The Round Tower – the best view in Copenhagen

The Round Tower in Copenhagen offers some of the best views of Danish capital and a unique way of reaching the top.

View of Copenhagen from the top of the Round Tower

Having arrived in Copenhagen with no real plans of what to see and do it was pretty much good fortune to have one of Denmark’s best known and most visited landmarks, The Round Tower, at the end of the road my hotel was on.

The Round Tower, Copenhagen

Built by King Christian IV in the 17th century as a platform for the University of Copenhagen observatory, the tower is unique in that instead of climbing stairs to the top, you walk up a spiral ramp. That might sound a bit strange but when you think about getting all that observatory equipment up to the top it makes perfect sense. It also makes for a fun experience today.

That’s not to say there are no stairs, there are a few to get to the very top but for the most part the way up is via a gentle slope winding around the core of the building. The ramp, which is around four meters wide, twists around the core seven and a half times. It is 268.5 meters long at the outer wall but only 85.5 meters close to the core. So, if walking isn’t your thing stick close to the middle of the building.

Fun fact, the core of the building, which is hollow, was Denmark’s geographical point zero when the country was surveyed from 1970 onwards. If you are feeling particularly adventurous you can stand on a (reinforced) glass platform over the core.  Just don’t look down.

Windows are dotted all the way up the whitewashed walls providing a sneak peak of the view to come. Some also have a windowsill to rest on if you need a break, or just watch everyone else climb up

Halfway up you’ll come across the Library Hall, which was home to the university library until 1861. Now used for cultural events and concerts (there was an art exhibition on when I visited), it makes an ideal spot to break up the climb on the way up or down.

The best view of Copenhagen 

To reach the top you’ll have to climb the towers only stairs. The observation deck around the observatory offers a sweeping 360-degree view over the Danish capital. You can even see the bridge to Sweden in the distance. Around the edge of the observatory platform there are information plaques pointing out landmark and points of interest. There is also seating so you can sit and soak up the view.

View of Copenhagen from top of the Round Tower

The Observatory 

The Tower is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe and is used by many amateur astronomers. A narrow staircase leads up to the observatory. It is only open at certain times so if you want to explore the sky check in advance to avoid disappointment.

Telescope inside the observatory at top of the Round Tower

Visiting The Round Tower

Located in central Copenhagen, the tower is open all year round (except 24/25 December and 1 January). There is a small fee of DKK25 to enter. However, if  you have a Copenhagen Card admission is included. 

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