Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Copenhagen Introduction Walk (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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Copenhagen Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Copenhagen Introduction Walk
Guide Location: Denmark » Copenhagen (See other walking tours in Copenhagen)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: alexei
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • City Hall (Radhus)
  • City Hall Square (Radhuspladsen)
  • Tivoli Gardens
  • Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
  • National Museum of Denmark
  • Christiansborg Palace
  • Old Stock Exchange
  • Stork Fountain
  • Strøget
  • Kongens Nytorv Square
  • Charlottenborg
  • Nyhavn
City Hall (Radhus)

1) City Hall (Radhus) (must see)

Inspired by the Siena City Hall in Italy, yet draped, inside and out, in Danish symbolism, this building and its huge tower were constructed in National Romantic style by famous architect Martin Nyrop in 1905. On approaching, you will be impressed with its front decorated in rich ornamental style, where polar bears symbolize the giant Danish protectorate of Greenland. Standing just over the door is the gilded statue of the city's founder, Bishop Absalon, who drove out pirates and built a fort to guard the harbor, turning a wretched fishing village into a humming seaport some nine centuries ago.

Enormous functions fill the interior's grand hall (freely open to the public), while the marble busts of four celebrated local boys – fairy-tale writer Hans Christian Andersen, sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, physicist Niels Bohr, and the building's architect, Martin Nyrop – look on. Downstairs are national archives dating back to the 1270s, popular with those researching their family roots. As you leave, pop into the amazing World Clock (opposite the info desk), built between 1943-55 – the mother of all astronomical clocks in function and precision. Its displays include lunar and solar eclipses, positions of the stellar bodies, and a perpetual calendar, in addition to the time across the world's time zones. The clock's fastest gear completes a revolution every ten seconds and the slowest – every 25,753 years!

Free to see the main 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
City Hall Square (Radhuspladsen)

2) City Hall Square (Radhuspladsen)

Sitting in the shadows of the stately and historic City Hall, Radhuspladsen is a main hub of the many miles of Copenhagen's beautifully historic pedestrian streets, as well as a gathering place for, street performers, public message boards, and folks from all corners of the globe. As in so much of this magical city, English is not only understood widely, but spoken better than what one would hear in the public plazas of most major American cities.

Once Copenhagen's fortified west end, it contained much of the city within its walls, with as much as 150,000 people packed inside by the mid-19th-century. The overcrowding led to hygiene problems (including a cholera outbreak), so after nearly seven centuries the walls eventually had to come down. Today, the redesigned square features the Dragon Fountain (1904) depicting a bull and a dragon in combat, and the impressive Weather Girl (Danish: vejrpigen) that tells when the rain comes. There is also a statue of Hans Christian Andersen, one of the most popular Danish writers in history, and a bronze depicting two lur blowers mounted on top of a tall terracotta column – the latter having been a gift to the city from the Carlsberg Foundation on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Carlsberg founder J. C. Jacobsen.

Just across the street is the very interesting Dansk Industri building that contains a showroom for green technologies (House of Green), as well as a series of two-storey flagship stores and restaurants on Vesterbrogade. Down the same street towers the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Copenhagen's only skyscraper, built in 1960 as the world's first design hotel.
Tivoli Gardens

3) Tivoli Gardens (must see)

Located in central Copenhagen, and very close to the train station for those traveling into town, Tivoli is the original inspiration for Walt Disney World – and it shows. The lovingly tended grounds and gardens are picturesque and the rides are both kid- and adult-friendly – a wonderland of rides, games, restaurants, marching bands, funny mirrors and roulette wheels. Tickets are both "pay as you go" and a "pay once for all" type fee, which is affordable for every budget and worth it just to see Danes – young and old – at play. In the summer months they have firework shows every Saturday at 23:45 (11:45pm) and if you don't want to stay all day, just have your hand stamped so you can re-enter at a later time.

Tivoli is actually the second oldest, still operating, amusement park in the world; second only to another park also in Denmark. The wooden roller coaster, Rutschebanen (or as some people call it, Bjergbanen – "The Mountain Coaster"), built in 1914, is one of the oldest of its kind still operating in the world: an operator actually controls the ride by braking so that it does not gain too much speed while descending the hills! Another roller coaster, The Demon (Dæmonen), features an Immelmann loop, a vertical loop, and a zero-G roll all during the ride time of just one minute and forty six seconds. A well-known swing ride, The Star Flyer, opened in 2006, offers panoramic views of the city from a 80-metre (260 ft) elevation.

Apart from these exciting rides and a few thrilling towers, Tivoli is a venue for performing arts, counting among the major cultural hubs in Copenhagen. So even if you are not interested in the rides, there is plenty of space just to walk around, admire the prodigious flowers and large fountains, catch a free concert, or try a wide range of different foods: Mexican, Asian, Sushi, Italian, French, Danish, sandwiches/burgers, etc.

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 time with friends.

