There are so many things to do in Copenhagen! When I visited Copenhagen I carefully planned my 3-day travel itinerary, because then I would have crossed the bridge to start my adventure in the South of Sweden, for a road trip by car. It was amazing! Now some Travellector‘s fans are going to visit Copenhagen for the first time, in May. They only have 3 nights, because they are traveling on a cruise, and asked me for some advice. This is what they write:
We will have a group of folks ranging from 40’s to 70’s. We enjoy local music. Want to try local restaurants. Not 5 star or Michelin Chef, just good local food – even if slightly off the beaten path. We enjoy architecture and learning about the history of the places we visit, but not really into “art” museums. Finding a “hidden gem” that most tourists wouldn’t see or visit is something we strive for.
NOTE: If you are traveling by plane you can get to the Copenhagen center from the airport by train or by metro, both running from Terminal 3. The train takes 15 minutes to get to the Hovebanegården train station and this is the best solution to reach the center of the city. The single ticket costs DKK 36. If you prefer the metro go to the Terminal 3 and you will get to Kongens Nytorv Square, in the center of Copenhagen, in about 20 minutes. Transports are free with Copenhagen Card. If you need a hotel I recommend the Best Western Hotel City near the Metro and the Nyhavn harbor. The rooms are tiny, but the hotel is clean and comfortable for a weekend.
DAY 1. CHRISTIANSBORG SLOT – RÅDHUSET – KONGENSHAVE – ØRSTENDS PARKEN – NYHAVN – CANALS TOUR
Take a walk in the Old Town where you can visit Christiansborg Slot, which houses the Danish Parliament, and the Stock Exchange, situated on the island of Slotsholmen. Then the Rådhuset (Town Hall), Kongenshave and Ørstends Parken.
TIP: The Royal Library Garden is an hidden gem you cannot miss! It is between Christiansborg Palace and the Royal Library.
Nyhavn is the picturesque harbor of Copenhagen, with its typical colorful houses and many restaurants and cafès in the alleys. It was excavated in 1671 and was active until 1950. The area is frequented by writers and all kind of artists. The famous writer Hans Christian Andersen lived at 67 Nyhavn.
From here, take an exciting tour of the canals with the company DFDS. The Grand Tour of Copenhagen takes about 1 hour. You can buy the ticket online, so that you can save time! If you love jazz music you can choice the Jazz Cruise, where artists perform jazz music on the boat. It costs 150 DKK. Bring a jacket, because the boat is exposed to the wind and it could be cold. I say that, because during my boat trip I didn’t have a jacket and it was so windy that I got cold lol 😉
TIP: If you are in a hotel usually you can find the so-called mini cards in the lobby. They let you take advantage of discounts on attractions, museums and tours, such as canals tour, in this case. You will save money.
Sightseeing from a boat is so charming! This tour will take you through the main monuments of Copenhagen such as: the old Stock Exchange, the Opera House, the Little Mermaid, Amalienborg Slot, Christiansborg Slot, the district of Christianshavn with Christiania, Vor Frelsers Kirke (Church of Our Saviour), the Danish National Museum, the Royal Library (called the Black Diamond). At the end of the tour you can take a walk (also for shopping) along the main streets of Strøget and Strædet.
Strøget is the longest pedestrian street in Europe (1.8 km). There are expensive shops (Chanel, Cartier or Gucci) or malls like Illum, or shops of Danish designers who sell the coolest objects you have ever seen. There are also cheap shops. You can find nice shops in Copenhagen’s alleys.
Walk across Strædet in the south of Strøget. The evening is really romantic with the little streets that tangle. There are lovely boutiques and crowded cafes.
If you want to eat like a local without spending a fortune follow my suggestions and choose among the best restaurants in Copenhagen.
DAY 2. BOTANISK HAVE – ROSENBORG SLOT – MARMORKIRKEN – AMALIENBORG PALACE – LITTLE MERMAID’S STATUE – CHRISTIANIA
Visit Botanisk Have, the Botanical Gardens of Copenhagen. The entrance is free and you can enjoy beautiful lakes, bridges and gardens and also smell fragrances. Do not miss the experience of the Palm House (there are limited hours).
Rosenborg Slot is a beautiful seventeenth-century castle. The entrance is free if you have the Copenhagen Card. Don’t visit the interior: there is not much to see in the rooms and there are very few exhibits. Crown Jewels exhibit is very interesting. You can find it in the basement (there is another access). The gardens (Kongens Have) are amazing. They surround the castle and they are free!
Visit the Marmorkirken (Marble Church), completed in 1894. The dome is reminiscent of St. Peter’s in Rome and it is amazing! Then go to the Amalienborg Palace where there is the changing of the guard, at 12 am. I’m not a fan of the Palace’s interior, because I’ve seen more beautiful European palaces and my favourite changing of the guard is in Athens.
