If you are looking for a weekend break or a longer weekend escape, then Copenhagen might just be the place to visit. We were there for three days and were able to visit places such as Nyhavn, Rosenborg Castle, Amalienborg, Carlsberg’s brewery, Christiania, Tivoli Gardens and even did a day trip to Malmö in Sweden.
Copenhagen has been ranked as one of happiest cities in the world, so there is already a reason to visit this place. It is also well known for its canals, excellent food, Tivoli Gardens and Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale “The Little Mermaid”.
- Travel and accommodation
- Things to do
- Cool and unusual things to do
- Food and drink highlights
- Final thoughts
Copenhagen is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. Copenhagen’s name (København in Danish) means “merchants’ harbour” and reflects its origin as a harbour and a place of commerce. Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand and another part of the city is located on Amager.
The city is separated from Malmö, Sweden by the strait of Øresund and the popular Øresund Bridge connects the two cities by rail and road. We went for a day trip to Malmö, so do keep reading to find out more.
Copenhagen is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year. If you prefer warmer weather, then visit between June and late August. The time zone is GMT+1. The currency used in Copenhagen and in Denmark is the Danish krone (DDK).
Travel and accommodation
Copenhagen Airport (CPH) is the main airport in Copenhagen, Denmark which also serves southern Sweden. One of the reasons of our visit is because we found some really cheap flights from London to Copenhagen for around £20 per person. How can you miss that?!
Be sure to read our top tips for booking cheap flights explaining how you can find best value flights and get inspired where to travel next. For Copenhagen, we believe a weekend or a long weekend would be sufficient to visit the main attractions.
The airport is not far from the city (around 8km) and it’s easy to get from Copenhagen airport to the city centre. We used the train from the airport but you can also use the metro, busses or even get a taxi.
In terms of accommodation, we would recommend booking your travel through an aggregator such as Booking.com or Agoda to get the best rates. During our stay, we chose Hotel Osterport which was conveniently located next to the Osterport train station.
Things to do
You might be wondering what to do in Copenhagen or where to go in the city, here are some of the highlights and places we truly enjoyed.
If you don’t have enough time, you might consider Hop-on, Hop-off Bus and Boat Tour to cover the main attractions.
The Little Mermaid statue
You have probably read Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of the little mermaid becoming a human. The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is a must see attraction. The sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade.
To be honest, the statue is much smaller than expected and only 1.25 metres tall. Having said that, It is among the iconic statues club that symbolize cities such as the Statue of Liberty in New York.
Nyhavn is a place that you must visit when in Copenhagen. You have probably seen all those brightly coloured 17th and 18th century townhouses – yes, this is Nyhavn. This is a very lively place with many bars, cafes and restaurants where you can chill during the day or have a nice dinner in the night.
We enjoyed walking alongside the canal which also harbours many historical wooden ships. It’s such a lovely area which we visited multiple times during our stay.
Tivoli Gardens is another famous place in Copenhagen. It is a theme park and pleasure garden and amongst the oldest operating amusement parks in the world. Tivoli is easily accessible, located in downtown Copenhagen right next to the Central station.
In the centre of Copenhagen, you will also find the amazing Rosenborg Castle. The castle is in the Dutch Renaissance style and was originally built in 1606-1607 as a summerhouse by order of Christian IV. The castle is beautiful on the inside and definitely worth a visit.
The castle also houses The Treasury where you can see the Crown Jewels, the Crown Regalia, the Crown of the Absolutist Kings and the Queens’ Crown on display.
In many aspects, Rosenborg reminded us of Tower of London in London. We really enjoyed it!
The castle is situated in Kongens Have (“The King’s Garden“) which is the country’s oldest royal garden. It’s a beautiful place to walk around and admire the view. Next to the castle you will also see the barracks where the Royal Life Guards are. The Life Guard guards the castle.
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Not far from Rosenborg is Amalienborg, the home of the Danish royal family. This is where you will see the Changing of the Guard ceremony. The Danish Royal Guard march from Rosenborg Castle to Amalienborg Palace where the ceremony takes place, so be sure to be there around 11:30am – 12noon so you don’t miss this out.
Another highlight of our visit was Christiansborg Palace. This is a palace and a government building and is the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Danish Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court of Denmark. What is interesting about this place is that it is the only building in the world that houses all three of a country’s branches of government – the executive power, the legislative power, and the judicial power
At Christiansborg Palace, you can get to the top of Copenhagen’s highest tower (The Christiansborg’s Tower) and see the city from above, which was something we really enjoyed and would definitely recommend.
Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK)
If you are into art, then you should visit Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK), this is the Danish national gallery. The museum handles Danish and foreign art dating from the 14th century. The gallery is very close to Rosenborg and our hotel was nearby, so we had to pay a visit.
