The Ultimate Guide to Copenhagen

At first, I vowed to keep this guide to 48 hours, or maybe 72 at max! But as I wrote down all of Copenhagen’s “must sees” and the list exceeded two days, I didn’t think it was fair not to share all of my favorite things to do in this charming Scandinavian capital.

I spent some of the best months of my life living in Copenhagen during college, so needless to say – it was a daunting task to condense my favorite restaurants and experiences into a two day guide. So, here’s the ultimate 48, 72, AND 96 hour guide to Copenhagen, because if you can spend four days in the happiest country in the world, you must!

As a note of forewarning – if you only have two days to explore Copenhagen, you might want to stop reading after Day Two, or you might just be tempted to change your travel plans!

So when’s the best time to go to Copenhagen? Long story short, despite living in a country that no one is travelling to for its weather, the Danes are some of the happiest in the world. Although I didn’t get to experience summer in Copenhagen, I’ve heard there’s something magical about the city in July – seemingly the only month you can count on for consistent temperatures above 60 degrees. It’s when everyone convenes outside to soak up the minimal rays of sun – a sun that doesn’t set until 10 PM!

But, I was also there leading up to Christmas, and there is something magical about winter in Copenhagen (and all of Europe for that matter), even when the sun sets at 3 PM! You’ll also save a good amount of money if you travel in the darker months, and that can make a difference in a city as expensive as Copenhagen. So, don’t make your way to Denmark expecting to return with a tan, and know that your trip isn’t going to vary much depending on the time of year you visit!

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Sign at the airport welcoming you to Copenhagen!

Day One

8 AM : Welcome to the happiest grayest country in the world!

Our flight left New York at 5pm, and landed in Copenhagen bright and early the next morning at 7am. Well, it wasn’t exactly bright – it was gray, with a light mist and temperatures in the mid-60’s. We arrived the third week in August – wasn’t it still summer for another month?! Little did we know, it wouldn’t get any warmer! The Danish students we lived with proclaimed it had actually been a great summer and that we landed the day the weather went South… great!

After collecting your bags and clearing customs, head to the metro station, conveniently located in the airport. The metro is definitely the easiest way to get to downtown Copenhagen. It only takes ~15 minutes and the trains run regularly all day, every day! The subway only runs in one direction from the airport, so you don’t have to worry about going the wrong way. You’ll be going towards Vanløse when you head to your accommodation.

A Quick Note on the Copenhagen Metro 

The metro is broken up into zones, and depending on your destination, you’ll need to get the applicable ticket. To get to downtown Copenhagen from the airport, you will need a 3-zoner (you are starting in Zone 4 and ending in Zone 1). The 3-zone pass will cost 36DKK or ~$5.50.

Although getting from the airport to downtown is seamless, the metro in Copenhagen is not extensive and unless you’re staying on the outskirts of the city, you will not be taking it too often! There are only a few stops that are actually downtown, so it is not very effective to take it from site to site!

You’ll also notice when you enter the station, you never swipe your ticket like you would in New York. The metro system is based on the understanding that you have a ticket on you, and occasionally there will be officers on board checking for tickets. Chances are, you won’t run into one of these people I lived in Copenhagen for four months and only got my ticket checked twice. But, it’s not worth the risk, because the fine for not having a ticket is DKK 750 (~$120). Since the tickets are never swiped, they are valid for an hour after purchase, so make sure you don’t buy your ticket until you’re ready to ride! 

Journey planner is a great resource to navigate the Copenhagen metro system and should be your best friend in the planning process.

A Quick Note on The Copenhagen Card

If you plan to do even half the activities in the following itinerary, you should look into the Copenhagen Card. This pass can be bought for 24 – 120 hours and includes admission to 79 attractions throughout Copenhagen, as well as transportation on the metro, trains, and busses for the entire Greater Copenhagen area! If you plan to leave the city to go to either Kronborg or Frederiksborg or visit Tivoli, it will definitely pay for itself.

A Quick Note on Where to Stay in Copenhagen

Although I was in an apartment for my semester in Copenhagen, I got to check out a few hotels when my family and friends came to visit. When I go back, I’ll stay at the Admiral Hotel or check out Airbnb! The Admiral is in a great location, just a few blocks from Nyhavn – the most scenic area of Copenhagen! Despite being in this great location, the hotel is affordable (by Copenhagen standards). The hotel is also on the water and it’s lovely to walk behind it and admire the ships docked in the harbor.

