Let’s be real – exploring all that Copenhagen has to offer in one day is a tall order. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Through loads of trial and error, we have arrived at this tailor-made one day Copenhagen itinerary. See all of the city’s highlights as well as some hidden gems! Naturally, we’ve also made sure that you’ll get a proper ‘taste’ of Copenhagen as well 😉 Come and spend the perfect one day in Copenhagen with us!
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Table of Contents
How to Make the Most Out of One Day in Copenhagen
Fortunately, Copenhagen is a relatively compact city. Much of it can be explored on foot, especially the main sights in the inner city. Because you may be short on time if you only have one day in Copenhagen, I recommend that you also make use of public transport along the way. That will give you the opportunity to explore some spots many other tourists don’t usually get to see in one day! You can purchase a 24h travel ticket at all metro/train stations for just 48 DKK which is valid for metros, buses, and trains (Zones 1-4, including the airport). Personally, I don’t recommend that you rent a bike in Copenhagen if you only have 24 hours. Biking in Copenhagen is a serious affair and may just stress you out unnecessarily 😉
One Day in Copenhagen Itinerary
Your one day in Copenhagen will start early with a hearty Danish breakfast. I recommend that you begin your day at about 09:30. Then, you will snap the perfect Instagram pic before heading into the city to see some of the city’s main sights. After a quick Danish lunch at about 15:30, you then continue on depending on your interests. Finally, you finish your day in one of the liveliest districts in Copenhagen. To be precise, during your one day in Copenhagen you will see/eat:
- Danish Porridge at Grød
- Frederiks Church
- Amalienborg Palace & Changing of the Royal Guard
- Little Mermaid
- Rosenborg Castle
- Round Tower
- Smorrebrød at Hallernes Smorrebrød
- Optional: Danish National Museum OR Freetown Christiania
- Optional: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek OR Tivoli Gardens
- Dinner & Drinks in the Meatpacking District
1. Breakfast at Grød
Porridge is a big deal in Denmark. No, honestly, Danes eat porridge from the day they can digest solid food until the day they die. In short, porridge is life. That’s why we thought you should start off your day at one of the most popular breakfast joints in town – Grød! The first Grød opened its doors in Nørrebro in 2011 and that’s exactly where you are headed. The restaurant opens at 07:30 during the week and at 09:00 on the weekends.
Personally, I always go for the All In! Porridge which keeps me going most of the day and only costs 75 DKK (a steal in Copenhagen). They also have plenty of vegan and/or gluten-free options which is great if you’re traveling with a group with various dietary restrictions.
If you’re happy with a more relaxed start into your day, check out one of the many amazing brunch places in Copenhagen. Probably my favorite one, Stefano’s Mad & Kaffe, is located just around the corner from Grød. It’s a small place popular with locals, so you may need to reserve a table in advance.
Although Superkilen has quickly risen to Instagram fame in the last few years, surprisingly few tourists find their way out here. Superkilen is a park in the city’s most diverse district, Nørrebro. It was designed as a meeting point for all social classes and ethnic background, as a space to come together. It’s divided into three areas, each intended for a different purpose. There is
But in between them lies the famous black area, dedicated to games and fun. It is one of the best photo backdrops in Copenhagen and one could easily lose track of time, trying to get the perfect shot. But hey, if you are enjoying yourself, then the park has fulfilled its purpose 😉
3. Frederiks Church
From the quirky Nørrebro district, it is now time to venture into classical Copenhagen. I would recommend that you take the bus from Superkilen to Nørreport because walking would take about 30-40 minutes. From here, it is best to walk towards Frederiks Church via Gothersgade and Store Kongensgade.
Frederiks Church is also known as the Marble Church and probably one of the most recognizable buildings in all of Copenhagen, thanks to its massive copper green dome. It’s well worth to stick your head in and marvel at the Baroque interiors. If you want, you can come back here after the Changing of the Guards at Amalienborg Palace. Every weekend, you can visit the dome and enjoy the beautiful view of the Copenhagen harbor. Tours start at 13:00 sharp and tickets are sold for 35 DKK from 12:50 (first come, first serve). During the summer, the dome is open to visitors every day. You can read more about the opening hours on the official website.
