Have you thought of Copenhagen as your perfect winter destination? Check my guide to Copenhagen below!
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, might be windy and frosty during the winter festive period but don’t get set aside by that: a proper portion of hot drinks and food from the markets, open sandwiches, and the Christmas lights everywhere in the city are definitely worth it!
So, what to visit in Copenhagen?
Nyhavn, or the New harbour, could be one of the most touristy places in the city, but it’s absolutely beautiful and is worth your time. It was established in the 17th century, and its waterfront is still all lined up with pretty houses dating back to the 17th-18 century, and there are lots of cafes and restaurants in the area too.
This is also the birthplace of ‘The Tinderbox’, ‘The Princess and the Pea’ and other masterpieces by Hans Christian Andersen, one of the most famous fairytale writers of all times.
Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen founded in 1843 is an amusement park with multiple shops and cafes. It’s transformed into a festive fairytale with Christmas decorations hanging everywhere, peacocks roaming around and hyacinths blooming by the sidewalks.
Did you know that it was both visited by Andersen and Disney?
Tivoli Gardens are decorated seasonally – wish I could see it for the spring festival! And I was also lucky to pop into Tivoli Gardens all dressed up for Halloween, and just look how amazing are those spooky decorations!
Frederiks Kirke (Frederick’s Church), also known as Marble church, is a gorgeous Lutheran church near Amalienborg, the seat of the Danish royal family. Actually, the whole Frederiksstaden district emerged with the erection of this church: it started in 1749 and ended only in 1894, and the building was completely different from what it was planned at the beginning, and it’s not even made from marble!
And now it’s the prettiest area of Copenhagen. Now Frederick’s Church still remains remarkable: its dome is the largest in Scandinavia! Pop in to see gorgeous stained glass and the organ inside too.
4.The Little Mermaid statue
The Little Mermaid statue doesn’t need any special introduction: you undoubtedly know the tragic story (not the Disney one!) of a mermaid who trained her voice for legs to win the love of a prince but failed and has disappeared as a sea foam.
The statue made by sculptor Edvard Eriksen represents a bronze mermaid sitting on a granite rock near the Langelinie Pier. It dates back to 1913 and was presented to Copenhagen by brewer Carl Jacobsen. Sadly, the statue was vandalised on multiple occasions but always restored to its full glory.
If you want more tragic stories (and the reality is not enough) or you’re just a fan of museums like me, pay a visit to the Hans Christian Andersen Experience. It hosts a permanent exhibition dedicated to Anderson and his life.
To be honest, the ‘museum; is a bit of a big name for this place, but you’ll for sure refresh Andersen’s fairy tales in your head and learn about the events of his life too including his childhood, his travels, his life in Copenhagen and the inspiration behind his fairytales.
Botanisk have, or botanical gardens, is another must-visit of Copenhagen. It’s a part of the Natural History Museum that belongs to the University of Copenhagen, promoting the diversity of flora to its visitors: it has the largest collection of plants in Denmark that consists of over 13,000 species! Video below is from VisitCopenhagen/Wonderful Copenhagen.
Pop into the Palm house, check their herbarium collection – and check for its opening times in advance because they could be closed due to the holidays!
7.City Hall Square
City Hall Square, located at the end of Strøget (see below), is the main square of the city with an impressive City town hall (Rådhuspladsen). There are a few nice monuments there too including the statue of Andersen and 7-metre tall Dragon fountain.
We also had a chance to explore the City Hall from the inside (we attended a wedding there) – and I must say that the interiors are absolutely stunning!
Strøget (previously known as Ruten) is a huge pedestrian zone of the old city that includes one of the longest pedestrianised streets in Europe, New Market (Nytorv), Old Market (Gammeltorv) and Amagertorv (where the famous stork fountain is located).
It’s usually called a shopping destination, but you can do much more here than shopping: just wander around, admire the colourful houses, admire the shop displays and eat a smørrebrød with herring curry in one of the cafes.
Rosenborg, a Dutch Renaissance palace that has long been a historical museum, was built in 1606-1607 as a summer residence for Christian IV. If you like treasuries and everything which sparkles and shines (and love some private stories of royal families), don’t miss this place!
Be sure to go around all the floors because they have a wonderful collection of royal regalia, jewellery, and household items. My favourites were the thrones, silver lions and the mirror room!
10. Christiansborg Palace
Christiansborg Palace is located on an island inside the city and is now a place where the Danish Parliament sits. The first castle on this site was founded in the 12th century by Bishop Absalon. Later, several palaces were erected on this site: all of them were extremely “lucky” to catch fires, and each time a new version of the palace had to be rebuilt.
The current palace was built at the beginning of the 20th century. You can see the history of the buildings at the exhibition called ‘the ruins’ (cuteness alert: there is even a centuries-old print of a cat’s paw on the unhardened building material, nothing changed since then right?), as well as visit library, kitchen and stables (the latter are not open all day, check the schedule in advance).
Royal chapel also is worth a visit. Around the palace there are actually quite a few museums to see such as The War Museum, The Jewish Museum and the National museum of Denmark.
Amalienborg is the current residence of the royal family. It gained this status at the end of the 18th century after another fire in Christiansborg when everyone was just fed up with those tragic events happening over and over again.
The architectural complex consists of four buildings in the Rococo style, and tourists are allowed only into some rooms – although they are preserved to reflect the characters of different members of royal family both of the past such as Christian IX and Queen Louise and present. Watch The Royal Life Guard change here too!
The Kastellet fortress, or the Citadel, is located literally a minute walk away from the statue of the Little Mermaid, and it’s still used as a site for military activity. The citadel’s construction began as a redoubt in 1626.
The fortress in its final look – after many rebuilds and reconstructions – was erected in the shape of a star but you can only notice it from above. There are many buildings inside including a windmill, guard house, and a church. Once inside, you can walk along the moat and admire the beautiful red houses called The Rows there.
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