12 Things to Do in Copenhagen: A Guide for First Timers

12 things to do in Copenhagen Denmark. The best travel tips, food and architecture you have to see! Plus a day trip to Malmo Sweden!

Copenhagen is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been. Beautiful historical buildings, cobblestone streets and gorgeous parks make up this wonderful city and we had such an amazing time!

One thing to note about Copenhagen is it’s definitely on the pricey side. It was the final destination of our three-week Eurotrip (after Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest and Vienna) so it wasn’t SO ideal to already feel like you’re running out of money in such an expensive city. But overall it was such a lovely place with lots to do!

Check out 12 things to do in Copenhagen for first timers!

1. Tivoli Gardens

We went to Tivoli Gardens on our first day and we loved it! Like everything in Copenhagen it’s not cheap to go in, but once you’ve entered you can leave and come back later, which we did.

If you haven’t heard of Tivoli Gardens, it’s an amusement park and garden that has rides, games, musical concerts, and restaurants throughout. We walked around enjoying the gorgeous lush gardens and checking out the rides. We didn’t go on any, but they looked like so much fun for kids!

We spent most of our time at one of the garden bars. It was pretty and whimsical with white bistro chairs, table umbrellas and faux fur chair covers. It had total Alice in Wonderland vibes!

2. OrstedsParken

As I mentioned in my post on Amsterdam, one of the things we really love to do when we travel is find parks, pull out a blanket and spend time relaxing, reading and people watching. Traveling is amazing but it can be exhausting, so it’s nice to slow down sometimes.

OrstedsParken is a beautiful inner-city park covered in lush trees and surrounding a large lake. Grab a sandwich and drink at a nearby cafe and spend some time recharging in the park!

3. University of Copenhagen Campus

We loved walking around the University of Copenhagen campus. Lined with picturesque historic buildings, the university is quite integrated with the inner city of Copenhagen, mixed in with restaurant, bars and cafes.

We got sandwiches from a small shop in the area (I can’t remember what it was called), but they were was SO good! The campus are is lively and hip and a definite must-visit in Copenhagen!

4. Rosenborg Castle

The Rosenborg castle is a renaissance castle and it’s absolutely stunning! It was originally built as a country summer home in 1606 (can you imagine?) and now is one of the hottest tourist spots in Copenhagen. We didn’t go inside but the exterior is magnificent.

It’s not only the castle, but there is a beautiful garden area that surrounds it as well. It seems to be a popular local hangout spot as it was bustling with people from teenagers singing along to their favourite songs to parents chasing after their children.

5. The Colourful Canals

The Copenhagen canals are some of the most noteworthy sight lines in Europe. I have to admit this area was PACKED with tourists and really busy, but the colourful buildings are so picturesque.

The canals are lined with open air restaurants which would be lovely to sit down at and have a drink, but I think all those places were tourist traps (they were WAY overpriced) so we walked the canals and went on our way!

6. The Copenhagen Opera House & Kontiki Bar

On our second last day we bussed over to the island of Holmen see the Copenhagen Opera House. It’s a really cool structure and one of the most modern opera houses in the world. We weren’t allowed to go in, but it’s quite stunning from the outside.

There is also a charming canal behind the Opera House with quite a few boat bars along the edge so of course we had to stop for a beer! We ended up at the Kontiki Bar and it was such a cool concept! Definitely a hidden gem that would recommend going to if you’re checking out the Opera House!


7. Christiansborg Palace

Christiansborg Palace is a palace and government building that you have to check out! Again, we didn’t go inside (there are only so many castles you can see lol) but looking at photos online, it looks like a good one to explore- especially the room with the Queen’s Tapestries!

8. Meatpacking district

The Meatpacking district in Copenhagen is known as one of the city’s trendiest areas, filled with restaurant, bars and galleries. We didn’t end up eating in the meatpacking district (we wanted to go to Hija de Sanchez tacos but it was insanely busy), but we did get a drink at NOHO. I definitely recommend checking out this area, especially if you want to enjoy the nightlife while you’re there!

9. Torvehallern Food Hall

We absolutely love food halls and Torvehallern is one of the best we’ve ever been to! It’s a covered food market with open air seating outside, as well as some outdoor food stands and flower and fruit shops.

We ate here twice. One time we got Vietnamese subs from Lele Street Kitchen and another time we got tacos from Hija de Sanchez (an absolute must!). Thankfully they have a booth outside at Torvehallern so we weren’t completely out of luck when the Meatpacking location was packed!

10. Jasmin Rice

This Thai restaurant was a little outside of Copenhagen in the area where our Airbnb was (I believe the area is called Amager), but it’s worth the mention- maybe you’ll stay in this area too! I think we came here three our four times LOL. The food was amazing and really flavourful, and it was super reasonably priced, which was a welcome change from the inner city!

11. Natur Torst

Natur Torst was also in the Amager area and we wished we had gone here every morning for breakfast (we only ended up going on our final day). It’s a cute cafe serving only the freshest foods, think: Superfood bowls, granola and yogurt, avocado toast and delicious juices. It was one of the best meals we had for sure!

12. Train over to Malmo, Sweden 

Did you know Malmo is just a 35 minute train ride from Copenhagen? We decided to train over for our final day and were SO happy we did! Make sure to bring your passport and ask around at the train station to make sure you get on the correct train…otherwise it’s easy peasy and you’re in another country just like that!

Malmo is such a gorgeous little city, we absolutely loved it. We got cinnamon buns at a Cafe Pronto, walked around the beautiful streets and ate lunch at a charming Irish pub. The architecture and streets are so gorgeous and it has a really small town feel. I wish we had more time there! If you’re heading to Copenhagen, I would suggest planning to go to Malmo overnight. We would have loved to have another day there!

Here were some highlights of our day in Malmo!

Lilla Torg (Little Square)

Lilla Torg is Malmo’s little town square lined with restaurants and cafes. When we got to Malmo it started raining so we grabbed a seat at Pronto Cafe in the square (see below) and relaxed until the rain stopped.

Stortorget

Stortorget is the largest and oldest square in Malmo. It was historically a market square, but now is used to host big events.

Cinnamon Buns at cafe Pronto

One of our first stops in Malmo was trying the cinnamon buns at Pronto (shout out the Helene from Helene in Between – one of my fave travel blogs- for this suggestion). As I mentioned above, it started to rain so it was the perfect time to sit under the awning on the patio and enjoy a delicious warm cinnamon bun! 

 

The Pickwick Pub

We saw the Pickwick pub when we were walking around and decided it would be the perfect place to grab lunch! I’m really happy we decided to eat here because it was the most charming pub with awesome food! We loved the atmosphere – it was so cozy and our server was super friendly.

walk the City Streets

We loved walking around the Malmo streets and taking in all the beauty of the city. The architecture is beautiful and the streets are quaint and charming.

Slottsradgarden

Slottsradgarden is a lovely park with gardens, a lake and a famous windmill. We walked around for a while before catching the train back to Copenhagen and it was such a nice way to end off our trip to Malmo. 

 

Copenhagen and Malmo were both amazing cities to end off our Eurotrip! I hope you enjoyed this list of 12 things to do in Copenhagen! And if you’ve been to Copenhagen before, let us know if there’s anything you’d add to the list!

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12 things to do in Copenhagen Denmark. The best travel tips, food and architecture you have to see! Plus a day trip to Malmo Sweden!

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