4. Amalienborg Palace & Changing of the Royal Guard
Even though it started out merely as a collection of city palaces for the Danish mobility, Amalienborg Palace today is the home of the Danish royal family. The palace complex consists of four different palaces, two of which are open to the public. One is the Levetzau’ Palace which houses the Amalienborg Museum. The Moltke Palace is open occasionally for guided tours when the royal family is not present. You can read more about the opening hours and ticket prices on the official website, although if you only have one day in Copenhagen, we recommend that you only admire the palace from the outside.
In fact, this whole itinerary was designed around Amalienborg Palace. Every day at 12:00, this is where the changing of the royal guard takes places. How opulent this changing of the guard is, depends on who of the royal family is present at the palace. The ceremony is accompanied by a full marching band only if Queen Margrethe II is present herself. The most simple ceremony takes place when no (important) member of the royal family is at home. You can also tell by which flag is hoisted at the palace 🙂
If for some reason you don’t make it to Amalienborg Palace by noon, you can also catch the guard at Rosenborg Palace at 11:30 or on the way on Strøget. Østergade is a good spot to watch them march by!
From Amalienborg Palace, you should continue on foot towards the waterfront. You’ll pass though Amaliehaven before you reach a pier. Technically, this area is known as Larsens Plads, although it is an extension of the historic Toldbod. Historically, Toldboden was the home of the Danish tax and customs office, conveniently located at the entrance to Copenhagen harbor. Unfortunately, most of the customs buildings were demolished in 1973. Of the original Toldboden, only Nordre Toldbod remains today.
Since we moved here, this has been one of my favorite stretches in Copenhagen for a relaxed walk. And I’m always surprised by how rarely it is mentioned in Copenhagen tourist guides. First off, it offers spectacular views of the Danish Opera House. I suppose the only way to get a better view would be from a ferry, but hey, this view is free 🙂 Apart from the opera house, on the other bank you can spot Papirøen and Refshaløen, the latter of which is home to the popular Street Food Market Reffen. What’s more, along this route you’ll find numerous sculptures, the Royal Pavillions, and, of course, the popular bar and restaurant Toldboden. Just be prepared for a good dose of wind 😉
6. The Little Mermaid
To be honest, the Little Mermaid is a little underwhelming. I know, I know – no tourist guide is supposed to say that. However, it is so essential to Copenhagen, we couldn’t very well exclude it from this itinerary. And while you’re already in the area, you may as well see it. After all, it is frequently mentioned alongside famous sculptures such as Manneken Pis in Brussels and the Statue of Liberty in New York City.
The statue was originally commissioned by industrialist Carl Jabobsen and executed by sculptor Edvard Eriksen. It depicts the character of the same name of H.C. Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. Standing only 1.25 m tall, the bronze statue is easy to overlook. When in doubt, just look for the tourist crowds 😉
Kastellet is one of my favorite places in Copenhagen and has been so since we moved to Denmark. The star-shaped fortress was once an integral part of the city’s defenses. In fact, it is still home to numerous military activities today and the red barracks serve as accommodation for your military cadets. The Citadel is, however, also popular with civilian Copenhageners. Often, you will see people jogging on the ramparts. It’s a shame so many tourists miss it because it is literally a 5-minute walk from the Little Mermaid. If you have the time, look out for the original Dutch-style windmill which is also located on the fortress grounds!
I have to say, I loathe the location of the Little Mermaid because it is relatively hard to reach by public transport. That means that in order to reach your next main stop, Rosenborg Castle, you’ll have to walk the 1.3 km. But fret not, because on the way you will see one of the city’s hidden gems, the Instagram-worthy Nyboder. Coming from Kastellet and Øster Voldgade, you should find Kronprinsessgade, arguably one of the prettiest streets in Copenhagen. Follow it and eventually, you’ll come to the colorful Nyboder. These bright yellow buildings were once barracks for sailors and their families, built by no other than King Christian IV.
