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. While 2 days in Copenhagen is not enough to see everything this Nordic powerhouse has to offer, it still gives you plenty of time to experience the city’s essential attractions and a little bit more. Here’s our lowdown on the best things to do in Copenhagen in two days 🙂
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Table of Contents
How to Get Around During Your 2 Days in Copenhagen
For this ‘2 days in Copenhagen itinerary’, I primarily recommend exploring the city on foot. Copenhagen’s compact size and flat terrain make it easily walkable. Walking is certainly the best and most pleasurable way to see Copenhagen. Just be mindful not to step on to the bicycle lanes that run along beside the pavements as this is strongly frowned upon and the normally placid Danes take serious umbrage to that, especially during rush hour.
In order to save some time or energy, you can also get around Copenhagen using the city’s efficient public transportation system. This will prove particularly useful in order to get to some of the further lying attractions.
All the major attractions in Copenhagen are easily accessible by public transport, and switching from one form of transport to another is very seamless. The Copenhagen public transport network has an integrated ticket system based on geographical zones. Most of your travel within the city will be within two zones but some attractions may require you to travel three or four zones. For example, travel between the city and the airport covers three zones.
A Copenhagen City Pass gives you the freedom to make unlimited use of public transport. The 24-hour pass costs 80 DKK while the 48-hour pass costs 150 DKK. The City Pass can be purchased at the ticket vending machine at all stations or can be bought online. A more convenient way to buy the City Pass is getting the “DOT Tickets” app.
Single-trip tickets can also be purchased when boarding the buses. You can buy single-trip tickets (valid for 90 minutes) at ticket vending machines or 7-Eleven kiosks at the train and metro stations. Alternatively, you can purchase a Rejsekort (www.rejsekort.dk), a touch-on, touch-off smart card valid for all zones that accords you a 20% discount outside peak hours. You can plan your trip using public transport on Rejseplanen.dk.
Copenhagen is synonymous with cycling and has an excellent bike infrastructure. It is the most bike-friendly city I have ever seen, with cycle lanes over much of it. Copenhagen is probably also the only city in the world where there are more bikes than people. Bikes are also a fast and handy way to get around the city. Copenhagen’s excellent city-wide rental system Bycyklen offers high-tech ‘Smart Bikes’ with GPS, multispeed electric motors and locks.
Bikes can be even be taken free of charge on the S-trains (S-tog) but are banned during rush hour if commuting through Nørreport Station (07:00-09:00, 15:30-17:30 on weekdays). Enter the train carriages which have large white bicycle graphic symbols on the windows. Bikes can be also be carried on the metro (except from 07:00-9:00, 15:30-17:30 on weekdays). Bike tickets (13 DKK) can be purchased at the metro and S-train stations. Keep in mind that they are not sold on buses.
Take precautions when cycling in the city and follow the rules of the road at all times. Cycle lanes can be rather pugnacious, especially at peak times.
You probably won’t need to use taxis at all during your 48 hours in Copenhagen since the city is so well served by public transport. However, if you do need to use a taxi, you can either hail a cab in the street or get one from a taxi rank. Taxis can also be booked on the phone by calling one of the various taxi companies in Copenhagen, for example, TAXA 4×35.
Is the Copenhagen Card Worth It For 2 Days?
When spending two days in Copenhagen, it might be a good idea to invest in the Copenhagen Card, at least for one day. It includes free travel on all public transport and accords you free entry and discounts to a wide array of attractions. It is an inexpensive way to experience the best of Copenhagen. This, of course, might also be a good option depending on your needs and interests.
Your 2 Days in Copenhagen Itinerary
For practical reasons, we have divided this itinerary into two parts: Essential Copenhagen and Alternative Copenhagen. I’ve divided the itinerary in such a way that it gives you a good mix of heterogeneous sights. For your convenience, this post includes a free map which highlights the main points of interest in Copenhagen for two days. You can find the addresses of the attractions by clicking on the icons in the map.
I understand that everyone travels at a different pace, so feel free to choose the destinations according to your own pace. The earlier you start your day the more time you’ll have to see the attractions. Below I have compiled a list of the best things to see (or eat) in Copenhagen over the course of two days:
Day 1: Essential Copenhagen
1. Torvehallerne Market & Breakfast at Grød
2. Botanical Gardens
3. Rosenborg Castle
4. King’s Garden
6. Gefion Fountain
7. Little Mermaid
8. Amalienborg Palace
9. Frederik’s Church
12. Lunch at Kronborg Restaurant
13. Round Tower
14. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
15. City Hall
16. Tivoli Gardens
Day 1: Essential Copenhagen
Day One of this ‘2 days in Copenhagen itinerary’ will cover the must-see attractions of Copenhagen at a reasonable pace. You’ll spend all your time today in central Copenhagen. If you like, you can also extend this itinerary by following our self-guided Copenhagen walking tour.
1. Torvehallerne Market & Breakfast at Grød
Start off your 48 hours in Copenhagen at the popular Torvehallerne Food Market, one of Copenhagen’s best food markets and is a foodie paradise. It opened in an attempt to revive food markets in the modern urban center. Apart from several fresh produce stands, it is home to over 60 different stalls selling all kinds of foods from smørrebrød, 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. Some of the best establishments in the market include the excellent micro-roastery Coffee Collective and the Nordic deli Omegn. Torvehallerne Food Market is just a great place to check out and comes highly recommended!
Grød is a popular local franchise that has multiple locations across the city. They are famous for concocting delicious porridge with mostly organic ingredients such as licorice sugar, skyr (Icelandic yogurt), ginger syrup, plum compote, chia seeds, cocoa nibs, and raisins.
Who knew that something as seemingly humdrum as porridge could be so funky and delectable! The many variations of porridge and the size of the portions is quite large so you will leave feeling very satiated. I usually go for the All in! which comes with absolutely everything for only 75 DKK.
2. Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens are one of my favorite things to see in Copenhagen. 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 the gardens were established in 1872 on the grounds of old town fortifications. Native Danish plants account for the majority of the 20,000 species gathered in the Botanical Gardens but there are some highly exotic ones from all over the globe.
It’s very refreshing to take a stroll through the gardens and they have much to offer. There is a small forest, waterfalls and greenhouses, one of which contains more than 1,000 varieties of cactus. While the Botanical Gardens are free to enter, entrance to the sultry 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 of the rooftop walk!
3. Rosenborg Castle
Next up on this ‘2 days in Copenhagen’ itinerary is Rosenborg Castle, one of my favorite attractions in Copenhagen. Rosenborg Castle was built in 1606–34 in a Dutch Renaissance style as a summer residence by Christian IV and gets its name after one of his horses.
The castle was only used as a royal residence for about 100 years and is now a royal museum of sorts. It contains an abundance of royal objects including paintings, trinkets, and ornate furniture used by the Royal Family for generations.
The 24 rooms of Rosenborg Castle’s interior mostly retain the original Renaissance decor from Christian IV’s residence, while the remaining ones have been redecorated by later kings. The Marble Hall showcases exquisite Baroque décor and the ceiling stuccowork and imitation marble-clad walls are superb.
On the third floor is the Baroque Long Hall which is superbly decorated with 17th-century tapestries and includes the King’s throne. For us, this was the best part of the interior. The tapestries gracing the walls of this room are 12 woven works that depict the battles between Denmark and Sweden during the Scanian War (1675–79). The hall is also home to a collection of 18th-century silver furniture including three silver lions that once guarded the king’s throne.
The Castle’s star attraction is the Treasury which is found in the basement. where the famed crown jewels and royal paraphernalia are exhibited. Some of the highlights here are Christian IV’s spectacular diamond-encrusted crown and the ornate Oldenburg Horn. There are also antique weapons on display in the cellar rooms including a pair of Colt revolvers given to Denmark’s king by President Lincoln.
The opening hours of Rosenborg Castle vary according to the season but it is generally open between 10:00-16:00. From November-March, the castle is closed on Mondays.
4. King’s Garden
The King’s Garden (Kongens Have) was established by Christian IV in 1606 as part of the Rosenborg Castle complex. It is Copenhagen’s oldest park and still retains much of its original Renaissance layout. Today, the shady garden, equipped with numerous benches is crisscrossed by a characteristically rectangular network of pathways.
Copenhagen natives love to come here to relax and in the summertime or on holidays, you’ll often encounter flocks of people enjoying copious amounts of beer and other beverages, as well as a truckload of food.
The King’s Garden is a lovely park full of grass fields, large trees, fountains, and statues. Make sure to check out the statue of Hans Christian Andersen, at the end of a long tree-lined path and surrounded on three sides by a circular hedge.
The King’s Garden is open daily, year-round. Hours vary, with opening time at 07:00 and closing time between 17:00 and 23:00, depending on the season. The entrance is free.
Kastellet is one of the best-preserved fortresses in Europe and is in the top three of our best things to do in Copenhagen. The star-shaped fortress was first built on this site in 1626 and was finally completed in 1663. In the past, Kastellet was used as a prison in the 19th century during World War II it was taken over by the occupying German forces who used it as their headquarters.
The area is still an active military site and you can see a little bit of activity. Grassy ramparts, 18th-century military barracks, and a Dutch-style windmill can be found here, all of which are located inside a moat that can be accessed from two bridges at either end of the complex. With an idyllic milieu and scenic views, this free attraction is a great way to spend a morning. Kastellet is open daily from 06:00-22:00.
6. Gefion Fountain
The majestic Gefion Fountain (Gefionspringvandet) is located just beside Kastellet. Copenhagen’s largest fountain depicts the Norse goddess Gefion with a group of strong oxen. Legend has it that the king of Sweden vowed to give the goddess as much land as she could plow in one night. Gefion seized the opportunity by turning her four sons into oxen and harnessed them to a plow.
By the time the sun rose, she had managed to plow a sizeable chunk of Sweden. She then picked it up and hurled it into the sea, forming the Danish island of Zealand (on which Copenhagen is located). The hole left behind became Lake Vänern in Sweden (you can see that its shape is similar to that of Zealand).
The first medieval settlement on Copenhagen began around AD 1000 on the island of Slotsholmen by Sweyn I Forkbeard, son of Harald Bluetooth (who converted Denmark to Christianity). Copenhagen was officially founded in 1167 when a bishop named Absalon, who is regarded as the city’s founder, built a castle where Christiansborg Palace is today. Originally there was only a small settlement called Havn (harbor), but with the increased trading in the Middle Ages the name was changed to Købmannehavn, which means “the merchant’s harbor.” It was later shortened to its current name København.
7. The Little Mermaid
When visiting Copenhagen for 2 days, you might as well see the iconic Little Mermaid statue. The Little Mermaid is synonymous with Copenhagen and it is worth seeing the statue at least once. Sculpted by Edvard Eriksen in 1913 this bronze sculpture shows the mermaid sitting on a rock in the water gazing at the passing ships in the harbor. The body was modeled on that of the Eriksen’s wife.
The statue is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s bleak, twisted fairy tale. In this melancholic story, a mermaid exchanged her voice for human legs in order to gain the love of an earthly prince but had to watch mutely as he ditched her for a real princess. Crestfallen, she threw herself into the sea, turning into foam.
The Little Mermaid can be a little disappointing if you don’t go in with the right expectations, though. The statue is very small and can be 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.
Copenhagen is also home to the quirky ‘Genetically Modified Mermaid Statue’. This whimsical statue is a twisted take on the Little Mermaid and is admonishing of genetic alterations. The Little Mermaid in this sculpture has elongated skeletal legs and a contorted figure. A genetically modified Madonna sits atop it, surrounded by Adam, Eve, Christ, Mary Magdalene, and a pregnant man. I reckon this statue fits better with the story of the Little Mermaid than the original. It’s located only a short stroll away from the Little Mermaid statue and is worth checking out.
8. 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 but the burning down of Christiansborg Palace precipitated the royals’ move to Amalienborg.
The best time to visit is at 12:00 when the daily changing of the guards takes place. If the marching band is playing at the same time, you’ll know that the queen is home.
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.
The equestrian statue of Frederick V in the middle of the complex is the work of French sculptor Jacques Saly and took 30 years to complete. The statue reputedly cost as much as the entire complex.
9. 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. The dome was to be clad in marble (hence its nickname), but, unfortunately, the budget didn’t stretch to that.
