Copenhagen is a great city, but finding activities that the whole family can enjoy (and afford) can be difficult. However, after spending almost a year living there, I have found a number of family friendly places to visit and sights to see that will be fun for everyone without breaking the bank.
Sightseeing From Up High
With all of the medieval winding roads, crisscrossing canals, and street names that are 20 letters long, getting oriented in Copenhagen can be difficult. A great first trip in the city is to climb to the top of either the Church of Our Savior, or the Round Tower. Either building will provide you with a terrific birds-eye view of the city, and help you get oriented. Best of all, they are either very affordable or free to enter, so no matter how tight your budget or large your family, you can visit one or both of them.
If your family is the more adventurous type, the exterior staircase that goes around the Church of Our Savior’s spire will be an exhilarating climb up one of the city’s highest and most unique landmarks. However, the stairs are steep and the safety precautions are minimal. If you are out of shape, afraid of heights, or have young children, a much more accessible option is to climb the Round Tower. This will give an almost equal view of the city, and to get to the top, you just need to walk up a gently sloped spiraling ramp that will take you all the way to the top and give breathtaking views of the city center. To further help you get oriented, beforehand get a city street map and mark where your hotel is as well as each attraction you want to visit. Not only will this help you plan out your trip and estimate how long you need to travel between locations, but you and your children can try to find the sites you will visit from the top of the tower. You can also take great family photos from the top of the buildings to share with family and friends.
Fairy Tale Tour- Great Copenhagen Attraction for Kids
As a national hero, there are many tributes and museums dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen scattered through out Copenhagen. The first place to check out is the Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale House, conveniently located in the heart of the city. Young kids will love it here because of the variety of fairy tale exhibits complete with dynamic sound and lighting effects, while older kids and adults can learn more about the prodigious fairy tale writer’s life in the museum section. If you want to beat the crowds by visiting in the morning and are bringing a small daughter, a fun idea can be to bring her in her favorite kids footed pajamas and have her put on her fairy tale wings, bring a princess wand or even wear a princess tiara. Then, as you go through the tour, she can pose as her favorite fairy tale characters at each exhibit.
After the museum, take a stroll down Nyhavn, the most scenic street in the city, and where Hans Christian Andersen lived. There are a variety of boutique shops and restaurants lining the street. For a fun lunch, consider stopping at one of the restaurants along the street and watching the boats sail by.
Once you’ve completed your trip down Nyhavn, you will not be very far from Scandinavia’s most famous statue, The Little Mermaid. Situated just a few feet into the harbor, this statue is a must see for any visitor to Copenhagen. Fun trivia fact — it is constantly the target of vandals and political activists, and is now on its second head and has had many other body parts stolen and reattached.
For those looking to learn more about the history of the region, there are two great museums located just a short trip out of the city. The more famous museum in Roskilde has a museum dedicated to the Vikings that swept through most of Europe hundreds of years ago. While adult admission costs 11.50-16.50 Euro, children can enter for free and it is well worth the price. The museum offers a variety of activities for children ranging from dressing up as a Viking, to swinging one of their broadswords and climbing around replica ships full of the cargo Vikings would have carried. The night before you go, you may want to show your kids the Disney Pixar movie How to Train your Dragon as it is all about Vikings and the region. Adults will find plenty to do as well, as they look over the ship building process and the numerous artifacts that have been uncovered.
For a more expansive museum, consider going to the Frilandsmuseet in the northern outskirts of Copenhagen. This museum offers free admission and is one of the largest and oldest open air museums in the world, dedicated to displaying how locals lived hundreds of years ago. Kids will enjoy speaking with and watching the re-enactors and climbing around replica houses from hundreds of years ago. There are also a number of farm animals your children can watch and possibly interact with at the museum. While the kids do this, adults can keep busy learning about Scandinavian history and visiting the numerous historical gardens that are scattered around the property.
Keeping an entire family entertained while traveling through Copenhagen can be a difficult task. However, if your family likes beautiful sights, fantastic fairy tales, and discovering Viking history, there are a number of fun and affordable options. By visiting the sights mentioned here, you can have a great time tromping around the city!