Copenhagen is a city that I had fancied going to for quite a while and had heard good things about what a child-friendly city break destination it is. We managed to get reasonable flights last May for the 5 of us and so it was booked. We booked an airbnb in the Nørrebro area which was walkable to most of the main sights but was also well linked with buses for when little legs were tired after a day of sightseeing.
Here are our top ideas for things to do in Copenhagen with young children (at the time ours were 1,3,6).
This is probably one of Copenagen’s most famous attractions and is a great place to go with or without children. There is loads to see and do there so you will probably need the best part of a day. Like most things in Copenhagen it’s not cheap so you want to feel like you make the most of your ticket! There are lots of rides to suit visitors of any age. There are also beautiful gardens (the clue is in the name!) as well as parades and regular shows. Particularly over the summer there are regular concerts on at the weekend which are included in your entrance ticket. On Saturday nights there’s a firework display throughout the summer, although at 23:45 it is a bit late for the smallest travellers!
There were plenty of rides that the toddler was able to go on, but what he enjoyed most was the amazing playground in the Rasmus Klump area (to be honest children of all ages will love this). Even better it is free with the entrance ticket. There are lots of family friendly facilities in this area and a little theatre which has toddler friendly shows on throughout the day. The shows were all in Danish but our kids didn’t seem to mind this!
- Top tip: Work out at the beginning of your visit how many rides you think you might go on to try and get the best ride ticket options for you. The ride tickets are additional to the entrance fee and there are various options. You can buy unlimited ride wrist bands and also individual ride tickets. In the end we opted for one co-rider ticket for the 6 year old and then just bought individual ride tickets for everyone else. The co-rider wrist band worked well for us- it is for children aged 1-7 and means that they can take one accompanying adult on each ride. This meant that either Husband or I could go on the rides with her without needing a wrist band each.
This is the picture I had in mind when I visualised Copenhagen. It is basically one street around a canal, but it was one of the prettiest streets you will see anywhere, and is a must-see for anyone visiting Copenhagen with children. Full of colourful buildings, small cafes/ bars and boats. One end of Nyhavn leads towards the main square (Kongens Nytorv- King’s Square). When we were there most of the square was being dug up for new metro lines but even then there was still plenty of life, and space for the kids to run around and let off some steam.
Nyhavn is also a jumping on point for many of the boat tours.
There are loads of options for canal tours from Nyhavn, and also from other points around the city. Some of them are hop-on and hop-off and some you just stay on. We opted for one that we stayed on. It was an hour in length, which was the perfect amount of time to see Copenhagen from the water without the children getting fed up. We all loved this trip as there was plenty to see along the way and a commentary to let you know where we were and what we were looking at. It’s a really good way to get your bearings and might show you other places that you then want to go back and see properly. Our boat had seats both inside and outside. We went straight to the outside seats- much better for seeing what was around us. Half way through the tour though everyone rushed in as the heavens opened! Luckily it was only a shower so we were soon back outside in the sunshine.
There are a few different companies offering canal tours. We just turned up on the day and got straight on but you can book tickets online or from the kiosk in advance if you don’t want to risk a big queue or lots of hanging around.
Amalienborg Slot/ Marmorkirken
Close to Nyhavn is the Royal quarter which includes the current Queen’s home, Amalienborg slot. Like most children, our girls are intrigued by anything that involves queens, palaces and castles so we went to have a look. We managed to time it right and got there for the changing of the guard, which was fab.
There were no real barriers, so we were really up close to the soldiers and the kids loved marching around the palace square re-enacting the whole scene afterwards. We didn’t go into the palace (parts of it are open to visitors though), but seeing it from the outside was impressive.
Top Tip: Changing of the guards at Amalienborg Slot is at 12:00 every day.
Just down the road from Amalienborg is Marmorkirken (Marble Church) which has a dome said to be inspired by St Peter’s in Rome. It certainly was very impressive.
Top Tip: We didn’t do it but you can pay to go up the dome of Marmorkirken for views of the city.
Christiansborg Slot Tower
We did want to go somewhere with a view of the city though so we went for the free option! The island of Slotsholmen is where all the main Government buildings are. Christiansborg Slot is a palace and is also used as a government building for the Houses of Parliament and the Prime Ministers office among other things. The city’s tallest tower is also here and free to go up! We tried to get there not long after it opened to avoid huge queues (which worked) and then got the lift to the top. There were lots of cordons set up so it obviously does get very busy so probably best to get there for when it opens to avoid a big queue.
The views were definitely worth it and the children loved seeing the city from above. There is a restaurant up the tower too, if your budget can stretch to it!
Top Tips: Pushchairs aren’t allowed up the tower, so if you have a young child you may want to bring a baby carrier. We did have our pushchair with us which we were able to leave at the bottom of the lift and the toddler was able to walk/ be carried while we went up.
Check the website for up to date opening times so you can time your visit to avoid queues. https://taarnet.dk/taarnet/?lang=en
Rosenborg Slot / Kongens Have (King’s Gardens)
Rosenborg Slot and the King’s Gardens are next door to each other in the Nørreport area of the city. We walked there from Nyhavn, which was just about ok for M’s little legs (the toddler was in the pushchair). If you are travelling from further afield in the city or just don’t fancy the walk, there are plenty of buses that go straight past.
We had a picnic for lunch in the King’s Gardens, which is apparently the oldest park in the city. There are free puppet shows here too in July/ August, but we were a bit early in the season for that. It is a beautiful park and we enjoyed wandering around then picnicking. We also found a small but lovely playground which the children really enjoyed.
After our picnic and a play in the park we moved on to next-door Rosenborg Slot. This was the summer home for the Danish royals but has been a museum for some time now. We all enjoyed wandering around the castle but the highlight for the girls was going into the treasury in the basement where the Danish Crown Jewels are kept.
Top tip: You can book your tickets for Rosenborg online in advance (we just did it the morning we were going) meaning that you then don’t have to queue and can just show the ticket on your phone.
Copenhagen with children- practicalities
Staying in an airbnb apartment was great for this trip as it meant that we could have breakfast there and we even cooked our own dinner there one night. With children this was great for saving money and also meant that they weren’t having to sit still in restaurants all the time (The toddler was at a particularly tricky age for this!). The airbnb we stayed in also had a travel cot, high chair and loads of toys for the children- some days it was a struggle to get them to leave the apartment! This meant we didn’t have to pack as much and any time that we were in the apartment they were happily entertained.
Copenhagen is very flat which is a massive advantage when trying to get little legs to do some walking. It was also very pushchair friendly which always makes things easier! If your children are slightly older it would be great to hire a bike to get around. There are plenty of bike hire places all over, some of which also hire trailers for young children to sit in. The bike lanes are very busy though so children would need to be pretty confident riders. When not walking we got around on the bus and the underground which were both very easy to navigate.
Overall we certainly weren’t disappointed with Copenhagen. We had 4 days there and kept busy without rushing around too much. There are plenty of other sights and activities that we didn’t get around to- so always chance for a return visit…Copenhagen is a fab destination for a city break with toddlers or children of any age.