2 Days in Copenhagen

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Itinerary by: Dan Hill
4 months ago
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Culture-Art Gallery Culture-Castle Culture-Cathedral Culture-Church Culture-Historical Building Culture-Museum Culture-Palace Culture-Statue Diverse-Market Diverse-Shopping Eat & Drink-Bar Eat & Drink-Cafe Eat & Drink-Micro Brewery Eat & Drink-Restaurant Entertainment-Theme Park Exhibition-Architecture Exhibition-Artwork Exhibition-History Nature-Lake Nature-Ocean Nature-Park Nature-View point Settlement-Community Social Distance-Social distance friendly
Duration: 2 days

Copenhagen - the Danish capital city with a population of around 800,000 people - is a haven of culture, nightlife, restaurants and picture-post card streets. If you've got 2 days to spend in Copenhagen, then there's plenty to see in the central district. I've been living in the Copenhagen area for the last 10 years - and when friends visit, these are the kinds of things I like to do with them. Perhaps the only omission from the itinerary that I could add would be a boat trip exploring the canals. My favourite is the boat rental company GoBoat . Alternatively, jump on one of the large canal boat guided tours - available in English and other languages - from Kongen's Nytorv. Be aware that Denmark is nearly a cashless society. I can hardly remember any times in the last 10 years when I needed cash. Danes generally pay for things with their debit cards, Apple / Google Pay, or with an online app available only to Danes called "Mobile Pay". Be aware that using foreign credit cards may attract a transaction fee - which you should be notified of. Most places will take cash, if that's what you have, but just be aware that you don't need it - even in taxis. Tipping in Denmark in restaurants and bars is discretionary - and very different to the tipping culture in, say, the USA. Staff are generally paid a good wage, and tips are generally used if service is very good, and is certainly not mandatory. It is not required or expected to tip many other professions that Americans may be used to tipping, such as taxi drivers. Getting around Copenhagen is easy. If you prefer public transport, you can use the Metro underground train system . Be sure to purchase a ticket before you travel from the electronic machines in the stations using your debit/credit card. Even though access to the trains is not gated, there are regular inspections on the trains, and fines are around 800 Danish kroner (DKK). If you're travelling further than the reaches of The Metro, you can use the train system - the "S Trains" serve the metropolitan area - you can find more information at the DOT - department of public transportation site . Another fun way to get around Copenhagen is via bicycle ("cykel") - just like the locals. There are many bike shops that will rent you a bike - alternatively you can pick one up off the street with an app on your mobile phone - from firms such as Donkey Republic . Be aware that Danes take cycling extremely seriously - and its important to obey the rules. Stick to the bike lanes where present, and slower cyclists should stick to the inside (right hand side). Expect a few speedy cyclists to speed past you on the left. Be courteous and always use hand signals when turning or stopping. Use the bell on your bike to warn others if you are about to pass them. You must not pass a red traffic light when cycling - or you may get a fine from the police. It is also illegal to cycle when impaired by alcohol. As a pedestrian on the streets of Copenhagen, you are well advised to stay out of the bike lanes! Wandering into a bike lane can be dangerous. Generally however, cars must stop for bikes on right hand turns, and bikes must stop for pedestrians. The weather in Copenhagen can be mixed. Expect temperatures in the summer months in the 20Cs during the day, and in the winter months between to 0-10C in the daytime. Denmark can often be windy - so you won't see many locals with umbrellas, unlike, say, London. Therefore, a foldaway water proof jacket could be a good idea, if showers are expected. If you've got additional time, you could take the train to Malmö - just across the Öresund strait. You can check out our Malmö itinerary . Photo credits: Nyhavn - Chris Lawton, unsplash.com

