Copenhagen is a must- see travel destination for everyone from art history geeks, fashion fanatics to adrenaline junkies. Located a stone’s throw from the sea, Copenhagen feels less like a capital city and more like a seaside resort. In June my friend and I embarked on a 4 day trip to my second (…and maybe favourite?!?!) Scandinavian country, and here’s my best picks of things to see and do in Denmark’s capital city.
Before we get into the rest of the post, I would highly recommend getting a Copenhagen Card. The card can be purchased in advance which means it is perfect for budgeting. You have the choice of getting this digitally or in card form. The card entitles you to free transport as well as free entry into all of the attractions in the city. There is a calculator on the website which select attractions and tell you how much money you could save . For us the total figure was in the region of €200 each.
Day 1 Canal Tour/ Church of Our Saviour/ Christiania/ Botanical Gardens/ Tivoli Gardens
We started our first official day in Copenhagen with a canal tour. Copenhagen is located above an extensive canal/river network that provides the bases of transport systems around the city. We decided that a canal tour would be the best way to start the trip. It highlighted some places that we would be keen to visit. Thankfully, the tour was in English and our tour guide imparted onto us so much useful information regarding Copenhagen’s history. Not to mention, the canal tour was extremely relaxing and a great way to start a busy day.
From the canal tour, we continued our sightseeing around Copenhagen mainly on foot. We headed for the Church of Our Saviour which has a viewing platform and a staircase wrapped around the spire. This provided us with panoramic views of the city and even across into neighbouring Sweden. It is safe to say that after in the region of 500 steps our legs were definitely burning but for such a wonderful view of the city, the extreme exercise was worth it.
After that we carried on in the direction of Christiania, a free town in Copenhagen. The town is a former military base. Today the “town” has no rules and so cannabis smoking dominates the settlement. It is an eye opening experience and an opportunity to buy some interesting souvenirs. We didn’t stay for long, but the town goes on for miles. I would block off a few hours in your day to explore if this is something that appeals to you.
We decided to take advantage of our Copenhagen Cards and we took the bus to the Danish Botanical Gardens. These gardens are immense. My inner plant geek was well and truly satisfied with the array of plants in the gardens surrounding. After a busy morning we took this opportunity to indulge in some down time and we sat by the ponds and relaxed under the warm Scandinavian sun. The Copenhagen Card grants access inside the main area of the Botanical Gardens but due to commitments later in the day, we unfortunately didn’t have time to go inside.
After enjoying some lunch at Tivoli Garden’s food hall we decided to head back to the gardens to try out some of the rides and catch the live music. The Copenhagen Card allows you into the gardens but in order to go on any of the rides, you have to buy tickets, which are fairly expensive. Because you can’t go to Tivoli and not go on any rides we bought a couple of tickets each. We ultimately spent them on the Alpenhof ride (I would highly recommend!). Frequently throughout the week, Tivoli Gardens which is said to be the inspiration for Disneyland, hosts live music events. We sat in deck chairs soaking in some Danish music, drinking Danish beer, and eating some not-so-Danish supermarket snacks. It truly was the perfect ending to our first full day in Denmark.
Day 2 Day Trip to Sweden
Day 2 of our Scandinavian Holiday was actually not spent in Copenhagen, or in Denmark at all, but rather next door in Sweden. The reason behind this seemingly random excursion was mainly due to my enthusiasm to cross the Oresund Bridge after having watched a documentary about its construction. So we booked a Flixbus and off we went. I think I will do a separate post about what to do in Malmo for a day. Much to our surprise there was in fact plenty to see.
Day 3 The Little Mermaid/ Ofelia Plads/ Amalienborg Palace/ Round Tower/ Rosenborg Castle
We started our penultimate day in Copenhagen with a long walk north towards the Little Mermaid. During the Canal Tour we saw the statue, but we wanted to get the iconic Little Mermaid picture. This icon is absolutely flooded with tourists so I would recommend getting there early. I imagine it would look beautiful in front of a sunrise. I know this is a very British thing to complain about, but there is a distinct lack of a queuing system for getting a picture with the statue, so prepare to have to use your elbows! There are also little food trucks alongside that sell coffee, cake and even Prosecco so if you don’t mind the crowds this a really picturesque spot of Copenhagen to relax in.
