Don’t let a rainy day get you down – there’s still so much to see and do in this beautiful city with our list of things to do in Copenhagen when it rains.
As Denmark and the UK pretty much lie on the same latitude they share similar changeable weather, particularly in the spring and autumn months. But that shouldn’t put you off visiting cities like Copenhagen, as there’s enough to keep you occupied whether the sun is shining or the heavens open.
Things to do in Copenhagen
During our visit in May the weather in Copenhagen was the same as back at home. This was sunshine and showers, but we were able to make the most of the city whatever the weather as I’d put together a list of great indoor and outdoor spots we wanted visit and then planned our day around the morning forecast.
Here are our recommendations of indoor activities and attractions that are well worth a visit in the city centre…
Table of Contents
Afternoon tea at Nimb
This might not be for everyone, but regular readers will know I’m an afternoon tea fanatic! My research showed me that the place for afternoon tea in Copenhagen is at the Nimb Bar –which is actually in a decadently designed old ballroom.
Here you can enjoy afternoon tea with a Danish twist in an opulent setting. The first serving includes lumpfish roe with whipped creme fraiche and puff pastry, while the second serving includes a quintessentially Danish cinnamon roll.
I’ll be writing a full review soon, so keep your eyes pealed!
This museum at Christian VIII’s Palace, known as the queen’s guest palace, allows visitors to get a feel for the modern Danish Royal Family, going back 150 years. You can also visit the royal reception rooms here, including the beautiful Gala Hall and the Apartment Hall when you can see some of Thorvaldsen’s works (see Thorvaldsens Museum). Book in advance if you’d like the guided tour…
For prices and opening hours etc visit www.amalianborg.dk
If you get caught in a short, sharp shower, why not take cover in one of Copenhagen’s many renowned cafes, where you can experience some Danish hygge first hand with a coffee and a real Danish pastry.
My friend Erin is a US expat living in Copenhagen, and we had the chance to meet up for a hyggeligt time (yes that’s a real world to describe a hygge experience and I LOVE it!) over afternoon tea at Nimb (see above). She was my go-to gal for tips on what to do and where to eat etc, so I highly recommend her guide to Copenhagen’s Hyggeligste Places to Get Coffee and also her homage to Danish cinnamon buns, which includes a list of the best places to find them in the city.
I’ll also be putting together a guide of where to eat in Copenhagen (whatever your budget) so if you’re after some more food and restaurant recommendations come back and check us out soon.
For something a little different I highly recommend the Bastard café. This is a huge, highly popular board game café in the heart of the city. Order yourself a drink a hot snack and then trawl through over 3,000 board games on offer for you to play. Personally I can’t think of a better way to while away a rainy afternoon!
Sure, they’ve got those popular Christmas favourites like Monopoly and Cluedo, but why not try out some real games? Personal favourites of mine include Dead of Winter, Seven Wonders, Settlers of Catan and Lords of Waterdeep. Both Emma and I are big gamers, so if you’re ever interested in some board game recommendations for your travels (or at home) please ask away!
During our visit, Justin and I couldn’t overlook a game called Copenhagen, where you had to build yourself a colourful Nyhavn house, Tetris style. It was quite good fun!
There’s so much to see and do at Christiansborg Palace that you can spend an entire day here. The palace is actually broken down into seven different attractions (with seven different entrance fees!) all indoors.
For prices and opening hours to all the Christiansborg Palace attractions, visit http://kongeligeslotte.dk/.
The Royal Reception Rooms
The queen still uses large parts of Christiansborg Palace today, but when not in use her reception rooms are open up to the public.
If you’re after royal pomp and splendor then this is the place to visit. There’s a marble room, sparkling chandeliers and a library to die for (#housegoals). Plus you also get to walk through the Great Hall, where the queen hosts her gala dinners and you can see the most amazing giant tapestries that depict over 1,000 years of Danish history.
The ruins under Christiansborg
The ruins were one of the attractions I enjoyed the most during my Copenhagen trip. Here you head underground to explore the 800-year-old ruins of Bishop Absalon’s 12th century castle as well as see the remains of the later Copenhagen Castle’s Blue Tower, a prison which once held Princess Leonora Christine for over 20 years.
This is a must for all history lovers.
The Palace Chapel
The Palace Chapel is used for church ceremonies for members of the Danish Royal Family and this is also where kings and queens lay in state after their death.
It wasn’t open during my visit sadly, but I would have loved to pop in and see it for myself…
The Royal Kitchen
Beneath the palace, but above the ruins, the royal kitchen houses one of Europe’s largest copper kitchenware collections. It’s not a large attraction, but interesting to visit, as its set up as it was back in 1937 when the kitchen was used to prepare a feast for Christian X’s Silver Jubilee.
The palace doesn’t have a modern kitchen, so now when big dinners are held at Christiansborg the food is prepared over at Am and then driven over to this kitchen where the final preparation takes place and the food is sent up via the dumb waiter. A short video here shows you how it was done at a recent royal event. Quite an interesting watch!
The Royal Stables
The queen’s white horses are a breed called Kladrupers, beloved by the family for many centuries and cared for accordingly. You’ll often be able to see them out on the riding grounds of Christiansborg Palace, or if you’re lucky like us, getting exercise out and about in the city.
But you can also visit them at the Royal Stables, which opens for a short period of time in the afternoons. Here there’s a small museum which tells you of the history of the royals love for these beautiful beasts, and you can walk though the – working – stables where the horses may be resting, as well as getting the chance to see some of the carriages, both old and new.
