You may not see all attractions of the Danish capital in one day, since there’s so much to see here. However, the city still makes the perfect destination for a day trip and offers a fun mix of culture, history and relaxation. Discover the fairy tale-like old town, the capital's must-sees and its canals and fall in love with the city that is said to be the happiest place in the world!
While Copenhagen is popular for its vivid cycling culture, it can be stressful to ride among locals if you’re not used it. Instead, you can opt for exploring the city with Hop-on Hop-off busses. This way, you won’t have to worry about public transport or cycling and can travel easily and comfortably from one place to the other. The bus line has stops all over the city and you can get on and off whenever you like, making travelling on your one day in Copenhagen comfortable and easy.
No trip to Copenhagen is complete without paying a visit to the city’s most famous landmark and top attraction, the Little Mermaid or Den Lille Havfrue. The world-famous statue was created by Edvard Eriksen and unveiled in 1913. It was inspired by the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, who once lived in the Danish capital.
And the story goes like this: the Little Mermaid saves the life of a shipwrecked prince and gives up her mermaid’s tail and her lovely voice in order to win the prince’s love. Tragically, her quest fails and contrary to the happy ending of the children’s movie, she turns to cold sea foam.
The statue is located just off the shoreline and one of the most photographed statues in the world, so keep in mind that it tends to get a little crowded around here. If you want to see the Little Mermaid from a different perspective and learn more about her story, you can also join one of the many canal cruises that pass by.
Copenhagen is not only the ideal destination to explore with a boat tour but also has plenty of other activities around the water to offer. Did you know that the city’s waters are so clean you can actually swim here? For example, the Havnebadet Islands Brygge allows you to swim directly in the harbour and consists of four different outdoor pools.
Another great way to explore the city from a different angel is a kayak tour! Either sign up for a guided tour or go on an adventure through the city’s canals by yourself. Rental services like Kayak Republic also offer themed tours, ranging from city tours to tours revolving around the Nordic cuisine or Copenhagen’s unique architecture.
One of Copenhagen’s highlights you shouldn’t miss during your visit is the changing of the Guards at Amalienborg Palace, the winter residence of the Danish royal family. The castle consists of four palaces that were designed by Nicolai Eigtved in the 1750s. Today, they are representative monuments of Danish architecture.
Christian VIII’s palace is home to the museum Amalienborg. Here, you can travel 150 years back in time and discover the hidden life of the royals. Explore the private chambers of previous monarchs that are being maintained in their original state until this day. You also get a glimpse into the everyday lives of today’s royals.
While not all parts of the castle are open to the public, you can watch the changing of the Royal Guard everyday at noon, giving away who’s currently residing here. If the Royal Guards are accompanied by drums and flutes, the royal princes are at the palace, while the presence of the Queen is announced with the Royal Guards music band.
Once the busy commercial port of the city that was notorious for prostitution and as a hub for sailors, Nyhavn is now Copenhagen’s hippest neighbourhood and one of the most popular attractions here. The waterfront, canals and entertainment district from the 17th century are one of the most photographed parts of the city centre nowadays.
The picturesque and colourful houses have been renovated and provide a relaxed atmosphere for great food and music-filled evenings. Indulge in Danish classics such as the traditional open-faced sandwiches called Smørrebrød, pickled herring or exotic fusion cuisine dishes like Nordic-inspired sushi. Walk by Hans Christian Andersen’s old house, number 20, where he wrote classics such as ‘The Princess and the Pea’ or ‘The Tinderbox.’ Depending on the season you’re visiting, you can also listen to some fantastic jazz music here.
This palace has been home to Copenhagen’s rulers for over 800 years. Located on the tiny island of Slotsholmen, parts of Christiansborg Palace are still being used by the Royal family. It is also the seat of the Danish government, home of the Parliament as well as the Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court.
The present palace was only completed in 1928 but kings and queens have ruled the country from here for ages. Step inside and discover Denmark’s political and royal legacy. You can visit rooms such as the Great Hall and the Tapestries, the kitchen and stables as well as the palace chapel and ruins under the palace.