Little Mermaid‘s statue (Den Lille Havfrue), is the symbol of Copenhagen. It deserves some shots 🙂
You can choose a restaurant from my list or sitting in one of the restaurants in the district of Christianshavn.
After lunch head to the district of Christianshavn. Along the canal there are many boats and houseboats, which represent the typical Nordic scenario. Take the Strandgade and admire the old houses and lovely courtyards. If you do not suffer from vertigo and you want to enjoy a breathtaking view don’t miss the panorama from the bell tower of the baroque church Vor Frelsers Kirke. To climb up the tower you have to pay about 40 DKK. There are approximately 400 steps. It could be tiring, but you’ll be rewarded when you arrive at the top.
Visit the characteristic “free city” of Christiania, which declared itself independent from Denmark in 1970, establishing itself as a small state within the state. The inhabitants of Christiania still live in the old barracks and wacky buildings they built. You cannot take pictures in the area Pusher Street. The area is renowned for smuggling, so don’t stay until night. Christiania follows its own laws.
Then visit the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum. It is free on Tuesday. In my opinion it is the most beautiful museum in Copenhagen. Enjoy amazing impressionist paintings and the collection of Egyptian artefacts. It is so charming! You will stand in awe before the mummies. The museum is housed in an impressive 19th century building with a beautiful winter garden, statues and fountains. Look up and enjoy the glass dome. It is stunning!
It is time to go back to your childhood! Enjoying your evening at Tivoli Gardens is something you should put among the top things to do in Copenhagen. It is an amusement park, but not like the other ones you are accustomed to. The atmosphere is unforgettable. There are thousands of lights and Chinese lanterns all around you. You will enter a fairy world. The entrance fee is 74 DKK. Free with Copenhagen Card, but you have to pay for rides and games. Or you can buy a special Tivoli Garden ticket to skip the line, which also includes the admission to the rides, concerts at the Open Air Stage on fridays and events at the Pantomime Theatre.
If you love classical music enjoy live concerts that take place at the Concert Hall. There are three ways to purchase tickets:
– Online: from the site www.tivoli.dk click on the event of interest to you and follow the steps.
– Tivoli Box Office: in Vesterbrogade 3 or by calling +45 33 15 10 12.
– FONA stores: please visit the website to see what are the nearest stores.
The Tivoli Aquarium is 30 metres long and it is located on the ground floor of the Concert Hall. The admission is 25 DKK. Here there are about 1600 fishes and also sharks. If you are not interestes in marine world enjoy a show of mime at the Pantomime Theatre (performances take place only during the summer).
Choose your favorite game. The Star Flyer is very scary! It takes you to 80 meters in height and you will be suspended in the air on a small chair tied to chains. If you are brave enough open your eyes and look at the breathtaking view.
NOTE: Do you love pink? There is a cute shop here where there are lovely objects and guess what? They are all pink! 😉
The cheapest restaurants at Tivoli Gardens are the Hot Dog Corner or the Wagamama which prepare Japanese dishes. Outside Tivoli Gardens there is the Hard Rock Cafe (3 Vesterbrogade). Otherwise check out my list of restaurants!
DAY 3. FREDERIKSBORG SLOT
This is the day for a trip outside the center of Copenhagen. Go and discover a charming Renaissance castle which houses the Museum of National History of Denmark. This is the Frederiksborg Slotskirke in Hillerød, just in the north of Copenhagen. It will be an unforgettable trip. Catch the train (E line) to Hillerød. It takes approximately 40 minutes from Central Station Hovedbanegården. Trains leave every 10 minutes. Then catch the bus (301, 302 or 324 lines) and in 5 minutes you will get to this fairy tale place. (you can also walk for 20 minutes). Admission is DKK 75. The location is stunning! The castle is on three small islands and it was a fortress in the past. The spectacular copper spires, that almost glow in the sunlight, contrast with the little red bricks of the castle. Behind the castle there is a wonderful baroque garden overlooking the lake Slotsø whose entrance is free. If you are going to visit it in May you will smell roses’ frangrances.
Among the most beautiful rooms there are the Riddersalen, the Knights’ Hall, which will impress you with carved wood ceiling, golden ornaments, tapestries and a 19th century black marble fireplace, and the Slotskirken chapel, with a ebony altar and marble ceiling, where the Danish kings were crowned.
The, do not forget that Copenhagen is the city of design. So, you could also take a look at the best shops of design! Enjoy my itinerary! 🙂
What do you love most about Copenhagen? Have you ever visited it?