Summers in Denmark may be short, but the days are long, and in Copenhagen, it's easy to make the most of the fine weather.
The city’s parks are diverse and abundant, from palace parks and botanical gardens to tiny hidden oases and vast recreational spaces. In fact, it's said that in the city center, you're never more than a 15-minute walk from a lovely garden or park.
Here are the best parks in Copenhagen to enjoy when the sun is shining.
Originally a country pleasure garden for the Danish Royal family, Kongens Have (the King’s Garden) became the setting for their summer home of Rosenborg Castle in 1606. The garden was opened to the public in the 18th century and has been a local favorite ever since. It's a popular spot for strolling, picnicking and just enjoying sunny days.
Kongens Have features tree-lined avenues, a kids’ playground and a well-tended rose garden with arguably the best views of Rosenborg. The interesting statues scattered throughout the gardens include one of beloved fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen, who lived most of his life in Copenhagen.
Just outside Copenhagen's tourist center of Indre By is Nørrebro, an eclectic, multicultural neighborhood. One of its most fascinating features is Superkilen, a 30,000-sq-m (322,917-sq-ft) space co-designed by acclaimed Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.
The idea behind the park was to unite the 60-plus nationalities living in the area, with the Red Square for recreation and urban life, the Black Market for socializing and the Green Square with a grassy area for picnics and sports.
Superkilen features items from all over the world, including a boxing ring from Thailand, an octopus-shaped children's slide from Japan and a mosaic fountain from Morocco. Even the benches, trash cans and manhole covers are sourced from abroad. Beyond its function as a park, it's a fantastic spot for architecture and photography buffs to explore.
Copenhagen Botanical Garden
Copenhagen Botanical Garden is a tranquil space tucked alongside the always-bustling commuter hub of Nørreport. The 10-hectare (25-acre) garden is Denmark's largest collection of living plants, with more than 13,000 species of plants and trees.
The Botanical Garden features walking trails, a rock garden with alpine plants, a rhododendron garden, a lake where you can spot turtles and several greenhouses with tropical and exotic species. The Palm House is the garden's 19th-century glass greenhouse filled with a jungle of plants from around the world. During warmer months, the Butterfly House lets visitors observe and experience living butterflies up close.
A fee is charged for the Palm House (including the Butterfly House when it's open), but outdoor sections of the botanical garden are free to visit.
One of Copenhagen’s wildest parks, Østre Anlæg is one of a series of green spaces along what was once the city’s medieval fortification system. Remnants of the old ramparts and bastions can still be seen in the hilly landscape, along with three lakes that were once part of the city’s moat. A network of paths winds through the park, which is also home to the National Gallery of Denmark.
Various sculptures and monuments are scattered throughout the park, whose diverse mix of trees and other plants attracts abundant wildlife including bats and around 50 species of birds. In late spring, don’t miss the rhododendron grove, a gift from the people of the Netherlands in 1947 as thanks for Denmark’s assistance during World War II.
The resting place of numerous illustrious Danes including author Hans Christian Andersen, physicist Niels Bohr and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, this cemetery is as much a park as a burial site. Walking paths wind through a lush landscape of leafy trees and well-tended lawns.
In spring, the cemetery’s cherry trees and other flowering species burst into gorgeous bloom. In fall, it’s a wonderful spot to admire the turning of the leaves. In any season, the cemetery is a peaceful refuge from the urban bustle just outside its walls, as well as a place to wander through a slice of Danish cultural history.
Just outside the center of Copenhagen in the upscale neighborhood of Frederiksberg, the expansive 32-hectare (79-acre) Frederiksberg Have has everything you need to enjoy a summer day. Overlooked by 18th-century Frederiksberg Palace, the garden has flowing waterways, a blue heron colony and a Chinese royal summer house dating from 1799.
During the summer months, a boat service operates, and visitors can be rowed along the lakes and canals as King Frederik VI was when he resided at Frederiksberg Palace in the 1800s.
Dating from 1626, Kastellet (the Citadel) is a star-shaped fortress at the northern end of the city center. The site is still an active military property with barracks and administrative buildings, but the grounds are open to the public free of charge and are a popular green space for walking, jogging and even birdwatching. You can stroll along the ramparts and around the outside of the moat, enjoy the fine views and admire the historic buildings including a 19th-century Dutch-style windmill.
Surrounding the citadel are several noteworthy attractions including the Little Mermaid statue off Langelinie, the impressive Gefion Fountain, St Albans Anglican Church – known for its stained-glass windows – and Frihedsmuseet (the Freedom Museum), with exhibits on the Danish resistance during World War II.
A green oasis in the busy Nørreport area, Ørstedparken is another in the series of parks along the line of what used to be Copenhagen’s ramparts and moat. Its centerpiece is a picturesque lake surrounded by trees and flowerbeds and bisected by a pedestrian bridge.
With its beautiful nature and many interesting statues and sculptures, Ørstedsparken is a worthwhile place to walk around or just take a relaxing break. In summer, the grassy slopes along the lakeshore are popular with sunbathers, while in winter, the park’s hilly terrain makes it a popular spot for sledding.
Det Kongelige Biblioteks Have
Informally known as Bibliotekshaven (the Library Garden), this small, square park is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, hidden between the Royal Library and Christiansborg Palace. With leafy trees and lovely flower beds surrounding a pond with an 8m (26ft) copper water sculpture, it’s a perfect spot to rest your feet, enjoy a picnic lunch or even spend some time pondering life’s mysteries, should you find yourself inspired by the statue of famed Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard seemingly lost in melancholy thought.
Adjacent to Frederiksberg Have across Roskildevejen, Søndermarken is a large park with a varied landscape of forests, meadows, tree-lined avenues and green lawns. It’s a popular local spot for walking, jogging and other recreation activities, as well as for concerts and festivals.
At its heart are the Cisterns, a huge underground tank that once supplied water to Frederiksberg and the Carlsberg Brewery. It’s now an atmospheric museum with changing art exhibits. Other points of interest include a small Chinese pavilion and a grass-covered Memorial Mound raised in 1925 in honor of the many Danes who emigrated to North America.