Top of the World: Where to Catch the Best Views of Copenhagen

Catching a panoramic view of any city you visit is a surefire way to “take it all in” at once. While there are several ways to catch a panoramic view of Copenhagen, I’ve narrowed it down to 2 very different options. If you’re planning a trip to Copenhagen and are in search of a view from up high, keep on reading!

 

The Round Tower

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Also known as the Rundetårn. This 17th Century building was built as an astronomical observatory. It is located in the center of Copenhagen and is worth the visit even if you aren’t planning on making your way up. An entrance ticket costs DKK 25 ($3.94 USD) for adults and DKK 5 (.75 USD) for children.

The walk up offers opportunities to sit and take a breather

The walk up offers opportunities to sit and take a breather

To the Top

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The only way up to the top is by a spiral walkway. The building is not equipped with an elevator but the walkway (most of the way up) is flat. This makes it more accessible if you’re not up for climbing any stairs, or if you’re simply visiting after lots of walking. It also makes it more child friendly (in my opinion). There are a couple of steps here and there (anywhere from 3-10) but nothing like the second option, which you’ll be reading about later on. At the observation deck, you’ll get a 360 view of Copenhagen with lots of room to roam about. The observation deck is also fenced up (for obvious reasons), but it isn’t impossible to slip your camera or smart phone through the gaps to catch a shot.

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PROS/CONS

PROS

Easy climb up to the top

No long wait times (because there’s plenty of room on the observation deck/walkway)

Safety fencing at the top

CONS

Safety fencing is a bit of an inconvenience while taking photos, especially if you want to be in it without obstructing the view.

Because there’s a lot room and it’s easily accessible, there are a lot of tourists, which means you’ll be fighting for room to catch those views.

 

Church of Our Saviour

The exterior helix spire which serves as the observation deck. Climb at your own risk!

The exterior helix spire which serves as the observation deck. Climb at your own risk!

Ahhh… definitely not one for the faint of heart but if you’re up to the challenge, the experience really is something spectacular. The church is located really close to Freetown Christiana and overlooks Christianshavn and central Copenhagen. The price of admission is DKK 35 for adults ($5.90 USD) and DKK 10 for children ($1.70 USD).

To the Top

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This I would not recommend for those with a fear of heights. 80% of the climb up inside the building that’s practically wide enough for only one person at a time. Not only is it an incredibly tight squeeze, it is also very steep. You’ll definitely get a good leg work out if you decide to make it to the top. The remaining 20% of the climb is where you’ll actually catch the views. It is outdoors with a simple hand railing that separates you from impending doom. Unlike the Round Tower, the railing does not go past your shoulder (and I’m a whopping 5 ft). This makes snapping those photos really easy but also adds to the fear factor. The helix spire of the Church of our Saviour (aka the last 20% of the climb) is one of several spires that are scattered throughout Copenhagen. Since Copenhagen is located close to the sea, these spires made it easy to spot ships back in the day. Since you’re actually climbing the external structure of the spiral, the staircase technically doesn’t “end”. They just simply disappear. If you’re skinny and tiny enough, you could make it slightly further than others. This also causes a bit of a traffic jam on the steps. As the steps get narrower, you have to keep in mind that people are trying to make their way to the top as people are coming down. If you’re thinking you could tolerate fighting your fear of heights for a little while just to catch the views, think again… you might be spending more time up there than you might be prepared for!

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PROS/CONS

PROS

Better for photography

Generally a prettier view (in my opinion)

The climb is a unique experience

CONS

Longer wait times because the building can only fit so many people.

The climb is terrifying and squeezing to the side of a 1 ft wide step while you’re allowing someone to pass… yeah… not my idea of fun.

Jared’s all smiles but he’s really shaking in fear.

Jared’s all smiles but he’s really shaking in fear.

Having done both, I would say the views from the Church of our Saviour was more breathtaking. But maybe it was also the adrenaline (because I do have a fear of heights). Which route would you take?