As much as I hate to zip through a city, sometimes it’s a necessity. On our recent jaunt around Europe visiting friends and family, we had the opportunity for a quick visit to Copenhagen en route to a friends house in Sweden that we couldn’t pass up. We didn’t have a ton of time, but that didn’t stop us from making the most of our 2 days in town.
There was an overwhelming amount of things to do, but quickly a few items popped to the top of our list. If you only have a few days, here are our top recommendations for a visit to Copenhagen in a hurry!
The first thing on any itinerary to Copenhagen should be a canal cruise. There are several route options, however almost all take you past the famous Nyhavn strip of colorful buildings which is on every visitor’s to do list. The canal cruises also take visitors past the Little Mermaid statue and around the different neighborhoods, palaces and famous buildings of the city. It’s a great way to orient yourself to the city by water, and of course children always enjoy being out on the water.
If you are in town for more than a day, you could easily spend an entire day getting off at each of the stops to explore more. For those of you with only a weekend break, riding the boat around, getting the audio tour for an hour will be a great overview to start your visit. Note, there are several boat operators and cruise options. We opted for one of the most inclusive routes offering opportunities for hopping off and on at various stops up and down the canals.
National Museum of Denmark
If you have time for only one museum, the National Museum is a fun one for kids. On the ground floor there is an entire section set aside just for kids. Here they can dress up in period clothing, carry swords and shields while climbing into boats, ‘riding’ horses as well as running shops. My son also loved climbing up the scaffolding at the brick building wall pictured above. There is also a quiet section with books and drawing materials. We spent more than half of our visit here. The perfect way for children to learn – through experience and play.
Once the kids have worn themselves out in the kids section, pick up a Children’s Guide to the museum and catch the highlights of the aurora skeletons and of course mummies on the top floor. This is a great day out if its raining during your visit to Copenhagen.
No visit to Copenhagen with kids is complete without a visit (or two!) to Tivoli Gardens. One of the oldest amusement parks in the world still draws the crowds, and for good reason. A mix of beautiful gardens, fountains, concert halls, an aquarium and classic amusement park rides is a great way to spend a day in town. Initially when it opened in 1843, there were only two rides – a carousel and a simple roller coaster. Now there are 28 rides with many available for all ages to enjoy. My son will always remember Tivoli Gardens as the place he fell in love with roller coasters!
It is very easy to get caught up in the action here, so do anything you want to do before you arrive here as it will be tough to pull the kids away! The gardens don’t open until 11 a.m., so we spent the morning riding bikes and visiting the National Museum before our visit. Check out Tivoli Gardens’s website for ticket and ride options. We recommend going with one of the packages including unlimited rides as well as a meal. Ask at the entrance for a schedule of the day’s shows and locations to play your day. Don’t miss the super fun playground near the backside of the lake to let the kids run off some excess energy!
Join the masses of Copenhagen on bicycle! There are a variety of types that you can hire for families. We enjoyed the bicycle that has the child’s compartment in front. It also makes it easy to store your belongings while riding! We loved exploring the city by bike, however it was a little nerve wrecking as the Danes ride fast!! Once we got the hang of it, we were cruising along with them! Take some time to observe the hand signals they use and the way they navigate the roads. It will help immensely when you get on your own bicycle. For novice riders, avoid the morning and evening commute hours when the bike lanes are busiest.
There is so much more to explore in Copenhagen but with a quick visit we felt like we got a good view of the beauty and history of this magical city. We had really hoped to visit the Experimentarium City, but it was closed for renovations during our visit. If it is open, I highly recommend making time for it as it gets nothing but excellent reviews! With a little more time, we would have loved to observe the Changing of the Guard at the Amalienborg Palace and to visit the Children’s Wing of the Louisiana Museum. I guess this means we will have to visit again – even if it’s just for another short weekend break!
Have you been to Copenhagen with kids? What are your favorite things to do?
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