If you’re searching on Airbnb, I’d suggest staying in the city center (Indre By), the oldest neighborhood of Copenhagen where you’ll be able to walk to almost all the city’s attractions and restaurants. Christianshavn is another great place to stay an area of small islands within walking distance to most of Copenhagen’s hot spots. Walking through the streets of Christianshavn could be mistaken for a stroll in Amsterdam – the tree-lined cobblestone streets have the canal to one side and buildings to the other. You won’t even feel like you’re in a big city! 

Staying in the city center will undoubtedly be the most expensive option, so if you’re looking for more budget-friendly options, Nørrebro and Vesterbro will take you a bit further outside of the city center, but are transforming to become hip, cool places to stay. Amagerbro is another good option on the outskirts of the city center and if you can find an Airbnb near the metro stop, you’ll only be two stops away from the heart of Copenhagen. If you’ve never used Airbnb, you can get $40 off your first stay!

To get to the Admiral, or any other hotel in the heart of Copenhagen, take the metro to Kogens Nytorv. From here, the hotel is about a 12-minute walk, and you might catch your first glimpse of Nyhavn! Drop your bags off at your new home, and get ready to beat jet lag with a day of exploring Copenhagen and it’s delicious food options.

If you need a coffee to function in the morning (as I do), my favorite coffee chain in Copenhagen is Ricco’s! It’s more affordable than Baresso, one of the other big chains, and the staff were always friendly. I even forgot my wallet one time and the lovely employee told me I could pay him back the next day. When does that happen in a city as big as Copenhagen!?

12 PM : The First of Many Castles

Just down the street from the Admiral Hotel, you’ll find Amalienborg Palace. That’s right, you can actually stay down the street from Denmark’s royal family! Amalienborg is actually not one, but four palaces encircling a majestic square (or an octagon if we’re getting technical). The palaces were built in the 1750’s by the king Frederik V for four noble families, but became the royal palace in 1794 when a fire left the family palace-less. Since then, Amalienborg has served as the winter home to the Royal Family.

Head to Amalienborg shortly before noon to witness the changing of the guards. Every day, the Danish Royal Guard march from their barracks to Amalienborg for the changing of the guards. There is a guard on duty at Amalienborg 24/7, but the amount of support and musical accompaniment for the ceremony are dependent upon who is in residence at the Palace.

It’s definitely worth making the visit at noon to witness this classic European tradition. As an American, it’s also striking how close you can get to the palaces and the guards! When you visit the White House, you’re forced to take your pictures hundreds of feet away and through an iron fence.

If you’re interested in getting a look inside the lives of Danish royalty, you can also go into Christian VIII’s Palace, which houses the Amalienborg Palace Museum. Inside, you will get a look into the private interiors of the most recent kings and queens. You can also tour the Gala Hall and other reception rooms, which are still used by the royal family today.

The museum is open almost every day, with the exception of some Mondays in the winter, so be sure to check the website before visiting! Admission costs DKK 95 (~$15), but is included with the Copenhagen Card.

Amalienborg
Amalienborg

1 PM : Lunch at the Glass Market

Instead of succumbing to your desire to take a nap and sleep until tomorrow, head to Copenhagen’s amazing food market – Torvehallerne. This large glass market is about a twenty minute walk from Amalienborg, but there’s no better way to get acquainted with a city than to wander it’s streets! Also, we learnt the hard way that locals do not actually know Torvehallerne as the “Glass Market” – this was simply the name us Americans gave to it instead of trying to pronounce its actual name!

At Torvehallerne you’ll find over 60 stalls, selling everything you could possibly want! Some of my favorite stands are Grød (porridge), Gorm’s (pizza), Ma Poule (duck sandwich), and Coffee Collective (coffee, of course)!

If you want to try a Danish classic – smørrebrød – this would be the place to do it. These open-faced sandwiches are made with sourdough rye bread and topped with a myriad of ingredients from pickled herring, spoonfuls of horseradish cream, and mounds of fresh shrimp to paté with beets. The sandwiches are often also topped with a number of garnishes from dill to pickles to cucumbers (or all three)! I must admit I did not frequently order any of these messy sandwiches, but if you’d like to eat as the Danes do – try one!

Torvehallerne was one of my favorite places in Copenhagen. There are so many delicious options to choose from, meaning it will be hard not to leave completely stuffed!