The church’s 31-meter dome is the largest in Scandinavia and it casts a large shadow over the Copenhagen skyline. The interior is quite lovely and serene and 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. A ticket cost 35 DKK. However, only a few tickets are sold, so be sure to be there about 15 minutes early.
A search for images of Copenhagen most likely yields pictures of Nyhavn, the radiant waterfront district. Indeed, it is the image of colorful old townhouses and vessels lining the glistening canal waters that is 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 areas. It’s basically a chain of five pedestrian streets (Frederiksberggade, Nygade, Vimmelskaftet, Amagertorv, and Østergade in that order) that link City Hall Square to Kongens Nytorv.
Along with its pedestrianized side streets, Strøget is one of Copenhagen’s premier shopping areas. It has an amazingly eclectic range of establishments, ranging from tacky tourist shops to high-end, and pricey, specialty stores.
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. On the left-hand side of Amagertorv Square along Strøget is an alluring assortment of Dutch baroque facades.
12. 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!
13. Round Tower
The Round Tower is one of the major points of interest in Copenhagen. It is a glorious example of old-world architecture and charm. Built as an astronomical observatory in the 17th century by Christian IV, it has a fully working telescope that is still in use today.
Part of the experience of visiting the Round Tower is walking up the tower on the unique 209-meter long cobbled helical ramp, which the king and queen used to ascend by horse and carriage. The view from the top is truly breathtaking, you get to see a complete panorama of the city.
The Round Tower is open daily from 10:00-20:00 (April-September) and 10:00-18:00 (October-March). The entrance costs 25 DKK.
HISTORY 101: KING CHRISTIAN IV
The story of Copenhagen can’t be told without mentioning King Christian IV. Christian was the ruler of Denmark from 1588 to 1648 and his accomplishments had a tremendous impact on the nation’s capital than any other king in history. His vision was to make Copenhagen a modern city and one of the main centers of commerce in Northern Europe, which is why he used Amsterdam as a template. That, coupled with his vivacious personality and tumultuous private life have accorded him a leading position in Danish history. King Christian IV is also responsible for many of the famous buildings and attractions you see in the city today, for example Rosenborg Castle, the Old Stock Exchange and the Round Tower, just to name a few. Unfortunately his profligacy put a tremendous strain on the empire’s finances and when he died in 1648, he left his realm virtually bankrupt.
14. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Of all the museums in Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is definitely my favorite one. It is a fantastic museum filled with over 10,000 works of art spanning 6,000 years. The collection is particularly strong in the area of the Golden Age of Danish Painting and French impressionist paintings. Antiquities from the Mediterranean including Egypt, Italy, and Greece are also well worth checking out.
If you are a fan of impressionism and post-impressionism, you’ll be content that greats such as Cézanne, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, and Gauguin are very well-represented at the museum. The museum’s collection includes the largest amount of Rodin sculptures outside of France and his famous Kiss sculpture is on display. Watch out for Degas’ remarkable bronze ballerina The Little Dancer.
The Greek Collection is superb and one of the highlights is an early Attic healing god relief, which depicts a daughter of Hygeia, god of healing, promising health to Athenians during a plague. The Roman Collection is home to some top-notch busts of Rome’s public figures including those of luminaries such as General Pompey, Emperor Augustus, Emperor Hadrian, and the evil and depraved Caligula.
The Winter Garden is a green oasis of palm trees, planted beneath a glass dome. It was included in the original design as a means to entice visitors who normally might not have an affinity for art. It has certainly worked because many visitors come to Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek to just see it. Look out for the Water Mother sculpture depicting a naked woman reclining in a small pool, surrounded by a group of babies.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is open Tuesday–Sunday from 11:00–18:00 (until 21:00 on Thursday). The price of admission is 115 DKK with free admission on Tuesdays.
15. City Hall
Copenhagen City Hall casts a large shadow over the bustling City Hall Square and is one of the must-see attractions in Copenhagen. The architectural style is a lovely hodgepodge of Italian Renaissance and medieval Danish architecture. It was modeled after the city hall building (Palazzo Pubblico) in Siena, Italy. A gilded statue of Bishop Absalon, the 12th-century founder of Copenhagen, stands above the main portal.
The interior of the building is quite impressive and the expansive, rectangular hall on the first floor is flanked by cloisters and topped with a glazed roof. It has Italianate wall decorations and features a number of busts of some prominent Danes like Bertel Thorvaldsen, H.C. Andersen, and Niels Bohr. The City Hall’s rooms and chambers are full of architectural details such as intricate brickwork, mosaics, and decorated ceilings.
Another attraction is the marvelous Jens Olsen’s World Clock, which is encased in a huge glass cabinet in a room off the main foyer. It’s a mechanical marvel that has 14,000 moving parts and one gear will take about 25,000 years to make a complete revolution. 27 years were spent building this masterpiece and one of its many functions is to provide a calendar for the next 570,000 years!
Although you can take a guided tour of the City Hall for 60 DKK, I recommend just walking in for free and exploring the building on your own. You just won’t get to see the city council chamber and some other stately rooms, but they aren’t that special anyway. You can just visit the tower, Copenhagen’s highest viewpoint, for 30 DKK.
16. 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. Renowned for its mystical ambiance, exotic buildings, lovely manicured gardens, and upscale entertainment and dining options, the Tivoli Gardens are more than an amusement park. Walt Disney derived a lot of inspiration from his visit to Tivoli in 1950. Supposedly, he was so besotted with Tivoli that he exclaimed to his wife, “Now this is what an amusement place should be!”
The park offers rides for thrill-seekers such as the spine-tingling Golden Tower and the madcap Demon roller coaster. For the more yellow-bellied like myself, there are plenty of gentle rides out of which 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. Tivoli really comes to life after dark, when all its pavilions, pagodas, boating lakes, and gardens are brightly floodlit.
It is quite pricey though as it is a tourist magnet. The one beef I have with Tivoli is that you have to pay 130 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 (240 DKK) as it will prove to be more economical. For up-to-date opening times, check the Tivoli website. I would strongly recommend buying the skip the line ticket which will save you some time.
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
Day two of this ‘2 days in Copenhagen’ itinerary 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 Cemetery
Assistens Cemetery (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 in the summer it is common to see locals coming here to get a tan or having a picnic. 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-lined alleys, but do remember to be respectful as this is still a functioning cemetery today. Assistens Cemetery is open daily from 07:00-22:00, entrance is free.
Since you’re already in the area, it will be the perfect opportunity to explore a little bit of Nørrebro. The area has undergone extensive refurbishment in recent years that has helped spur its transformation from a poor working-class district into one of the most covetable addresses to live in. 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 a 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 three 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 its obvious Instagram appeal, Superkilen is also unique as it best represents its neighborhood. For a long time, Nørrebro was known as an area where racial tensions sometimes used to boil over. Superkilen was designed to bring people together, no matter their color, religion, or beliefs.
6. The Lakes
The Lakes are a series of artificial lakes, located not far from central Copenhagen. In fact, they are largely considered the western border of the inner city. They were built as part of Christian IV’s defense system guarding the western edge of the city in the 16th century and were later used as reservoirs. 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 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, so 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. Many of the most interesting things to see in Christiania are located in the vicinity of the old city moat on Christiania’s eastern side. 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 that will actually take you deep into Christiania.
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9. Church of Our Saviour
The magnificent Church of Our Saviour is one of Denmark’s most notable churches. The inside of this Baroque church is quite nice with some very intricate carving, especially on the carillon. The big draws here are the ostentatious altar, which is replete with allegorical statues and the massive three-story organ that has more than 4000 pipes.
The church’s external gilded spiral staircase is what arouses the most curiosity. The stair consists of a series of 400 steps, leading from the entrance of the church to the gilt globe and Christ figure atop the church’s spire. You can climb the steps to reach the top and be treated to a breathtaking view. The last 150 steps are on the outside though and it can be a frightening climb if you’re acrophobic!
Just be aware that in the summer you may be standing in line for quite a bit. The tower is closed during inclement weather due to safety reasons. The Church of Our Saviour is open from 10:00-16:00. The entrance to the tower costs 35 DKK.
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 cityscape.
Some of the most notable architectural gems are easily explored with the help of the 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 Texan 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!