Exploring Copenhagen with a Self-Guided Walking Tour

Little Mermaid Statue Copenhagen City Break Travel Guide self-guided walking tour

As a seasoned traveller, I’ve tried my fair share of walking tours but not without issue. Often I can’t always hear the guides, I miss important information; or I don’t have enough time to take the photos and videos I want before being frogmarched on to the next stop. So when Around Tours approached me ahead of my visit to Copenhagen and asked if I would be willing to write about my experience on their new Self-Guided Walking Tour I was more than happy to try a new way of exploring. 

Around Tours offer audio guides for many cities across the world, allowing you to walk and explore at a pace that works for you. While I’ve been solo travelling for years now, that doesn’t mean I don’t still find it overwhelming at times. Whenever I arrive in a brand new city, it can feel a bit much at times and even with all my research, I’m not sure where to begin. So my plan was after a night of rest, start a walking tour fresh in the morning. 

Welcome to Copenhagen

The Gefion Fountain In Copenhagen Denmark Europe Around Self-guided walking tour travel guide

I had a choice of two tours in Copenhagen when I arrived, both around 2 hours long if you stick to the pace they recommend. Both caught my interest; eventually, I settled upon the intriguingly-named “Meet the Mermaid” tour. The estimated finish time took me to lunch, and my final stop would be Torvehallerne Food Market, which was ideal. You can start the tour whenever you feel like it though. So you can still have your lay-in and long breakfast. You can even do the tour in the afternoon after lunch or if you are a local and want to learn more about your city even with your colleagues after work.

The 2 hour estimation turned out to be a pretty accurate estimation. Being solo I move a lot faster, but I did also dawdle, stopping for loads of photos and occasionally grabbing a coffee to drink on a bench whilst I took in my surroundings. I’m always looking for different angles when taking photos so it was nice to take the time to really think before moving on.

Around Tour Screenshot Self-guided walking tours of Copenhagen Denmark Europe

Currently there is no app; however the website is really easy to navigate on mobile. I selected my tour and it asked to use my location. I have a data plan that lets me use my phone almost worldwide, but if you don’t, there are plenty of E-Sim plans that offer affordable rates. You can also now download the tours for offline usage using your hotel wifi. Once the tour is downloaded, make sure Around Tours has your location and you can get exploring! Just make sure you dont try to reload the page without a new wifi connection.

Once Around Tours had my location, it set me a starting point and a route to get there. I was directed to Frederiks Kirke, also known as the Marble Church. Whenever you arrive at a location, the option to play a voice note appears, where a guide talks to you about the history or significance of the area. I really enjoyed it and found a voice note to be better than a person – of course you can’t ask questions but I could replay it as many times as I liked, or rewind if I missed some important information. The guide was experienced and went into a lot of detail, so I was never left with any questions anyway.

My self-guided walking tour

From the Marble Church I walked down the road to Amalienborg. During the audio clip I noticed there was a changing of the guard, so I had the freedom to stop, watch the event and when I was ready, resume the audio clip. 

Over the next two hours I would visit destinations such as:

  • The warehouses and opera house
  • The Mærsk headquarters 
  • The Gefion fountain
  • Frederik IX and the Military Base in the harbour 
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Citadel
  • Monument to Our Fallen
  • Nyboder (new houses)
  • Kings Garden
  • Rosenborg Castle
  • Torvehallerne Food Market

A lot of thought and planning has gone into the route that you explore. I don’t think there was more than a five minute walk in-between each stop. And the tour often took me the way my natural curiosity wanted me to go. Take for example the Gefion Fountain, I was listening to the audio clip as I circled it taking photos, trying new angles, and I spotted a bridge. I thought that it would be fantastic to get some leading line photos, and beyond that bridge was a hillside filled with cherry blossom trees. I started to inch my way towards it, took some photos, and then found out I was supposed to head that way anyway.

Rosenborg Castle on Around Tours Self-guided walking tour in Copenhagen Denmark Europe Travel Guides

Self-guided walking tour means exploring at your own pace

Having an audio guide really adds to the experience. When I told friends I would be visiting Copenhagen, not a single person had a positive thing to say about the Little Mermaid. And I could completely see where they were coming from. The statue is overcrowded with little to warrant it. There was a small sign with some information on it but even that was deep within a thicket of tourists. So I got some photos for myself, grabbed another hot chocolate from a little stand and found myself a seat on a nearby bench.

I learned about how the statue was donated by the Carlsberg family, the Little Mermaid’s travels the world, and how her story was far from the romantic one portrayed by the House of Mouse. I still had a view of the statue from my bench. And I can proudly say I’m the first tourist I know that actually enjoyed my time at the Little Mermaid.

Self-guided walking tour Torvehallerne Food Market in Copenhagen Denmark Europe Travel Guides

My tour did have to come to an end though, my final stop was Torvehallerne Food Market. The best tours always finish with food and after all that walking I had earned myself a treat. So I grabbed myself a sandwich and a Ferrero Rocher cake and found a seat. I learned about local customs and popular Danish food, all with the opportunity to taste some of the delights myself. A popular local dish is Smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich. However you can often spot tourists by how they eat a Smørrebrød, often using their hands instead of a knife and fork.

How and where to take your own Self-Guided Walking Tour

Around Tours are constantly expanding their library of tours. New countries are added all the time, as existing cities getting new tours, it’s a website you can keep coming back to. Even if you aren’t travelling, there’s a good chance you’ll find a tour in your home city. My home city of London has four to choose from. Including a “Crime and Punishment, Blood and Guts” tour for those who love a murder mystery podcast! 

If you want to do an Around Tour you can click on the link below. New countries are always being added, along with different tours for existing cities. You pay for an access pass, allowing you to do as many tours as you like during your subscription. Passes range from one to fourteen days. So if you have a short city break or you are backpacking Europe you have plenty of options at affordable prices. All the tours are made by a local, so you are getting first-hand knowledge, from someone who is passionate about the city.

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