Denmark is an absolute must-see country for all art, history, and culture enthusiasts. For many centuries, a succession of Danish royal families has left a treasure trove of palaces, castles, and stately homes that will delight architecture enthusiasts. In addition to showcasing thousands of years of history, the museums of Copenhagen are an absolute treat for all art lovers. At Kronborg Castle, Shakespeare enthusiasts can walk in the footsteps of Hamlet as you tour the actual castle that was once home to the young Danish prince. Here are the best things to do in Denmark.
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Copenhagen’s Amalienborg Palace complex is composed of four identical rococo-style palace buildings surrounding a hexagonal square with a statue of King Frederik V (1771) at its center. The four palaces have been home to different generations of the Danish royal family since 1794 and are still used as official royal residences and sumptuously appointed guesthouses for visiting dignitaries. The Christian VIII Palace houses the fascinating Amalienborg Museum, which is filled with exhibits offering an insight into the lives of both the present and past royals. You can tour both Christian VII’s and Christian VIII’s palaces and watch the impressive changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place at noon each day, come rain or shine.
Amalienborg, 1257 Copenhagen K, Phone: +45-33-12-21-86
2.ARoS Aarhus Art Museum
© ARoS Aarhus Art Museum
Art and architecture lovers will need to set aside at least a half-day to explore the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, located in the heart of Denmark’s second-largest city, Aarhus. The architecture of the 17,700-m² cube-shaped building is quite unique, offering ten levels of exhibition space punctuated by a spiral staircase. You have access to a “free” viewing area, but will have to pay an entrance fee if you would like to see the full collection, which encompasses over 1,000 paintings, 400 installations, and hundreds of art videos, graphics, drawings, and photos. In addition to the permanent collections, the museum has a full calendar of rotating exhibitions and events. When you need a break from the sensory overload you can drop into the Art Café or the ARoS Food Hall.
ARoS, Aros Allé 2, DK-8000, Aarhus C, Phone: +45-8-73-06-60
3.Denmark Points of Interest: Christiansborg Palace
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The imposing Christiansborg Palace is the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State, located on the tiny island of Slotsholmen in Copenhagen. The public areas are a must-see attraction for visitors interested in art, architecture, and history, demonstrating three separate architectural styles that came about as the palace was rebuilt following two devastating fires in 1794 and 1884. A combined entrance ticket includes access to the Great Hall (where you can admire the Queen’s Tapestry Collection), the Royal Reception Rooms, the Royal Stables, the Royal Kitchen, and the underground ruins, which date back to an original castle built on the site in 1167. The various architectural styles showcased include neo-baroque, neo-classical, and baroque.
Christiansborg Palace, Prins Jorgens Gard, 1468 Kobenhaven K, Phone: +45-33-92-64-92
4.Copenhagen Free Walking Tours
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Find out all there is to know about Denmark’s vibrant capital city Copenhagen on a guided walking tour presented by a team of enthusiastic locals who know the city like the back of their hands. What makes these tours so special is that you tip according to how much you enjoy the experience, which guarantees that your guide will do an exceptional job of entertaining and educating you about all things Copenhagen. The company offers a variety of tours every day of the year, regardless of the weather – you can choose the Grand Tour (which includes most of the city highlights) or opt for a special-interest tour like the Classic Tour, the Pub Crawl, or the Christianshavn Tour.
Copenhagen Free Walking Tours, Radhuspladsen 1, 1566 Kobenhavn V, Phone: +45-52-39-14-44
5.Djurs Summer Park
© Djurs Summer Park
If you are looking for an adrenalin-charged family excursion while in Denmark, the Djurs Summer Park ticks all the boxes. The park opened in 1981 and is constantly adding new rides and attractions, making it one of the largest and most exciting amusement parks in Europe. The park features eight themed areas and more than 60 rides for all ages and levels of bravery. Highlights include Viking Land, the Drage Kongen, (Europe’s fastest and longest suspended family roller coaster), and several water rides to cool you down on a hot summer day. A one or two-day ticket gives you unlimited access to all the rides and with so much fun to be had you may consider booking an overnight package that includes accommodation.
