Adventure International

Copenhagen, Denmark: 9 Top Things To Do

Did you know that Danes rank among the world’s happiest people?

Well, I am not surprised given that I rank myself as the happiest of tourists during the four days that I visited Copenhagen, Denmark in June 2023.

Initially, my incentive to visit Denmark’s capital was to celebrate its title as the UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture in 2023. I wanted to see why Copenhagen’s architecture received such high honors. This initiative highlights the key role of architecture, city planning, and culture in shaping urban identity and sustainable urban development.

“Every three years, the city designated as World Capital of Architecture becomes a global forum at the forefront of discussions on contemporary urban planning and architectural issues.”


But I discovered so many other reasons why Copenhagen, Denmark wowed me – its palaces, its museums, its waterways, its historic neighborhoods, its subway system, and … most importantly … its people.

Here are my 9 top things to do in charming, compelling, and captivating Copenhagen.

The Copenhagen Card

If you want to save money and maximize the things you see and do in Copenhagen, then you must buy the Copenhagen Card. Its slogan? “See More. Pay Less.” The price is based on the number of days on which you plan to use the card for single or multi-day segments: 24, 48, 72, 96, or 120 hours. You also have to remember that the clock starts ticking as soon as you “activate” the card.

I purchased the Copenhagen Card online so I could use it as soon as my EasyJet flight landed at Copenhagen Airport. Since free transportation is a perk, I wanted to ride the metro subway for free from the airport to my hotel.

During my ride on the metro, I began to research what museums and venues I could visit for free. The list seems endless.

Stromma Canal Tour

I highly recommend starting your first day at 10 am on board a Stromma Canal Tour. It is free with the Copenhagen Card. You acquire your ticket at Ved Stranden. The original boat tour dates back to 1904.

Gliding down the canals, you will get introduced to the city’s most famous buildings, including The Operahouse, Our Saviours Church, and Amalienborg Palace. There is a live guide who describes the city’s churches, castles, historic houses, and new buildings of architectural interest, such as The Black Diamond.

My favorite part was the silent stretch where we sailed past the Danish who lived on houseboats. The friendly dwellers waved at us while we wished that we could board their “houses on water.”

Danish Design Museum

Copenhagen is equally recognized as a global design capital as well as architecture capital . . . and nowhere is this clearer than the Danish Design Museum.

Located in Amalienborg, you pass two columns at a gated entrance, proceed down a cobblestone courtyard and then enter the museum designed in Rococo architecture. Follow the twisting paths through rooms to study special exhibitions for glass, ceramics, fashion, textile and posters.

My favorite part was a timeline exhibition showcasing major design works for Finn Juhl, Arne Jacobsen, Paul Kjaerholm, Verner Panton, and Hans Wegner.

End your day in the bucolic gardens, sipping a glass of wine or frosty beer at the café. Your feet will need a rest after galloping around Copenhagen for the last eight hours.

Tivoli Gardens

I saved Denmark’s oldest amusement park until after the museums closed. Since it is located in the middle of the city, Tivoli Gardens is the perfect evening entertainment. The Copenhagen Card only covers the entrance fee. You must purchase individual ride tickets or an unlimited ride ticket.

Founded in 1843, Tivoli Gardens is considered a national treasure. Such luminaries as Hans Christian Anderson and Walt Disney visited the park. The wooden Roller Coaster opened in 1914. It is still the oldest and most popular ride. “It is only one of the seven roller coasters in the world still featuring a man in one of the carts controlling the brakes manually,” according to Tivoli Gardens.

From the moment you walk through the gates, you will see beautifully designed gardens, iconic buildings, and stately architecture. Summer activities include concerts, fireworks, and festivals.

The Botanical Garden

I set my alarm for an early wake-up call to maximize my second full day of sightseeing in Copenhagen. Since most museums don’t open until 10 am, I chose to take the metro to visit The Botanical Garden. (Check out my blog posts on the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington DC and the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota.)