2:30 PM : Nyhavn Canal Tour

Walk back towards Amalienborg for ten minutes and find your way to picture-perfect Nyhavn. This port, which used to be packed with commercial ships, is equally as busy today, but with loads of people snapping pictures of the colorful houses or enjoying a Carlsberg beer along the water. The oldest house along the water dates back to 1681, and many of them have not been altered since their construction.

Walk down the blocks of colorful houses, stopping for a picture or two, and maybe an ice cream at Vaffelbageren.

From Nyhavn, you can board a one-hour boat tour that will take you through the many canals of Copenhagen. While onboard, you’ll past some classic architecture coupled with the more modern additions to the city, including the Opera House and the Black Diamond library. You’ll also see the Little Mermaid statue, one of Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attractions, depicting the character from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale. This bronze statue is even “little-er” than you’re probably expecting it to be!

The canal tours last an hour and leave every 10-45 minutes, depending on the season (check the schedule here). In the winter, the last tour leaves at 3pm, so be sure not to miss the it! The tickets are DKK 80 (about $12) and can be purchased at the booth day of (and are included in the Copenhagen Card).

Nyhavn
Beautiful Nyhavn
Little Mermaid
The very Little Mermaid

5:30 PM : Best Beer & Pizza in Copenhagen

I know they often say to save the best for last, but if you in fact did land in Copenhagen at 5 AM this morning and made it through a day of sightseeing, you deserve to treat yourself tonight!

From your hotel, make your way by cab or public transit to the neighborhood of Vesterbro, where you’ll find Mikkeller Bar (at Viktoriagade No. 8). If you’re a craft beer fan, you may have already heard the name Mikkeller – native to Copenhagen, it’s now available around the world. Founded by two self-taught home brewers, Mikkeller has made an impressive name for itself in just over a decade of existence.

At the Mikkeller Bar, you’ll have over 20 beers on tap to choose from, and they’ll undoubtedly be different from the beer you’re used to. The bar is small and dimly lit and when you walk in you’ll feel as if you are entering the basement of an old friend. Grab a tasting flight and say cheers – skol!

From Mikkeller, make your way to my favorite restaurant in Copenhagen – Mother! The restaurant is only a six minute walk from Mikkeller Bar, located in Copenhagen’s old Meatpacking District. Similarly to Mikkeller Bar, Mother is dimly lit and effortlessly cozy. The food is Italian, with dozens of amazing pizzas to choose from. Mother can be crowded, so make a reservation online if you know you’ll be going.

When I make it back to Copenhagen someday soon, Mother will be one of my first stops – so go for those who can’t! After you’ve eaten as much pizza as you can handle, head home for the night.

Admittedly, I won’t be recommending too many restaurants on here that are explicitly Danish. I tried to embrace the cuisine, but I’ve never been one to chose Herring over chicken, rye bread over white, or ever consume dill. I found great food in Copenhagen and many of these restaurant are dear to my heart, but they are mostly Italian or Japanese. By nature, these restaurants still have a bit of a Danish influence due to being in Copenhagen, whether that means having potato on pizza or herring sushi.

Mother
Amazing pizza at Mother!

Day Two

9 AM : Wake up with an OnsdagsSnegl

No trip to Copenhagen would be complete without a (daily) pastry! For your first treat, head to the popular Sankt Peders Bageri. This small shop has every type of pastry – scones, danishes (of course!), various types of bread, and so much more! It is well-known for it’s Wednesday special, the OnsdagsSnegl. People flock to Sankt Peders for these delicious, oversized cinnamon rolls, which are are only ~$2.50 on Wednesdays. Even if it’s not Wednesday, grab a delicious cinnamon roll and a coffee to start your morning!

10 AM : Life in the Bike Lane

In a city where there are more bikes than people, you’ll need to hop on one yourself to really feel like a local. Copenhagen is extremely bike-friendly, with hundreds of kilometers of bike lines and dedicated stop lights for people on two wheels.

If you’re especially ambitious, you can rent a bike from your hotel or a bike shop to explore the city on your own. However, you’ll need to learn the bike hand signals and ensure you stay in the right lane (yes – there are express and local bike lanes)!

If you’d like to be eased into the cycling scene a bit more, sign up for a Bike Copenhagen with Mike tour! This tour will bring you to many of Copenhagen’s different neighborhoods, helping you get acquainted with the city while you learn a bit about Danish life and culture from a local. I always try to do at least one tour when I visit a new city, and this is a great way to tour the city without feeling too much like a tourist!

