Copenhagen is a city of a great many parks, many of which lie within walking distance of the center of town and a few of which may be found just outside its limits. So, naturally one of the best things to do in Copenhagen is to explore these beautiful, and most importantly, free parks to learn and immerse yourself in some nature. If you’re following our ideal European trip itinerary and find yourself in Copenhagen for two days, know that you can’t properly treat yourself to a vacation in Copenhagen without exploring some of these nature oases:
In Danish, “Kirkegård” means cemetery. That’s the original use for this plot of land, and many of Denmark’s most celebrated writers, philosophers, and scientists—including Hans Christian Andersen, Søren Kierkegaard, and Niels Bohr—have been put to rest within its walls. Today, it’s a beautiful oasis in the midst of Nørrebro where many locals head to enjoy a quiet stroll throughout the day. Unlike many cemeteries, you’re also free to relax on the grass and bask in the sun or the many patches of shade offered by the cemetery’s many stately trees. A historic chapel on the premises also serves as a Cultural Center for the cemetery, which information about the history and cultural significance of the place and those who are buried within.
The Deer Sanctuary
Just north of Copenhagen sits 1000 acres of pristine nature sanctuary, the Jægersborg Dyrehave—also known as Dyrehaven, meaning “deer park.” It’s home to miles and miles of trails, a stately hunting palace designed for the Danish royal family, and, of course, thousands of deer. Only 20 minutes outside of city on the metro or commuter rail, Dyrehaven is a complete change of pace from Copenhagen proper. All of this makes Dyrehaven one of the best things to do in Copenhagen for a nice day. The park is a wonderful place for a nature walk, bike ride, or picnic. If you’ve explored the woods, walked through the fields, and seen your fair share of deer, not to worry! Right next to the park and the train station is Bakken, the world’s oldest amusement park, where you can punctuate your relaxing time hanging out with deer with a few death-defying roller coasters.
The Harbour Circle
Though the Harbour Circle isn’t technically a park, it’s still a great opportunity to get outdoors and see the city of Copenhagen in all of its harbor-side splendor. The Habour Circle links a number of bike paths that run along Copenhagen’s harbor, forming a loop starting at Nyhaven and by crossing at the Inderhavnsbroen bridge (though you can technically go either way around). The loop will take you past some of the city’s most historic waterfront, but will also take you past several other parks and more residential neighborhoods that aren’t included on many lists of what to see in the city. If you’ve got the time and are looking for something unique to do in Copenhagen, bike the whole 13 kilometers to get the best sense of the waterfront’s incredible variety of landmarks and sights. For a more historic—and shorter—option, try cutting off the loop at the Langebro bridge and continuing back towards Nyhaven on the opposite side of the harbor.
The King’s Garden
The King’s Garden is a stately, well-manicured park that sits just at the foot of Rosenborg Castle, formerly the summer home of Danish royalty. Lined with trimmed hedges and dotted with fountains, the King’s Garden is a beautiful place to bring a book and a picnic to enjoy among the nature. On sunny afternoons, locals of all ages congregate here to enjoy a drink and some company or a casual—but occasionally high-stakes—game of lawn bowling. The Garden is cut through with a number of gravel paths designed to make navigation of the park easier, but the grass is soft and easy on the feet after a long day of trudging across sidewalk and prowling through museums and castles. A number of cafés are available both within the park itself and just outside its gates, offering bountiful refreshment on a hot day!
The Botanical Garden
If you like beautiful flowers and casual walks through nature (who doesn’t?) then you might not ever want to leave the Botanical Garden. One of the most beautiful parks in Copenhagen, this fact alone makes The Garden a must-see on a list of things to do in Copenhagen. The garden is at once both a visitor-friendly, extremely well cared-for park and a working scientific collection of plant specimens used by the University of Copenhagen that boasts the largest Danish collection of living plants. Because it’s full of winding paths and large, beautiful trees, you’re never able to get a glimpse at the whole thing from any one angle. Though it’s far from being the city’s largest park, it feels like an entire world of its own—cut off from the hustle and bustle of the city surrounding it and home to countless majestic plants just waiting to be explored.
Though Superkilen is technically a “park,” it doesn’t have much grass. Designed by the group Superflex (which has also shown art at the iconic Cisternerne reservoir-turned-museum), it’s more or less a literal concrete jungle: the entire thing, one long stretch of pavement and cement cutting between the streets of Nørrebrogade and Mimersgade in Nørrebro, is dotted with tall sculptures and recreation areas just waiting to be climbed on and swung from. It’s a perfect place to go for a stroll or a bike ride, but if you’re feeling adventurous bring a skateboard and take advantage of the large rolling swells of the pavement and the playful half-pipe like cement features. What Superkilen lacks in traditional park features—trees, grass, fountains, nature, and the like—it makes up for in playful and zany urban design.