Copenhagen: Main Sights
The Paris of the North
Copenhagen’s top sights can be easily reached by walking the cobblestone streets but taking a harbour tour is the best way to enjoy the waterways and canals. Between trendy neighbourhoods and eateries, a lively nightlife, world-class shopping, top-ranked museums and galleries Copenhagen has many main sights certain to please even the most discerning visitor.
Copenhagen’s harbour features the landmark Little Mermaid, one of the most photographed women in the world. The statue or Den Lille Havfrue as it is known is small but famous. Carl Jacobsen commissioned the statue in 1909, and inspired by his wife, Edvard Eriksen created the statue in 1913 which overlooks the sea. Other highlights along the harbour include the Opera House, Black Diamond (an extension of the Royal Library), the Trekoner an 18th century fort and the many houseboats, pubs and restaurants that make up the maritime culture of the area. Copenhagen boasts the longest cruise ship pier outside Miami.
Tivoli is a fairytale amusement park in the heart of Copenhagen. Famous for its exotic buildings, lavish gardens, restaurants and entertainment Tivoli offers something magical and unexpected to visitors. Founded in 1843, Tivoli is believed to be an undeniable source of inspiration for Walt Disney. The amusement park features thrill rides, the world’s tallest carousel, gentle rides, dragon boats, a pantomime theatre, open air concerts and perhaps the most distinct attraction: the Tivoli Palace. The palace houses several restaurants and stands out with its green domes. At night the palace lights up with Chinese lanterns and thousands of fairy lights. Ideal for families.
The royal couple's winter residence situated in Copenhagen’s city center, Amalienborg Palace has been home to the royal family since 1794. Built in the 1750’s and named after 17th century Queen Sophie Amalie this complex of palaces (four in total) is one of the best representations of Baroque architecture in Denmark. Of special interest are the four palaces: Christian VII’s, Christian VIII’s, Frederik VIII’s, and Christian IX’s, an equestrian statue of Frederik V, Colonnade, the Golden Axis, Amalie Gardens, and Marmorkirken (the Marble Church). Other royal residences in the city consist of Christiansborg Slot to the south of the center and Rosenborg Slot, right in the center.
Of these, the Baroque Rosenborg Slot is surrounded by the Rosenborg Have, the Botanic Gardens and the Kongens Have, a trio of welcoming open spaces perfect for peaceful summer afternoons.
The National Museum
Offering Danish history from ancient times to the present day and outstanding archaeological findings, the National Museum in Copenhagen is world-class. Situated in a former palace, the Museum boasts items such as the Sun Chariot (a 3400 year old artefact depicting a horse pulling a sun disk), Bronze-Age oak burial coffins, Inuit displays from Greenland, and Denmark’s oldest coin. A great place to go to get a sense of Danish history and culture.
The National Gallery
Featuring European and Danish paintings and sculptures from the 14th century onwards, the National Gallery is impressive. Set delightfully within the public park of Ostre Anlaeg, and housed in two buildings the gallery is linked by an unforgettable extension known as “sculpture street.” The gallery’s highlight is its modern Danish art showcasing Danish artists such as Asger Jorn, Michael Ancher and Peder S. Kroyer. There is a bookshop and café onsite.
The Latin Quarter and Strøget
One of the oldest areas in Copenhagen the Latin Quarter features the university and some of the few surviving medieval buildings (mostly churches) in the city. The Strøget the world's longest pedestrian street for shoppers is found just off the Latin Quarter. Copenhagen's largest shopping area is Denmark's premier shopping street featuring high-end names such as Prada, Max Mara, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel as well as budget conscious shops where you will find excellent value clothes. A popular student area, the Latin Quarter is bustling and lively and street performers can be found along the Strøget. For magnificent city views head to the Round Tower, whose Observatory at the top overlooks the old town, house roofs and church towers.
Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn
Two of the most scenic areas in Copenhagen the King’s New Square and New Harbour were originally outside the city’s gates and the home of the medieval gallows. Planned by Frederik III the Nyhavn canal connects the Inner Harbour with the King’s Square. This canal area is now home to colourful 18th century houses formerly belonging to merchants. Nos 20, 67 and 18 were the home of fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen and No 6 is one of the oldest buildings in Copenhagen, featuring a 13th century wine cellar. The Royal Theatre and Royal Ballet are also situated here amidst the chic bars, restaurants, design shops and boutiques. Shopping enthusiasts can also visit Magasin du Nord, Copenhagen’s oldest department store. In winter the area’s ice skating rink is popular.
Sample “probably the best beer in the world” with a free self-guided tour of this famous Brewery in Copenhagen. The Carlsberg Brewery was founded in 1847 by J.C. Jacobsen, a patron of Danish history and art (his son donated the Little Mermaid). A visit is highly recommended and you even get the chance to sample some free beer (which always tastes better) during the tour.