The tours operate almost year-round, except for Tuesdays (and Wednesdays in the winter). They last about 2.5-3.5 hours, depending on the season and cost $50.

1 PM : Lunch at a Book Store

After you’ve worked up an appetite riding around the city, head to nearby Paludan Café for lunch! This restaurant (and bookstore) is located in the heart of the city, near the University of Copenhagen. Paludan is quaint and cozy and has a large menu of items to choose from, including salads and sandwiches. If you arrive before 2pm, you can still order the brunch plate, a smorgasbord of breakfast favorites from fruit to eggs and pancakes (my favorite item on the menu)!

2 PM : Royal Jewels and Gardens

Just a short walk from Paludan, you’ll find another one of Copenhagen’s many castles. Rosenborg, which is now in the heart of the city, was built by Christian IV in 1633 as a modern residence on the outskirts of Copenhagen.

Inside, you’ll be able to explore the many rooms furnished in the style of various kings throughout the years. Don’t miss the Great Hall where impressive tapestries adorn the wall and three silver lions guard the royal throne.

In the basement of Rosenborg, you’ll find the Treasury. Here, many royal treasures including the crown jewels of Denmark are kept securely on display. It’s hard not to be impressed with the large gold crowns, decorated with various stones and designs.

Rosenborg’s hours vary by season, and it closes earliest in the winter (at 3pm)! Be sure to check its website for the most up-to-date schedule! Admission is DKK 110 (~$18), but is included in the Copenhagen Card.

After you explore the castle itself, spend some time wandering the gorgeous King’s Gardens. This park is the most visited in Copenhagen, and if there’s even a slight chance of the sun making an appearance on any given day, the grass will be filled with locals and tourists alike. The park’s two lime tree-lined avenues offer some of the most picturesque views in Copenhagen.

Rosenborg
Rosenborg from a distance

3 PM : Obligatory Hike for a Panoramic View

If you’ve read any of my other guides, you’ll notice I always include a hike up lots of stairs or a large hill (or an elevator ride, if you’re lucky) to get panoramic views of said city. There’s something extra sweet about a view that you have to work a little bit harder for!

From Rosenborg, walk to nearby Nørreport station, where you can take the metro two stops to Christianshavn. This neighborhood of the city is separated from the rest of Indre By by the Copenhagen Harbor. The island is primarily residential, giving it more of a charming, quaint vibe than the rest of the city has.

This neighborhood also has one of Copenhagen’s tallest buildings. This building, the Church of our Saviour, has a serpentine spire and if you’re willing to brave its 400 steps, climb to the top! Unlike some other climbs you may have done throughout Europe (Florence’s Duomo), you’ll be outside for the last quarter of the climb. Although I wouldn’t consider myself to have a particular fear of heights, these last few steps were more exhilarating that expected – the combination of the height and the wind made it slightly nerve-wracking.

As long as you don’t have a crippling fear of heights, I’d definitely recommend climbing the spire. The sweeping views of Copenhagen are beautiful, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Copenhagen on a rare sunny day, they’ll be especially magical!

The church’s hours vary depending on the season (closing as early as 4pm in the winter and 7pm in the summer), so be sure the check the website for the most up-to-date info! Admission to the spire costs 45 DKK (~$7.50), but is included in the Copenhagen Card.

View
Beautiful view from the top of the Church of our Saviour

4PM : Free Time in Copenhagen’s “Free Town” 

Christiania is a small autonomous neighborhood on Christianshavn which was settled by hippies in 1971. This group inhabited abandoned military barracks and decided to establish their own set of society rules outside of Denmark’s. This self-governing group looked to ban vehicles, guns, and hard drugs and live peacefully and collectively.

There’s lots to explore within Christiania – small houses, art galleries and murals, food stands and cafés, shops, and grassy areas where you can sit by the canal and listen to music drafting from the eating area. If you’re visiting in December, Christiania also hosts one of the best (indoor!) Christmas markets in the city!

The residents of Christiania do have a few rules they ask tourists follow, primarily not to take pictures or run through their neighborhood, especially on “Pusher Street” (also known as the “Green Light District”). This is the area of the neighborhood where the selling of marijuana had been common place (but still not legalized).

Every few years, there is news that the Danish government is cracking down on the sale of marijuana in Christiania (most recently in 2016), but when I was last there, the street was still active. If you’re travelling with kids or don’t want to be exposed to marijuana, I’d advise opt-ing out of a visit to Christiania.