9. Rosenborg Castle & Kongens Have
Who doesn’t love romantic castles? Rosenborg is most definitely the prettiest castle in all of Copenhagen and well worth a stop. Built on orders by King Christian IV in the 17th century, it was only used as a royal residence until the early 18th century and during emergency situations, such as the British attack on Copenhagen in 1801. Nonetheless, it is one of the most visited attractions in Copenhagen today, owing mostly to its beautiful gardens.
The gardens, Kongens Have, are the oldest part of the complex, dating back to the early 17th century. At the time, it supplied the royal court with fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Today, the gardens are a popular recreational space for Copenhageners. With its large green areal and tree-lined avenues, they make the perfect spot for a picnic or a casual jog.
Rosenborg Castle also houses the Danish Crown Jewels. The palace is open to visitors for a fee of 115 DKK. However, I don’t recommend that you visit on this itinerary, but rather take pictures of the stunning castle from outside.
10. Round Tower
If you exit Kongens Have on the southern end (there is an underpass), it will land you on Landemærket street, leading directly to the Round Tower. The Round Tower is a building unique to Copenhagen. Commissioned by Christian IV, this tower has been home to an observatory since the 17th century. However, it is mostly known for its spiral staircase, allowing horses to ascend all the way to the top.
I have personally taken every single visitor here, because a) the view is fantastic and b) it is one of the cheapest activities in Copenhagen. At only 25 DKK, the tickets are very affordable and the tower is relatively accessible even if you’re not super fit. It’s well worth the climb! On the way down, you can also take a peek at the exhibitions in the tower and/or take a wee 😉 You can read more about tickets and opening hours on the official website.
Some websites will have you believe that Strøget is not only the oldest pedestrianized street in the world but also the longest. While neither is true, Strøget is still a beautiful shopping street. Located at the very heart of the city, it almost functions as a nervous system, connecting some of the city’s most important transfer hubs. On Strøget you can find uncountable retail shops, cafes, and restaurants. Coming from the Round Tower, you’ll be heading down Købmagergade until you reach Amagertorv. From here, you can continue towards Kongens Nytorv on Østergade.
For the sake of this itinerary, I have allowed a little bit of extra time for a deserved retail therapy. Feel free to shop for that elusive Danish design piece (Illums Bolighus is a good address), a tasty piece of Danish chocolate, or even a more conventional souvenir. And don’t forget to check out some of the side streets as well!
12. Smorrebrød at Hallernes Smorrebrød
After all this walking, you do deserve a light snack! What is more Danish than smørrebrød? What was once a poor man’s lunch has recently risen to immense popularity among Danes and visitors alike. It can be a simple snack prepared at home or an elaborate dish served at a Michelin-starred restaurant. In essence, a smørrebrød is an open-faced sandwich, usually rye bread, often topped with fish, pork, or roast beef. Traditionally, a glass of Danish schnapps known as Akvavit is drunk alongside with it.
Some of the best smørrebrød is to be had at Hallernes Smørrebrød, located on the fifth floor of department store Magasin du Nord. They serve sandwiches with the most popular toppings, including a potato smørrebrød as a vegetarian alternative. Personally, I really like pork roast and roast beef.
Alternative: Danish Hot Dog
Are you running late and in need of a quick snack? At the end of Østergade, you can find one of Copenhagen’s many sausage stands. It’s my go-to snack after work. I strongly recommend you get a “normal” ristet hotdog with all the toppings. It’s quick, filling, and delicious!
