Whether you are looking for a new city to visit or just in need of a weekend getaway, Copenhagen is a perfect place for any traveler. This trendy, cosmopolitan and yet historic city draws travelers of all ages to explore, eat and enjoy!
Here's my ultimate guide to visiting and exploring Copenhagen in 3 days
Navigating the City
There are numerous ways to travel around Copenhagen with ease, but my favorite would have to be biking. Copenhagen is the most bike-friendly city in the world, according to Wired.com. The city’s infrastructure is purposefully built to allow bikers access throughout the city. There are also bike and pedestrian only bridges to help control traffic flow.
You can rent a bike at any bike shop, at your hotel or hostel, and the city of Copenhagen also provides rent-a-bike services so that you can rent a bike for short-term use. You can find these bikes on any street and all you need is the bike company app and a credit card and you are ready to explore!
Another way to navigate the city is on foot! Copenhagen is walkable if you are willing to get your steps in. I highly recommend bringing a good pair of walking shoes and a bottle of water - walking can be exhausting.
Public transportation in Copenhagen is very reliable and easy to use. As a traveler, you can purchase a transportation pass to allow you unlimited transportation for 24, 48, or 72 hours. Even better, you can purchase a Copenhagen City Pass, which allows you unlimited transportation on the buses, trains, and metro AND entrance to 80+ attractions in and around the city. If walking and biking are not for you or you want to go attraction hopping around the city, these passes are a great deal for you!
Where You Should Stay
Copenhagen is an expensive city and not always budget-friendly. So, I recommend finding accommodation with a kitchen and common space so that you can purchase groceries and cook your own meals. But since you are probably only in Copenhagen for the weekend, I highly recommend finding something more central in the city and near transportation so you can access the city easily.
As a budget traveler, I tend to stay only in hostels and the occasional Airbnb. While visiting Copenhagen I stayed at Hotel Jørgensen.
Booking My Accommodations - I love finding deals on places to stay while I travel, but sometimes it can be hard in expensive cities. Here are my two favorite sites that have never steered me wrong and continue to find me affordable and great places to stay!
Agoda - Agoda is hands-down my favorite app to use when booking my hostel stays. I have yet to find a site that beats their prices and provides cashback and discounts after accumulating. If you are looking for the next place to stay, try this app!
Airbnb - Airbnb is a great site to find local rooms and houses to meet the locals and gives you access to more amenities than a hotel or hostel offers. Looking to book your first Airbnb stay?? Use this link to save up to $40 on your stay
Things To Do - Attractions and Experiences
There are so many things to do in Copenhagen and you can literally start anywhere you want to explore this beautiful city.
Nyhavn – this iconic district in Copenhagen is a must see while you are in Copenhagen. The streets are lined with colorful 17th and 18th century houses and shops with a canal separating each side. You can visit the district at any time of the day and is a great lunch and dinner location. If you are looking to stay away from the crowds, I recommend exploring the district in the early morning. You’ll also be rewarded with a beautiful sunrise if you are up early enough.
Canal Tours – while exploring Nyhavn, if you have time and want to get out on the water for a while, you can hop on a canal tour. You can also get a discount on the tours if you have a Copenhagen City Pass.
Little Mermaid – Since you are already in the area, walk about 15 minutes North of Nyhavn along the water and you will come upon the infamous Little Mermaid statue. She was inspired by the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson and was a gift to the City of Copenhagen by the Danish brewer, Carl Jacobson in 1913. She is a tourist favorite, but she was not the highlight of my trip. The best time to see her is in the early morning for the sunrise or in the evening for the sunset.
Tivoli Gardens – Want a break from the city for a little bit? Check out Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world. There are roller coasters, carnival rides, restaurants, concerts, musicals, gardens, and so much more. You can easily spend a few hours here enjoying the rides, music, and atmosphere. This is a great spot to take the kids for the day or even if you just want to be a kid again.
Beach day – There are a couple of beaches located in the outer lying regions of Copenhagen, but that’s not where the locals go. All along the canals, locals find spots on the steps or the man-made "beach" boardwalk to bask in the sun or go swimming. This is a great way to chill, relax and enjoy life in the summer.
Strøget - this pedestrian-only shopping zone is a great place to just wander around and go window shopping or stop at a café for a light meal. There are many churches, plazas, and fountains throughout the district to stop and admire.
City Hall – I just happened to come across Copenhagen’s City Hall while getting lost in the city and loved what I found. You can admire the marriage hall or walk around the corridors, but what you should absolutely see is the World Clock. My absolute highlight of my time in Copenhagen was Jens Olsen’s masterpiece (I am a geek and I know it!). It was designed and built in the early to mid-1900's is one of the most advanced clocks in the world. I highly recommend stopping by City Hall to admire Olsen’s work.
The Marble Church & Amalienborg Palace – The Marble Church is the largest dome church in Scandanavia. It is worth a visit to admire the beautiful paintings and stained-glass windows inside. And just across the street, you will find the Amalienborg Palace - a complex of 4 palaces home to the royal Dutch family. The palaces and the large central square are open to the public. You can also watch the changing of the guards at the palace entrances.
To be honest, I really did not explore Kronborg or Rosenborg Palaces while I was in the city, but they are great to visit should you want to jump back into history.
Where To Eat
Copenhagen is a great place for foodies to dive into Dutch culture. Every restaurant and cafe has something different to offer. Here are my favorite spots that you shouldn't miss!!
Nyhavn – Find a restaurant or little café with seating along the water. Although it will be crowded during lunch and dinner (and much more expensive), enjoying your meal beside the water is a great way to end your day. This is a great spot to find traditional Danish dishes, like Smørrebrød (translated into "open sandwich").
Torvehallern Food Market - If you are tired of the crowds and looking for a quaint little spot still in the city, I recommend you make a stop at the Torvehallern Food Market. With over 60 stalls and pop-up stands offering a variety of dishes and drinks, you will never go hungry. This fresh food market is a favorite among travelers and locals alike for a snack or dining in for lunch or dinner.
Broen Gadekøkken – If you are looking for a more local and chill vibe, this street food market, a.k.a "The Bridge Steet Kitchen," is the place you want to be! Each kitchen offers a variety of dishes, domestic and international, for the eager eater. There are also beer and alcohol kitchens and little stalls selling desserts and ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings.
Grocery stores – When on a budget or just want to cook your own meal at your Airbnb, grocery stores and local markets are the best place to get your ingredients. They are also great for picking up snacks while you are out exploring the city during the day!
Have you been to Copenhagen?? Tell me your thoughts and stories about your experiences in this beautiful city below!
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