9 Reasons For a Stopover in Copenhagen

By Saana

Is Copenhagen on your list of dream destinations?

If not, you should add it there immediately. Keep on reading, I will give you plenty of reasons why, including tips and tricks for what to do and see.

In case you are wondering what would be the easiest, and cheapest, way to fly to the capital city of Denmark, one great way is to customize your multi city trip and have a free stopover in Copenhagen. Adding Copenhagen as a stopover can significantly reduce the price of flight for example from New York or Los Angeles to Paris, Rome or Athens.

Copenhagen is a great city for a stopover, not only because of the central location and good flight connections, but because of the beautiful setting, attractions and fascinating history. There is one extremely important fact you need to know before having a stopover in Copenhagen between your multi city flights: make sure you will stay at least for three days!

How to plan a three-day holiday in a city that has so much to offer? Here are some tips to help you out!

1. Go to Nyhavn. It’s the place to be

The name Nyhavn refers to ‘a new harbour’, but the picturesque Nyhavn with its’ colourful buildings is actually the oldest part of the Copenhagen harbour. Nyhavn dates back to the 17th century. The oldest building in Nyhavn is house number 9, which was built in 1681.

Numerous little bistros and restaurants have their terraces open around the year. I feel I could just sit there forever, sipping my coffee or maybe a pint of Carlsberg, the world famous Danish beer, watching the boats and the people passing by.

Nyhavn from boat Nyhavn

And I’m not the only one. Also Hans Christian Andersen, the man behind the Little Mermaid and many other fairy tales, used to live in Nyhavn for 18 years and got inspiration for quite a few stories from this lovely old harbour.

Here’s the very last fact that you should definitely know about Nyhavn: it’s most probably the cutest harbour you’ll ever visit!

2. Take a boat tour. It’s the thing to do

While you’re in Nyhavn, hop on the boat and take an hour-long boat tour to see the best of the city from a little bit of a different perspective – from the sea. The tickets are inexpensive and you can also get a combined boat tour and hop on/off bus ticket, which is the ultimate option for those who don’t fancy the idea of walking.

During the boat trip you'll have a chance to see things you wouldn't even know of, like Holmen, the naval station of the Royal Danish Navy.
During the boat trip you’ll get to see attractions you wouldn’t even know of, like Holmen, the naval station of the Royal Danish Navy.
Beautiful Georg Stage was built in 1934. The ship is doing one sailing tour a year, from April to September, and has done so since the first tour in 1935 (excluding World War II).
Beautiful Georg Stage was built in 1934. The ship is doing one sailing tour a year, from April to September, and has done so since the first tour in 1935 (excluding World War II).

Make sure to take the boat tour on the first day of your stopover in Copenhagen. It’s the perfect way of getting an idea of the most interesting and important attractions in Copenhagen, and it will help you to plan the rest of your city break based on the points of interest that you are most fascinated by.

Going under the old, beautiful and narrow bridges of Copenhagen is an exciting experience.
Going under the old, beautiful and narrow bridges of Copenhagen is an exciting experience.

The tour guide will tell you some interesting facts about the city, in English of course. In case there’s no headphones available, you might want to choose your place on the boat rather in front than back. On the slow parts of the tour you can hear the tour guide perfectly, but when the boat is going a little faster, the sound of the motor is disturbing quite badly. In case of rainy weather, it’s fine to sit inside, you can open the windows whenever needed.

3. Leave your message on the #Happywall

The #Happywall is located at the end of the shopping street, right next to Nyhavn, at the square called Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square). The wall consists of nearly 2 000 wooden boards that you can flip over. The boards are black on one side and coloured on the other side. By flipping the boards anyone can leave their message of happiness to the world.

Happy Wall

SJ_DK HappyWall
SJ and DK visited the #Happywall.

The Happy Wall was conceived and executed by Danish musician Thomas Dambo. The Happy Wall is built from the remnants of the Tuborg Cinema stage at Roskilde Festival 2013. Since then, Dambo has created another Happy Wall in Las Vegas. He thinks every city in the whole world should have one. I think so too!

There are thousands of pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #Happywall. Remember to spread the happiness by creating your own message during your stopover in Copenhagen!

4. Have a walk along Strøget

Strøget, located right in the centre of Copenhagen, is the longest car free shopping street in the whole of Europe. When you look at the map, you can’t find a street called Strøget, no matter how hard you try. What on earth?


