With ancient castles and brightly coloured houses, wandering the streets of Copenhagen can feel like walking into a storybook. This delightful Danish destination has more to it than meets the eye with cutting-edge design, a thriving restaurant scene and some of the most beautiful scenery you’re likely to see on your travels. Step off the beaten track and discover some of these incredible hidden gems:
Visit the University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden
Nestled within the city centre is the University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden, a tranquil area with fascinating hidden secrets. First established in 1600, the botanical garden was moved twice before finding its current location in 1870. Covering an area of 10 hectares it is home to over 13,000 species and 27 glasshouses, the most notable being the old Palm House which was built in 1874 and has a beautiful cast-iron spiral staircase that leads to a passageway at the top.
The botanical garden has many different sections dedicated to each species; in one area you’ll find Danish plants, in another you’ll find perennial plants and annual plants. There’s even a rock garden with plants from mountainous areas in Central and Southern Europe, plus an air-conditioned greenhouse that recreates environments suitable for Arctic plants.
Research suggests that the University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden is the ideal location for those wanting to relieve stress and tension. A day here is one well spent, whether you wander around the Butterfly House or grab a drink from the café.
Wander around Christianshavn
Christianshavn was founded in the 17th century by Christian IV as part of his extension of the fortifications of Copenhagen. It was originally intended to be an independent merchants town but the area was eventually integrated into the city.
Today, Christianshavn retains its nautical vibe. Dominated by canals, yachts and quaint little houseboats line the quays of Overgaden neden Vandet and Overgaden oven Vandet. Renting a rowing boat or heading out on a canal boat tour is the perfect way to see Christianshavn but if you’d prefer to stay on solid ground, you can explore on foot or by bike.
Hotspots here include Copenhagen Street Food, a converted warehouse full to the brim with food trucks and food stalls selling everything from hotdogs to kebabs - it’s a great place to try popular traditional Danish dishes. Also worth a visit is Freetown Christiania, an alternative community of ramshackle houses, galleries and music venues. The area, which is home to about 1,000 residents, provides an interesting insight into the Copenhagen hippy community.
Drink coffee at CUB Coffee Bar
Are you a coffee lover? A trip to CUB Coffee Bar is a must! The team behind Copenhagen Underground Brewers (CUB) are passionate coffee professionals with an aim to offer exceptional coffee experiences in friendly and cosy surroundings. They lovingly roast every coffee bean themselves and it is easy to see, feel and taste the passion put in.
On the menu are espresso-based drinks, filter brews like pour over, aeropress and french press as well as cappuccino with world-class latte art. You can even buy CUB’s coffee beans allowing you to experience a little bit of Copenhagen from the comfort of your home. If you really want to elevate the experience, take a CUB barista course where you’ll learn their perfected tips and tricks to make an impressive cup of coffee with a rich taste.
Immerse yourself in Danish art at Glyptoteket
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, founded in 1888 by the brewer Carl Jacobsen, is a museum displaying ancient and modern art. It contains two main departments, The Department of Antiquities and The Modern Department, which combines fascinating art with impressive architectural surroundings.
The Department of Antiquities houses incredible collections of Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman art. It provides an insightful stroll through 3,500 years of art and history. The Modern Department focuses on Danish painting and sculpture from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as French art of the same period. In this department, you’ll find paintings from Denmark’s Golden Age and experience French Impressionism as well as more than 40 works by Gauguin, Degas’ complete series of bronzes and 35 sculptures by Rodin.
The Glyptoteket often holds special exhibitions which are presented as an integrated part of the museum experience. There is also a Winter Garden in the central courtyard of the museum. The tropical oasis contains lots of greenery, a beautiful fountain and a huge glass dome.
Walk around Copenhagen’s old moat system at Østre Anlæg
Hiding behind The National Gallery of Denmark you’ll find Østre Anlæg. Part of the old fortification system (a series of ramparts and moats encircling the Medieval town), the park is one of Copenhagen’s pockets of lush greenery.
Here you can walk around part of the old moat system or burn off some steam at the giant playscape. Perfect for children and adults alike, you can play tennis, splash around in the paddling pool, play sports on the covered playing field, swing on one of the large swings or explore the stranded fishing vessel.