City Orientation Walking Tour (Self Guided), Copenhagen

The Danish capital Copenhagen is a fairy tale of a city full of peculiarities. It sits comfortably on the islands of Zealand and Amager in a close vicinity to the southern Swedish city of Malmo to which it is connected by the Öresund Bridge. Copenhagen's historic center is a treasure trove of attractions, too many to be squeezed into a single city guide. To see the most colorful of them, you're invited to embark on this orientation walk and enjoy the blend of old and new in the streets of Copenhagen.
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City Orientation Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walking Tour
Guide Location: Denmark » Copenhagen (See other walking tours in Copenhagen)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
Author: alexei
1
City Hall

1) City Hall (must see)

One of the popular tourist destinations in Copenhagen, the City Hall is situated in the center of the city on the City Hall Square, housing both the City of Copenhagen’s Lord Mayor and the Municipal Council.

Inspired by the Siena City Hall in Italy, this building was designed and constructed in National Romantic style by famous architect Martin Nyrop in 1905. As you enter, you will be impressed with its front decorated in rich ornamental style. Do not miss out the gilded statue of Absalon just above the balcony and the tall, slim clock tower. The latter is at 105.6 metres one of the tallest buildings in the generally low city of Copenhagen. In addition to the tower clock, the City Hall also houses Jens Olsen's World Clock.

Before the city hall moved to its present location, it was situated at Gammeltorv/Nytorv. The first city hall was in use from about 1479 until it burned down in the great Copenhagen fire of 1728. The second city hall was built in 1728 but again burned down in the Copenhagen fire of 1795. It was not until 1815 that a new city hall was erected on Nytorv. It was intended to house both the city hall and a court. Today it is still in use as the city court of Copenhagen.

Tip:
Free to see the hall, which is stunning but there's a small fee to go up the tower.
They escort you in groups and the times are 11am / 12:30pm / 2pm; Saturdays at 12pm.
As the building is central the views are great and the viewing platform is square and large.
Alternately, you are free to join a guided tour in English at 1pm (weekdays) and at 10am (Saturday).

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-4pm
2
The City Town Hall

2) The City Town Hall

City Town Hall is one of the main squares in Copenhagen and is known as Rådhuspladsen in Danish. The famous City Hall building, an Italian Renaissance-style construction, is located here. The square also features the Dragon Fountain, built in 1904, and the impressive sculpture Weather Girl that tells when the rain comes. There is also a statue of Hans Christian Andersen, one of the most popular Danish writers in history.
3
Tivoli Gardens

3) Tivoli Gardens (must see)

Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park and pleasure garden that opened in 1843 and is, therefore, the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg, also in Denmark. With 4.6 million visitors in 2017, Tivoli is also the second-most popular seasonal amusement park in the world after Europa-Park.

Tivoli was created by George Carstensen during the reign of King Christian VIII on 15 acres of land outside Vesterport or the West gate. Since the time it was created, this garden has been home to a variety of interesting and exciting attractions that include a theatre, exotic and imaginary orient, flower gardens, cafes/restaurants, and amusement rides. Visit this park in the evening and you will be pleasantly surprised by the ambience enhanced by colored lamps that illuminate the surroundings.

The oldest wooden roller coaster, Rutschebanen, is still in operation at the Tivoli. It was built in Sweden in 1914 and the ride today is controlled by an operator who brakes down the hills so it won't gain too much speed. A well-known swing ride, 'The Star Flyer', opened in Tivoli in 2006. 80 metres (260 feet) high and built by the Australian company Funtime, it offers panoramic views of the city.

Another popular ride opened in 2009 is Vertigo. This thrilling looping plane ride is piloted by the rider. The newest attraction is Fatamorgana, which opened in 2016. This is the world's first Condor 2GH, which offers two separate seating arrangements – one milder version with two-seater gondolas, and a thrilling version in which riders are slung around at high speed while seated in a ring and facing away from the center.

Apart from these exciting rides, Tivoli Gardens is a venue for performing arts and is one of the major cultural hubs in Copenhagen. Do not miss a visit to this interesting garden on your trip to this city.

Why You Should Visit:
Supposedly this was the template that inspired Walt Disney to create his theme parks!
Fun to walk around in even if you don't go on any rides – a lovely way to spend a night with friends.