Church of Our Saviour
During our visit, we also saw a number of interesting churches including the Church of Our Saviour – a baroque church famous for the external spiral staircase that can be climbed to the top. So if you want a nice view of Copenhagen, this could be something to look at.
Another one you won’t miss is Frederik’s Church, which is located next to Amalienborg Palace. This is also known as The Marble Church for its rococo architecture.
Copenhagen Opera House
Other notable places to see include the Copenhagen Opera House which is among the most modern opera houses in the world. It is located on the island of Holmen where you can go for a nice walk or enjoy a dinner at the quayside restaurants.
Another building you won’t miss is the Copenhagen City Hall situated on City Hall Square in central Copenhagen. During your visit, you will most likely find yourself on Strøget – one of the most high-profile streets in the city. It is one of the longest pedestrian shopping streets in Europe at 1.1 km where you will find lots of shops, cafes, restaurants and other amenities.
Cool and unusual things to do
Visit Carlsberg was a real highlight of our trip … this was actually the first thing we did when we visited the city. Carlsberg Brewery was established in 1847 by J.C. Jacobsen and we got an insight into Carlsberg’s history, the brewing process, as well as access to the brewery’s stables and famous Jutland dray horses.
There we saw the largest unopened beer bottle collection in the world! Imagine that – beer, beer and more beer! The tour ends at the bar where you can enjoy some beer (two beers were included with the ticket), which of course we did.
Being surrounded by this beer collection reminded us of our visit to the World’s Largest Collection of Scotch Whisky in Edinburgh.
Visit Freetown Christiania or Christiania. This was a former military base but in 1971, a group of hippies broke down the barricades and started squatting there. This then became a community of around 1000 people that has its own rules and regulations completely independent of the Danish government.
This place was also known as the Green Light District as it sold all types of cannabis which is illegal elsewhere in Denmark. At the time of our trip, you weren’t allowed to take photos. In actual fact, there was a sign that read “Dear friends, there are three rules in the Green Light District: have fun; don’t run—it causes panic; no photos—buying and selling hash is still illegal.”
Anyway, it wasn’t our cup of tea but certainly an interesting place worth visiting. So do put this on your list of things to do.
Visit Malmö, Sweden
Take a trip to Malmö, Sweden. Did you know you can go from Copenhagen to Malmö in Sweden in less than an hour? Yes, you can get the train from København H (Copenhagen Central Station) which is every 20 minutes and the travel time is only 35 minutes to the centre of Malmö. Nice and easy!
This way, you also get to see/be on Øresund Bridge – a combined railway and motorway bridge across the Øresund strait between Denmark and Sweden. Basically one country wanted a bridge and the other wanted a tunnel, so they made the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe (nearly 8km long).
Malmo is a nice coastal city. Some of the main attractions include the Town Hall, Stortorget central square, Turning Torso, Malmö Castle and more. If you want to explore another city in Sweden, we recommend you visit Stockholm.
Food and drink highlights
Foodwise, we found many of the things we ate in Denmark are similar to other Scandinavian countries. An example is the Smørrebrød Open Sandwiches which is essentially dark rye bread with a topping of smoked herring, shrimps or anything else you fancy. Seafood is popular and some of the things we tried include Fiskefrikadeller fish cakes and pickled herring.
You may be wondering where to eat in Copenhagen. Some popular places with good food include the Meatpacking District known for its trendy dining scene and buzzing nightlife and Nyhavn with lots of cafes, restaurants and amazing views. We also went to Reffen (not far from the Opera House) where you can find street food from across the world and live entertainment.
Copenhagen is home to international beer giants e.g. Carlsberg and their popular pilsner. I can’t remember the last time I drank as much beer as I drank in Copenhagen … and it all started from our visit to the Carlsberg brewery.
Copenhagen is a great capital to visit and explore. It’s a popular destination for young adults and families and offers a range of attractions and activities to suit any age group and personal preferences. In a way, the city is very similar to other Scandinavian capital cities such as Stockholm and Oslo.
Copenhagen is a great destination and perfect for a city break. You can easily visit and see the top attractions in a weekend but if you have the chance, spend a long weekend here. It’s an easy city to fly to with hand luggage only and very easy to get around.
Ready to book? Below are some recommendations to get your trip started:
- Flights – we use flight aggregators such as Skyscanner and Google flights to find the best options. You can find more information about finding cheap flights here.
- Accommodation – would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as Booking.com or Agoda to get the best rates. We also use TripAdvisor to read reviews.
- Transport – consider Rentalcars.com for car renting or if you rely on public transport, you can use Omio for trains, coaches, ferries, airport transfers and even flights.
- Activities – a great option is GetYourGuide or Viator for tours, excursions, experiences and tickets to many tourist attractions.
- Luggage storage – if you need to store your bags whilst exploring the destination, you can use Radical Storage to find your closest luggage storage and enjoy your journey until the very end.
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