Copenhagen is notoriously flat and even though it is a modern city, skyscrapers are non-existent in the City Centre. Therefore, the very few of those towers that stand out, dominate the skyline of Copenhagen. On our running tours we frequently get asked “What is this tower ?” and especially our City Tour and Christiania Tour are jam packed with towers that are hundreds of years old. Here is a bouquet of the towers in Copenhagen that define the city’s silhouette.
The most iconic towers in Copenhagen
Roundtower (Rundetaarn) is one of the iconic towers in Copenhagen and offers a magnificent view of the old town of Copenhagen. We pass it on our City Tour and often our running tour guests would not notice the tower if we did not point it out, as it is in the very city centre and adjacent to the Trinitatis Church. It operates a library, stargazing platform and used to serve as the „zero point” of the city where all the distances were measured from. This spot can be found at the top of the spiral ramp that you have to climb to reach the view. It is by far still the most popular view point for tourists to visit, so expect to be rubbing shoulders with people from all over the world and probably a few Danish school classes as well.
Christiansborg palace (Christiansborg Slot) has a very important role in the Danish history and it is our Parliament building, which is also the reason we pass it on our City Tour and Christiania tour. In addition to housing our Parliament (Folketinget) Christiansborg iss also used by the Monarchy for several functions: it houses the Queen’s reception room and the Prime Minister’s office. The palace’s tower used to be a prison and it has recently reopened to the public, featuringa restaurant and free access to one of the top view spots of the city. Logistics for getting to the view point is however pretty poor so expect to queue or be early or late.
3) Church of Our Saviour
Church of Our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke) is most famous for its unique spiral staircase on the outside of the tower. Most Copenhageners look at this tower and think “ahhh” because it is stunning yet still somewhat simple in its appearance. Very Danish, right? ;-). It is possible for the public to go to the very top of the tower and the final ascend is on the outside staircase. One first has to climb the old and rather random old wooden stair and pass the church bells and the outside staircase. When you have finally made it to the very top, you are treated with a stunning view that was voted the best in the city by locals. The church is placed in Christians harbour next to Christiania with one of the best views of the Freetown. We run right past it on our Christiana Tour.
4) Christians Church
The name of Christians Church (Christianskirken) just like many other buildings around the city is a reference to Christian IV. He was a controversial figure in the Danish history well-known for founding Christians harbour as well as building several famous buildings in Copenhagen (and enjoying life with many mistresses and much alcohol involved – but that is another story that you will hear in more detail on our running tours). But back to the church: the interior looks more of a theatre than a church thanks to its unique design and therefore it is often called the “Theatre Church”. Apart from church services they have held concerts and other artistic arrangements in the past few years. Especially their Christmas concerts come highly recommended.
5) The Old Stock Exchange
The Old Stock Exchange (Børsen) is one of the icons of Copenhagen which was built by Christian IV in his most beloved style, the Dutch Renaissance. The tower can be recognized from its remarkable spire, shaped as tails of two dragons. According to the legends, those dragons are the guards of the building saving it from the enemies attack and fires. They have obviously been doing a great job as the former Stock Exchange has been spared from damage every time fire broke out in the neighbouring buildings. So we smartly moved Running Copenhagen headquarter just next door to be guarded by those kick-ass dragons.
6) The Church of the Holy Ghost
The Church of the Holy Ghost (Helligåndskirken) can be found along the main shopping street, Stroget and it lies in the old medieval area. A bit of a claim to fame – it is the only preserved medieval building that was also functioning as a hospital. (the tower on the right on the picture)
7) The Church of Our Lady
The Church of Our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke) is often referred to as the cathedral of Copenhagen. It is located by the main building of the University of Copenhagen and open for the public 7 days a week. The cathedral has seen some important events: royal coronations and marriages including the marriage of Crown Prince Frederik and Australian Mary Donaldson.
Just like several other buildings in Copenhagen, the Church of Our Lady has also been burnt down and rebuilt quite a few times. The rather square tower stands in contrasts to the other towers of the City Centre.
8) Nicholas Church
St. Nicholas Church (Nikolaj Kirken) is ironically not even a church anymore since its big renovation after the Great Fire. Today it is the home of the Contemporary Art Center and is famous for its tower, one of the highlights of the horizon of Copenhagen perfectly clicking with the city’s architecture. The view from the top is considered one of the bests as it is well located in the centre only a few steps away from Amagertorv and Strøget. A must-see for contemporary art or magnificent view lovers.
9) City Hall
The tower of the City Hall was inspired by the famous City Hall in Siena, Italy. With its 105,6 meters it is one of the tallest towers of copenhagen. I am not a big fan of city halls in general but the tower of the Copenhagen City Hall does have a wow factor with its superb view of the nearby amusement park, Tivoli. It is open for visitors from Monday to Friday at 11:00 and 14:00 and on Saturdays at noon. As you visit the tower do not forget to also check out Jens olsen’s World’s clock which is an astronomical clock and a bit of a masterpiece – in all humility of course.
10) Frederik’s Church
Frederik’s Church (Frederiks Kirke), popularly known as the Marble Church (Marmorkirken) is in my opinon one of the most beautiful churches in Copenhagen. The church has become a wedding magnet lately so don’t be surprised to hear the sound of wedding bells if you are around on a weekend. The church has the largest dome in Scandinavia which can be visited every day during summer at 1pm and 3pm and the same hours on the weekends of the rest of the year.
Towers in Copenhagen +1. Copenhagen Zoo
Last but not least because the Zoo tower has a special role in my heart. The base of the tower resembles the Eiffel tower my very favourite building and ex-office. The Zoo Tower was built in 1905 and is one of the tallest wood observation towers. The panoramic view from the top includes the surrounding parklands and city. The tower is only 43,5 meter high but it was built on the Valby hill, 70 meters above sea level just by Frederiksberg Palace and Garden. And it is of course located inside the Copenhagen Zoo.
If you liked reading this guide of the towers in Copenhagen you might also like our post about the best viewpoints in the city a.k.a Copenhagen from above.
Enjoy the heights,