Djurs Sommerland, Randersvej 17, 8581 Nimtofte, Phone: +45-86-39-84-00
6.Denmark Points of Interest: Dyrehavsbakken
Dyrehavsbakken, or simply Bakken to the locals, is one of Copenhagen’s best-kept secrets and has been a popular family attraction for hundreds of years. This unique and rather nostalgic amusement park is the oldest in the world and was established back in 1583 in a beautiful part of the forest just 10 minutes from Copenhagen. Generations of locals have been coming to the park to enjoy the wide-open spaces, complete lack of glitz, and some thrilling rides which include an 80-year-old vintage wooden rollercoaster. You can enjoy a total of 32 rides and over 70 other typical fairground games and attractions to suit all ages. More Things to Do in Copenhagen
A/S Dyrehavsbakken, Dyrehavevej 62, DK 2930 Klampenborg, Phone: +45-39-63-35-44
7.Things to Do in Denmark: Farup Summer Park
© Farup Summer Park
When you consider how long the winter lasts in Denmark it comes as no surprise that the country has some of the best summer amusement parks in Europe. Fårup Summer Park (Fårup Sommer Land in Danish) is the second-largest park in Europe and boasts the largest water park in the country. You can try out all six of the rollercoasters to get your adrenaline pumping and then move on to the Aquapark for yet more speed, thrills, and spills. There are also numerous rides and activities for younger children, including the Kiddies Water Park. One entrance ticket gives you access to all the attractions and you can check into the on-site hotel to extend your excursion.
Fårup Sommerland, Pirupvegen 147, 9492 Blokhus, Denmark, Phone: +45-98-88-16-00
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8.Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark
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The stately Frederiksborg Castle north of Copenhagen is a must-see attraction for history buffs, art and architecture enthusiasts, and garden lovers. The original castle was built in the 17th century in the Dutch Renaissance style but was almost completely destroyed by a fire in 1859, leaving only the chapel unscathed. It was painstakingly rebuilt in the original style by 1865. Today you can tour the castle and the romantic baroque gardens, which were re-created in 1996 from original drawings dating back to 1725. The castle is home to the Museum of National History, where you can see original sculptures and decorations that pre-date the fire as well as a significant collection of paintings, portraits, and modern art.
Frederiksborg Castle, Montportvejen 10, 3400 Hillerod, Phone: +45-48-26-04-39
9.Kayak Republic, Copenhagen
© Kayak Republic, Copenhagen
You can see all the amazing sights of Copenhagen from an entirely new perspective on a paddling tour through Copenhagen’s pristine waterways with Kayak Republic. The outfitter offers kayaking courses, rentals, and guided tours and is very centrally located. There are several tours to choose from, including the Nordic Food Tour, which will give you the chance to try local specialties like smørrebrød (traditional open sandwiches), fresh fish, and Danish mussels. On the Architecture Tour, you will be guided along the canals to see some of the architectural gems of the city and learn about the links between society, architecture, and history.
Kayak Republic, Borskaj 12, 1221 Copenhagen K, Phone: +45-22-88-49-89
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Immortalized by William Shakespeare in his well-known tragedy Hamlet, Kronborg Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on a narrow spit of land between Denmark and Sweden. The original Renaissance castle was built in 1574 as a military stronghold and played an important role in the region’s history for several generations. You can learn all about the strategic importance of Kronborg and see the opulent interior on a guided tour of the castle’s highlights, which include the Frederik II ballroom. Shakespeare fans might prefer the “Walking in Hamlet’s Footsteps” tour, which is led by a costumed Horatio and will truly bring the famous tragedy to life. The castle is located just 40 minutes by train from Copenhagen.
Kronborg 2 C, DK-3000, Helsingor, Phone: +45-49-21-30-78
11.LEGOLAND Billund Resort
© LEGOLAND Billund Resort
Denmark’s LEGOLAND Resort in Billund is one of the country’s most popular amusement parks for all ages. It was built in 1968 next to the original Lego factory and has been thrilling thousands of summer visitors ever since. There are over 50 exciting rides distributed through several themed areas – DUPLO Land provides a fascinating safe environment for younger visitors to learn through play and enjoy special rides tailored to little people. In the Imagination Zone, the Atlantis by SeaLife ride takes you through a tunnel surrounded by real sharks and other sea creatures. There is far too much to see and do in a day so LEGOLAND offers several accommodation options, including themed hotel rooms and cabins where children can exercise their imagination to the full. Nearby attractions include Lalandia Water Park and Givskud Zoo.
