Copenhagen with Kids: Travel Tips for Families

Copenhagen, Denmark

Ever thought about traveling to Copenhagen with kids? Ann did recently, and offered to share the experiences she and her husband had with their 3-year-old and 8-year-old — huge thanks to Ann!Kat.

After a long stretch of domestic travel, we were ready to leave the country!

How We Decided on Traveling to Copenhagen

Using Google Flights’ “Explore” function, we narrowed down our choices and went with Copenhagen, mainly because we hadn’t been there before and heard nice things about it. Also, the flights were a great deal — weather-wise, it probably was a roll of the dice (we went in early April when it is often cold and rainy), and it was Easter week (it’s a big holiday there so guessing not a lot of international business travel).

Planning Our Trip to Copenhagen

We opted for an apartment we found on Airbnb — we liked the extra space and ability to cook our own breakfast and dinner. We had a lovely three-bedroom apartment in the residential neighborhood of Østerbro (walkable to the Little Mermaid statue) a few blocks from the train station and a grocery store.

Here are a few tips for planning and packing we found helpful:

  • The luggage allowance on European carriers (we flew Scandinavian Airlines) is very strict, so measure and weigh your luggage carefully.
  • Given the dicey weather, we brought rain pants for everyone (snow pants would have worked too) and ski clothes (bonus: they are thin and quick drying, since we did some laundry in our apartment). In the end we lucked out with cold (about 40 degrees during the day) but sunny weather.
  • Buy a Copenhagen Card: If you hit up at least two sights a day and use public transportation, you come out ahead. It covers pretty much anywhere you’d want to go, and Denmark’s clean, efficient transportation system puts the U.S. to shame.

{related: 3 tips for using Airbnb — with kids}

The Highlights of Our Trip to Copenhagen with Kids

girl looks out at the river in Copenhagen; a mermaid (or merman) statue is to her left on top of a pile of large rocks
at the Little Mermaid statue…

So our first day was a wash given the red-eye flight from the East Coast. After an AM nap, we got groceries, then pizza for lunch, and walked to the Little Mermaid statue and a small playground. I did have a very Copenhagen moment on that walk — a cheery kid in a bicycle hitch trailer blew bubbles as they rode by. (Biking is super popular and another way to explore the city.)

Once we got a good night’s sleep, we were ready to roll. Each day, we usually did one big thing and one little thing to leave room for spontaneity (or sickness or meltdowns). Also, because we were there during Easter week, many shops and restaurants were closed leading up to the holiday (but tourist attractions and public transit were open), so we had to plan our grocery runs accordingly.

Odense: This city about an hour and half from Copenhagen (note it’s not on the Copenhagen Card) is all things Hans Christian Andersen. After lunch at a food hall, we headed to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. If you’re a fan of The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and more, this is not to be missed. While the exhibits can be a little dull for really little kids (you really need the audio guide to really experience the museum), the children’s area is amazing! Most museums in Denmark have well-stocked, well-staffed activity rooms or mini-museums just for kids. This one had a series of play houses, costumes, and a sunny second floor art studio. My spouse and I would simply take turns with our youngest in the kids’ area while the other would go around the museum with our oldest. Odense also has several other Hans Christian Andersen sites and a cute train museum that we didn’t get a chance to visit.

girl in purple sweatshirt leans over wooden desk; old photos are on the wall behind her
at a replica school house in the National Museum of Denmark

National Museum of Denmark: This museum also had an extensive museum-within-a-museum for kids (complete with an old fashioned schoolroom, mini-castle, medieval play kitchen, and more!). You can stroll through the history of Denmark from prehistoric times all the way through now.

{related: the best baby travel gear}

small boy plays on a Viking ship in Copenhagen
The Viking Ship Museum

Vikings, vikings, vikings! The Viking Ship Museum is another not-to-be missed museum. It’s in Roskilde, a short train ride from Copenhagen. Just for kids, there are two large ships they can pretend to set sail on. But, Roskilde is not just Vikings — there is also an amazing cathedral. Like Westminster, pretty much all of Danish royalty is buried here. My oldest was fascinated by the powerful Queen Margrethe I.

Art: Denmark has a wealth of art museums, but with two little kids, we had to be strategic about which one we picked. The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art had an amazing art room with projects linked to the exhibits and a beautiful sculpture garden to run around.

Castles, castles, castles! We hit up three castles during our stay: Rosenborg (right in the city, and houses the crown jewels), Kronborg (the “Hamlet” castle with a gorgeous view of Sweden), and Frederiksborg (Versailles-like opulence).

The Round Tower: As the name implies, it’s a round tower right in the middle of the city. The tower has spectacular views and is stroller friendly (it’s just a long ramp up). It’s also right by a pedestrian mall so you can do some strolling and shopping right afterwards.

Speaking of shopping: We aren’t big shoppers or souvenir hunters, but we did hit up Flying Tiger (think IKEA but just the cute tchotchkes) and Magasin du Nord (this department store’s basement is perfect for picking up chocolates, marzipan, licorice, etc., with lots of really cute egg-shaped options for Easter!).

{related: our best waterpark tips}

And no visit to Copenhagen is complete without a stop at Tivoli Gardens, a classic amusement park for all ages with rides, food, and shows.

yummy food in Copenhagen

Speaking of food: We didn’t eat out much, but when we did, we ate a lot of smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) and hot dogs (cheap and tastier than the ones here!). We also tried a lot of bakeries — there are amazing cinnamon rolls, and my favorite, cardamom buns. We especially loved Hart and Juno. For chocolate, our favorite was Frellsen.

girl and father order food at a restaurant; a large red menu is to their left
Ordering hot dogs…

Needless to say, we had a fabulous time! Denmark’s family-friendly/centric culture makes it easy to travel with kids. But, don’t take it from me — my 8-year-old says her favorite things were the Little Mermaid, Tivoli Gardens, and the crown jewels at Rosenborg Castle. My 3-year-old says his favorite thing was the airplane ride (well, we did fly premium economy coming back).

(Huge thanks to Ann for both the story and sharing her photos with us!)

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