Copenhagen is one of those cities where it’s a pleasure in itself just to walk around. Sure, there are sights to be seen, but there’s certainly no touristic pressure to rush around and tick anything off for fear of missing out. The city is on the smaller side, making it more than walkable, which means that it’s possible to cover a lot of ground in a short space of time without even really noticing that you are. Here are my Top 5 things to see in Copenhagen along the way while you wander:
This is the postcard shot that many associate with Copenhagen but, the thing is, it really is just that picture perfect in real life. Nyhavn is a quaint 17th-century harbour, one which is lined with an array of bright chocolate-box buildings. Not only full of architectural character, some of these buildings also carry histories which are as colourful as their exterior facades – having been the homes of prominent artists and writers, such as the famous Hans Christian Andersen. In winter Nyhavn feels even more like it stepped out of a Hans Christian Andersen storybook, when its cobbled streets become filled with Christmas market stalls and the air with the comforting seasonal smells of mulled wine and cinnamon. If you are visiting during this time, make sure to keep a look out for the local honey stall selling produce from a nearby island – the cinnamon honey spread is to die for!
2. COPENHAGEN OPERA HOUSE
A hop, skip and a jump around the corner from Nyhaven is Skuespilhuset, The Royal Danish Playhouse. This is a striking building alone in itself, but it also offers the perfect vantage point to gaze across the water to the impressive Opera House. And impressive it should be, too, claiming the title of being one of the most expensive opera houses ever built.
In every city there’s a spot for the best views, and in Copenhagen that spot is without a doubt the Rundetaarn. This 17th century round tower certainly stands out in the city skyline, but, it’s actually more than just a tower – it’s an observatory. Sadly scientists vacated the Rundetaarn a long while ago, but luckily the observatory is still open to the public and aspiring astronomers alike. Snake around the spiral walkway, which was uniquely built without steps to allow horses to make the journey, too. Once at the top, take time to properly soak up the panoramic views of the Danish capital.
4. ASSISTENS CEMETERY
It may be a cemetery, but Assistens is a place where the living and the dead coexist in perfect harmony. This resting place also functions as a prominent public green space in Nørrebro district. Although perhaps frowned upon in other countries, don’t be surprised to see locals sunbathing between the gravestones or running through the maze of hedges which line the pathways, here. Whatever your feelings on the matter, somehow in Copenhagen this approach to living life among the dead, well, it just works and stills feels right and respectful somehow. While strolling through the lush greenery, modern day philosophers and literary enthusiasts will undoubtedly want to take some time to pay homage at the graves of celebrated writer Hans Christian Andersen and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.
5. FREDERIK’S CHURCH
Affectionately known as the ‘Marmorkirchen’ (Marble Church), Frederik’s Church is made from, you’ve guessed it, marble. Although planned to be built entirely from Norwegian marble, cost restrictions meant that these plans were finally scrapped and limestone was opted for instead to complete the construction. The church is no less impressive for that fact though. And, it can also boast of having the largest church dome in Scandinavia, one where on a clear day you can see Sweden from the top – if you don’t believe it, go and take a look for yourself!