Here’s an interesting fact for you: the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe is not actually a street! In reality Strøget is a name for a few different streets that are joining each other.

Either or, Strøget is a real paradise for shopaholics.

5. Go on the top of the Round Tower

While wandering along Strøget you will come across with one of the most famous attractions in Copenhagen, the Round Tower. And when you do, make sure to go in. Let me tell you why.

The Round Tower is 34.8 meters high and going up is quite a fun experience. Instead of stairs you’ll walk up along the unique Spiral Ramp. You go around… and around… and around… until you reach the top where you can find the only stairs you need to climb, the staircase to the sightseeing platform.

The unique Spiral Ramp takes you on top of the Round Tower in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen panorama
The panorama mode bent the handrail of the Round Tower sightseeing platform.

Do not miss the platform, as from there you can have an overall view over the whole city, in all directions. The Round Tower was built in 1637 to be an astronomical observatory, and it still functions as an observatory today.

Besides the views and the spinning climbing experience, in the Round Tower you can also find an art café and gallery with exhibitions, souvenir shop, planetarium and a spooky Bell Loft, where the bells of the neighbouring Trinity Church are hanging.

And in case the Spiral Ramp didn’t yet get your head spinning enough, don’t forget to peek into the heart of the tower — the hollow core 25 meters above the ground.


6. Visit the Little Mermaid statue

Everyone loves the Little Mermaid, the world famous fairy tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The Little Mermaid statue is the symbol of the city of Copenhagen. Would you believe that Denmark’s most photographed beauty is already over 100 years old?


Being a celebrity is never easy, not even for a statue. This poor lady has lost her head three times. The first time her head was sawed off in 1964. The missing head was never found, so they needed to cast a whole new head for the mermaid. She ended up headless also in 1990 and 1998.

Today she is sitting in the Copenhagen harbour looking very pretty, and most importantly, in one piece.


Here’s an interesting question: A legend states that The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen might not be the real thing. There is a rumour about the original statue being hidden by the sculptor Edvard Eriksen’s heirs. True or false, I wonder?

7. Enjoy the green areas of the city

Do you think you are travelling to a concrete jungle? Don’t worry, you’re not! There are a huge number of beautiful gardens and parks in Copenhagen, so don’t forget to enjoy the green. King’s Garden and Rosenborg Castle, Botanical Garden, The Citadel, Frederiksberg Gardens… the list goes on and on.

King's Garden and Rosenborg Castle in March. Just imagine how green it will be during the summer!
King’s Garden and Rosenborg Castle in March. Just imagine how green it will be during the summer!

Sit down for a picnic or a refreshing drink and enjoy the nature in the middle of the city. You will need a relaxing break, as during your stopover in Copenhagen you also should…

8. Spend a day in Tivoli

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen opened its’ doors in 1843, which makes it the second oldest amusement park in the whole world. Besides Legoland, Tivoli is for sure one of the most famous attractions in the whole of Denmark. Tivoli Gardens was actually a great inspiration for Walt Disney when he was dreaming of Disneyworld. Walt Disney visited Tivoli on 1951 and loved it.

As stated, Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world, but do you know where is the oldest one? It’s not very far!

The world’s oldest amusement park is located about 10 kilometers from Copenhagen. Dyrehavsbakken, better known as Bakken, was opened in 1583.

You could say that the whole amusement park culture was born in the Copenhagen area.

9. Don’t miss the Freetown Christiania

One of the reasons for giving out all these tips is to help you avoiding the mistakes I made when I visited Copenhagen myself. Do you want to know what was the greatest mistake of all? I missed the Freetown Christiania!

Located in Christianshavn, the Freetown Christiania is an autonomous ‘hippie neighbourhood’ and definitely a must see when visiting Copenhagen. Christiania is much more than its’ famous landmark, Pusher Street. Besides the shops, the graffitis, the colourful people and history, Christiania is housing markets and free outdoor concerts.

Isn’t it a bit ironic that in a place called ‘Freetown’ there are quite many restrictions you should be aware of? Inside Christiania it’s forbidden to run, talk on the mobile and take photographs or video. Read more about Christiania and the Do’s and Don’ts.

Before booking your next flights with a stopover in Copenhagen, I need to correct another mistake I made at the start of this post: three days in Copenhagen clearly is not enough, make it at least four!