Otherwise, I would definitely make the trip to Christiania. There’s no other capital I’ve visited which has a community within its walls that is so ideologically removed from the government, yet is able to exist fairly harmoniously. Just blocks from Christiania are some of the most expensive pieces of property in the greater Copenhagen area! Exploring Christiania is an experience very unique to Copenhagen and the community is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

If you are fascinated by this unique community within Copenhagen’s walls, you can take a walking tour with one of its residents every day during the summer and on weekends in the winter! This is another great local, off-the-beaten-path experience, and I definitely recommend it if you have a few hours free!

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Painted facade at the entrance to Christiania

7:30 PM : Dinner at Tight

Head back into the heart of town tonight for dinner at Tight. This relaxed, rustic spot is often described as hyggeligt.

If you haven’t heard the word hygge yet, it’s a popular one in Demark – one which doesn’t have a direct translation into English. The best way to describe it is “cozy contentment”, the feeling of being warm and enjoying life with good friends (or maybe a good book). The feeling of hygge can vary from person to person – for some it might be reading a book with a cup of hot cocoa in front of a fire, for others it might mean enjoying dinner with a large group of family and friends at a favorite restaurant.

Tight exemplifies hygge – the dining room is reminiscent of a cozy log cabin, with its candlelit space and wooden furniture. We enjoyed the surf ‘n turf and the burger, which has been on a number of “Best in Copenhagen” lists. Although Tight doesn’t have a huge menu, there are a number of classics to choose from – likely something for everyone!

Day Three

9:30 AM : Brunch at Kalaset

Wake up and make your way to Kalaset for breakfast this morning. If you like to sleep in, you’re in luck because the restaurant doesn’t open until 10 AM. This cute café has a wide variety of selections for breakfast, from smoothies to pancakes to egg plates. I still miss Danish breakfast plates, where you get a bit of everything on your plate (including a mini smoothie at Kalaset)! If it’s nice out, you can grab a table on the street and watch the locals whip by on their bikes.

11 AM : Visit to Denmark’s Versailles

Just a minute walk from Kalaset is Nørreport Station – your gateway to the greater Copenhagen area!

This morning, take a trip outside of Copenhagen to Frederiksborg Castle! This is the largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia and is located just 40km (~25 miles) from downtown Copenhagen. In my opinion, the castle’s beautiful gardens make the trip worthwhile itself!

The castle was built in the 17th century by Danish King Christian IV and you’ll probably notice it’s a very similar style to Rosenborg. It was used as a royal residence on-and-off until the 1860’s. Today, the castle is home to the Museum of National History, meaning the rooms are full of paintings, art, and furniture covering the past 500 years of the country’s history.

Two highlights of a trip to Frederiksborg are its beautiful gardens and the impressive chapel. While in the chapel, you can admire the original organ built in 1610 and the hundreds of coats of arms that cover the walls. The baroque gardens make for a picture-perfect view of the castle. If it’s a beautiful day it will be easy to spend an hour walking around the expansive grounds.

At the castle, you can pick up a free audio guide (or download one to your phone)! I always think it’s helpful to have a narrator as you explore the various rooms.

It’s easy to get to the castle from Copenhagen on the S-tog, Denmark’s train system. From Nørreport or København H (depending on where you’re coming from), take the train to Hillerød. From the station, you can make the 15-20 minute walk to the castle through the quaint town. Alternatively, you can take Bus 301 (towards Ullerød) or 302 (towards Sophienlund), both to the “Frederiksborg Castle” stop. The train runs every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 20 on the weekends and only takes 40 minutes.

If you don’t have a Copenhagen Card, the cheapest way to get to Frederiksborg is to buy a 24-hr day pass for all zones for 130 DKK (~$20). Admission to the castle is 75 DKK (~$12), so if you’re making this trip, the Copenhagen Card is already nearly worth its while!

Frederiksborg

4 PM : Visit to Denmark’s Disney World

Once you’ve thoroughly explored Frederiksborg and its grounds, make your way back to Copenhagen. This time, take the train straight to København H, from where you can walk straight to Tivoli – downtown Copenhagen’s very own amusement park!

Before you decide you don’t need to spend your precious hours abroad at an amusement park, you must understand that Tivoli is much more than just a Six Flags! It has beautiful gardens to explore, cute stores to walk through, delicious food and drinks to try, and of course – thrilling rides to ride!