LEGOLAND Billund Resort, Nordmarksvej 9, 7190 Billund, Denmark, Phone: +45-75-33-13-33
12.Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark
© Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
The Louisiana (named after the wives of the original owner of the country house) is one of Europe’s foremost museums of modern art and has been an inspiration to the art world since its inception in 1958. The museum is housed in an unpretentious building in the Danish modernist style, which was designed to blend seamlessly with its natural surroundings and includes a beautiful sculpture garden. The original vision of the creator of the museum was to showcase only Danish Art, but over the years the emphasis has changed to international art and the present distinguished art collection comprises over 3,500 paintings, sculptures, photos, and installations representing artists from all over the world. The collection is spread out over several galleries and the museum also hosts a full calendar of visiting exhibitions. You will find the Louisiana in Humlebaek, about 40km north of Copenhagen.
Louisiana, GL. Strandvej 13, 3050 Humlebaek, Denmark, Phone: +45-49-19-07-19
13.National Gallery Denmark
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Locally known as the SMK (Statens Museum for Kunst), the National Gallery of Denmark is one of six museums located in the Park Museums District in the heart of Copenhagen. The museum is Denmark’s largest art museum and is an absolute must on the itinerary for all art lovers. You will be able to admire several permanent exhibitions spanning seven centuries and including works by some of the world’s most famous artists, such as Rubens, Matisse, Munch, and many more. In addition to the illustrious permanent collection, the museum also hosts regular visiting exhibitions by up-and-coming artists and established contemporary artists. Other museums in the district include the Rosenborg Castle and the Natural History Museum of Denmark – if you plan to visit more than one of the Park Museums you can buy a combined ticket at a reduced price.
Statens Museum for Kunst, Solvgade 48 – 50, DK-1307, Copenhagen K, Phone: +45-33-74-84-94
14.The National Museum of Denmark
© The National Museum of Denmark
The National Museum of Denmark contains a treasure-trove of information about the history, culture, and art of Denmark and should feature on every visitor’s to-do list. You will find the museum in the Prinsens Palais, a former royal palace dating back to the 18th century, located in the heart of Copenhagen. You will need to set aside at least a half-day to do the museum justice and explore the many exhibits, which cover multiple periods and include Egyptian mummies, Vikings relics, and treasures from the Danish Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the German Occupation. One of the highlights of the museum is the weekend guided tour of a Victorian House dating back to 1890.
National Museum of Denmark, Prince’s Palace, NY Vestergade 10, 1471 Copenhagen K, Phone: +45-33-13-44-11
15.Things to Do in Denmark: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
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Art lovers should make a point to include the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek to their list of places to see in Copenhagen. The Glyptotek is a museum dedicated to showcasing both ancient and modern art and is home to over 10,000 individual pieces separated into two collections. The first collection is made up of treasures from the early Mediterranean era, while the second collection is composed of Danish and French art from the 19th century onwards. The museum also hosts regular themed exhibitions and if you visit between June and September, you can join a guided tour (in English), which will greatly enhance your experience.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Dante’s Plads 7, 1556 Copenhagen, Phone: +45-33-41-81-41
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Rosenborg Castle was built in the early 17th century by King Christian IV and is today one of the six museums you can find in the heart of the King’s Garden/Parks Museum complex in central Copenhagen. The distinctive architecture (in the Dutch Renaissance style) of the castle and the well-preserved interiors make this museum a must-see for history buffs and anyone seeking a glimpse of the sumptuous lifestyle of generations of Danish royals. Highlights of your tour will be the Knight’s Hall, where you can see the coronation throne and several impressive tapestries that capture the drama of Denmark’s wars with Sweden. The crown jewels should not be missed and the castle also boasts a significant collection of Flora Danica and a world-class collection of Venetian glass.
