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One of the best things to do in any city is to find a high point where you can get a great view. There are a few places where you can do so in Copenhagen. My favorite is the historic Rundetaarn, the Round Tower with a unique ramped construction & observation deck at the top.

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Rundetaarn Visitor Information

The Rundetaarn (official website) is located in central Copenhagen. It’s right near hop-on, hop-off bus routes as well as other public transportation lines. There is an admission fee. Entry to the Round Tower is included with the Copenhagen Card. It’s also part of several Copenhagen tours.

Highlights of the Round Tower

The Round Tower in Copenhagen was constructed by King Christian IV in the 17th century. Rundetaarn was originally built as an astronomical observatory. It is mentioned in several Hans Christian Andersen tales.

Today, the building maintains its historic roots. The spiral ramp that leads to the top of the tower, known as an equestrian staircase, also has signs for a planet trail, which demonstrates distances within our solar system. This ramp made it easier to get equipment & books into the tower.

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The ramp makes for a more pleasant climb than stairs, both for humans & animals (though no animals were present). Although the walk is longer, the outer edge of the spiral has just a 10% grade, compared to the 33% grade of the innermost part. Just don’t drop anything that can roll! Every year, the tower hosts a unicycle race.

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Along the walk to the Rundetaarn observation deck, there are a few stops that also help break up the journey, which takes 7.5 rotations.

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The first is the Library Hall. The Library Hall once held the University of Copenhagen’s book collection. Today, the Library Hall is a gallery space with changing exhibitions and a gift shop. The gallery was hosting a space festival with photos from Mars.

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The Old Privy was formerly a toilet. I stress formerly. Another toilet for researchers & staff once drained to nowhere through the building’s hollow core. Pipe smoking helped cover up the smell of the privy.

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Up in the Bell Loft, there are also found objects from during the refurbishing of the Rundetaarn & associated buildings.

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The planetarium shows the current positions of the planets.

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Near the top of the climb, the spiral ramp ends. The rest of the way up is done via a staircase. This final stairway has a traffic light system with timed entry for people going up or down, but the wait is only a couple of minutes.

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Finally, visitors arrive at the Round Tower observation deck, which has 360-degree views of Copenhagen from 34.8 meters above the city.

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Unlike some observation decks, the space is nice and wide, providing plenty of room for people to spread out, while also making it less daunting for anyone afraid of heights. There are also several benches to sit down & rest while admiring the view. In the summer, a kiosk sells coffee, ice cream, and snacks.

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The metal fence is spaced well for taking photos of Copenhagen landmarks, highlighted by a series of signs around the platform. On a clear day, you can also see across the water to Malmö.

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Up a few steps, the observatory is still in use today. The Round Tower Observatory is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe, though today it’s mostly used by amateur astronomers. While technology has advanced, city lights do have an impact that wasn’t present back in the 17th century.

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After descending the stairs and spiral ramp of Rundetaarn, visitors can then also check out the attached Trinitatis Church.

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The Rundetaarn has some of the best views in Copenhagen, making it an excellent introduction to the city & its scientific past.

Here are some great Copenhagen tours & activities & things to do in Copenhagen.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Copenhagen, check out these hotels. For restaurant recommendations, go here.

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