark. I mean, there is actually a street with the stalls where they offer you to buy marijuana, hash and other kinds of soft drugs. There are big ‘No photos’ signs all over that area, and you probably shouldn’t dare to invade those people’s privacy by trying to take photos however tempting it might be. I’ve heard some stories and this never ends well, just don’t do it.
Observe, walk calmly (another rule is ‘Never Run’) and bring home the memories of visiting this quite alternative environment in the middle of Copenhagen.
8. Amusement park – Tivoli Gardens
What can be better to complete a list of fun places in Copenhagen than an amusement park!
Tivoli Gardens is a huge park with a ton of roller-coasters, trains and other magnificent rides that will blow your mind! It also makes a huge effort to transform into a magical fairytale when it comes to big holidays like Halloween or Christmas, which makes it even more attractive place to visit during your Copenhagen trip.
Even if you aren’t as adventurous, you can just pay the entrance fee and walk around taking photos like we did. This feeling of being in a winter wonderland is totally worth the price!
Final thoughts on having fun in Copenhagen
That’s all for my list of the coolest places to visit in Copenhagen! I was trying to keep it located around the city center, but if you happen to have more time you should definitely visit other areas of the Danish capital as well! Besides already mentioned Christianshavn, there are also Nørrebro, Østerbro, and Frederiksberg worth visiting if you want to explore more of Copenhagen. Never settle for the most obvious things to do if you want to really remember your time in another country!
Save this to your Pinterest board or add to the bookmarks and revisit when going to Copenhagen to not miss any fun!