Skip to content
Home » Copenhagen from the Inside-Out

Copenhagen from the Inside-Out

Whether it is the history, the food, the fairy tales, the Bro’s or the parks, Copenhagen is a city to fall in love with.

The city that started from a humble fishing village in the 10th century grew to become the capital of a Scandinavian economic and cultural centre that once included Norway and Sweden, too. To this day, it still is the centre point of Denmark, encompassing both the Parliament and the royal residence of the Danish monarchy.

Furthermore, it boasts one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe, two of the world’s oldest amusement parks, Bakken and Tivoli, a citadel, and many museums. That’s why we will explore Copenhagen from the inside out.

Copenhagen city
Photo credit: Mariken Zuydgeest

Indre By

Strangely, inanimate objects and structures can exude a sense of belonging or happiness, but that’s exactly what Copenhagen does; the streets are wide, colourful, and evenly paved, and they invite you in. City Hall, which you may recognise from two Danish series (Borgen and the Killing), was built at the end of the nineteenth century. The red brick tower stands tall, overlooking the Rådhuspladsen.

From here, it is a comfortable stroll along Strøget, the pedestrian street that takes you into the centre. More than three kilometres of window shopping in high-end stores, scouring for your next fashion find or exploring the cobbled side streets and expansive squares with their beautiful fountains.

Sauntering north, the happy shades of the Dutch-inspired houses at Nyhavn beckon. Along the quays, restaurants and bars offer a variety of local and international fare. Then take one of the hop-on-hop-off canal boats for a tour around the city’s canals.

Photo credit: Mariken Zuydgeest

Kastellet – the Citadel and the Mermaid

North of Nyhavn, the Little Mermaid awaits your visit. The small statue, which is smaller than most people expect, is inspired by one of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. This statue was commissioned by Carl Jacobsen, who loved the ballet based on the story. The ballerina dancing her role modelled for the artist and gave it her face, but she refused to model for the mermaid’s naked upper body. Luckily, the artist’s wife was happy modelling for that part.

She is not the only mermaid in town, though. The genetically modified Little Mermaid statue can be found a little further along the waterline, and there are many more in hotels or close to the harbour.

The fortified citadel of Kastellet is nearby. The bastions on the fortress’s points are a pleasant walk with excellent views of the buildings in the fortress’s centre and the surrounding water, which served as an extra line of defence between the potential enemy and the community within.

Photo credit: Mariken Zuydgeest


Speaking of water – did you know the water in the harbour of Copenhagen is so clean that in the summer people swim in it? Piers and scaffolding separate swimming areas where Copenhagen’s inhabitants cool off in the summer. It makes for a lovely stroll around the city in autumn or winter.

Do you want to do more in less time but with flexibility? Rent a bike. The city is very safe, with bike lanes everywhere and plenty of routes to choose from. One will take you around the centre in about three hours. Where do you want to go with so much more to choose from in the inner city?

Every day at noon, the guards march from Rosenborg Castle to Amalienborg. Also, you can visit Rosenborg, which has the crowns of the Danish kings and queens. The castle was built in the early 17th century and is in excellent condition.

Photo credit: Mariken Zuydgeest

True Centre

Of course, you must see Denmark’s true centre, The Round Tower. Originally built to serve as the chief point from where astronomers could observe the night sky, it still serves that purpose even if it cannot house the giant telescopes in use nowadays.

The observatory is open on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Dutch architect Hans van Steenwinckel designed the tower entirely of Dutch bricks. The hard-burned narrow bricks were made in red and yellow, the colours of the House of Oldenburg, Denmark’s rulers at the time, and were laid in alternate colours. The spiral ramp that wraps around the hollow core 7.5 times up to the top makes the tower fun and different. This is known as an equestrian staircase. This was used as such in 1716 by Tzar Peter the Great, who rode his horse to the top. The ramp allows for a comfortable ascent.

The final few metres to the observation deck, which offers a great city view, are reached via a spiral staircase.

Copenhagen pumpkin
Photo credit: Mariken Zuydgeest

Know your Bro

Fanning out from Indre By, you will need to ‘know your bro’. This is Copenhagen’s way of alerting you to the different parts of the city: Nørrebro, Østerbro and Vesterbro – you guessed it, north, east and west. Southeast of the centre lies Christianshavn with the Church of our Saviour and Freetown Christiania.

Photo credit: Mariken Zuydgeest


Denmark, as you may know, is among the happiest countries in the world. This may be due to their egalitarian system, inclusive political and economic climate, which primarily supports free healthcare, education, and childcare, a work week of fewer than 40 hours, and high minimum wages. The Danes pay for it all together by spending approximately 55% of their average salary on taxes.

Photo credit: Mariken Zuydgeest


Is it any wonder that Copenhagen feels open, comfortable, happy, and welcoming? Not really, as it is almost precisely what their sense of ‘hygge’ entails. The closest translation is “cosy,” but it doesn’t capture the essence of home and the welcome you get. Hygge can be found in the warm and vibrant colours of the surrounding buildings, the ease with which people communicate, and excellent tasty and varied food while remaining simple.

Photo credit: Mariken Zuydgeest


Open-faced sandwiches on rye bread are a staple, as are fish and pickled vegetables.

Besides the cultural food choices, Copenhagen has a myriad of international restaurants throughout. Check out the Torvehallerne in Nørrebro and the food market at the corner of Tivoli Gardens. The
Torvehallerne is a contemporary food market with stalls selling vegetables, bread, spices, and meat. The modern hall looks and feels clean and open, and there are great options for sandwiches, gluten-free
burgers and hot coffee.

The Tivoli food market offers international restaurants serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, ranging from pizza and burgers to wraps, sushi and ‘grilled fast food’.

Grocery's store
Photo credit: Mariken Zuydgeest

Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens, the world’s third-oldest amusement park, is also synonymous with Copenhagen. It is located directly between the City Hall and the central train station. Hans Christian Andersen looks
proudly at Tivoli Castle, which forms one of the park’s corners, just next to city hall. The park is open all year and decorated for all major holidays. The rides, stalls, and restaurants light up after sunset, giving the park an even more fairy-tale feel. Tickets aren’t cheap, but they’re well worth the expense, even if you don’t go on any rides.

The restaurants are also accessible from within or any food stalls in Tivoli Food Hall. The bracelet you get at the park entrance allows you to regain entry after your meal.

Rides include an original Rutsjebanen, a Ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds and the heights defying drop, and a dizzying spider arm that spins and throws you up and down and rolls simultaneously. More demure activities are the drive simulators, grappling machines or savouring a hot coffee, cacao or glühwein instead.

Tivoli Copenhagen
Photo credit: Mariken Zuydgeest


Copenhagen is a gem with so many fascinating facets, corners and highlights that you can easily spend an entire week there. The artificial lakes or rather massive ponds that separate the inner city from the north
and east neighbourhoods deserve a mention of their own. As does the former meatpacking district: Vesterbro, the up-and-coming new neighbourhood to explore.

The numerous bridges throughout the city are worth seeing. The Viking Museum in the former Viking capital of Roskilde and the city of Malmö in Sweden, across the Øresund Bridge, are only 45 minutes away by car or train.

Visit Denmark to experience hygge for yourself.

In conclusion, if you want to know more about author’s trip,click on  Story Away From Home 

However, if you want to know more about the culture of other places, look at our Blog.

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial