With its picturesque canals, bike culture, cutting-edge cuisine, world-class design and laidback lifestyle Copenhagen is the embodiment of Scandi cool. It’s not hard to see why it gets perpetually ranked as the happiest city in the world. Copenhagen has a lot to offer for tourists and the more time you spend here will leave you craving for more things to experience. 2 days in Copenhagen gives you plenty of time to experience the city’s classic attractions and a little bit more 🙂
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How to Get Around During Your 2 Days in Copenhagen
Although we generally recommend 3-4 days in Copenhagen to get the most out of the city and its surroundings, 2 days in Copenhagen can certainly sufficient. We know that you don’t always have a lot of time to travel and that you’d still like to see as much as possible.
Because you will be going beyond the typical tourist sights in the city center, we do recommend that you buy yourself a public transport pass. These are available at metro and train stations. Make sure to bookmark rejseplanen.dk to plan your journey on public transport in Copenhagen.
Alternatively, you can also take a look at the Copenhagen Card which may very well offer you substantial savings if you are following our itinerary. It also includes public transport.
Your Two Day Itinerary to Copenhagen
For practical reasons, we have divided this itinerary into 2 parts: Essential Copenhagen and Alternative Copenhagen. The itinerary includes both walking and the use of public transport. On your first day in
Below we have compiled a list of the best things to see (or eat) in Copenhagen over the course of 2 days. You can also find all of them on the map.
Day 1: Essential Copenhagen
1. Breakfast at Grød
2. Botanical Gardens
3. Rosenborg Castle
5. Little Mermaid
6. Gefion Fountain
7. Amalienborg Palace
8. Frederik’s Church
11. Lunch at Kronborg Restaurant
12. Round Tower
13. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
14. Tivoli Gardens
Day 1: Essential Copenhagen
Today’s itinerary will cover the must-see attractions of Copenhagen at a reasonable pace. If you like, you can also extend this itinerary by following our self-guided Copenhagen walking tour.
1. Breakfast at Grød in Torvehallerne Market
Grød is a popular local franchise that has five locations across the city. They are famous for concocting delicious porridge with mostly organic ingredients. There are many variations of porridge with delectable flavors and the size of the portions is quite large leaving you very full. Whoever thought porridge could be so enjoyable! I usually go for the All in! which comes with absolutely everything for only 75 DKK.
The Torvehallerne Food Market is one of Copenhagen’s best food markets and is a foodie paradise. Torvehallerne is an attempt to revive foodmarkets in modern urban centers. Apart from several fresh produce stands, it is home to over 60 different stalls selling all kinds of foods from smørrebrød (Danish open-faced sandwich), pizza, tacos, sushi, cheese, bakery products, and spices. You can also buy raw ingredients from the farmer’s market ranging from meat, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. There’s also an assortment of juices, smoothies, coffee, wine and beer to choose from. Torvehallerne Food Market is just a great place to check out and comes highly recommended!
2. Botanical Gardens
I love the Botanical Gardens in Copenhagen because although they are located in one of the busiest places in Copenhagen, it is incredibly easy to miss them. Just across the street from Nørreport Station, you can enter the gardens through the gate. They are part of the University of Copenhagen and best known for the Palm House which dates back to 1874.
While the Botanical Gardens are free to enter, entrance to the Palm House costs 60 DKK. It is, however, well worth it, especially if you need to warm up your feet in the winter. Also, it will give you the chance of taking some beautiful photos of the cast iron staircases!
3. Rosenborg Castle
Next up on this itinerary is Rosenborg Castle. This castle, commissioned by the Danish king, Christian IV, is our favorite spot in Copenhagen. It was built in 1606 in a Dutch Renaissance style. The castle garden is lovely and is the oldest royal garden in Denmark making it popular with locals and tourists alike. The castle is home to a cultural history museum that holds royal collections, tapestries, and artifacts depicting Danish culture from the 15th to 19th centuries, including the crown jewels. The entrance is 115 DKK.
If you would rather enjoy the nice weather, do it like the Copenhageners and relax in the palace gardens, also known as Kongens Have. This garden has been open to the public since 1770 and an important recreational space today. It is adorned with several sculptures and has many beautiful corners, but my favorite part is the rose garden.
Kastellet is one of the best-preserved star fortresses in Europe and one of our favorite places in Copenhagen. The old citadel is surrounded by a deep, water-filled moat with steep ramparts. Commissioned by Christian IV in the 17th century, it has been a Danish defensive site for centuries and even today at its center it hosts numerous working military buildings and a parade ground. Inside you can see the old army headquarters, lovely lakes, ponds, and the beautiful Dutch-style old windmill.
5. The Little Mermaid
Just a stone’s throw from Kastellet is the iconic Little Mermaid statue. The Little Mermaid is synonymous with Copenhagen and it is worth seeing the statue at least once. She is modeled, of course, after the character in the fairytale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. Since its unveiling in 1913, the
It can be a little disappointing if you don’t go in with the right expectations, though. The statue is very small and easily overlooked. What’s worse, there’s usually a horde of tourists mounting the rocks surrounding the statue aspiring to get selfies so chances are high that someone will gatecrash your picture.
6. Gefion Fountain
Not far from Kastellet and the Little Mermaid, you can find Gefion Fountain and St. Alban’s Church. The grand Gefion Fountain represents the Norse goddess Gefjon with a group of strong oxen. In Norse mythology, it was she who created the island of Zealand by carving out a piece of Sweden.
The neighboring St. Alban’s Church is also known as the English Church and has served the protestant community in Copenhagen since the late 19th century.
7. Amalienborg Palace
Amalienborg Palace is the winter residence of the Danish royal family. The palace complex is huge and consists of four Rococo-style buildings encircling an octagonal courtyard. Originally, these were city palaces for Danish nobility. The Royal Danish Family only moved in when Christiansborg Palace burned down in the late 18th century. An equestrian statue of Frederick V, the founder of Amalienborg is located in the center of the complex.
One of the palaces is open to visitors year-round as it houses the Amalienborg Museum. If you are short on time or on a limited budget, you can very well skip it and attend the changing of the guards instead. It takes place every day at 12:00.
8. Frederik’s Church
Just down the street from Amalienborg Palace is the mesmerizing Frederik’s Church (Marble Church). This striking Rococo- style church with a large copper green dome is reminiscent of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This Evangelical Lutheran church is the largest dome church in Scandinavia and its dome dominates the Copenhagen skyline.
The first stone was laid in 1749 but the church wasn’t completed for another 150 years due to financial problems and other unfortunate circumstances. The interior is quite lovely and serene. The dome’s interior is decorated with frescoes of Christ’s apostles.
It is possible to purchase a ticket to the top of the dome on weekends only at 13:00 on the dot. Tcikets cost 35 DKK. However, only a few tickets are sold, so be sure to be there about 15 minutes early. There are a few more
A search for images of Copenhagen most likely conjures up pictures of Nyhavn, the radiant waterfront district. Indeed, it is the image of colorful old townhouses and vessels lining the glistening canal waters that are most closely linked with Copenhagen.
In the past Nyhavn used to be a seedy area where drunken sailors would go and most others would avoid. It was well known for prostitution, gambling, and pubs. Of course, it is now an area beloved by locals and tourists alike.
Nyhavn is utterly delightful in terms of architecture, boats, and street life. It can get pretty crowded though. There are lots of places to eat or have a drink and people watch.
This is a very charming place and it richly deserves full marks. However, the exorbitant prices of all the places where you can sit down for a refreshment put a serious damper on the enjoyment.
If you’re on a budget, go to a corner shop or a supermarket and stock up on a couple of beers. Then stroll down to Nyhavn and soak in the atmosphere of the place. This will cost you a fraction of a bar visit.
Stretching from Kongens Nytorv all the way to City Hall is Strøget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrianized streets. Along with its pedestrianized side streets, the 1.1 km kilometer (0.7 miles) Strøget is one of Copenhagen’s premier shopping areas. There is an assortment of specialty shops, department stores, souvenir shops, high-end boutiques, bars, cafes, and restaurants.
The upscale stores can be found near the Kongens Nytorv end of the street while the more affordable options are located near the City Hall end. You can also get a taste of Danish design at stores like Illums Bolighus and Hay House. Make sure to gaze in all directions to admire some of the local history as many buildings are of historical significance in this beautiful area.
11. Lunch at Kronborg Restaurant
Get a taste of authentic Danish cuisine at Restaurant Kronborg. It is a reasonably priced restaurant (by Copenhagen standards) offering traditional Danish smørrebrød in varieties like herring, meatballs, roast pork and liver paté. Smørrebrød is a classic Danish lunch that originated as the afternoon meal of agricultural workers. You can flush the food down with some aquavit or some great Danish beer!
12. Round Tower
The Round Tower is a glorious example of old world architecture and charm. Built as an astronomical observatory in the 17th century by the Danish king Christian IV, it has a fully working telescope that is still in use today. Part of the experience is walking up the tower on the helical ramp, which the king and queen used to ascend by horse and carriage. It costs 25 DKK to enter but is definitely worth the price. The view from the top is truly breathtaking, you get to see a complete panorama of the city.
13. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is definitely our favorite museum in Copenhagen. It is a fantastic museum filled with over 10,000 works of art spanning 6,000 years. The building itself is beautiful, the central part of the ground floor is the beautiful winter garden, a tranquil place where you can sit and take a breather. There are antique sculptures from the Mediterranean including Egypt, Italy, and Greece.
The modern sculptures collection includes works by Rodin, Degas, and many others. There is also an extensive collection of paintings by French impressionists (Cézanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir), post-impressionists (Van Gogh, Bonnard, Gauguin) and from the Danish Golden Age. Price of admission is 115 DKK and it is free to visit on Tuesdays.
14. Tivoli Gardens
Cap off your day by heading to the iconic Tivoli Gardens, the world’s second oldest operating amusement park in the world dating back to 1843. The amusement park set within beautiful gardens makes it feel like you are going back in time. The atmosphere of this place is magical. It’s not hard to see why Tivoli was the inspiration for Disney World.
The park offers rides for thrill seekers and the more yellow-bellied like myself. The old wooden roller coaster (Rutschebanen) is a must. However, even if you aren’t a fan of rides, the gardens are great to walk around and there are quite a few different restaurants to spend some time and eat a meal.
It is quite pricey though as it is a tourist magnet. The one beef I have with Tivoli is that you have to pay 120 DKK just to get in. The rides come at an additional price. Individual rides cost a minimum of 30 DKK with some rides requiring up to three tickets (90 DKK). If you’re planning on going on a couple of rides I would recommend buying the unlimited ride pass (230 DKK) as it will prove to be more economical. For up-to-date opening times, check the Tivoli website.
If you’re going to spend a long evening at Tivoli, it is worth checking out some of the restaurants on location. Grøften and Gemyse are popular among the locals. If you’re looking for something different, why not try one of our 14 favorite burger places in Copenhagen?
Day 2: Alternative Copenhagen
The itinerary for this day in Copenhagen focuses more on showing you something different. If you’re feeling like you’ve seen the Old Town and the canals and you’re after something different, this should give you an insight into the alternative side of Copenhagen. Today you should use public transport as the sights are more stretched out. Alternatively, you could also rent a bike for the day.
1. Breakfast at Sidecar
Kick off your day with another hearty breakfast, this time at the wonderful Sidecar restaurant. They serve an excellent breakfast platter. Although it isn’t exactly cheap, the food is fresh, organic, and surprisingly filling. What could represent Copenhagen better?! 🙂 The place is small though, so if you’re coming on the weekend, I would recommend that you book a table in advance.
2. Assistens Kirkegård
Assistens Kirkegård is one of those hidden yet not-so-hidden-places in Copenhagen that I just love. It is beloved by all locals as a recreational space. And while it very much looks like a park, it is actually a cemetery. In fact, some of Denmark’s most famous citizens are buried here, including H.C. Andersen, Niels Bohr, and Søren Kierkegaard.
Take a stroll down the tree-line allés, but do remember to be respectful as this is still a functioning cemetery today.
Since you’re already in the area it will be the perfect opportunity to explore a little bit of Nørrebro. Nørrebro is Copenhagen’s multicultural hub, with a large concentration of non-western immigrants. This lends a very vibrant and unique aura to this neighborhood.
Take a stroll down Nørrebrogade, Nørrebro’s main artery where you will encounter an abundance of Turkish kebab shops, Middle Eastern butchers and barbers, grocery stores, cafes and bohemian stores.
Don’t be scared to pop into some of the side streets as well, as here you can find some of the best food in all of Copenhagen. Oh, and even a beautiful piece of street art, perhaps.
4. BaNanna Park
BaNanna Park is pretty funky spot in Nørrebro. It is a small green park that was formerly an old building site that is now home to some interesting artwork and a 14-meter high climbing wall. It is worth the detour if you’re on the lookout for something quaint and off the beaten path.
Superkilen is an open public space that is one of the most instagrammable places in Copenhagen. It is divided into 3 regions – a large red area, a hilly grass-green landscape, and a black region. The three colors represent the various functions of the spaces. The red zone is devoted to physical activities, the green landscape consists of hills, a playground, and picnic spots while the black portion consists of stone chess tables and benches.
Apart from it’s obvious Instagram appeal, Superkilen is also unique as it best represents its neighborhood. For a long time, Nørrebro was known as a hot spot for racial tensions. Superkilen was designed to bring people together, no matter their color, religion, or beliefs.
6. The Lakes
The Lakes are a serious of artificial lakes, located not far from central Copenhagen. In fact, they are largely considered the western border of the inner city. Looking at them today, it is hard to believe that they were once used as a source of drinking water in Copenhagen. Today, they mostly serve a recreational purpose.
If you are hell-bent on biking in Copenhagen, this is the perfect place. We don’t usually recommend for visitors to bike in Copenhagen, because it can be overwhelming and lead to accidents on busy Danish bike paths. If you want, you can take a short tour around the lakes as it is generally a little calmer around here.
Alternatively, why don’t you rent a corny pedal boat and see Copenhagen from the water? 😉 You can rent the swan boats from Kaffesalonen. The best way to enjoy the lakes, however, is from Dronning Louises Bro, together with a cold beer and friendly locals who love to hang out here in the summer!
7. Lunch at Reffen Street Food
Located in a former industrial area, Reffen is Copenhagen’s excellent new street food market. Reffen houses more than 50 stalls of food and drinks You will discover a wide range of international cuisines such as Indian, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, South American, African, Greek, Italian, Icelandic, Mexican and local specialties. The stalls are open on all days from 11-21.
Reffen also functions as a base for numerous cultural activities. In the summer, there are concerts most evenings. Local artists also sell their crafts in some of the pop-up stores.
Alternative: Tivoli Food Hall
Unfortunately, many street food markets close during the winter, including Reffen. If you still want a food hall experience and have already visited Torvehellerne, head to Tivoli Food Hall. It’s very conveniently located just opposite the Main Train Station and has a small but good selection of food stalls and cafes!
Christiania is the unconventional and semi-autonomous anarchist community in Copenhagen that has an interesting backstory. A bunch of squatters decided to live a different lifestyle than that of the rest of the Copenhagen society. So they moved into the abandoned military barracks and eventually obtained sovereignty. Christiania quickly developed from a squatter residency to a hippie movement. Approximately 1000 people reside here and they concoct their own laws and plan their own development. Christiania may not be to everyone’s taste but we feel it is well worth visiting.
The area is very bohemian, with lots of creative signage and graffiti. Pusher Street is the main draw here and the smell of weed is pervasive. Many creative shops and stands have interesting items for sale. The main rules on Pusher Street are no pictures and no running and be sure to abide by them.
Most visitors don’t venture beyond Pusher Street which is a shame as there is more to Christiania than cannabis. You can encounter creative warehouses, colorful murals, picturesque huts, and sculptures. Many of the homes here were built by the people who live in them and as a result, there’s a certain amount of unusual architecture. Christiania is situated in a beautiful green area by the river, and a stroll around is just lovely. During the summer there are usually guided tours which only cost 50 DKK and will actually take you deep into Christiania.
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9. Church of Our Saviour
Standing almost adjacent to Christiania is the magnificent Church of Our Saviour, one of Denmark’s most notable churches. This Baroque church is renowned for its unique twisted spire. The inside of the church is quite nice with some very intricate carving, especially on the carillon. You can also scale the 400 odd steps to reach the top for 35 DKK and be treated to a breathtaking view.
Just be aware that in the summer you may be standing in line for quite a bit. In winter, the tower is closed due to safety reasons. You can read about the opening hours here.
10. Modern Architecture on Amager
Although Copenhagen isn’t exactly a young city, it has recently become a hub for young architects. New constructions on Amager strike an impressive contrast to the traditional facades in the city center. Here, glass and steel dominate the city scape. Some of the most notable architectural gems are easily explored by metro. You can ride M1 all the way from central Copenhagen or even Christianshavn until Vestamager. It runs every 3-5 minutes, so you can easily get off and take some photos before catching the next ride. Some of the gems along this line are:
- Tietgen Residence Hall | Metro Stop: Islands Brygge
- DR Concert Hall | Metro Stop: DR Byen Universitetet
- VM Houses | Metro Stop: Bella Center
- 8 House | Metro Stop: Vestamager
11. Dinner & Drinks in Kødbyen
Located in the hip district of Vesterbro is Kødbyen. What was once a working-class area, dedicated to the processing of meat (hence the English name Meatpacking District), is anything but today. The white and brown halls in the area have been converted into restaurants, bars, and art galleries.
Copenhageners love to come here on the weekends. After all, it is one of the best places to grab dinner and drinks in Copenhagen. Here, you can find anything from Italian cuisine (check out Mother) to authentic Texas BBQ (check out Warpigs). It truly is the perfect place to end your eventful 2 days in Copenhagen!
Extending Your Stay
Personally, we think that 2 days in Copenhagen are the bare minimum and if possible you should stay a little longer. Below we have compiled a few suggestions on how to spend one or two extra days in Copenhagen. And while you’re at it, why not check out our list of the best hotels and hostels in Copenhagen? We have made sure to recommend only the best of the best (in terms of quality and value) 🙂
Hint: Hotel Sct. Thomas is our all-time favorite! We’ve stayed here personally and have literally nothing negative to say about it.
Extending Your Stay in Copenhagen
→ Decided to stay longer? Check out how to spend 3 perfect days in Copenhagen!
→ Explore 12 Easy & Fun Day Trips from Copenhagen
→ Discover 11 hidden Castles on a Day Trip from Copenhagen
→ Follow in Hamlet’s Footsteps at Kronborg Castle
→ Visit the World’s Oldest Amusement Park and the Danish Coast
Now, what do you think? Is there anything else you must see during two days in Copenhagen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!