The park’s activities, food, and decorations vary depending on the season. There will be Christmas markets and mulled wine in December, an ice skating rink during the winter, and haunted houses at Halloween. No matter what season, Tivoli is always a festive place to visit!

Unfortunately, in between Tivoli’s seasons (Summer, Halloween, Christmas, and Winter), it closes for a few weeks at a time. Therefore, it’s important you check the website to ensure it’s open when you’ll be visiting! The park is open until 11pm or midnight in throughout the year, except for the winter season when it closes at 9 or 10pm.

I find Tivoli especially great in the late afternoon – if you’re there when the sun sets you’ll be able to experience the park in the light and beautifully lit up after dark! Throughout the year, there are also concerts, fireworks, and different events, so be sure to check the schedule when choosing which day to visit.

Admission to Tivoli varies in price by season, ranging from 80 to 120 DKK ($13-$20), but is also included with the Copenhagen Card. This price, however, does not include tickets for the various rides. If you’re a thrill seeker and want to spend a few hours testing out the various roller coasters, you’ll want to buy the Unlimited Ride ticket, which will be an additional 100-230 DKK (~$17-$39). Individual ride tickets are very pricey, so unless you’re strictly limiting yourself to one or two, it makes the most sense to buy the unlimited rides and make the most of it.

Tivoli
Huge swing ride at Tivoli
TivoliHalloween
Tivoli at Halloween!

8 PM : Sushi with a View

It will be hard not to fill up on delicious treats while exploring Tivoli, but be sure to leave room for dinner. Only about 1 km from Tivoli is the Tivoli Hotel, where you’ll find a great rooftop restaurant on the 12th floor – Sticks’n’Sushi!

This sushi spot has an amazing, very large menu of sushi and Asian fusion options to choose from, great drinks, and impressive views of the Copenhagen skyline. The space is sleek and modern, even offering a seating area where you can sit on the floor – or on a swing! If it’s nice out (10% chance of this in Scandinavia), you can also sit outside on the restaurant’s terrace!

I can’t recommend Sticks’n’Sushi enough! It’s one of the only restaurants I found myself at multiple times during my stay in Copenhagen. If you do know when you’ll be stopping by, it’s best to make a reservation, as it is a popular spot!

After a long day of exploring, you’ll probably be ready to catch a cab, bus, or train back to your bed tonight!

SticksnSushi
Sushi and meatball sticks!

Day Four

9 AM : The Last of the Danish Breakfast Plates

For your final Copenhagen brunch, make your way to The Union Kitchen, located right by Nyhavn. This well-decorated, popular restaurant also has one of the most extensive brunch menus you’ll find in Copenhagen. It offers everything from a brunch plate to avocado toast to chicken and waffles. Since this is a more popular spot, you’re better off making a reservation in advance if you know you’ll be stopping by.

The Union Kitchen is only about a 15 minute walk from Norreport Station if you’ll be heading outside of Copenhagen this AM. If you’re staying in the Vesterbro area or closer to København Central Station, Mad & Kaffe is another great breakfast option. This cozy cafe offers another one of Copenhagen’s popular morning plates, where you can pick from a variety of Greens, Dairy, Meat, and “Treats” to form your own personal ideal breakfast!

10 AM : The Last of the Danish Castles

If you’re up for another day trip outside of Copenhagen today, make your way to Kronborg Castle! This UNESCO World Heritage Site is most well-known for being Elsinore Castle in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The Castle is on the edge of a small sound separating Sweden and Denmark. From its inception, Kronborg was used to collect dues for ships passing through this sound. Today, its position on the water gives it a beautiful backdrop! If it’s a nice day, make sure to spend time walking around the castle’s perimeter.

As you tour the castle, you’ll have many beautifully decorated, lavish rooms to explore. You can also head underground and explore the castle’s crypts and catacombs. Ogier the Dane, a mythical Danish figure, has been living underneath the castle for hundreds of years – be sure to visit him!

There are also guided tours available at Kronborg, most of which are free of charge with admission to the Castle. There is a half-hour “Introduction to Kronborg” tour and another 45 minute tour that brings Hamlet to life throughout the castle. Make sure you check the website for the most up-to-date tour times!

If you’re in Copenhagen in August, you can visit Kronborg during the annual Shakespeare Festival. During the festival, theater companies from around the world perform numerous Shakespeare titles (including Hamlet, of course!) in open-air.

