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The Rundetårn – Up and down, round and round

There are few sights in Copenhagen that so comprehensively combine pluses as the Rundetårn, which can claim all at once to be central, weather-proof, view-filled, unusual, simple and cheap. Meaning ‘The Round Tower’, it is a cylindrical structure topped by a circular, ornately balustraded lookout platform, atop which sits an astrological observatory.

The Rundetårn holds special appeal for children for its interior helter-skelter-style ramp, which wraps around it’s central spinal column, itself embedded with small hollows that kids love to hide in as you approach from around the bend, and jump out from to boo you. Punctuating its soft, peaceful colour palette of grey brick floors and whitewashed walls and arched ceilings, its hooded windows offer peeps at the city from different perspectives all the way up.

The tower dates from 1642 and was built by Christian IV, and its brick-floored 281-metre ramp, which winds 7.3 times around the tower’s core, famously hosted the Russian Tsar Peter the Great, who in 1716 insisted on riding his horse up the ramp to the top, with his wife following behind in a full horse-drawn carriage.

It makes for a great leg-stretch and the only stairs are those that corkscrew from its summit up to the viewing platform. Care should be taken, especially with little ones or if you have a baby strapped to your front or back, as this tiny staircase serves both people on their way up – and on their way down. It can be a little tricky to navigate.

Once up on the platform, 34.8 metres above ground level, the whole city is laid out before you in glorious 360-degree views that are far-reaching thanks to this city’s (and country’s!) extremely flat profile. Its beautiful towers are viewed in every direction, and there are signs pointing out which belongs to which building. There are also a couple of pairs of large fixed binoculars that you can pay to use (kids love playing with these whether they can see anything or not).

From the viewing platform is another short staircase that leads to the dark, domed astronomy Observatory – Europe’s oldest – and it’s huge telescope. Signs and pamphlets here will tell you about events when the Observatory is open for nighttime star viewings. You can also see more on this, here.

The way down is just as thrilling as up, and kids will race each other down the bumpy, twisting slope – warn them about people coming up! Along the way are a VERY old-fashioned toilet and The Library – a gallery and concert venue. But my kids tend to just love the Rundetårn for the Rundetårn itself.

This sight makes for a great combination with exploring the food halls at Torvehallerne, as it’s very close by. Kongens Have is also just across Gothersgade from here. It’s also slap bang in the middle of the pedestrian shopping streets. Worth noting is that if you’re peckish before or after your ascent, there is a DØP pølservogn (hot dog wagon) right by the Rundetårn that has an almost-cult following for being all organic. This is a Danish culinary must – and if you want to feel a little better about it, having one from here is well worth it.

Open
Summer (1 May – 30 Sep)
Daily 10am-8pm

Winter (1 Oct – 30 Apr)
Mon + Thu-Sun, 10am-6pm; Tue + Wed 10am-6pm

For Observatory opening times, see here.

Admission
Adults – DKK 25
Children (5-15) – DKK 5
Use of the Observatory is included in the ticket price

Address
Rundetårn
Købmagergade 52A
1150 København K

+45 33 73 03 73

rundetaarn.dk
For fairy tales about the tower, see here.

 

 


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