The best aerial views of Copenhagen are for free from the Christiansborg Palace tower in the parliament complex and reached by elevator rather than stairs. Long opening hours allow visitors to enjoy views of Copenhagen’s old town, the surrounding neighborhoods, the port, sea, and on a good day even Malmö in Sweden. The upscale Tårnet restaurant in the tower serves modern Danish cuisine including smørrebrød for lunch and coffee with cakes in the late afternoon.
Free Views from Christiansborg Palace Tower
The Tower (Tårnet) of the Christiansborg Palace is at 105 m the tallest tower in Copenhagen. As part of the Danish parliamentary complex, admission is free and security tighter than at most other sites in Copenhagen.
The tower of reinforced concrete was erected between 1907 and 1928 but the addition of a further crown during the 1930s, in an attempt to make the tower look less like Korsør railway station, lifted it to 40 cm higher than the tower of Copenhagen’s town hall (Rådhus).
The actual viewing platform is the highest gallery in the square part of the tower. The higher galleries are reached by stairs and unfortunately not open to the public.
Enjoy the Free Views from Christiansborg Tower
Admission to the Christiansborg Tower is free but the downside is long, and above all slow moving, queues. Visitors line up just inside the portal in two queues – one for those with restaurant reservations (preferential entry) and one for those without. The queues tend to move fairly slowly, as visitors are allowed into the building only in small groups – there is not much of queuing inside the building itself making it fairly easy to judge if the queue is short enough to make it worth waiting.
Turning up at opening time is a good idea and late afternoon (16:00 to 17:00) is often also less busy.
Once in the building, go through airport style security – just much friendlier and chatty – and then wait for the elevator. It is thoroughly modern but can only accommodate eight at a time. Change at the fifth level (restaurant and toilets) to a second elevator that goes to the lumber room. From here it is a flight of stairs, or a third elevator for wheelchair users, to the viewing platform.
The viewing platform has four open galleries with the grandest views of Copenhagen. Information panels explain the sites and sights.
Opening Hours of the Christiansborg Tårnet
Admission is free to the tower and most of the Christiansborg Palace parliamentary complex.
Free wifi is available at the viewing platform and restaurant allowing visitors to update social media without delay (#taarnet).
Wheelchairs are allowed but strollers and buggies must be left down stairs. Large bags and luggage are not allowed and may not be stored inside the building.
The Taarnet Restaurant in the Christiansborg Tower
The Tårnet restaurant in the tower of the Christiansborg Palace serves modern Danish cuisine with the menu changing according to the season. Prices are high but not excessively so for the quality of food on offer.
The restaurant is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30 to 16:00 and 17:30 to 23:00. Lunch (smørrebrød open-faced sandwiches) are served from 11:30 to 15:00), coffee and cakes from 15:00 to 16:30, and dinner from 17:30.
Most of the tables don’t actually have a view but the room with 11-m high ceilings is impressive. The restaurant has some large windows but the real viewing platforms are on a higher level.
Transportation to the Christiansborg Palace
The Christiansborg bus stop is directly in front of the tower. It is served by major bus services including 1A, 2A, 26, 40, 66 and 350S.
The Christiansborg complex is within easy walking distance from many sights in the Copenhagen old town. The Thorvaldsens Museum is next to the palace while the National Museum and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek are only a block or two away.
Other Viewing Points in Copenhagen
Copenhagen has many panorama viewpoints – from bridges and quays or from the town halls and church towers. Probably the best-know is the Rundetårn (Round Tower) that is ascended via a spiral walkway while the external spiral of the Church of Our Savior in Christianshavn is probably the most spectacular (and scariest, especially on a windy day). Other church towers including the Vor Frue Domkirke, the Marble Church and the Grundtvig Kirke are open only occasionally but still absolutely worth scaling when allowed.