Considered a green oasis in the middle of the city, the gardens are free of charge. But if you want to visit the iconic Palm House, you will need to purchase a ticket. (Admission is free with the Copenhagen Card.)

Opened in 1874, this glass palace is modeled after the Crystal Palace in London. Architect Peter Christian Bonecke designed the Victorian building in glass and cast iron.

Gardeners will revel in room after room filled with exotic plants. Meander down rows of plants and flowers. But leave plenty of time to thrill the soft flapping of delicate wings in the Butterfly House. You will feel your heart flutter as they gracefully dance in the air around the orchids.

Rosenborg Castle

Just down the street lies the Rosenborg Castle. Head straight for the ticket booth to get your timed ticket entry. You can explore the King’s Garden while you wait.

Christian IV built this castle in the early 17th century. It was his favorite castle. The Great Hall is home to three life-sized silver lions. You can also view the coronation thrones. Tapestries line the walls. You’ll also see the king’s bedroom, bathroom, and writing chamber.

You will need to enter the castle’s basement to see the crowns of Danish kings and queens.

The “Crown Jewels” date back to Queen Sophie who specified in her will that the jewels should always be “with the crown.” Three centuries later, HM Queen Margrethe still wears the crown jewels—consisting of a diamond set, ruby set, pearl set, and emerald set—at royal events.

The Round Tower

If you want to see an eagle’s eye view of Copenhagen, reserve time to climb the steps at The Round Tower.

“A living landmark of Copenhagen since 1642.”


Located in a bustling shopping district, this 17th-century tower and observatory is known as the Rundetaarn. Built by King Christian IV, the tower is Europe’s oldest functioning observatory. In addition, you can visit the old library hall.

If you are not afraid of heights, climb to the roof to see the 360-degree views of Copenhagen. You might feel a little queasy on the ascent and descent. The hardest part is walking up the spiral ramp.

Museum of Copenhagen

I would suggest visiting the Museum of Copenhagen on the first day that you arrive in the city. You can learn so much about the city’s growth from Viking stronghold to the UNESCO Architecture Capital of 2023. The museum is located right behind City Hall.

Survey the 600-year-old shipwreck. Pursue the bicycle, Copenhagen’s beloved means of transport. See a large-scale, interactive model of the city. Learn about the fires that almost destroy the city. You can also book a private tour of the museum or a guided walk in the city.

See “The Making of Wonderful Copenhagen: Poster Artist Ib Antoni exhibition at the Museum of Copenhagen. Danish poster artist Ib Antoni Jensen created advertising campaigns in the 1960s that made America (and the world) fall in love with Denmark. Stroll through multiple rooms to see oversized posters and memorabilia featuring the Smiling Mermaid. This exhibit runs through October 31, 2023.

The Danish Architecture Center

I saved DAC for the last day of my trip as the museum is open on Mondays. I recommend saving at least two hours to walk through the museum. Located in the BLOX on Copenhagen’s waterfront, DAC hosts architecture buffs, festivals, guided tours, and exhibitions.

Study the timeline of Copenhagen’s architectural triumphs. The So Danish! permanent exhibition tracks the historical progress of Danish architecture, starting with the Vikings until modern times.

I learned a lot about such Danish architecture masterminds as Arne Jacobsen and major architectural studios, including Bjarke Ingels Group and Olafur Eliasson.

I wish I would have visited the website in advance in order to participate in a DAC guided tour from Nyhavn to the 8 House and bicycle bridges to harbor baths.

The Black Diamond

I ended my celebration of Copenhagen’s architectural triumphs with a visit to The Black Diamond. The home of the Royal Danish Library frankly defies words. Its sleek black form dominates the harbor as well as serves as a modern-day lighthouse to any sailor in a boat.

Cruise the gift shop, buy a coffee at the café, take the elevator to the historic library section, and finally end your visit on the bridge looking down below at all the library clients. You’ll also see the city through the lens of the enormous glass wall.