From there we headed towards the Ofelia Plads to relax before our tour of the Amalienborg Palace. This is one of the more local spots in Copenhagen, so if you fancy chatting to some Danes this is the place to do so. The Plads are effectively landing jetties that stick out into the harbour. You’ll find a great variety of restaurants and cafes to choose. We grabbed an ice cream and, just like the locals chilled out and caught some sun rays. Throughout the year the Plads are also home to live music events and art installations. One of the most famous is a collection of large lit up triangles, it looks better than it sounds!
After chilling out for a bit we went on a tour of the Amalienborg, the royal palace in Denmark. It felt right to book onto one of the tours of the Palace and see it in all its glory. The tour was relatively inexpensive in terms of Copenhagen prices and we learnt so much about the monarchy and the history Denmark. The day we visited was also the day that Denmark was getting a new Prime Minister so there were several camera crews. So perhaps we made it into the back of one of the shots, who knows! Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos inside the palace. But that just means that there is all the more reason so visit and see it for yourself.
Although we were pretty full from our sorbet on the Plads, our next stop was to grab something for lunch. We decided to see what’s on offer in the food hall of Magasin, which is effectively a Selfridges on steroids. After working up an appetite we went to the Bagel Company, which I describe as a subway for bagels. I had struggled to find Danish vegetarian food so I was over the moon to get some veggies inside me. The bagel was so yummy that when I got home I attempted to recreate what I had eaten. It was good but not nearly on the same standard as the Bagel Company in Copenhagen.
After lunch we decided to check out another view over the city at the Round Tower. As the name would suggest, this tower is round is shape and boasts no stairs. The view from the top was amazing. Unfortunately for our instagram feeds there is a huge fence that surrounds the viewing platform so it makes getting photos difficult but not impossible. If you only have time for one tower I would recommend the Church, as it’s taller and because the view is unobstructed.
From the top of the Round Tower we identified our next attraction, Rosenborg Castle. It has gardens that go on for miles and of course a big castle in the middle. After a busy morning we grabbed a few snacks from the local supermarket and chatted on the grass for a while. Naturally we had a little photo shoot.
In the evening we headed back to the hostel for some dinner and a few drinks at the bar.
Day 4 Christianborg/Town Hall/ Glypotet/ And home 🙁
Due to our flight time, we actually had lots of time in Copenhagen on our last day. So we left our baggage at the hostel, and headed out for the day. First stop was the Christianborg, which is the old palace in Denmark. There are kitchens, ruins and receptions to peruse. Again, we got in for free with our Copenhagen Cards and spent an hour or so looking around. Obviously, as a cooking enthusiast and a blogger the rose gold kitchens pleased me very much and we spent quite a bit of time here just looking at all of the pots and pans and trying on the uniform.
Our next stop was lunch. I had never been to The Hard Rock Cafe before, so we treated ourselves to a nice meal before heading back out in to the city to do some final bits of sightseeing. After we were well nourished once again we wandered across to the Town Hall, for you guessed it, another viewing platform. The views across the main square were amazing. We were lucky as they only allow guests up at certain times of the year, so check before you go!
Perhaps the only attraction we were yet to tick off was the Glyptotek. We wandered there and enjoyed the exhibitions and the roof top garden which had some great views over Tivoli Gardens. So we sat and chilled in the sun before heading back to collect our bags before our flight.
As for some of the logistics and travel information. We flew from Liverpool to Copenhagen with Ryanair. The base ticket is £14.99 each way and because of the length of time we were travelling for we also added a bag each. I went for the standard 10kg bag which added an extra £10 each leg. So all in the flights were approx £50. I was impressed with the service at both Liverpool airport and Copenhagen airport as the whole experience was incredibly stress free. We basically walked through security in both countries and had plenty of time to enjoy the airport before our flight. The flight time is roughly 1hr30 so not too long for those of you who don’t enjoy flying.
We stayed at Urban House Meininger, and I couldn’t recommend this hotel/hostel enough. We had to book a private room because I am under 18. The staff were incredibly helpful at check in and with anything we needed during our stay. It is also equipped with a lovely little bar and restaurant area, a beer garden, a TV room, board games area, a kitchen and dining room. The bar also hosts a happy hour every night which is two for one cocktails.
Copenhagen is very expensive. Just a word of warning. The flights are cheap but accommodation and food was on the pricier side. Denmark uses the Danish Krone which is tricky to get your head around as you end up dividing everything by 8.
In conclusion Copenhagen was definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited and I would highly recommend a visit.