Although slightly late, here’s our 2017 updated guide for summer in Denmark. We might not be sure to have +25 degrees celcius – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of great things to do. We’ve done our best to make the post as thorough and as versatile as possible, feel free to skip to the parts that cater to your needs.
If the weather is not cooperating with you, we also have a post on some fun things you could do on a rainy day.
Festivals & Music
Although festival-season kicked off weeks ago, there are actually a few that has yet to open their doors!
Grøn Koncert is a gathering of some of the biggest names (old and new) in the Danish music industry. This year’s program features artists like Christopher, L.O.C and Scarlet Pleasure. The concert goes on a small tour in Denmark and will be in Copenhagen again on July 30. Check it out here!
Stella Polaris is a unique, free, electronic one-day festival. The festival aims to be a place for everyone and also has great initiatives for kids. Stella Polaris will be in Frederiksberg on August 6. Read more here!
If you prefer the original festival experience there’s also Smukfest? This popular festival in the middle of the forest in Skanderborg, Jutland still has tickets for Wednesday (August 9) and Sunday (August 13). Read more here!
If festivals aren’t your thing, perhaps museums are more appealing? Many museums are great regardless of the weather, but these two are especially worth it on a sunny day due to their locations:
ARKEN is a contemporary arts museum located right by the beach in Ishøj. It makes sure to stay relevant by changing the exhibitions several times a year. It’s currently featuring a very interesting exhibition called “Gosh! It is alive?” which is definitely something worth checking out. The museum is big enough for a trip for 2-3 hours so it could perhaps be combined with a visit to the close by harbours or beaches.
Both Ishøj and Vallensbæk harbour are beautiful in the summer, with boats, ice creams and a few restaurants. Both harbours are close by the beach where the water is usually very calm and kids-friendly – but it might of course be chilly.
Louisiana is another great and renowned Danish museum of modern art. It currently has two contemporary exhibitions together with their usual collection. Louisiana also has a Sculpture Park and is (like ARKEN) located right by the sea in beautiful surroundings.
It’s also possible to go in the evening and there even is a nice café where you can eat your lunch or dinner.
Outings and Places to Visit
Helsingør & Kronborg Castle & Helsingborg in Sweden
The castle in Helsingør, Kronborg, is beautiful and full of history. Guests walking into the courtyard at Kronborg Castle will step right into Hamlet’s world.
At the same time, you can visit the centre of Helsingør, a very nice city and you can take the ferry to Helsingborg in Sweden. It’s only 70 kr. Per person and it takes less than half an hour. (Remember to bring your passport).
You can take the train directly to Helsingør from Copenhagen, and once you are there, both the castle, the city centre of Helsingør and the ferry is in walking distance. In fact, the station is right by the ferry.
(And if you like also to visit the beach take another train from Helsingør to Hornbæk, a very nice beach!)
Roskilde: The Viking-Ship Museum & Roskilde Fjord & Roskilde Cathedral
In Roskilde, you can visit the Vikingeskibsmuseet. Once you get to Roskilde station, you can get on a bus, or walk yourself. You might also like to see Roskilde Domkirke, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Roskilde itself has a very nice centre with shops and café’s and when you reach the museum by the Roskilde Fjord, you can take a tour with the ship Sagafjord, where it’s possible to lunch while sailing. Remember to book in advance.
Frederiksberg: The Gardens & The Castle & The Zoo & The Cisterns
There’s a lot to do and see in Frederiksberg for example the beautiful and romantic gardens. Frederiksberg Have and Søndermarken are both placed close by the old Frederiksberg Castle. Both gardens are ideal for a picnic or a beautiful walk and in Frederiksberg Garden it is actually possible to see the elephants inside the Copenhagen Zoo!
In Søndermarken you can also find the Cisterns, which is an old reservoir that supplied the Danes with fresh water. Today there’s no water down there, but it acts as a venue for art exhibitions and other events that showcase its unique atmosphere and architecture.
Dragør: The Harbour & Old Town
The old town in Dragør is one of the best kept towns in Denmark. It has no less than 76 protected properties. There’s a beautiful harbour and many nice restaurants. It’s an interesting change of scenery and a good place to go for a lunch and a relaxed stroll.