Rosenborg Castle, Oster Voldgage 4A, 1350 Copenhagen K, Phone: +45-33-15-32-86
17.Roskilde Cathedral, Denmark
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Visitors interested in history and architecture have a treat in store when they visit the superb Roskilde Cathedral, which was the first Gothic cathedral built in Denmark around 1170 on the island of Zealand, just 30 minutes by train from Copenhagen. The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is surrounded by several medieval buildings and some good examples of 17th and 18th-century homes. Curiously, the original 1170 brick structure was Romanesque in style but during the 100-year building period many other influences prevailed – side chapels, porches, and other structures were added to mirror current architectural styles, resulting in an architectural masterpiece that is home to the tombs of 39 kings and queens of Denmark.
Roskilde Cathedral, Domkirkepladsen 3, 4000 Roskilde, Phone: +45-51-90-20-19
18.Rundetaarn (Round Tower) Copenhagen
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The Rundetaarn, or Round Tower, is one of Copenhagen’s architectural gems dating back to the reign of Christian IV in the 17th century. The remarkable structure was originally built as an astronomical observatory and was part of the Trinitatis structure, which also included a church with a library above. Today you can walk up the amazing spiral ramp to reach the observation platform, which offers excellent views over the city and see the oldest working observatory in Europe. The Library Hall, which once housed the entire reference library of the Copenhagen University and was a favorite haunt of the author Hans Christian Andersen, is located above the church and now hosts a full calendar of exhibitions and concerts.
Rundetaarn, Kobmagergade 52A, 1150 Copenhagen K, Phone: +45-33-73-03-73
19.Segway Tours Copenhagen
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Signing up for a Segway tour of Copenhagen is a great way of combining fun and discovering all the historic and architectural gems of the city. Riding a Segway is both intuitive and easy to learn and no previous experience is necessary. Depending on the amount of time at your disposal, you can choose from either a 1 or 2-hour adventure that will give you a brilliant overview of most of Copenhagen’s tourist attractions. After a brief introduction to the Segway, your knowledgeable guide will bring the city to life through their commentary, which is transmitted directly to your hi-tech helmet, so that you never miss a moment of the fun.
Tours Copenhagen, Nikolai Plads 34, 1067 Copenhagen, Phone: +45-22-28-24-00
20.Stromma Canal Tours
© Stromma Canal Tours
You can see wonderful Copenhagen from an entirely different perspective when you take to the water and glide through the lovely canals on a panoramic tour boat. Stromma Tours offers visitors a variety of guided boat tours that will take you to see some of the city’s most picturesque canals and landmarks. The 1-hour Grand Tour departs from either Nyhavn or Gammal Strand every hour. If you would like a more flexible tour, you can opt for the hop-on hop-off boat tour and there is also the option of combining your boat tour with a bus tour for maximum exposure to all the historic and architectural gems of the city. The company also offers evening dinner cruises.
Strömma Danmark, Amager Strandvej 16, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Phone: +45-32-96-30-00
21.The Little Mermaid, Denmark
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No visit to Copenhagen would be complete without seeing the famous Little Mermaid sculpture at Langelinie Pier, which is probably the city’s most iconic tourist attraction. For over 100 years, the granite and bronze mermaid has been forlornly sitting on her rock in the water, trying to catch a glimpse of her fairytale prince. The sculpture was inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale about a lovely mermaid who falls in love with a real-life prince and gives up her underwater life to be re-united with him on land. The sculpture was commissioned and donated to the city of Copenhagen in 1913 by Danish Brewer Carl Jacobsen after he watched a ballet based on the famous story. See her at Copenhagen Harbor.
Langelinie, 2100 Kobenhavn, Denmark
22.The Old Town Museum, Aarhus
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The Old Town (Den Gamle By) is a fascinating living museum in the town of Aarhus where you can take a journey back in time to the late 19th century. The Old Town is divided up into several “time zones” featuring authentic shops, homes, and businesses from different eras, and your actor/guides will all be dressed in period costume. In the 1970s town district you can stroll through an entire Danish market town (including homes, businesses, and workshops) that has been faithfully re-assembled to look exactly as it did back then. The oldest part of the museum contains buildings from as far back as the 1600s, which have been gathered from all over Denmark and re-erected here. Activities include horse-and-carriage rides, watching artisans at work, and even drawing water from an ancient well.
