Copenhagen, Denmark

Denmark’s historic capital Copenhagen is a key port of call on most Baltic cruise itineraries and as one of the oldest cities in Europe, it has plenty to offer visitors.

6 hours in… Copenhagen

There’s no shortage of amazing faith architecture to explore in Copenhagen but a must-see landmark whether churches are your thing or not is the Church of Our Saviour. Its famous corkscrew spire is instantly recognisable and even better, you can scale a spiral staircase to the very top and enjoy the ultimate city view. The church is also where you’ll find the largest carillon – a special musical instrument which consists of bells – In Northern Europe.

City Hall Square in Copenhagen

City Hall Square in Copenhagen

Actually more of a palace than a castle, Rosenborg Castle is another tourist favourite and will sometimes form part of your city tour and is within easy access of the hop-on, hop-off bus service. Once the home of the Danish Royal Family, it’s opulent and a little over indulgent – something which today’s Scandinavian architecture certainly is not – and is fascinating place to see, even if you don’t have time to explore inside. In Contrast, Copenhagen Opera House is all about the modern face of the city and is an eye-catching piece of architecture for precisely that reason. it’s not without its bling though, as its ceiling is made out of 24-carat gold and foyer from Sicilian marble.

The Little Mermaid is one of the city’s most-visited attractions and it has to be said, she certainly lives up to her name! Despite her diminutive stature, she’s been one of Copenhagen’s most enduring sights for the last 100 years and was of course inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale of the same name. This is certainly one for the ‘must-take tourist photo’ list!

Been before?

Though it’s one of the city’s must-see attractions, the 170-year old amusement park Tivoli Gardens is somewhere you need to spend a day to fully appreciate and as such, it’s the perfect place to go if you’ve been to the city before. Thrill-seekers will be pleased to know that there are 25 different rides to choose from, including one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the world, while those who just want to escape the city streets will love the tastefully landscaped gardens and beautiful fountains, with grounds which cover 21 acres.

Copenhagen's historic theme park Tivoli Gardens

Copenhagen’s historic theme park Tivoli Gardens

Another attraction which is a great way to spend a few hours if you’ve already done the city tour is Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. No, this isn’t one of those beer ‘museums’, rather a fantastic art gallery which is where you’ll find the largest collection of Mediterranean art in Northern Europe and a great selection of French Impressionist works. It’s not just about the art though, as this is a beautiful collection of buildings which also house a sub-tropical winter garden. Why the ‘Carlsberg’ then? Well, there is a link, in that the museum was founded by Carl Jacobsen, who was responsible for bringing the popular beer to the masses.

Christianbourg Palace is another attraction which lends itself to a return visit, consisting of a number of museums and areas which are best explored with a combination ticket. You’ll need at least three hours to take everything in and will be rewarded with a fascinating journey through the city’s regal and political past, with such attractions as the Royal Reception Rooms and The Palace Chapel being particular highlights.

Can’t keep away?

If you’ve explored the major city landmarks inside and out but you haven’t yet visited the lively Nyhavn neighbourhood, then you really should. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the colourful atmosphere of the Copenhagen of old and as it sits on the canal, boat tours are readily available and very reasonably priced. It’s always popular and always busy, and is a great place to relax with a drink and enjoy a snack.

Boat tours of Copenhagen

Boat tours of Copenhagen

You’d be forgiven for not immediately associating Copenhagen with Islamic artwork but nevertheless, The David Collection continues to be one of the city’s most popular cultural attractions and is the perfect choice if you’re in search of something different after visiting the city on a number of occasions. If you’re an art-lover it’s a must and even if you’re not, it’s certainly a fascinating eye-opener.

Don’t even bother!

If time is an issue for you, it’s worth noting that the Little Mermaid is located out of the city where there are no other attractions to enjoy, so if you really want to see her for yourself, make sure you plan your day accordingly.

Though they are entertaining attractions in themselves, Louis Tussaud’s and the Guinness World Records Museum aren’t exactly ambassadors of Danish culture, so you may rather spend your time exploring landmarks and attractions which are specific to this historic city.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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