On the other hand, if you’re visiting in December, you’ll find the rooms of the castle transformed into upscale Christmas markets!

The castle is open from 10 or 11AM (depending on the season) until 4 or 5:30PM. Keep in mind, it’s closed on Mondays in the winter, and you should always check the website for the most up-to-date hours! Admission to the Castle is 90-140 DKK ($15-23), again depending on the season, but is included in the Copenhagen Card.

To get to Kronborg, take a regional train from Nørreport or København H to Helsingør. The ride takes about 45 minutes and once you reach the station, the castle is an easy 15 minute walk! During peak times the train runs every twenty minutes, making it a super easy trip.

Again, if you don’t have a Copenhagen Card, the cheapest way to get to Kronborg is to buy a 24-hr day pass for all zones for 130 DKK (~$20). If you’re not buying the Copenhagen Card, you can also visit Frederiksborg and Kronborg in the same 24 hours to save money.

After spending a few hours exploring the castle and admiring Sweden from across the sound, make your way back downtown.

Hamlet
Beautiful grounds of Kronborg

3 PM : Stroll down Strøget

When you get back to Nørreport, make your way into the heart of Copenhagen to Strøget, the city’s 1.1 km pedestrian shopping street. Along the walk, you’ll find dozens of brand name stores you’ll recognize as well as others that are native to Denmark. Stop in a few souvenir stores if you have people at home who are expecting a gift or two!

Along the way you might want to stop for a waffle on a stick or another decadent treat! If you need a warm dessert, Hotel Chocolat has decadent hot cocoa!

If you walk the full way down Strøget, you’ll find yourself back in Nyhavn, where you might be tempted to snap a few last pictures of the beautiful canal.

Waffle
Chocolate-covered waffle with a glimpse of Strøget

6 PM : A Final Danish Beer and Steak

For a final Danish beer, head to BrewPub in the center of the city. This bar has lots of rotating micro-brews on tap. In the summer, the bar has a lovely courtyard where you can sit outside and enjoy the weather along with your beer. Otherwise, the BrewPub has a cozy bar where you can enjoy a tasting flight or two.

If you’ve already hit your step count for the day, you can stay at BrewPub for dinner as well. The restaurant has good steak, as well as some fish, and a great cheese plate.

Alternatively, walk ten minutes to Retour Steak for a more upscale, intimate steak dinner. We thoroughly enjoyed steaks with béarnaise sauce and pommes frites when we visited.

If you’re looking for a more vegetarian-friendly or budget-friendly dining option after a few days in one of Europe’s more expensive cities, head to Spaghetteria La Perla for dinner tonight. La Perla offers some of Copenhagen’s best Italian food at extremely affordable prices. It’s hard to go wrong here!

After your last dinner, head home or make the most of your last few hours at one of Copenhagen’s hundreds of bars. Some bars I frequented are Butcher’s, Happy Pig, and Francis Pony. Admittedly, these are louder, student bars and aren’t for everyone!

retour.jpg
Steak and fries from Retour

Hopefully you are as happy as a Dane during your weekend (or week, if you’re lucky!) in Copenhagen. Even if the weather is grey or smørrebrød isn’t the best sandwich you ever have, I hope the people and sights of this small country make as lasting an impression on you as they did on me!

If you have even more than four days in Copenhagen, there are even more great ways to spend time here! Some ideas below:

  • If you want to take a day trip to Sweden, the train ride from Copenhagen airport to Malmö, Sweden is only twenty minutes!
  • Visit the Carlsberg Brewery! Carlsberg is the most popular beer in Denmark and the brewery is only 3km from Copenhagen’s Central Station. At the brewery you can take a guided tour, try lots of different types of beer, and explore a collection of more than 20,000 Carlsberg bottles.
  • See an F.C. København match! Copenhagen’s club team plays in the Østerbro neighborhood of the city. The team plays matches nearly year round, and if you’re visiting during a home game, the tickets are very affordable! You can check the schedule here.
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3 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Copenhagen

  1. Hi there – quite a wonderful blog of great things to do in Copenhagen. I wish you had tried our Segway Tour as well – come by next time in town 🙂 Kind regards, Morten, Owner, Segway Tours Copenhagen

    Like

  2. Excellent reading and thank you for all the information provided. Going in July for 3 nights so looking forward to it.

    Like

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