Den Gamle By, Viborgvej 2, 8000 Aarhus C, Phone: +45-86-12-31-88
23.Things to Do in Denmark: Tivoli Gardens
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You will need to set aside at least a full day to fully enjoy all the attractions of Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen’s famous pleasure garden, amusement park, and concert venue. As the name indicates, the gardens of Tivoli beckon nature lovers to walk around and admire the colors and scents of a thousand flowers in the Hanging Gardens, the Columbine Gardens, the Pergola Gardens, and several more themed areas. Adventure seekers may want to skip the gardens and head directly to try the thrilling rides in the amusement park, while younger visitors can have hours of fun in Petzi’s World and the Tivoli Aquarium. Round off your visit with a show at the Glass Hall Theater or the Concert Hall or enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants on site.
Tivoli Gardens, Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 Copenhagen V, Phone: +45-33-15-10-01
24.The Viking Ship Museum
© The Viking Ship Museum
The whole family can enjoy something totally unique at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, where you can relive 1,000 years of history and see five genuine Viking ships. Children will love the chance to dress up in period costume and explore the fascinating Viking Jetty, where two life-sized models loaded with Viking equipment are waiting to be discovered. You can visit the museum boatyard on Museum Island to see artisans at work re-creating life-sized replicas of pre-historic boats, and in summer you can step on board a Nordic boat and sail out into the Roskilde Fjord to get a real taste of Viking life. The museum is open all year round and is a must-see attraction for all visitors to Denmark.
The Viking Ship Museum, Vindeboder 12, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark, Phone: +45-46-30-02-00
25.Copenhagen Food Tours
© Copenhagen Food Tours
Copenhagen is widely acknowledged to be at the forefront of a wave of Nordic culinary invention. Find yourself at the heart of the edgy foodie scene on a Copenhagen Food Tour, which will not only give you the chance to try a wide variety of local specialties but will also show you around many areas you would normally miss while teaching you about local culture and traditions.
You can choose which of the tours appeals to your inner foodie or jump right in and do them all. The 4-hour Culinary Experience Tour includes stops at an artisanal food market and a micro-brewery and includes up to nine tastings. Other foodie tours include the West End Gourmet Tour and the Licorice Tour.
Copenhagen Food Tours, Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 Kobenhavn, Denmark, Phone: +45-50-12-36-45
25 Best Things to Do in Denmark
- Amalienborg Palace, Photo: Courtesy of Alexi Tauzin - Fotolia.com
- ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Photo: ARoS Aarhus Art Museum
- Denmark Points of Interest: Christiansborg Palace, Photo: Courtesy of Leonid Andronov - Fotolia.com
- Copenhagen Free Walking Tours, Photo: Courtesy of avmedved - Fotolia.com
- Djurs Summer Park, Photo: Djurs Summer Park
- Denmark Points of Interest: Dyrehavsbakken, Photo: Dyrehavsbakken
- Things to Do in Denmark: Farup Summer Park, Photo: Farup Summer Park
- Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark, Photo: Courtesy of vrej - Fotolia.com
- Kayak Republic, Copenhagen, Photo: Kayak Republic, Copenhagen
- Kronborg, Photo: Courtesy of homocosmicos - Fotolia.com
- LEGOLAND Billund Resort, Photo: LEGOLAND Billund Resort
- Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, Photo: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
- National Gallery Denmark, Photo: Courtesy of PeterO - Fotolia.com
- The National Museum of Denmark, Photo: The National Museum of Denmark
- Things to Do in Denmark: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Photo: Courtesy of fotobeam.de - Fotolia.com
- Rosenborg Castle, Photo: Courtesy of pure-life-pictures - Fotolia.com
- Roskilde Cathedral, Denmark, Photo: Courtesy of Eugenio Marongiu - Fotolia.com
- Rundetaarn (Round Tower) Copenhagen, Photo: Courtesy of mauriziogaeta - Fotolia.com
- Segway Tours Copenhagen, Photo: Courtesy of Tupungato - Fotolia.com
- Stromma Canal Tours, Photo: Stromma Canal Tours
- The Little Mermaid, Denmark, Photo: Courtesy of william 87 - Fotolia.com
- The Old Town Museum, Aarhus, Photo: Courtesy of osh maliy - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Denmark: Tivoli Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of Sean Pavone Photo - Fotolia.com
- The Viking Ship Museum, Photo: The Viking Ship Museum
- Copenhagen Food Tours, Photo: Copenhagen Food Tours
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of traveller70 - Fotolia.com