This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy through those links, I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. You can read the full disclosure here.
Everyone knows that Copenhagen is a vibrant, colorful city on the surface. But did you know that underneath this city there is a world of hidden treasures? From buried former castles to intriguing museums and interactive art displays, Copenhagen has its own subterranean secrets that most tourists don’t know about. In this article I’ll share with you a few underground attractions in Copenhagen. So if you’re looking for an alternative trip, look no further.
Located within walking distance from Kastellet is The Museum of Danish Resistance. This underground museum gives you a glimpse of what life was in 1940s Copenhagen during the Second World War. Come here to learn about Danes’ resistance movements during the 1940-1945 German occupation period. You will follow different people ranging from far left to far right on the political spectrum. You will uncover the varying ways they chose to resist occupation and the consequences they faced.
The Museum of Danish Resistance was gifted to the Danish state by the Resistance Movement on October 15th 1957.
You can visit the museum Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm and tickets cost 110 DKK (16 USD) per adult. Children under the age of 18 can visit for free.
The Cisterns, called Cisternerne in Danish, used to hold 16 million litres of drinking water as the former reservoir for the city. Thanks to this underground network looking like catacombs, Cisternerne has recently been converted to a home for contemporary art exhibitions.
Artists who show at Cisternerne put on immersive experiences to stimulate all senses. In the past there have been lantern shows, fires, mirrors and even boat trips. At times there are also cultural events and music festivals held at Cisternerne. Make sure to visit the website for up-to-date info on current events.
You can find Cisternerne at Søndermarken park across from the Zoo. Look for the pyramid, which marks the entry. The exhibits are typically open from April until November. During the season Cisternerne is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm. Tickets cost 115 DKK (17 USD) per adult, 90 DKK (13 USD) for students with valid ID under 27, and free for children under 18.
Beware that it’s always cold underground, even on the sunniest day. Additionally there are multiple steps to descend into the exhibit, so it’s not best suited for those with mobility issues.
The Ruins at Christiansborg Palace are the motivation behind me writing this article. Back when I lived in Copenhagen I discovered these ruins by accident. I saw some people going in and I followed them not knowing what I was getting myself into.
It is estimated the remnants date back to 1167. During the constriction of the current Christiansborg Palace, after the previous ones were destroyed by fires multiple times, construction workers found these ruins by accident.
The ruins belong to the former Bishop Absalon’s Castle. The first Christiansborg Castle was built on top of these remnants sometime after 1369.
You can walk into the ruins from the street level and there are paths to walk on once inside. So you could visit even if you have some mobility issues. However it is very dark and disorienting since there are no windows. The place itself is not very big, but spooky enough.
Opening hours vary depending on season. Check the official website for up-to-date info. Entry to the ruins costs 65 DKK (9.5 USD) per adult and 55 DKK (8 USD) per student with ID. Children under 18 can visit for free. Additionally, you can enter for free with the Copenhagen Card.
Kronborg Castle was originally build at Helsingør (Elsinore) in 1420. Throughout times, the castle required multiple restorations due to fire damage. But it always maintained it position at the head of the Øresund Sound, the closest point to Sweden. Since 2000, Kronborg Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Although the castle is bright and inviting, underneath you’ll find something else: the spooky catacombs of Kronborg. Unlike the castle, the catacombs are dark and narrow, with low ceiling. But don’t worry, there aren’t any bones or scary things laying around. Except for Holger the Dane, who sits asleep until Denmark is in trouble, when he will wake up and defend the country.
Although Kronborg Castle is outside of Copenhagen, you can easily reach it by taking a train from Central station to the town of Helsingør. The train journey takes 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute walk to the castle.
Kronborg Castle is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. Tickets costs 145 DKK (21 USD) per adult, 135 DKK (20 USD) for students under 27 with valid ID. Entry is free for those under 18. There are multiple activities going on such as special tours and afternoon tea. Find the full program here.
Right next to Kronborg Castle you will find the M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark. The fun thing about this museum is that it is underground, bellow the sea level. It was designed that way as to not block the view of Kronborg Castle.
Given that Denmark is surrounded by 3 seas, seafaring is a very important part of the culture. When visiting the museum, you get a chance to learn about mythology, tradition, and technology. You can also find out how shipping has brought the world together. Additionally, you can participate in interactive displays, learn how to navigate, and even get a (washable) sailor’s tattoo.
The museum opens everyday at 11:00 am. On Thursday and Friday it closes at 5:00 pm and the rest of the week it closes at 6:00 pm. Entry costs 135 DKK (20 USD) per adult, 100 DKK (15 USD) for students with valid ID and free for children under 18.
You can enter the M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark for free with the Copenhagen Card.
If you’d like to learn more about day trips from Copenhagen, check out this article.
Not exactly underground, Cph Suborbitals is located in a big warehouse. This is the only amateur spaceflight organization in the world. Their goal is to put an amateur astronaut into space and return them safely to Earth. Although the team is made up of unpaid volunteers, they have accomplished quite a bit. Thus far they are the only Space Program to launch rockets from a floating launch site in international waters.
You can find Cph Suborbitals in the shipyard on Refshaleøen Island. If you have ever been interested in building your own rocket, you can join Cph Suborbitals for a guided tour of the warehouse.
In conclusion, while Copenhagen is bright and vibrant on the surface, its hidden secrets make the underground worth exploring. Have an unforgettable adventure exploring a side of the city most tourists never see.