Nyahvn Copenhagen

Things To Do in Copenhagen in 3 Days [Travel Itinerary]

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.  The train leaves from Terminal 3 and it takes 15 minutes to get to the Hovebanegården train station. The single ticket is 36 DKK. 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. A single ticket costs 36 DKK. 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.

Christiansborg Slot in Copenhagen

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.

Nyahvn CopenhagenFrom 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

MORNING

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).

Botanical Gardens Copenhagen

Botanical Gardens Copenhagen

Rosenborg Slot is a beautiful seventeenth-century castle. The entrance is 90 DKK, it is free if you have 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!

Rosenborg Castle in CopenhagenVisit 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 🙂

Little Mermaid CopenhagenYou can choose a restaurant from my list or sitting in one of the restaurants in the district of Christianshavn.

EVENING

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. In December the tower is only open on 1st, 6th, 8th, 12th and 15th. It is closed in January and February. It reopens in March.
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.

Christiania in CopenhagenThen 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.

Tivoli Gardens CopenhagenIf 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).

Tivoli Gardens CopenhagenChoose 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.

Frederiksborg Castle in CopenhagenAmong 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.Frederiksborg Castle in Copenhagen

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?

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26 replies
  1. Ryan A says:

    Hi Maria,

    Which of the castles do you recommended: Kronborg Castle (Hamlet) or Frederiksborg Castle?

    Also, the itinerary you provided above is all by foot?

    Reply
    • Maria Orlando says:

      Hi Ryan!

      I visited Copenhagen by foot but I took the train to visit Frederiksborg Castle. I love walking by foot but if you are tired you can catch a bus with no problems!

      I loved Frederiksborg Castle much more than Kronborg castle for its gardens and its wonderful chapel! I think it is funnier visiting Kronborg Castle in summer when Shakespeare Festival is held. Check it out > http://hamletscenen.dk/da/forside/

      Best wishes,

      Maria xxx

      Reply
  2. Andrew says:

    Hi Maria,

    Thanks very much for the useful guide. 🙂

    Just wanted to ask if a Copenhagen card or CityPass card is worth the money if I stay for 2-3 days in Copenhagen? Would most of the attractions be easy to get to on foot and would the ones you mentioned be covered by the Copenhagen card?

    Also, I was planning to go Oslo after, would you recommend getting the high speed train or just fly there as both is about the same price. Would it be a scenic route? Also meaning I may have less time in Copenhagen itself.

    Reply
    • Maria Orlando says:

      Hi Andrew! Glad you appreciated it 🙂

      Well, I think that Copenhagen card is useful if most attractions you want to visit are included. Here is a complete list of museum and attractions: http://www.copenhagencard.com/free-attractions It is expensive. I didn’t buy it because it was pretty easy and lovely to me visiting Copenhagen on foot and I didn’t visit amny attractions such as Amalienborg castel (I decided to choose a canal tour instead of visiting the interior of castle). For instance, Rosenborg castle ticket is one of the most expensive attractions in Copenhagen and it is included in Copenhagen Card. It could be a great solution if you have decided to include it BUT I don’t think interior is worth to visit. Copenhagen card also includes free transport by train, bus and Metro in the entire Copenhagen Region, also from/to the airport. If you love visiting cities on foot and you want to follow my itinerary I think Copenhagen card is not necessary. By the way here are card prices: http://www.copenhagencard.com/whats-included and an interesting link where you can simulate your journey http://www.copenhagencard.com/buy-copenhagencard to see if you can save a good amount of money or not. My advice is to make a list of the attractions you want to visit, checking out their ticket prices and see if buying or not Copenhagen card (if you decide it is good to buy Copenhagen card, do it online!).

      About Copenhagen-Oslo. I love saving time when I travel. With a flight time of just over an hour you can easily get from Copenhagen to Oslo and you can find good prices from around $150. I checked out high speed train and the journey takes many hours. You could plan your journey here: https://www.sj.se/en/home.html#/

      Hope it helps you Andrew 🙂

      Reply
  3. Li San says:

    Thanks very much for the useful guide! Is Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek still free on a Sunday? I went to the website, and it says it’s free on Tuesdays 🙂

    Reply
  4. Roula says:

    Hi Maria, this is a great blog, and a great start for me. I’m travelling solo to Denmark for a period of 6-days. Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  5. Jennice says:

    Hi Maria, lovely to find your blog! This is very helpful and I am so looking forward to my trip now. Actually – do you mind give me a few more suggestions and help me plan my trip? I will be arriving Copenhagen from Hong Kong(!) in late afternoon on the first day, and then, I am planning to spend second and third day entirely in Copenhagen, on the forth day, I will still spend half day in Copenhagen and then depart for Oslo in late afternoon. How do you think I should spend my days in Copenhagen? I will then take the Norway in a Nutshell during my stay in Norway so not much to worry I guess. I will then take the flight from Bergen to Stockholm and will spend another 3.5 days there before I head back home to HK. Do you have any suggestions as well, if you are free? Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you!! Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Maria Orlando says:

      Hi Jennice!

      Glad you find my blog helpful 🙂 Of course I can help you plan your trip. Just let me know something about you, your personality and your interests, so that I can give you detailed suggestions. Did you take the personality quiz?

      Reply
  6. Andrea says:

    Hi Maria!
    Thank You for your helpful info on Copenhagen. Do you have any sugestion for further itinerary planning. We are spending 2 weeks with my boyfriends family in Denmark and Sweden. I having a hard time planning because I’m not sure what there planning for us . They live within a 45 min train ride of Copenhagen. We will be staying with them most of the time. I know we are going to Sweden to visit there summer home and will go to Stockholm for 2 days from there. We probably have room for 1 overnight trip to Aero or Bornholm? I’m thinking. Any recs would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • Maria Orlando says:

      Hi Andrea!
      Glad you find my info helpful 🙂

      I’ve always loved Nordic countries. I will be happy to help you plan your itinerary. When are you going to travel? What are your interests? This test can help me give you the best suggestions according to your personality type. If you are going to spend a lot of time with your boyfriend’s family I think you also need a bit of privacy and Aero and Bornholm are sooo romantic!!! They are both lovely especially if you love cycling or walking.

      Aero is smaller than Bornholm and Aeroekobing is enchanting! It is very nice for a one day trip. BTW you can do more things in Bornholm (picturesque villages, nature, culture). How many hours are you going to spend there? Remember that the journey takes approximately 4 hours each way. I visited both of them many years ago and I cannot forget Bornholm nature and Svaneke village.

      Let me know Andrea and I will write something for you!

      Cheers, Maria

      Reply
  7. Amy Madson says:

    What great information for us to use during our visit! The pictures are awesome! We are really getting excited for our trip!!!!! Thank you! Thank you!

    Reply

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