Tip:
During summer, be sure to stay for the fireworks Saturday or Wednesday evening when the park closes.
You can also take your own food and drink in a bag – they don't check them and it's rather expensive inside.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu: 11am-11pm; Fri,Sat: 11am-12am (Apr 4 – Sep 22 / Oct 11 – Nov 3 / Nov 16 – Jan 5)
4
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

4) Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (must see)

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is an art museum in Copenhagen. The collection is built around the personal collection of Carl Jacobsen (1842–1914), the son of the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries.

Primarily a sculpture museum, as indicated by the name, the focal point of the museum is antique sculpture from the ancient cultures around the Mediterranean, including Egypt, Rome and Greece, as well as more modern sculptures such as a collection of Auguste Rodin's works, considered to be the most important outside France. However, the museum is equally noted for its collection of paintings that includes an extensive collection of French impressionists and Post-impressionists as well as Danish Golden Age paintings.

The French Collection includes works by painters such as Jacques-Louis David, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas and Cézanne, as well as those by Post-impressionists such as van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard. The museum's collection includes all the bronze sculptures of Degas, including the series of dancers. Numerous works by Norwegian-Danish sculptor Stephan Sinding are featured prominently in various sections of the museum.

Why You Should Visit:
To enjoy a surprisingly good collection in a gorgeous repurposed & modified building (the open rooftop affords a great view of the city!).
There is also a magnificent palm garden with many benches, ponds, a delicious café, and some horticultural wonders.

Tip:
Take breaks to go through a wing at a time. You will need breaks, as the place is huge in an unexpected way.
Keep in mind that Tuesdays are free, so perhaps you could go multiple times to make sure you see it all.
Additionally, they frequently have (free) classical music concerts at their concert hall, so try to catch one.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed, Fri-Sun: 11am-6pm; Thu: 11am-10pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
National Museum of Denmark

5) National Museum of Denmark (must see)

This cultural history museum is the largest in Copenhagen and displays Danish and foreign culture histories, with varied exhibits from across the world.

Here, you will be particularly impressed by the coverage of Danish history over the last 14,000 years. Enjoy learning all about the works of art created in this country that dates back to the Middle Ages. Browse through an interesting collection and learn all about the Ice Age reindeer hunters, coins from ancient Greece and Rome, Danish coins dating back to the Viking period and much more.

The National Museum is also known for its varied and extensive collection of artifacts from ancient cultures including Egypt, the Near East, Italy, and Greece. Do not miss out the collection of objects excavated in 1957 from the Tell Shemshara in Iraq. The Danish pre-history section, renovated in 2008, will take you right back to those ancient times.

Tip:
After paying your entry fee, be sure to find out when a free one-hour tour of the museum's 'greatest hits' is available in your language.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-5pm
6
Christiansborg Palace

6) Christiansborg Palace (must see)

Christiansborg Palace is a palace and government building on the islet of Slotsholmen in central Copenhagen. It is the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Danish Prime Minister's Office, and the Supreme Court of Denmark. Also, several parts of the palace are used by the Danish monarch, including the Royal Reception Rooms, the Palace Chapel and the Royal Stables.

The palace is thus home to the three supreme powers: executive, legislative, and judicial. It is the only building in the world that houses all three of a country's branches of government. The name Christiansborg is thus also frequently used as a metonym for the Danish political system, and colloquially it is often referred to as Rigsborgen ('castle of the realm') or simply Borgen ('castle').

The present building, the third with this name, is the last in a series of successive castles and palaces constructed on the same site since the erection of the first castle in 1167. The palace today bears witness to three eras of Danish architecture, as the result of two serious fires. The first fire occurred in 1794 and the second in 1884. The main part of the current palace, finished in 1928, is in the historicist Neo-baroque style. The chapel dates to 1826 and is in a neoclassical style. The showgrounds were built 1738-46, in a baroque style. Tourists from across the world come here to enjoy the unique ambiance and atmosphere at this famous palace in Copenhagen.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful, impressive rooms after rooms! The library is the stuff of dreams, and you could easily spend an hour looking at the modern tapestries.
The tour gives a breakdown of some of the symbolism in the most recent tapestry including references to 20th-century events.
In all, you get to see 4 sections at the palace: the royal rooms, the kitchens, the stables & the ruins, with also a Royal Theatre to check out.