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Day 1

Central Copenhagen

Today, we'll introduce you to some of the highlights around central Copenhagen. Starting with Nyhavn - the canal harbour with wooden boats and colourful houses that makes the most picturesque of photos - we'll go to to see the Royal Palace, The Little Mermaid, enjoy a water side lunch, The Design Museum, The Marble Church and end the day at Tivoli.
09:30 - 10:00
Nyhavn
Nyhavn 1, 1051 København, Denmark
SUMMARY: Get a glimpse into Danish history by taking a stroll through one of the most iconic sites in Copenhagen. Follow the cobbled streets, admire the colourful buildings and marvel at the old sailing boats bobbing in their mooring. The port dates back to the 17th century from when it was a thriving waterway and local hub. Today many of the buildings have been updated to restaurants, cafés, and bars, making this historic harbour a wonderful mix of old and new. WHEN TO VISIT: It's a beautiful spot all year round. During warmer months the area is packed with people eating outdoors, drinking beers on the harbour, and ambling in the sunshine. But, the Danes like to get cosy (or "hygge") in winter too and in December a bustling Christmas market fills the streets. The heaters come on, blankets come out, and people pile into the taverns for a cold beer or spiced gløgg (Scandinavian mulled wine). DON'T MISS: The homes of the famous Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson who used to live along the harbour in Nyhavn buildings no. 20, 67, and 18. HOW TO GET THERE: Nyhavn is centrally located and within walking or biking distance from many other main sites in the heart of Copenhagen. Take the M1/M2/M3 line to Kongens Nytorv and the harbour is a short walk across the square.
Article By: Matt Lynch
Culture-Historical Building Diverse-Market Diverse-Shopping Eat & Drink-Bar Eat & Drink-Cafe Eat & Drink-Restaurant Nature-Ocean
Standard Free

10:30 - 11:00
Amalienborg - The Royal Palace
Amalienborg Slotsplads 5, 1257 København, Denmark
Amalienborg palace has been the home of the Danish royal family since 1794. Built in 1754, it was designed as part of the Frederiksstaden area of Copenhagen, commissioned by King Frederik V. Amalienborg is actually a complex of four palaces, each one home to a different member, or members of the royal family. Queen Margrethe II, the current queen, lives in one, and a second is occupied by her son, the Crown Prince Frederik, his Australian wife Princess Mary, and their four children. The other two palaces serve as temporary residences for Prince Joachim, the queen’s younger son, and visiting heads of state. When you visit, be sure to look out for which flags are flying to find out who’s at home! One of the most striking things about Amalienborg is that unlike other royal residences such as Buckingham Palace, the complex is totally open, and there are only a few guards separating the general public from the doors of the palaces, no locked gates or high walls. This reflects the status of the Danish royal family, who are generally regarded as relatively approachable, likeable people. Some Danes can tell stories of seeing Queen Margrethe II in a local corner shop, and Prince Frederik can sometimes be spotted out for a morning run nearby the palace. Only the outside of the complex can be visited, as the palaces are all functioning homes, after all! If you can, try to get there for 12pm, when the changing of the guard takes place. As you admire the richness of the architecture, keep in mind that the most expensive thing to design and build in the complex were not the palaces themselves, but the statue of King Frederik V on horseback, which is right in the centre. The statue took 13 years to design and build - so long that King Frederik himself actually died before its completion, and never saw the final result! Images by Nils Nyvang and Bente Jønsson from Pixabay.
Article By: Josie
Culture-Castle Culture-Historical Building Culture-Palace Culture-Statue

11:00 - 11:30
The Little Mermaid(s)
Langelinie Allé 17, 2100 København, Denmark
Mention Denmark or Copenhagen to most people, and the Little Mermaid immediately springs to mind. The iconic statue was unveiled in 1913 after Hans Christian Andersen wrote the famous fairytale, and was actually financed by Carlsberg breweries. The mermaid has been sitting on her rock in the harbour in the north of the city for over 100 years, but those 100 years have been far from peaceful. She has suffered countless acts of mostly politically-motivated vandalism; she’s been beheaded twice, and has had paint poured on her several times! But, apart from a brief stint at the 2010 Shanghai Expo, she has remained a stalwart of the Copenhagen waterfront. The area around the Little Mermaid is usually packed with tourists trying to catch a glimpse of her. She really is a little mermaid, so you might have to wait your turn for a good view! Just around the corner from this famous statue is another one - the Genetically Modified Little Mermaid. She sits on the other side of the harbour with her genetically modified friends, which together make up a project by Bjørn Nørgaard called the ‘Genetically Modified Paradise’. So, while you’re in the area visiting the more famous mermaid, why not pay a visit to her lesser-known, but just as interesting cousin? The Little Mermaid is in the north of the city on Langelinie, a long pier that stretches from the city centre up to the north harbour. It’s a nice walk or cycle up the waterfront to get to the statue, or you could take the yellow harbour bus. Alternatively, most canal boat tours from Nyhavn or Gammel Strand pass by the Little Mermaid, so you could see her from a different angle from the water. Image credit: enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay.
Article By: Josie
Culture-Statue Social Distance-Social distance friendly

12:00 - 13:00
Toldboden
Nordre Toldbod 18-24, 1259 København, Denmark
Toldboden is a restaurant and bar, that does a particularly excellent buffet-style brunch. In the summer months, you can also sit outside - and enjoy great views over the harbour in Copenhagen.
Article By: Dan Hill
Eat & Drink-Bar Eat & Drink-Cafe Eat & Drink-Restaurant