The treasure in the Royal Library includes letters from famous Danes, including diary journals for Hans Christian Andersen and manuscripts written by Karen Blixen.

I am reminded by Hans Christian Andersen’s quote “When words fail, music speaks.” The symphony of Copenhagen’s architecture, design, and culture is still ringing in my ears.

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  • Gia
    July 15, 2023 at 7:26 am

    Copenhagen is now on my TBT (To Be Traveled) list! Thanks for the awesome post, Terri!

    • Terri
      July 15, 2023 at 7:56 am

      I am now the happiest of travel bloggers thanks to yor delightful comment. Honestly, Copenhagen should be in your Top 10 European cities to visit. 🇩🇰

  • Patricia (Tish) Mikan
    July 15, 2023 at 8:22 am

    Thanks Terri
    Copenhagen looks and sounds wonderful !
    Love the museum
    Sometime I will visit

    • Terri
      July 15, 2023 at 1:14 pm

      There are so many different museums to visit to see that you need multiple days!

  • Anna Schaeffer
    July 15, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Copenhagen is SO HIGH on my list! Hoping to do it in the next couple years. Definitely doing a canal tour, and the Danish Design Museum looks cool too! Pinning this for later!

    • Terri
      July 15, 2023 at 1:13 pm

      I am so mad at myself that I procrastinated visiting Copenhagen because it is one of the greatest European cities. GO!

  • Stephanie
    July 15, 2023 at 1:41 pm

    Copenhagen is high on my travel bucket list and this is such a great list of things to do! I didn’t know how cool the museum of Copenhagen was, so I’m totally going to have to check it out.

    • Terri
      July 15, 2023 at 4:04 pm

      It is such a quirky museum. Every city should have its own museum to tell its history. I hope you get to visit Denmark.

  • Carly
    July 15, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    I spent about 18 hours in Copenhagen on a layover a few years ago… I can’t wait to go back and see more of the city! 🇩🇰

    • Terri
      July 15, 2023 at 4:03 pm

      I can’t wait to visit Copenhagen –again. There is so much that I still want to see and do.

  • Hels
    July 15, 2023 at 2:04 pm

    Copenhagen looks amazing! The gardens, canal trip and design museum all get a tick from me. Have always fancied a trip to Denmark. I’ll have to try and see what I can do about making it happen!

    • Terri
      July 15, 2023 at 4:02 pm

      You won’t be disappointed. The Design Museum was also a fav for me.

  • Val H
    July 15, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    Hi Teri epukd love to visit here ! Looks dreamy !


    • Terri
      July 15, 2023 at 4:01 pm

      Copenhagen is magical! I hope you get to visit!

  • Jen
    July 15, 2023 at 5:36 pm

    Looks like a great place to visit! I’d love to see someone, especially the arts & architecture parts.

    • Terri
      July 15, 2023 at 6:50 pm

      Both the architecture and design museums are fantastic.

  • Tara Tadlock
    July 16, 2023 at 3:21 am

    I love CPH! Beautiful photos.

  • simplyjolayne
    July 16, 2023 at 9:35 am

    Is your background in design and architecture? I definitely love the colorful homes and canals.

    • Terri
      July 16, 2023 at 10:28 am

      Yes I have worked on graphical design for my entire publishing career. I am fascinated by color palettes & trends in graphics. The study of architecture has always been a past time for me, which is why I enjoy walking tours.

  • Katy
    July 16, 2023 at 2:48 pm

    Nice guide! Love the pics of the city, really beautiful

    • Terri
      July 16, 2023 at 5:24 pm

      Thank you! It is a beautiful city!

  • Taylor
    July 16, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    I spent a long layover out in Copenhagen. Loved the city and it is super well connected to the airport which made the day visit much easier.

    • Terri
      July 16, 2023 at 5:24 pm

      I was so impressed with the Metro system. It was inexpensive and well-organized. I never had to use an Uber.