Great to come a bit before sunset so you can see the place both in daylight and illuminated in the evening.
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)
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

4) Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (must see)

Built on the personal collection of Carl Jacobsen, whose father founded the Carlsberg Breweries, this world-class museum houses many captivating artifacts from the ancient world, along with some fine art from our own times (Jacobsen died over a century ago, so one can imagine the exhibits have changed somewhat since then).

There are whole rooms full of ancient naked people sculpted from bronze and marble but also an incredible collection of Auguste Rodin's works, considered to be the most important outside France. However, the museum is equally noted for its paintings that include an extensive display of French impressionists and Post-impressionists (Monet, Manet, Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, Pissarro, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, etc.) as well as a robust selection of the Danish Golden Age.

What is more, the wings of the museum are built around a very soothing, Victorian-style garden, rich with greenery and sculpture, under a translucent glass dome. If you can afford some extra time, it's always a nice place to relax for a while and enjoy coffee or lunch – especially in the winter, as you can be in nature and enjoy the warmth.

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

Pick up a floor plan as you enter to help navigate the somewhat confusing layout. 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: 10am–5pm; Thu: 10am–9pm
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.

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
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.

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
Old Stock Exchange

7) Old Stock Exchange

The Old Stock Exchange was constructed by one of the greatest builders and architects of Copenhagen, King Christian IV. This is the oldest building in the city that served as a trade and financial center. The Danish stock market functioned in its premises until 1974, after which it was relocated to modern facilities.

King Christian IV constructed this impressive building right at the entrance of Copenhagen where it continues to serve as a prestigious landmark. The building stands as a testimony to the wealth and development of the city and was specially built to impress foreign as well as Danish merchants arriving from the sea. Since 1987, it has been serving as the Danish Chamber of Commerce.

On its roof, you will find an amazing, unusual spire with four dragons designed in Dutch Renaissance style. The three-crowned spear at the end of the twisting tails represents the friendship and cooperation between Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The Old Stock Exchange is 60 meters tall and is the only building that has survived all of Copenhagen’s great fires.

Why You Should Visit:
The spiral is definitely interesting to see up close (or zoomed in), as is the outside of the building.

The inside is only accessible during Culture Night held every year in October, though the queue can get quite long.
Stork Fountain

8) 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.

***Hans Christian Andersen's Copenhagen***
The Stork is also used in the Hans Christian Andersen story and also a reason to The Stork Fountain probably is the most famous fountain in this part of the world.

9) 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!

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

10) 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.

11) 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.

12) 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.

***Hans Christian Andersen's Copenhagen***
Andersen was also partial to the famous canal-front area, having lived in three different houses there over four decades. His first fairytales were published while he was living in what is now Nyhavn 20, from 1834 to 1838. It was on the second floor of this building that the young author wrote such classics as The Princess and the Pea and The Tinderbox.

In the early 1870s, Andersen lived next door in what is now Nyhavn 18. Both houses are best viewed from the Nyhavnsbroen bridge, midway along the canal. House number 20 is bright red, while house number 18 is the slightly higher, mustard-coloured building to the right. His longest lodging stint in Nyhavn was at number 67, where he lived on and off between 1848 and 1865. The bottom floor of the white building is now a café.

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.
City Center Souvenir Shops

City Center 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 shops where one can find authentic Danish products which are unique to Copenhagen and Denmark. Follow this self guided shopping tour to hunt for that perfect trip momento.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Hans Christian Andersen's Copenhagen

Hans Christian Andersen's Copenhagen

Follow the footsteps of the beloved Danish writer, Hans Christian Andersen, in Copenhagen on this self guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Frederiksstaden and Kastellet Walk

Frederiksstaden and Kastellet Walk

Constructed in the 18th century, during the reign of King Frederick V (hence the name), the district of Frederiksstaden is now regarded as one of the most important rococo complexes in Europe. This tour guides you through its straight broad streets, lined by bourgeois houses, mansions and palaces, built to glorify the absolute monarchy. Denmark was in the throes of an economic boom, and the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Castle Island (Slotsholmen) Walking Tour

Castle Island (Slotsholmen) Walking Tour

Slotsholmen, translated as The Castle Island, 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 self guided tour to explore the Castle Island.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Museums and Galleries

Museums and Galleries

Wandering through the cobblestoned streets of the Danish capital, culture vultures will surely find plenty to sink their claws into. For a small city, Copenhagen boasts a wealth of outstanding museums and galleries, all perfect for English speakers. No matter where one's interests lie, there’s something for everyone here. Follow this self-guided walk to visit some of the top museums of...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Latin Quarter Walking Tour

Latin Quarter Walking Tour

The Latin Quarter is one of the most entertaining areas of Denmark's capital city. It is a young-spirited place, as the campus of Copenhagen University is located here. The Latin Quarter is well known for its hang-out spots, alternative shopping and 17th-century architecture. Discover the history and culture of the Latin Quarter on this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles

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