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Copenhagen, Denmark: 11 Fantastic Things to Do with Kids

Kellie Floyd and her family explore Queen Mary’s adopted home, Copenhagen in Denmark

Nyhavn, Copenhagen
Nyhavn, Copenhagen

From the moment we arrive, Copenhagen feels tailor-made for families. The Copenhagen Metro, a driverless light rail, whisks us effortlessly from the airport, much to the kids’ excitement as they pretend to drive the train. 

English flows easily from everyone’s lips, ensuring we can easily navigate the city. Copenhagen’s flat terrain also spares little ones with tired feet from hills, allowing us to focus on the wonders that lay ahead.

It may not be one of the top international destinations for Australian families, but our visit to Copenhagen was pure delight. Learn all about our favourite experiences below!

Where to stay in Copenhagen

The vibrant neighbourhood of Nyhavn
The vibrant neighbourhood of Nyhavn

Our decision to stay in the pretty and vibrant neighbourhood of Nyhavn proves to be an inspired choice. Stepping out of our cosy Airbnb is like stepping back in time. The iconic brightly painted buildings that line the canal seem alive with whispers from the past. 

After all it was here, at number 20, that fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen once resided, penning fables like The Princess and the Pea. The beautiful wooden boats add to the enchantment, evoking a bygone era of a bustling sea trade. 

Nyhavn’s appeal extends far beyond its historical significance. Its central location near the metro line provides us with effortless access to various destinations.

6 Must-See Family Attractions in Copenhagen

Nyhavn’s iconic colourful buildings are just the beginning. Here are six highlights of our Denmark holiday:

1. Danish bakeries

Kellie and her family eating Danish pastries at Copenhagen's oldest bakery, Sankt Peders Strade
Kellie and her family eating Danish pastries at Copenhagen's oldest bakery, Sankt Peders Strade

“Help, how do I choose?”, our nine-year-old daughter Harriet pleas as her eyes dart between the assortment of Danish pastries before her. I empathise with her dilemma. A myriad of pastries lines the bakery shelves: flaky layers, fillings of custard, cheese, raspberry, cinnamon swirls and decadent toppings such as powdered sugar, sprinkles and coconut. 

Merely two hours into our visit to Copenhagen, it becomes apparent that indulging in the array of sweets this country has on offer will be a daily adventure we won’t be able to resist. 

Our final activity in Denmark is the same one we started with – savouring freshly baked pastries at Copenhagen’s oldest bakery on Sankt Peders Stræde. We find ourselves returning to this establishment time and again.

2. The Little Mermaid Statue

Harriet posing as The Little Mermaid in front of the famous statue
Harriet posing as The Little Mermaid in front of the famous statue

One cold morning, we don jackets and beanies for a stroll along the waterfront to see the famous Little Mermaid statue. As we walk closer, the kids’ anticipation grows, fuelled by their familiarity with the Disney movie of the same name. When we see her, we’re all swept by her beauty. We imagine her gracefully emerging from the sea at high tide to sit on the rock and watch human folk ashore.

Tip: Many museums don’t open until 10am, so try to visit free attractions such as The Little Mermaid statue before the crowds arrive.

3. Changing of the Guard ceremony at Amalienborg Palace

Royal Guard in Copenhagen
Royal Guard in Copenhagen

After energising ourselves with morning hot chocolates and more Danish pastries, we walk to Amalienborg Palace, the official residence of the Danish royal family, to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony. We are quickly engulfed by a jubilant crowd, clad in white and red, waving Danish flags. Little do we know that our timing is impeccable – it turns out to be former Queen Margrethe’s birthday! 

The entire royal family, including Australian-born Queen Mary, soon emerge on the palace balcony and we join the crowd in cheering and waving to them. The kids relish the unobstructed view of the balcony festivities, taking turns atop their dad’s shoulders.

Tip: The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place at 12pm daily in the Inner Palace Yard at Amalienborg Palace.

For more insight into Danish royalty and government, book a tour of Christiansborg Palace.

4. Tivoli Gardens theme park

Tivoli Gardens theme park
Tivoli Gardens theme park

A visit to Tivoli Gardens, one of the world’s oldest and most iconic theme parks, is a must. The gentle dragon boats and thrilling bumper cars bring a gleeful smile to 11-year-old William’s face, and exuberant cheers from Harriet as she soars high on the Swing Carousel. 

Even my husband Luke can’t resist the excitement of The Demon rollercoaster, while I find myself drifting into nostalgic bliss circling the Classic Carousel, with my childhood memories of amusement park excitement and laughter blending seamlessly with that of my own children.

When hunger strikes, we choose classic fun fair favourites from the food stalls, but there are also gourmet restaurants to dine in. Beyond its 30 rides, meticulously manicured gardens beg you to sit down and enjoy an ice-cream, and there’s a large playground for kids to play.

Tip: At Tivoli Gardens, it’s best to purchase an all-inclusive pass as it works out cheaper than buying individual rides.

5. Taking in the view from Round Tower

Luke, William, Harriet and Kellie taking in the view from the Round Tower
Luke, William, Harriet and Kellie taking in the view from the Round Tower

Seeing Copenhagen from above is easy with a trip to the historic, 35-metre-high Round Tower. Commissioned by King Christian IV and built between 1637 and 1641, it was designed as an astronomical observatory, a university library, and a church. 

