5 architectural gems for a design-filled weekend in Copenhagen

By Laura Hall

Photo: The Audo

As Copenhagen becomes the 2023 UNESCO World Architecture Capital, we take a tour of the city’s top architectural spots you need to visit

When you wander around the city of Copenhagen, taking in the full sights and sounds, it's hard not to lose yourself in its marvels. So it doesn't really surprise us that in 2023, Copenhagen will be the UNESCO World Architecture Capital, a title that has only been held by one city – Rio de Janeiro – before. The year will be a celebration of its forward-thinking, sustainable and inclusive architecture, with open house events, public exhibitions and plenty of design-led and quirky activities, including a 5km architecture run through the city’s most awe-inspiring beautiful spaces.


We got together with trained architect and Head of Program at the Danish Architecture Center, Kika Krista Kjærside, to find out where to start.


Jernbanebyen – The Railway City

“Close to Vesterbro, Jernbanebyen is slowly opening to the city, and I am looking forward to the development of this last, big piece in the urban development in southern Copenhagen. Nine old wooden barns and more than 1.5 hectares of wild nature make up what we call BaneGaarden. It’s a green oasis, ecological village, peaceful respite and gastronomic meeting point – and a unique example of what we can get out of transforming and rethinking what we already have."

Jernbanebyen The Railway City Copenhagen city guide

BaneGaarden is a "green oasis". Photo: Daniel Rasmussen / Visit Copenhagen.

“Just next to BaneGaarden you will find Vesterbro CPH Village – a cluster of modular student housing created with extra low CO2 emissions. In the first quarter of 2023, Living Places will open as an experimental living environment set out to demonstrate that we do not have to wait for future technology to move and improve people’s lives while being regenerative for the planet.”


Cirkelbroen – The Circle Bridge

“'Rather than offering the fastest imaginable passage across the canal, the bridge creates small changes in the way we view the city and opens up a renegotiation of public space,' says Olafur Eliasson, the Danish-Icelandic artist who designed this bridge. I couldn’t agree more. The many new, more or less successful bridges in Copenhagen, have created a whole new way of connecting the city.”

Copenhagen city guide Visit Copenhagen

Olafur Eliasson's Circle Bridge offers a new way to traverse the Danish capital. Photo: Sophia Bergholm.



“Nordhavn is developing rapidly – I discover something new every visit. I always visit Konditaget Lüders, a rooftop playground / workout space, with a fantastic view over Copenhagen and all the architecture that is shooting up around it. Look out for BIG’s (Bjarke Ingels Group) new head office and the Tip of Nordø just to name a few.

the audo copenhagen city guide

Photo: The Audo

“My favourite place to have coffee is at The Audo, a hotel, concept shop, cafe and office. The Audo’s building is one of the oldest in the area, and, as a homage to its historic character, Norm Architects chose to preserve the building’s façade.”



BLOX will be the epicentre of UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture activities. Arrive at the building from Frederiksholms Kanal to get the best experience of the building with its staggered cassettes, reflective glass in different shades, scale and contrast with old Copenhagen, the cobblestones, the canals and the traffic.

blox copenhagen city guide

BLOX will be at the heart of the UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture activities this year in Copenhagen. Photo: Visit Copenhagen

“Inside, see exhibitions in the Danish Architecture Center, feel the vibe of the many professionals in construction and urban development who work in the building, and enjoy the view of Copenhagen’s harbour life from the terraces.”


Grundtvig’s Church

Grundtvig’s Church copenhagen city architecture

The awe-inspiring interior at Grundtvig’s Church. Photo: Jarvis Lawson / Visit Copenhagen.

Grundtvig’s Church is always a must-see and just has to be seen from the inside. The light and space take your breath away, and regardless of religious belief (or lack thereof), the architecture does something completely magical and special, reminding every soul that there is something bigger than yourself.”