13:30 - 15:30
The Design Museum Denmark
Bredgade 68, 1260 København, Denmark
Denmark is famous for its design, and many people around the world aim to emanate the Danes’ sleek, functional style in their homes and interiors. To learn more about the history and importance of Danish design, take a trip to the Designmuseum Danmark. Conveniently located in the centre of the city, the Designmuseum Danmark presents a fascinating journey through the 20th and 21st centuries, where you can learn about the design of everything from furniture to fashion to bicycles. One of the highlights has to be the permanent exhibition called 'The Danish Chair: An International Affair', which tells the story of how Danish chairs became international exports and put Denmark on the map as a world design powerhouse. Marvel at Arne Jacoben’s iconic ‘Swan’ and ‘Egg’ chairs and learn about the importance of this seemingly simple piece of furniture. After you’ve had your fill of design, you can refuel at the museums’s cafe, which serves coffee, snacks and full meals, including lots of Danish classics. There's also a small garden to enjoy some fresh air with your refreshments.
Article By: Josie
Culture-Art Gallery Culture-Museum Exhibition-Architecture Exhibition-Artwork
Standard 115.00 - 0.00 DKK
Group 80.00 DKK
Students 0.00 DKK
Kids 0.00 DKK Under 18
Seniors 80.00 DKK

16:00 - 16:30
The Marble Church
Frederiksgade 4, 1265 København, Denmark
The magnificent Marble Church, or 'Marmorkirken', sits in the heart of Copenhagen, in the Fredriksstaden area of town. King Frederik V ordered the church to be built, and construction started under the management of the royal architect Nicolai Eigtved in 1754, but it was not completed until 150 years later, due to changing monarchs and architects, and financial issues. But the long wait for the finished product wasn’t all bad - while the church lay unfinished, students from the Royal Danish Art Academy took the opportunity to practise painting ruins. After all, it was cheaper and easier than going to Italy or Greece! The design for the church was inspired by St Peter’s in Rome, and the 46m high copper dome is the third largest in Europe. Make sure you climb to the top to see the amazing view of the city! The dome is open to visit at 1pm every day during the summer, and at the same time every weekend at other times of the year. The church itself is free to visit, but you'll have to pay 35dkk to visit the dome (20dkk for children). The Marble Church lies on a breathtaking architectural line with the royal palace, Amalienborg and the Opera House, so it couldn’t be easier to incorporate into your sightseeing schedule. Image credit: Nils Nyvang from Pixabay.
Article By: Josie
Culture-Cathedral Culture-Church Exhibition-History

17:30 - 19:30
Tivoli Gardens
Vesterbrogade 3, 1620 København, Denmark
The most visited theme park in Scandinavia, and the fifth most visited in Europe. Copenhageners are right to be proud of this bustling family fun-hub in the centre of their city. It’s called Tivoli Gardens with good reason: the gardens themselves are stunning - with immaculately tendered flowers, shrubs and trees, lakes laden with fish and wandering peacocks and other birds, it can (if it's a quiet day!) feel like you are in the gardens of a stately home. With rides for the very young and also the most daring, Tivoli is continuously modernizing it’s arsenal of rides. Throughout summer, the evenings end with a spectacular fireworks shown over the lake, enhanced with synchrnoised music. Tivoli really excels when it comes to its seasonal decorations: Halloween and Christmas in particular are spectacular with lights and markets, speciality seasonal foods and added atmosphere. Tivoli is well stocked with restaurants and cafes, from family themed to the acclaimed Nimb restaurant. Rides must be paid for in addition to the entrance fee either via a wrist band or individual tickets.
Article By: Dan Hill
Eat & Drink-Cafe Eat & Drink-Restaurant Entertainment-Theme Park Nature-Lake Nature-Park
Standard 135.00 - 145.00 DKK
Members 0.00 DKK
Kids 60.00 DKK Under 7

Notes

Tivoli is packed with eateries - although there are also loads nearby you could head to before you enter. Stay until late enough, and each evening closes with spectacular fireworks.

Getting there

Tivoli is located near the main Copenhagen central station. You could rent and bike to cycle here, walk up the main shopping street (Strøget - I recommend), or use the Metro train from Kongens Nytorv.