Tip:
Always look out for the free English hour-long tours included in your ticket – they are at 3pm each day but also at different times in the weekends (12pm/2pm).
The tower is free! It is also the tallest in the city and the views are beautiful. There's a small elevator that takes groups of 8ish at a time to the top.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Stork Fountain

7) Stork Fountain

Stork fountain has always been a popular tourist attraction in Copenhagen. Locals and tourists of different age groups enjoy meeting each other at the square around the fountain known as Amagertorv.

Just walk into the square and look around to find a variety of old buildings. Most of them are built in Dutch Renaissance style the oldest among them dating back to 1600. The Stork Fountain was created by Vilhelm Bissen, a well known sculptor between 1836 and 1913. In 1888, the city council gave this fountain for the celebration of the silver wedding of King Frederik and Queen Louise.

Amagertorv also holds the distinction of being a square in Copenhagen where the city’s first ever public toilets were constructed underground. An interesting custom at the square is the dance by graduated midwifes. Since 1950, it has been a practice for newly graduated midwives to dance around the Stork Fountain.

This fountain is located on the Pedestrian Street Stroget. It is very close to various popular tourist attractions such as Nikolaj Church, Round Tower, The Church of The Holy Ghost, Holmens Church, the Old Stock Exchange, Thorvaldsens Museum and Christiansborg Palace. Do not miss a visit to Stork Fountain and Amagertorv square on your trip to Copenhagen.
8
Helligaandskirken (Church of the Holy Ghost)

8) Helligaandskirken (Church of the Holy Ghost) (must see)

A trip to Copenhagen is indeed incomplete without a visit to this famous 18th-century church that is in existence since it was founded by the Holy Ghost Abbey and continues to serve the city as an ancient place of worship.

Helligaandskirken, the church of the Holy Ghost, was once a monastic church. It was reconstructed in 1732 after being destroyed by a fire in 1728. The new Helligaandskirken was originally used as a workroom and hostel serving traveling monks. This monastery has since seen numerous expansions and continues to be a part of the city’s central life for over 250 years.

As you enter this building, you will find a large exhibition room facing Strøget. This hall formerly served as a hospital and today exhibits modern art. In the Church’s choir, you can find a font by eminent sculptor Thorvaldsen.

Tourists from across the world throng this church that has the only completely preserved medieval building in the city. Helligaandskirken is used for Record Fair and is the only surviving building from those bygone times.

Tip:
There are music recitals held here – check the chalkboard outside for details.
A dedicated festival runs from July to end of August and usually starts about 4pm.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 12-4pm; Sat: 11am-1pm; Sun: 10am-1pm
9
Copenhagen University Library

9) Copenhagen University Library (must see)

Founded in 1582, the Copenhagen University Library is the oldest library in the city and also one of the main research libraries in Denmark. The old main building of the library is located in Fiolstræde in central Copenhagen. It was designed by Johan Daniel Herholdt and completed in 1861. A second library, known as the Copenhagen University Library North, is located in Nørre Allé and is the library for natural sciences and medicine.

The University Library grew considerably in stature through the 17th century and many more books, including Peder Hansen Resen’s book collection and Royal Historiographer’s archives, were added to it.

Copenhagen University Library was ravaged during the great fire of 1728. At least 30,000 books were destroyed in the fire. Along with other buildings of the complex, the library was restored having books and manuscripts still added to its collections until today. Tourists from across the world flock to this library and get impressed with the extensive collection of books it possesses.
10
Copenhagen University

10) Copenhagen University

University of Copenhagen is one of the oldest and largest universities in Denmark. This research institution serves many scholars and students from around the nation and across the world. Copenhagen University was founded in 1479 and imparts knowledge to at least 37,000 students. It employs over 7,000 employees and has many different campuses around the city. The oldest campus is situated in central Copenhagen.

The university attracts many students from Nordic countries. There are over 2800 foreign students presently studying here. Along with the Yale University, University of Oxford, UC Berkeley, Australian National University and University of Cambridge, this university is a member of the IARU or International Alliance of Research Universities.

A board of 11 members governs the university. Director, pro-rector and the rector are appointed by this board. Deans of various faculties and central administration directors are appointed by the rector. Heads of 50 departments here are appointed by the dean.