What better way to spend a late afternoon that by taking a stroll down the iconic Nyhavn? If you have ever seen a postcard of Copenhagen, chances are it featured Nyhavn with its strikingly colorful facades. But did you know that this was once the seedy part of town? Back in the day, the sailors docking in the harbor were looking for drinks and prostitutes and Nyhavn quickly became the city’s red light district. Today, of course, Nyhavn is one of the most expensive addresses in the city.
Although it is lined with restaurants and cafes, most are unfortunately overpriced and not worth sitting down. Instead, take a walk, snap a couple of pictures, and maybe sit down by the water with a beer from the corner shop.
14. Optional: Freetown Christiania OR Danish National Museum
As the day is coming to an end, you can choose freely as to how to spend the last hours of your one day in Copenhagen. Depending on your interests, you may want to check out some museums, kick back in Christiania, or go thrill-seeking in Tivoli Gardens.
Christiania is known worldwide simply as ‘a hippy community in Copenhagen’. Of course, that only scratches the surface. Christiania was established in 1971 when a group of people started to squat in disused military barracks in the center of Copenhagen. This was not an organized effort at first, but squatters claimed to do so in protest of the tight housing market and the lack of response by the Danish government. In September that year, the community was formally established. In its early years, Christiania drew influences from the hippie movement, anarchism, and collectivism.
In recent years, Christiania has become infamous for the trade of cannabis. Such activities take place in the Green Light district. When you visit, be aware that you are not allowed to take photos in the area. After all, the sale of cannabis remains illegal in Denmark. While ‘Pusher Street’ is well worth a visit for its novelty, Christiania has much more to offer than that. A fact that is often forgotten by tourists. I particularly enjoy walking towards the lake and exploring some of the creative pieces of architecture in Christiania.
If you want, you can relax at Christiania for the rest of the afternoon before heading to dinner. Otherwise, you can squeeze in another quick sight.
Danish National Museum
If Christiania really isn’t your thing, the weather is miserable, and/or you’re looking for something more child-friendly, the Danish National Museum is a good alternative. Be transported to the stone age and get to know the land of Vikings intimately. The museum is home to a number of permanent as well as a few temporary exhibitions. The children’s museum is particularly popular with families.
Please note that the Danish National Museum is closed on Mondays and closes at 17:00 on all other days. Read more about opening hours and tickets on the official website.
15. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek OR Tivoli Gardens
If you feel like your day in Copenhagen shouldn’t quite be over yet, you can quickly squeeze in a final activity before a late dinner. Both, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and Tivoli Gardens are popular tourist attractions in Copenhagen. Of course, many don’t consider a visit to Copenhagen complete without taking a ride in Tivoli. Personally, I find it overly expensive, but if this is your first (and perhaps only) time in Copenhagen, you may as well see it. Unfortunately, it is periodically closed in the winter, so Glyptotek makes a good alternative should you be visiting then.
Tivoli Gardens first opened its doors to the public in 1843 which makes it the second-oldest amusement park in the world still in operation. Of course, compared to its modern cousins, Tivoli is characterized by its simplicity and understated charm. In fact, it is so magical it served as the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Disneyland. Interestingly, Tivoli Gardens didn’t even shut its doors during Nazi occupation (although it was partially damaged by arson) which speaks to its immense popularity among Copenhageners. Even today, many families own annual passes.
I worked in Tivoli for several months and have to admit that it has its charm, even though it can get incredibly crowded. Although it is periodically closed during the winter, it is during the remaining days when the gardens are at their best. Tivoli during summer is fun, but Tivoli during Christmas is truly magical. For me, that is when the entrance fee of 120/360 DKK is fully justified. If you want to avoid losing time standing in line, I recommend that you buy a skip-the-line ticket in advance!
As an attraction, Tivoli has the advantage of late opening hours as it stays open until 23:00 on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 22:00 on all other days. There are also plenty of restaurants on site which means you don’t necessarily have to move on to the Meatpacking District later. Restaurant Grøften is one of the oldest restaurants in town, dating back to 1874, serving hearty Danish cuisine. Gemyse on the other hand serves elevated cuisine in a converted greenhouse. Apart from that, you can find all sorts of snacks around Tivoli, or you can head over to Tivoli Food Hall for a wider selection of restaurants.