Day 2

Copenhagen - Southside

Today, we'll explore the land south / east of central Copenhagen. Starting at the picturesque Christianshavn (there's a Metro train stop to take you here), you'll get a bird's eye view of the city at The Church of Our Saviour. Later, you'll explore Freetown Christiania, and then head to Reffen street food for an incredible culinary experience on the water.
09:30 - 10:00
Christianshavn
Christianshavn, Copenhagen, Denmark
Christianshavn is a 3.4 square km residential neighbourhood in Copenhagen. It both borders the main canal through Copenhagen, and has waterways running through it - making it a popular destination with tourist sight-seeing boats. Christianshavn sits on artificial islands - and was founded in the early 17th century by Christian IV - who modelled the area on Dutch cities which he had visited. The harbour is picturesque - and their are a few nice restaurants and bars along the water front. There are numerous historical buildings - such as the Church of Our Saviour, and Christiana may also be found here. Photo credits: Kristian Klausen, unsplash.com Gints Gailis, unsplash.com Peter Ivey-Hansen, unsplash.com
Article By: Dan Hill
Settlement-Community

10:00 - 11:00
Church Of Our Saviour / Vor Frelsers Kirke
Sankt Annæ Gade 29, 1416 København, Denmark
If you would like a birds eye view of Copenhagen, the Church of Our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke), is one of the few places you will get an overview of this beautiful city. It's located in the Christianshavn quarter of the city. The climb to the top is not for the faint of heart, nor for anyone who might suffer either claustrophobia or vertigo. The passage way leading up is narrow and steep, and when there are other tourists present, there can be quite a few waits for others to come down while you want to go up. The reward, however, is worth it. Along the way up, you'll pass the old workings for the church clock and see in intricate detail how the nearly 400 year old building is held together. When nearly at the top, the last climb is outside, along a narrow path with an iron rail giving an incredible view across the city and over to Sweden. At the very top of the spire, one finds the gilded globe, which is a point of reference in this part of town. I would highly recommend going only in dry weather due to this last section of the climb. I would not recommend the climb to those with small children, nor to anyone not strong enough for the 400 step steep ascent.
Article By: Dan Hill
Culture-Church Culture-Historical Building Nature-View point

11:00 - 12:00
Freetown Christiania
Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen Municipality, Denmark
With its own flag, Christiania, a borough of Christianshavn, consists of 19 acres of land covering city ramparts and former military barracks. A controversial area, due to an open cannabis trade, the area is home to around 1000 residents. With half a million annual visitors, Christiania is the 4th most popular tourist destination in Copenhagen to wander around. Here, you can find street vendors selling trinkets, cafes, bars and takeaways, and occasional street performances. The area has a hippy feel, and meditation and yoga are popular among residents. Street art and graffiti adorn many of the walls. There are signs indicating where photography is not permitted - take care to obey. Photo credits: Kristijan Arso, unsplash.com Annie Spratt, unsplash.com Victor Xok, unsplash.com
Article By: Dan Hill
Diverse-Market Eat & Drink-Bar Eat & Drink-Cafe Settlement-Community

12:30 - 14:00
Reffen - Copenhagen Street Food
Refshalevej 167A, 1432 København, Denmark
Open during the warmer months (from April), Reffen Copenhagen Street Food is a district that could have been designed for hungry hipsters. Its "streets" are constructed from stacked shipping containers and wooden huts, each housing one of the 41 food stalls and bars. Set on the water in Copenhagen, its location is a little distance from the city centre - in an old industrial area - and it is perhaps best reached by bicycle (rent if needed). There really is food for everyone here - with most international cuisines represented. A visit for lunch or dinner on a warm summer's day is real treat. Also, check out the Mikkeller brewery next door, which is also open to the public.
Article By: Dan Hill
Eat & Drink-Bar Eat & Drink-Cafe Eat & Drink-Micro Brewery Eat & Drink-Restaurant
Standard Free

Notes

We're heading deep into hipster territory for Reffen street food. Please check it's open before you go (mainly warmer months).

Getting there

Want to travel like the Danes? I can highly recommend renting a bike to cycle to Reffen. Check out Donkey Republic bikes (download their app), or similar - there are several alternatives. The ride is beautiful along the waterfront and adjoining streets.

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About the author

As the founder of MapADay, I recognise the value of really useful online travel guides - written by fellow travellers. I founded MapADay to create a platform where anybody could share and promote their favourite travel itineraries - in a consistent format that travellers can easily follow. I also hope tour guides, operators, travel photographers and travel bloggers will promote their material on MapADay. I've lived in 5 different countries: UK, France, USA, Canada and now Denmark, and love exploring new places with my family - near and far.

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