This university is visited by tourists from around the world. They come here to enjoy going around the ancient main university building that takes you right back to those olden days. Do not miss a visit to this university on your trip to the Danish capital.
11
Rundetårn

11) Rundetårn (must see)

Located in central Copenhagen, the famous 17th-century tower known as Rundetårn – or the Round Tower – was constructed to serve as an astronomical observatory as a part of Christian IV’s architectural projects. Tourists from all over the world come especially to enjoy the expansive view of Copenhagen from the top of the tower that can be climbed through its 7.5-turn helical corridor.

Astronomy grew to be very important in 17th century Europe and this led to the mushrooming of many observatories. The Rundetårn observatory came into existence in 1637 and was originally referred to as STELLÆBURGI REGII HAUNIENSIS. It consisted of an academic library, the Trinitatis Church and a university chapel where scholars spent their time. A part of the Trinitatis Complex, Rundetårn is the first purpose-built facility of the Copenhagen University Library.

Walk along the ramp of the tower to access the Library Hall above the church. This hall is always bustling with activity as regularly plays host to exhibitions and concerts in its capacity as an active cultural venue.

Why You Should Visit:
Another tall tower with a city view, this one is slightly more interesting on the inside with its slow increasing grade walkway, some good information as you go and a gallery half way up.

Tip:
There's a little café above the church next door that has a really cool vibe. It's a good place to stop for a simple coffee where you won't have to fight with crowds.
There is also a clean toilet and baby changing room halfway through the tower, as well as a good quality souvenir shop before you access the outside balcony.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed: 10am-9pm; Thu-Mon: 10am-6pm
12
Strøget

12) Strøget (must see)

Popularly known as Pedestrian Street, Strøget came into existence in 1962. This car-free pedestrian zone was created by the city council to manage the ever-expanding traffic around Copenhagen’s major shopping areas. It extends all the way to Kongens Nytorv from the Town Hall Square.

Walk along Strøget and you will find many interesting historical squares and a maze of small streets on either side. This is Copenhagen’s medieval part that extends to a length of 3.2 km. It is also the longest and oldest pedestrian street system in the world. Tourists visiting Copenhagen never miss the experience of walking along Strøget.

You will find a variety of outdoor sidewalk cafes, restaurants, fast food eateries, gift stores, art galleries, specialty shops, departmental stores, theatres, street entertainment, museum and much more. Whether you visit this street in the day time or during the night, you will find it bustling with activity.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions close to Strøget include the Lure Blowers, Tivoli, Town Hall, Cinemas and Glyptotek-Vesterbrogade on the west entrance. On the eastern end, you will find many shops selling branded merchandise. Enjoy a unique and exciting shopping experience!

Tip:
Make sure to make a detour down one of the crossing side-streets, and avoid most of the restaurants.
13
Kongens Nytorv Square

13) Kongens Nytorv Square

A popular tourist attraction, Kongens Nytorv Square is situated in central Denmark in Stroget Pedestrian Street. This public square is huge and impressive with an equestrian statue of Christian V at the center.

This square was constructed by Christian V in 1670 during the expansion of the fortified city. Around the square, you will find many prominent buildings such as the 1683Thott Palace, 1671 Charlottenborg Palace and 1874 Royal Danish Theatre.

Abraham-Cesar Lamoureux, the French sculptor created the equestrian statue in 1688. This statue, originally made in gilded lead, holds the distinction of being the oldest statue in Scandinavia. In 1939, the statue was recast in bronze.

You will find a statue of the king with a laurel wreath helmet dressed as a Roman imperator. At Kongens Nytorv Square, there are four allegorical statues at the plinth foot. Representing fortitude and prudence, the figures of Alexander the Great and Minerva, face Charlottenborg Palace. On the opposite side, you will find statues of Artemisia and Herkules signifying honor and strength.

“Krinsen” or circle of wreath in Danish surrounds Christian V’s statue in the form of an elliptical parterre. Do not miss out the 1913 telephone stand and old kiosk with their hand carved ornamentation and copper clad roof at this square.
14
Charlottenborg

14) Charlottenborg

Charlottenborg is a Dutch Baroque style palace constructed for Ulrik Frederik Gyldenlve between 1672 and 1683. In 1700, the palace was bought by Charlotte Amalie, Queen Dowager. As you visit the palace, you will find that the main building faces Kongens Nytorv. It was constructed by C. F. Hansen in 1827 and features the Antiksalen and Fest Halls.