King Christian wanted to ride his horse up to the observatory rather than walking, so the tower was designed with a unique spiral ramp. Today, a viewing platform treats those who walk (no horses unfortunately!) to panoramic views of Copenhagen’s rooftops, church spires, and historic landmarks.

6. Cruising Copenhagen’s canals

William, Luke and Harriet, cruising the canals
William, Luke and Harriet, cruising the canals

After William and Harriet spend a couple of days waving to the boats on the waterways, they beg us to board one ourselves. So, on our final afternoon, we rent an electric boat, granting us the freedom to explore beyond where we can reach on foot. 

Equipped with a map and suggested routes, we glide along the calm waters, with the kids’ taking turns to point out shimmering reflections, colourful houses and charming bridges we pass under. The kids excitedly wave to passers-by on the streets, all of whom are kind enough to wave back.

More things to do with kids in Copenhagen, Denmark

Harriet and Kellie on a dragon boat at Tivoli Gardens
Harriet and Kellie on a dragon boat at Tivoli Gardens

There are still more treasures for families to uncover in the enchanting city of Copenhagen. From must-visit museums to hands-on educational experiences, these family-friendly attractions will round out any visit to Denmark’s capital:

7. Experimentarium science centre

The Experimentarium is a mecca for curious minds, located 6km north of Copenhagen city centre in Hellerup. In 2018, Time Magazine even named this hands-on learning centre one of the World’s 100 Greatest Places. You don’t need to know Danish to experience the hands-on exhibits, including the ‘Bubblearium’, where the whole family can create giant soap bubbles.

Tip: There’s more to do here than you’d expect, so plan for at least 3-4 hours – though you can easily make a day of it!

8. Nationalmuseet (National Museum of Denmark)

The National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen
The National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen

No family trip to Copenhagen is complete without delving into the country’s cultural heritage at the National Museum of Denmark. Housed in a beautiful 18th-century mansion, this museum is a treasure trove of Danish history, from the Stone Age through to the Viking period and modern-day Denmark. Its children’s wing, aimed at younger visitors, allows kids to play their way through history. 

Tip: Check the event calendar for special family-friendly activities and exhibitions that might be taking place during your visit.

9. Copenhagen Zoo

Elephants in Copenhagen Zoo
Elephants in Copenhagen Zoo

Among the lush landscapes of Frederiksberg lies the Copenhagen Zoo, home to over 4,000 animals from all corners of the world. See majestic elephants in their state-of-the-art enclosure, and be charmed by the playful antics of the polar bears, visible through an impressive underwater viewing area. The Tropical House, with its humid climate and lush greenery, transports you to the rainforests, surrounded by sleepy sloths and a colourful medley of birds. 

Tip: Get a ‘Skip the Line ticket’ to avoid the entrance queue, and remember to check the zoo’s schedule for keeper talks and feeding times.

Buy your ‘Skip the Line ticket’ here!

10. The Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde

Viking Ship Museum of Roskilde
Viking Ship Museum of Roskilde

Journey back to the fascinating Viking Age at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, 30km from Copenhagen. Five original Viking ships, discovered at the bottom of Roskilde Fjord, have been carefully restored and displayed. Visitors can immerse themselves fully by trying on period clothing, learning ancient crafts, or even setting sail on a reconstructed Viking ship — a truly unique trip into European history.

Tip: In the summer months, book a boat trip well in advance. It’s a popular attraction and spaces fill up quickly.

11. LEGO House - Home of the Brick

Legoland visitors are walking in minicity made of Lego
Legoland visitors are walking in minicity made of Lego

In a country revered for its contributions to children’s play and creativity, the award-winning LEGO House in Billund is heaven for LEGO-loving youngsters. Known as the “Home of the Brick”, this marvel draws you into a world where LEGO bricks come to life. Kids become master builders in themed zones, crafting everything from intricate animals to futuristic vehicles.

Tip: Billund is a 2.5-hour train trip from Copenhagen, but is well worth visiting—the city is also home to the original LEGOLAND theme park, which inspired the other nine LEGOLAND parks around the world.

Tips for visiting Copenhagen with kids

Cityscape of Copenhagen from the Round Tower
Cityscape of Copenhagen from the Round Tower

How to get to Copenhagen, Denmark

Qantas, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Finnair are among the airlines that fly to Copenhagen from Australia.

How to get around Copenhagen

Copenhagen has an excellent public transport network, so you don’t need a car to explore the city. If you’re visiting, consider getting a Copenhagen City Card – for 24, 48, 72, 96, or 120 hours, it gives you unlimited access to Copenhagen public transport (including the airport) and entry to over 80 of the city’s top attractions. Everything is bundled into a handy app, including your digital ticket, a map of all attractions included, and features to help you plan your itinerary. 

Buy your Copenhagen City Card here!
Harriet and William pretending to drive the Copenhagen Metro
Harriet and William pretending to drive the Copenhagen Metro

Best time to visit Copenhagen

Summer’s longer daylight hours are perfect for outdoor activities. In April, the city’s cherry blossoms bloom, while July hosts a vibrant 10-day jazz festival. December brings enchanting Christmas markets, including the famous Tivoli Christmas Market.

More Information

Visit Denmark

Follow Kellie’s adventures on Instagram at @together_wewillwander

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