Are you looking for a European destination that feels slightly off the beaten path? Someplace safe for families, easy to navigate, and filled with opportunities to explore and have fun? Consider visiting Copenhagen. The capital city of Denmark has so much to offer, from world-class cuisine and beautiful architecture to museums and attractions galore, and you can often enjoy it without the massive crowds you’ll find in spots like Paris, Madrid, and Amsterdam.
If you do choose to add Copenhagen to your next European itinerary, consider incorporating some or all of the following into your plans to take advantage of the best the city has to offer:
SEE THE CITY FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON A CANAL TOUR
Copenhagen is situated on the water and crossed with a number of canals, making it easy to get around by water. While you can enjoy an affordable trip on the water by riding one of the Copenhagen transit system’s havnebussen boats, you can have some fun and learn a bit about the city by booking a canal cruise through a local agency.
There are several different canal cruise options, so do some research and choose wisely! One of the most highly-rated options in town is Hey Captain, which offers intimate tours capped at just 12 passengers. Prefer something more physical? Take a guided kayak tour through Kayak Republic. And yet another great way to enjoy some time on the water is through Go Boat, which lets you and your friends and family rent a solar-powered boat for a day. Go Boat will even provide a picnic lunch to enjoy as you float along the waterways!
INDULGE IN A MEAL AT PAPIROEN
Copenhagen is a city that takes its food seriously. Home to some of the best restaurants in the world, it’s no surprise to find culinary delights wherever you go. While you can’t go wrong with most restaurants and cafes throughout the city, a great way to get a good feel for the city’s food landscape is to stop by the Papiroen. This street market is packed to the brim with food stalls selling dishes from around the world. Whatever type of cuisine sounds good – Middle Eastern, Asian, French, Spanish – you’ll find it here.
The food stall-style setup means you can grab an entree at one spot and a dessert at another, letting you mix-and-match your flavor profiles and get precisely what you want. You can either sit inside or outdoors, depending on the weather – and availability. This is a popular spot in town, and chances are, there will be a crowd.
EXPLORE THE CHARMING NYHAVN
The Nyhavn is the colorful row of buildings that lines Copenhagen’s old harbor, and chances are, you’ve seen it before in a photo or on a postcard. Admire the wooden ships docked in the harbor, stage a mini photoshoot in front of the beautiful facades and storefronts, and sit down to enjoy a bite to eat at one of the cafes that line the waterway. It’s a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, making it an excellent location for people-watching, and it’s the launching point for many of those canal tours, making it a convenient stop to add to your Copenhagen plans.
TOUR THE BEAUTIFULLY ORNATE CHRISTIANSBORG PALACE
This former palace now functions as a government building, but it’s well worth a visit. The exterior is beautifully designed, and the inside is no less impressive. You’re allowed to tour the kitchens, as well as various rooms and chambers used by royalty, and you can even see the ruins of the original palace, which this one was built on top of. As a bonus, climb the palace tower for some of the best views of Copenhagen!
BIKE AROUND TOWN
The Danes love their bikes, and you’ll find many people pedal around as a form of daily transportation. Embrace the local custom and go for a spin on a bicycle around town! If you aren’t too confident about your biking skills – or your ability to navigate the streets of Copenhagen while flying around on a bike – you can sign up to take a guided bike tour of the city. These tours often pass by some of the city’s major sites and incorporate an element of education, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth!
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN HISTORY AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF DENMARK
If you’re looking to learn about Danish culture and history while you’re in Copenhagen, this museum should rank high on your to-do list. While it does house exhibits focused on other areas and cultures of the world, it dedicates a significant amount of space to highlighting the rich history of its home country. You can check out various artifacts from Greenland and Denmark dating back to ancient times and learn about important Danish leaders and events that have shaped the nation.
To make the experience even more memorable, you can sign up to take a guided tour of the museum. Led by a local, you’ll learn even more than you would if you wandered the museum on your own.
STROLL ALONG THE STRØGET SHOPPING MILE
If your idea of a great vacation includes at least one shopping session, set your sights on the Strøget Shopping Mile. This area has been a hub for shoppers for over a hundred years, and it’s the best place in town to visit if you’re looking for designer goods. While you can definitely find more affordable retailers in the surrounding area, the street itself is lined with signs for Prada, Hermes, and other luxury brands.
The shopping mile isn’t all shops! Keep your eyes peeled for public art, sculptures, and fountains, and explore side streets to find both hidden gems and major attractions.
Copenhagen is a city filled with history, culture, and fun, and you won’t run out of things to do while you’re there. While you’re sure to have a great time however you choose to spend your days, consider adding a few of these activities and experiences to your plans. I promise, you won’t regret it!