Today, Charlottenborg, named after the famous widow Queen Charlotte Amalie, has an extensive collection of art and literature displayed in its library. It is also where the Royal Danish Academy of Art operates from. Established and emerging artists aspiring to showcase their talent hold exhibitions here.

One of the most famous exhibitions held at Charlottenborg is Forårsudstillint, the spring show. This exhibition is a host to artists who display their crafts, paintings and architecture. Artists from around the nation send their work here which is reviewed and if chosen, displayed at this exhibition.

Another art show, namely the Efterårsudstillingen, is held in autumn. This exhibition displays works of eminent artists who are specially invited. Charlottenborg holds curated shows and at least five exhibitions each year. Do not miss a visit to this popular tourist attraction on your trip to Copenhagen.
15
Nyhavn

15) Nyhavn (must see)

Nyhavn is a popular entertainment district in the city of Copenhagen. This 17th Century canal and waterfront is located to the south of the Royal Playhouse.

Nyhavn stretches to the harbour right from Kongens Nytorv and the entire stretch is lined with townhouses, restaurants and cafes from the 17th and 18th centuries. King Christian V constructed Nyhavn between 1670 and 1673. This harbour served as a passage to Kongens Nytorv old inner city where fishermen’s catch and cargo were handled by the ships.

Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish author lived in this area for a few years. In those days, the area was also notorious for sailors, beer and prostitution. After World War II, small vessel freight traffic was taken over by land transport and Nyhavn’s ships disappeared. Nyhavn was converted to a veteran ship and museum harbour in 1977.

This area continues to charm tourists from across the world with its exquisitely constructed townhouses made of bricks, wood and plaster. Go to the south of Nyhavn and you will find huge and lavish mansions along the canal. Do not miss out the Charlottenborg Palace located at the corner of Kongens Nytorv. A visit to Nyhavn is a must on your trip to Copenhagen.

Why You Should Visit:
Perfect picturesque place to end a long day. You can do as the locals do: enjoy a beer/coffee from a nearby store, rest your feet at the quayside and enjoy the view.

Walking Tours in Copenhagen, Denmark

Create Your Own Walk in Copenhagen

Create Your Own Walk in Copenhagen

Creating your own self-guided walk in Copenhagen is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Frederiksstaden Walking Tour

Frederiksstaden Walking Tour

The district of Frederiksstaden was constructed during the reign of Frederick V, hence the name. Today, it is considered to be one of the most important rococo complexes in Europe. The district is characterized by straight broad streets, lined by bourgeois houses, mansions and palaces. This tour guides you through the most important attractions of Frederiksstaden.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Slotsholmen Walking Tour

Slotsholmen Walking Tour

Slotsholmen, translated as The Castle Islet, is an island in the harbour of Copenhagen. Recognized as the center of the Government of Denmark since the Middle Ages, the island is sometimes referred to as "the Island of Power". Take this tour to explore the Castle Islet with us.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
Andersens Blvd Area Walking Tour

Andersens Blvd Area Walking Tour

H. C. Andersens Boulevard is the most densely trafficated artery in central Copenhagen. It is lined with amazing buildings, as well as shops and restaurants. Take this tour to enjoy the Andersens Boulevard and surrounding attractions.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 km
Nørreport Area Walking Tour

Nørreport Area Walking Tour

The Nørreport area is one of the most colorful and culturally vibrant districts of Copenhagen. It is a region that mixes the old and the new. It is a favorite area for local youth and a great place for a walk. Nørreport has many green spaces, art complexes and historic sites to visit. Discover all Nørreport has to offer on this walking tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Indre By Souvenir Shops

Indre By Souvenir Shops

It would be a pity to leave Copenhagen without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Copenhagen, that can be bought in shops around the Indre By (inner city).

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
Indre By Walking Tour

Indre By Walking Tour

Full of historic attractions and awe-inspiring landmarks, Copenhagen is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Scandinavia. The artistic and creative skills of the Danish people are on display throughout the city. Take this tour to explore the most famous sights in Copenhagen's Indre By (Inner city).

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km

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