Please note that opening hours and entrance prices to Tivoli vary seasonally. You can find
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Glyptotek is one of the most popular museums in Copenhagen. It was built around the personal collection of important industrialist Carl Jacobsen and first opened its doors in 1897. The original building houses Danish and French sculpture as well as the Danish Golden Age exhibition among others. The museum was later expanded and in the new addition, you can find primarily ancient Greek and Roman Sculpture as well as ancient Egyptian artifacts. Exhibitions of French painters and ancient Middle Eastern artifacts complete the museum. My favorite part, however, is the building’s winter garden, located at the heart of the museum. It invites you to sit down, reflect, and perhaps bring some of your impressions to paper.
Please note that Glyptotek is closed on Mondays. On Thursdays, the museum remains open until 22:00 while on all other days it closes at 18:00. Tickets cost 115 DKK. Some exhibitions may be temporarily closed during your visit. You can find all the relevant information on the official website.
If you’re in Copenhagen on a Tuesday, you’re in luck, because the entrance to the museum is free on those days.
16. Dinner & Drinks in the Meatpacking District
Because of its location away from the city center, only a few tourists make it to the Meatpacking District, also known as Kødbyen. In view of its popularity among Copenhageners, that is certainly a shame. Although it doesn’t sound like the most appealing location – after all, it was once where meat was processed and packaged – it is one of the hippest areas in Copenhagen today. Here, you can find a large variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars, catering to nearly every taste.
Actually, it’s easily accessible by taking an S-train in
Tommi’s Burger Joint | Address: Høkerboderne 21-23, 1712 Copenhagen V
Tommy’s Burger Joint is an Icelandic startup which opened its first restaurant in Reykjavik in 2004. Today, outlets can be found in several European cities. I love the place for its no-nonsense attitude and crispy sweet potato fries.
Warpigs | Address: Flæsketorvet 25-37, 1711 Copenhagen V
Pies? Good. Beer? Good. Meat? Gooood. Warpigs serves authentic Texas BBQ and American style craft beer. Although it is on the pricier end, it is one of my favorite places in all of Copenhagen. And Mihir continues to go back for their unique craft beers, many of which are brewed in cooperation with Danish microbrewer Mikkeller.
Mother | Address: Høkerboderne 9-15, 1712 Copenhagen V
Traditional, down-to-earth Italian cuisine? Often hard to find in the Nordics, but Mother truly delivers. Their oven-fired pizzas are heavenly, but then again, I could never resist a good sourdough.
Kødbyens Fiskebar | Address: Flæsketorvet 100, 1711 Copenhagen V
If you are looking for affordable luxury, nothing beats a meal at Kødbyens Fiskebar. Intricate seafood dishes are served against a rustic and simplistic background. Using only the freshest ingredients, the quality of the food is outstanding and worth every penny. They also serve incredibly intriguing cocktails, which are worth checking out!
Extending Your Stay
Even though we have tried to fit as much into this one day Copenhagen itinerary, we have still only scratched the surface. If you can, I would strongly recommend that you extend your stay by at least another day or two. It will give you the chance to explore some of Copenhagen’s leafy areas, discover beautiful street art, take a day trip or two, or simply enjoy the hygge. In any case, you may want to check out or recommendations for the best places to stay in Copenhagen. If you do decide to stay, check out some of our tips below!
Extending Your Stay in Copenhagen
→ Full of energy? Explore even more sights on this self-guided Copenhagen walking tour!
→ Squeezing in one more day? Check out our 48h Copenhagen itinerary.
→ Staying a bit longer? Read our Copenhagen weekend guide.
→ Discover 12 of the Best Day Trips from Copenhagen
Now, what do you think? Is there anything you would differently during one day in Copenhagen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!