It wouldn’t be a post about summer if we didn’t mention some nice beaches, would it?
Amager Strandpark is the biggest beach in Copenhagen and only 5 km away from the city centre.
Svanemøllen Strand is on the other hand not very big, but it has been very popular since it opened in 2010.
Bellevue Strandbad is ideal if you prefer things slightly north of Copenhagen. Note that the life-guard towers are actually preserved buildings now, since they were designed by the famous Danish architect, Arne Jacobsen.
Islands Brygge Harbour Bath is great for families. There are five pools, two specifically for children. There are also diving towers (1, 3 and 5 meters) as well as a lawn with room for picnics etc.
If the Harbour Bath is too crowded, there’s also room right across it at Kalvebod Bølge. This area might not be ideal for smaller children, but it’s definitely still fun to visit. The “Bølge” (wave) is meant for kayaks but are often used as diving platforms.
If you prefer pools over the beach there’s a great open air swimming pool called Bavnehøj. It’s perfect for smaller children.
We have already mentioned Kronborg Castle in Helsingør and Frederiksberg Castle, so if you’re into those kinds of things, maybe these will be worth a visit also?
Amalienborg is the winter residence of the Royal Couple. It’s a beautiful gathering of four palaces and a 15 minute walk from the Little Mermaid statue (as tourist-y as it gets in Copenhagen!).
Christiansborg Slot is home of the Danish parliament and is located right by the water in central Copenhagen.
Fredensborg Slot is located in Northern Zealand surrounded by beautiful gardens. This summer (until August 6) the private gardens are also open for guided tours. Tickets can be bought at the castle or online.
Rosenborg Slot is one of the smaller but still very important castles. It’s located right in Kongens Have, centre Copenhagen and it’s the home of the Danish crown jewels.
Things to Do
The Forgotten Giants is an “open air sculpture treasure hunt” in Vestegnen (in this case; Rødovre, Hvidovre, Vallensbæk, Ishøj, Albertslund and Høje Taastrup). The idea is that this treasure hunt will bring you to some often overlooked beautiful nature spots.
You probably already know the lakes in Copenhagen – but did you also know that you can rent pedal boats (water bikes, call it what you will) for 2, 5 or 7 people? One place to do so is at Kaffesalonen on Peblingesø.
If a lake is just a size too small for you, how about renting boats that you can sail around the harbour in? GoBoat is a great service that allows you to do just so. The boat can fit up to 8 people, but do note that they tend to be fairly busy on sunny days and evenings; it’s possible to book in advance.
If you’re looking for something to do with your smaller kids, we suggest the free Puppet Theatre in Kongens Have. They perform six days a week (not on Mondays) and they do so until August 20.
From August 1-23 there’s a Shakespeare Festival taking place at Kronborg Castle in Helsingør. This includes open air theatre shows like Hamlet and Ophelia.
From August 18-27 the annual Copenhagen Cooking and Food Festival is happening. Whether you’re a foodie or just hungry, we’re sure it’ll have something you’ll like.
From August 25-27 another festival takes place, and that is the Kulturhavn Festival in Copenhagen. We are not quite sure what exactly will happen yet, as the programme is yet to be released – but it sounds interesting.
From August 15-20 it’s time for Copenhagen Pride Week. It’s guaranteed that Copenhagen will be decorated in colors and filled with happy people celebrating.
Street Food and Carlsberg
Our summer post of 2016 also contained information about the Copenhagen Street Food on Papirøen and the Carlsberg Fridays – and of course this post must include it as well.
We still love Copenhagen Streetfood and this is the last summer it’ll be in it’s current shape at Papirøen, as it’s changing locations in 2018.
Carlsberg Fridays are “open” until August 25 and it’s a cool place to go for a beer in a relaxed setting.
If you’ve been to Papirøen one too many times, perhaps the newer streed food market, WestMarket, is something you would like?
We hope this list has provided you with some new ideas for how you could spend your summer in Denmark!