Copenhagen’s Top Sights and Shops
Collected by Stephen Whitlock , AFAR Local Expert
The Danish capital is a city of fairy-tale castles, a world-famous amusement park, and contemporary art and design. The many different sides of Danish culture exist side by side happily. In fact, happily is a good word to describe how most things go in Copenhagen, which manages to be both cozy and cosmopolitan in its singularly stylish way.
Islands Brygge 14, 2300 København S, Denmark
As has happened with so many cities where once-bustling waterfronts have seen their fishing business decline over the decades, Copenhagen’s harbor has been transformed. A place where fishermen used to come to work, it’s now an area...
Frederiksborggade 21, 1362 København, Denmark
A market has been held at Israels Plads since 1889, but it was only in 2011 that two permanent food halls were completed and opened to the public. The pair of glass buildings house more than 100 stalls, offering everything from traditional Danish...
Bredgade 68, 1260 København, Denmark
Design is one of Denmark’s great success stories. Given this close association with the country, it’s particularly fitting that Designmuseum Danmark is just around the corner from the Queen’s Palace. You’ll find scores of iconic...
Roskildevej 32, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
In a design-obsessed city, it’s only right that the animals in Copenhagen Zoo (Denmark’s fourth most popular attraction) should live in style. The Elephant House was designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster, while the Tasmanian...
Gl. Hovedvagt, Kastellet 1, 2100 København, Denmark
Her silhouette is used as a symbol for the city, and she is one of its most popular attractions, but there’s no avoiding the fact that the Little Mermaid is—as her name suggests—a very modest young lady. Many visitors are...
Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V, Denmark
A fairy-tale town deserves a magical funfair. Tivoli Gardens is one of the country’s most popular attractions, drawing more than four million visitors a year (in a country with a population of around 5.5 million). Youngsters will enjoy the...
Gl Strandvej 13, 3050 Humlebæk, Denmark
There’s a simple explanation why this art gallery has such an unusual, and un-Danish, name: It was once the private home of Alexander Brun, who had three wives over the course of his life, each of whom was named Louise. Even if the current...
Kapelvej 4, 2200 København N, Denmark
This huge cemetery is the biggest green space in the increasingly fashionable Nørrebro area. It’s the final resting place of some of the greatest Danes of all time, including Nobel Prize–winning physicist Niels Bohr, philosopher...
Købmagergade 52A, 1150 København, Denmark
Prins Jørgens Gård 1, 1218 København, Denmark
The success of the TV drama Borgen has piqued international interest in the building that houses the Danish government. Christiansborg Palace (from which Borgen takes its name) is also the tallest tower in the city center, and it’s free to...
Nyhavn, København K, Denmark
The multicolored buildings of Nyhavn are one of the most popular images of Copenhagen, familiar from countless postcards. The area is home to many bars, and as soon as it is warm enough to be outside, crowds of people fill the harborside, enjoying...
Kratvænget 15, 2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
Finn Juhl was one of the greats of 20th-century Danish design, and today his furnishings—and his chairs in particular—fetch extraordinary prices at auction. Juhl’s home, a small white house in Charlottenlund, just north of Copenhagen, is...
Dantes Plads 7, 1556 København, Denmark
From Egyptian mummies to French impressionists, from ancient Greece to Gauguin and Van Gogh, the collection at the Glyptotek is staggering, beautifully displayed in a 1906 Venetian-style building financed by the family that owned the Carlsberg...
Ny Kronborgvej 1, 3000 Helsingør, Denmark
Elsinore—called Helsingør by the Danes—is famed for its Kronborg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. However, there are several other reasons to make the 30-mile trip...
22 Rømersgade København K, 1362 København, Denmark
Don’t be put off by a museum dedicated to showing how the working class has lived over the past 150 or so years. One of Copenhagen’s more unusual and enjoyable attractions, the Workers Museum is a surprisingly excellent place for a...
Jægersborggade 9, 2200 København, Denmark
Jægersborggade is an unexpected success story. A few years ago no one would have thought to visit the somewhat scruffy street in Nørrebro, but today it’s spruced up and has become a magnet for people interested in food, art, and...
Tuborg Havnevej 7, 2900 Hellerup, Denmark
This interactive science center for kids in Hellerup, a few miles north of the city, is easily reached by train. Among its highlights: the Bubblearium, for blowing bubbles of all sizes; a toy construction zone for younger children; and the...
Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København, Denmark
Rosenborg Castle is so preposterously pretty it looks like an illustration from a fairy tale by local hero Hans Christian Andersen. Built around 1606, it’s surrounded by a moat and is topped off with verdigris-covered towers and turrets. The...
Sølvgade 48-50, 1307 København K, Denmark
Denmark’s oldest and finest collection of art is housed in a suitably grand 1890s building and a modern extension added in the 1990s. In many ways the National Gallery calls to mind New York’s Metropolitan Museum: This imposing but...
Bredgade 3, 1260 København, Denmark
This elegant store close to Kongens Nytorv and the bustling waterside bars of Nyhavn showcases two floors of classic 20th-century Danish design. Even if you’re not shopping for a new Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair or a Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair,...
Niels Hemmingsens Gade 3, 1153 København, Denmark
One of Denmark’s greatest exports in recent years has been the concept of hygge—a feeling of coziness and contentment (ideally with a few beautifully chosen, Instagram-friendly possessions nearby). Stilleben is a charming little store...
Kigkurren 8M, 2300 København, Denmark
There isn’t a shop in town that feels happier than Studio Arhoj. Tucked away in a courtyard in the up-and-coming Islands Brygge area, this workshop and store showcases the distinctive Scandinavia-meets-Japan ceramics of local designer Anders...
Østergade 61, 2, 1100 København, Denmark
There are two reasons to pop into the two-story showroom Hay House. The first, and most important, is that this is one of the best places to see what’s new and interesting in contemporary Danish design. The store is filled with cool,...
Kronprinsensgade 11, 1114 København, Denmark
Every city needs a stand-out confectionery store, and in Copenhagen that role is filled by Summerbird. Locals love the delicious organic chocolates and candied almonds, and flødeboller—chocolate shells that encase super-soft marshmallow—are...
Amagertorv 6, 1160 København, Denmark
From the formal to the casual, various patterns of the distinctive blue-and-white china that’s a familiar sight in Danish homes are artfully displayed in the three-story flagship store on Amagertorv. Upstairs you’ll find impeccably...
Ekvipagemestervej 10, 1438 København K, Denmark
Copenhagen’s Opera House is hard to miss. The immense building measures some 440,000 square feet and presides over the harbor from its position on the island of Holmen, across the water from the palace at Amalienborg. Completed in 2004, it...
På Bjerget 14B, 2400 København, Denmark
To the northwest of central Copenhagen, much-photographed (though less frequently visited) Grundtvigs Kirke is notable as a rare example of a church constructed in the expressionist style. Architect Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint won a design...
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