Visitors can go up Copenhagen’s highest tower for amazing views of the city. Sure, you might actually prefer to do this on a bright, sunny day for better views, but it’s free, so why not check it out?
The tower also houses a restaurant (if you want to visit, book ahead!) and I was ecstatic to discover that the tower has 2 lifts up to the top, meaning those with mobility issues like myself are able to get a rare chance to see a city from the top of one of its historic towers. Usually I have to stay at the bottom while Justin climbs windy staircases, so it was lovely to see the views with my own eyes, rather than his camera.
FYI – the tower is always closed on Mondays, but I’ve discovered its also shut for renovation from the start of June until the end of August.
Part of Christiansborg is actually the Danish Parliament. Understandably it’s not always open to the publc, as you know, they’re busy running a country, but there are free guided tours on certain Sundays and bank holidays. You can check dates and book at www.ft.dk.
I so wanted to visit here but sadly ran out of time (Copenhagen, I’ll be back!). Cisternene was once Copenhagen’s water reservoir, but is now used as an exhibition space for modern art.
Find out what’s on at www.cisternene.dk
The Danish Jewish Museum
Located in the old boathouse next to the Royal Danish Library, this museum recounts 400 years of Jewish history.
The interior was designed to reflect the story of the Danish Jews during WW2, where most were saved from Nazi persecution by being smuggled out of the city on boats, while the city was searched.
For prices and opening hours etc visit www.jewmus.dk.
Den Blå Planet (The Blue Planet) – National Aquarium Denmark
This is the biggest aquarium in northern Europe and if you love nature and wildlife well worth a visit.
It has been designed with water on all sides to give the visitors a feeling of being under water and here you can see hammerhead sharks swim with rays or explore coral reefs. Different areas focus on different aspects of underwater habitats, so as well as getting up close to some of our beautiful marine life you can also learn a lot while you explore…
For prices and opening hours etc visit https://denblaaplanet.dk/
National Museum of Denmark
The largest museum of Danish culture and history, this giant museum covers everything from ancient history to modern day Denmark – and beyond.
See uncovered bog bodies and special exhibitions – during my trip there was an amazing ‘Meet the Vikings’ exhibition with life-like models of how the Vikings might have looked as well as a quirky area dedicated to the world of cosplay (it even had its own dress-up area!).
They also have ‘Meet the danes’ – free guided tours taken by a local, giving you real insight into Copenhagen, Denmark and their way of life.
For prices and opening hours etc visit www.natmus.dk.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
This museum is dedicated to Ancient Rome and Egypt, but as well as housing mummies and tomb treasures there’s fine collections of sculptures and French impressionist art.
If you’re looking to save money the best time to visit is Tuesdays, when entrance is free.
For prices and opening hours etc visit www.glyptoteket.dk
I do love a good castle and this one doesn’t disappoint! At 400 years old, this renaissance castle is set in the King’s Garden and is home to the crown jewels as well as the royal thrones and the three silver lions that once guarded them.
It is quite dark compared to Christiansborg for example, but that comes down its age and therefore its design and décor as the rooms have been preserved as they were when home to Christian IV. I loved learning more about the past royals, and exploring their old rooms. Here you can even see the pen used by Frederick VII to sign the constitution in 1849, bringing an end to absolute monarchy in Denmark.
Oh and it was also here that I discovered that back in those days they used to called toilets ‘secrets’. I’m totally bringing that back!
For prices and opening hours etc visit www.rosenborgcastle.dk.
I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I’d not heard of Thorvaldsen before coming to Copenhagen (I’m not hugely into art) but I’m glad I took the time to visit this museum.
Bertel Thorvaldsen was a famous Danish sculptor who lived from 1770 to 1844. He spent much of his life in Italy but was considered a national hero and this museum was built to house his works next to Christiansborg Palace in 1838 and he is buried in its courtyard.
I arrived late in the day so didn’t have time to explore the museum fully, but I did explore the main floor which houses the Grand Hall, where you can see the plaster models of his largest creations, including a sculpture from the tomb of Pope Pius VII, a frieze of Alexander the Great and X. I’m no art expert buy they were epic in both scale and beauty.
I highly recommend downloading the free audio guide app that tells you the stories behind each sculpture in the museum – Thorvandsens.
Thorvaldsens Museum is free to enter on Wednesdays, but for all prices and opening hours visit www.thorvaldsensmuseum.dk
What to do in Copenhagen when the weather is bad
So there you have it, my guide of things to do in Copenhagen when it rains. If you’re heading here during winter, then I also recommend you read Emma’s post on Christmas in Copenhagen. Oh and if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, you might like to check out her review of The Absalon boutique hotel (my review of the Anderson will be written shortly!).
If you’re on a budget, Copenhagen, like the other scandi cities, is quite expensive, so it’s worth looking out for when the museums offer free entry – as several do. However, a lot of places also offer free entry for children, which helps keep costs down if you’re travelling as a family.
You may also want to consider getting a Copenhagen Card, depending on how much you plan to do during your stay. It’s not a cheap purchase, but entry to attractions can add up and the website has a useful calculator that helps you work out if it’s worth getting.
A useful note – if you have a disability and you get a Copenhagen card then your carer can go with you on all transport and to all attractions for free. You can find out more here.
I hope you find this guide of things to do in Copenhagen when it rains useful, but if you have any questions, or recommendations you’d like to add, please do pop them down in the comment section below!
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