Think of things to do in Copenhagen and the first things that come to mind are canal tours and walking the cobbled alleyways lined with coloured houses. But the city has so much more to offer. There are lakes, beaches, sprawling parks, castles, industrial warehouses converted into quirky bars, and entire areas bedecked with street art. But that’s not all!
What makes Copenhagen one of the most developed and coolest capitals of Europe is that most people cycle to work, most hotels are eco-friendly, people with food allergies are well-catered to (even by the smallest of supermarkets), and locals try to live daily life in harmony with nature. This respect for the environment shows in almost everything they do.
We love Copenhagen and know it pretty well after 2 trips there. Here’s a guide to everything you need to know about visiting the city – you will find everything from an itinerary to restaurant suggestions here.
Getting to Copenhagen
Copenhagen is well connected to most cities in Asia, Europe, and the US. On this occasion, we flew from India and took a direct Air India flight from New Delhi to Copenhagen. It was comfortable and we reached Copenhagen in under 8 hours.
Getting to the city centre
It’s easy to get to downtown Copenhagen from the airport. You can just flag a taxi. Make sure you flag a black taxi and not a yellow taxi as yellow taxis are notorious for charging higher fares despite a lower starting fare. This will cost you approximately DKK 300 (€40).
You can also take the metro or train from the airport to the city centre. This costs DKK 38 (€5). The train is ideal if your hotel is around the Copenhagen Central Station. The metro is ideal if your hotel is around a prominent metro station such as Norreport.
Choosing a hotel in Copenhagen
Accommodation in Copenhagen is expensive. And it’s hard to find hotels that are central, well-priced, and offer comfortable and spacious accommodation. We stayed in Hotel Danmark on this trip because of its supremely central location. The rooftop offers a great view over Copenhagen at sunset and you can easily walk to most major attractions. But the rooms are a bit cramped and under-equipped for the price!!
If you don’t mind biking around the city or don’t want to be in the centre, we’d suggest looking up a great apartment or room on AirBnB instead. Choose one that isn’t too far from the city (the scenic district of Norrebro has some great apartments) and is equipped with all the creature comforts you might need for your city break in Copenhagen.
Getting Around Copenhagen
It is great fun walking around Copenhagen. Alternatively you could rent a bike to explore the city. Public bikes are available almost at every nook and corner.
If you’re not too fond of physical activity, we’d recommend taking the metro or buses as cabs tend to be slow and overpriced. If you intend to visit a lot of sites in Copenhagen, then consider getting the Copenhagen Card as it provides free entrance to dozens of attractions and unlimited use of buses and the metro within Copenhagen.
Day-by-day itinerary for Copenhagen
Scandinavia is one of the most developed and expensive parts of the world. As a result we’d suggest planning your itinerary well in advance and packing as much as you can in a few days in Copenhagen. If you have just 3 days, stick to the places and activities mentioned in Days 1-3 below. If you have longer in Copenhagen, consider covering the places and activities we’ve mentioned in Days 4-6
Days 1& 2 – Explore Central Copenhagen
Central Copenhagen is the focal point of tourism in the city. As a result it tends to be crowded during summer months. However its attractions do deserve a place in your itinerary. Try including some of the following on Day 1 in Copenhagen:
- The coloured buildings of Nyhavn are perfect early in the morning and at sunset. Make sure you take your camera along
- The iconic Marble Bridge (Marmorbroen) is ideal for a stroll
- Scream your lungs out at the gravity-defying rides at Tivoli Gardens or if you’re not an adventurer, head for the gentle carousels instead. Tivoli Gardens is a theme park with the atmosphere of a vintage fair. It evokes old-world nostalgia and is a must visit on your trip to Copenhagen
- Watch a movie at the iconic pink cinema called Palads Teatret
- Spend an afternoon at the Rosenberg Castle and be spellbound by its stunning setting in the middle of the city
- Admire the vast expanse of green at the majestic Frederiksberg Gardens. It is the ideal place to escape the hustle bustle of central Copenhagen
- Drop by Granola for a spot of brunch – it’s a bit pricey but nevertheless a great place to get some avocado-toast or pancakes
- Spend the evening watching the sunset over one of the most iconic symbols of Copenhagen – The Little Mermaid
- Rent a private boat with GoBoat or go on a conducted Canal Tour and relish the panoramas of Copenhagen while cruising through its canals
- If you enjoy healthy and vegan food, you must try out colourful Matcha smoothies and raw cakes at Matcha bar. ‘Matcha Mike’, the owner, takes great pride in making some of the most colourful and healthiest drinks in Copenhagen.
Celebrating Pride Week with rainbow lattes and rainbow cakes ? ? Over the past few days we’ve met such amazing people from across the world; had conversations questioning misogyny, homophobia, and the need to fight stereotypes ; and partied while hearing the most empowering stories of difference at the Pride Parade in Copenhagen. Might not have slept much but it’s a weekend we’ll remember for a long time – here’s to CELEBRATING the fluidity of gender and sexuality ?? #LOVEISLOVE @visitcopenhagen #bruisedpassports #copenhagenpride #travel #love
Day 3 – Explore Christianshavn and visit Christiania
All that exploring is bound to leave you exhausted. Spend a lazy day exploring Christianshavn on Day 3
- Start with a late brunch. We would recommend Parterre Café. It has a short menu which boasts of some great coffee and avo toast. You can even request to have your meal served by the canal.
- If you’re vegan, a great option for brunch is Organic Boho Cafe, which serves the prettiest smoothie bowls ever (think pastels and flowers!)
- Get some exercise in by walking 450 steps to the top of the Church of our Saviour. The viewpoint provides amazing views over the city of Copenhagen. This isn’t recommended for those of you who suffer from claustrophobia or vertigo as the building is extremely high and it gets really windy at the top.
- Acquaint yourself with the (in)famous bohemian haven of Copenhagen known as Freetown Christiania. The hippie commune is home to some really interesting street art and live music venues amongst other things.
Day 4 – Escape to Vesterbro and Norrebro
The cultural district of Vesterbro is just 10 minutes away from Copenhagen’s city centre but it has a different vibe altogether. When you visit Copenhagen , you MUST spend some time exploring Vesterbro’s green spaces, independent cafés, galleries, and nightlife -ideal for a laidback day with friends and family. Here are a few things you must see
- Vaernedamsvej is a busy French-style shopping street that connects Fredriksberg and Vesterbro. French shopping street. There are shopping opportunities galore. Stop by the Mad & Kaffe for brunch. It is famous for its instagrammable spreads but the food is delicious too. You can also check out the world’s smallest hotel that boasts of a tiny coffee shop as well – Central Hotel og Cafe
- If you’re a keen photographer you must visit the beautiful Vestre Cemetery on the outskirts of Vesterbro. It’s tree-lined alleyways and open spaces make for a pretty picture. It’s gorgeous all year round but especially stunning during summer and autumn months.
Spend the second half of the day in neighbouring Norrebro. This diverse and colourful neighbourhood offers lots of unique attractions to those who like going off-the-beaten path. We suggest renting a bike and stopping by the following places
- Sankt Hans Gade – a street with the cutest colourful houses
- Jaegersborggade – the hipster street is home to some of our favourite speciality coffee haunts including The Coffee Collective
- Superkilen Park – A unique park dedicated to celebrating diversity, this art and architecture project is worth a dekko
- The Lakefront – this is the hub of activity in Norrebro. It is lined with bars, restaurants, and cafés but one of our favourite things to do is to park the bikes just by the lakes and watch the sun set over The Copenhagen Lakes
Day 5 – Explore Osterbro
Osterbro is one of the greenest areas of Copenhagen and provides several open spaces, ideal if you want to escape the hustle bustle of central Copenhagen but don’t want to venture too far. We recommend stopping by the following places on your day in Osterbro
- The Kastellet is a bit of a hidden gem and provides wonderful photo opportunities. There are very few people around. There is a gorgeous windmill on the premises and the neighbouring church is beautiful too. There are lots of green spaces around in case you want to pack a picnic.
- Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art boasts of cutting-edge exhibits that force you to think. Perfect if you like your museums
- The street of Olufsvej has some gorgeous coloured houses if you haven’t had your fill
- Svanemolle Beach provides a perfect escape on a hot summer’s day. Hang around till sunset. Most people leave the small stretch of beach and you’re sure to have a portion to yourself.
- If you couldn’t visit The Lakes in Norrebro, tick them off your list on Day 5 instead!
Day 6 – Copenhagen’s Miscellaneous Attractions
Here’s the thing – every tourist has different preferences. Some love museums and others love open spaces. Some travel solo and others travel with kids. Keeping this in mind, we’re suggesting a few of our favourite attractions in Copenhagen. Pick and choose the ones that suit you and put them on your itinerary
- The Royal Library Garden makes for a great attraction if you enjoy scenic archways and open spaces.
- If you’re travelling with kids, you must visit Copenhagen’s aquarium – Den Bla Planet. It is one of the most soothing and fascinating aquariums I’ve visited. Kids can feed sea otters and observe marine animals from a tunnel surrounded by 4 million litres of sea water. You can combine a visit to the aquarium with a visit to the Amager Beach Park in the vicinity.
- If you enjoy beaches and happen to be in Copenhagen during a heat wave, then head to Hellerup Beach, Kastrup Sea Baths, or Bellevue Beach for a bit of sun and sand.
- If you enjoy architecture, then you’re in for a treat in Copenhagen. There is no dearth of architectural gems but you must stop by Grundtvig’s Church for a photograph or two
- Reffen is a street food market that boasts of over 50 trucks with varying dishes. If you’re in the mood for a fun meal that feels like a melting pot of cultures, check it out. You could also visit The Bridge Street for a similar experience
- If you enjoy sampling local food, drop by Restaurant Kronborg, Restaurant Palaegade, or Aamanns 1921 for a meal. Make sure you try some traditional Danish Smørrebrød (open sandwiches). If you enjoy sea-food check out Hooked Seafood Kitchen
That’s it – everything you need to know about planning an amazing city break in Copenhagen. If you are there for longer, you can always hop over to the official Visit Copenhagen website for more things to see and do. Hope you have a great time in Copenhagen. Leave us a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article or if you have any suggestions at all.