The Danish capital is the perfect city to visit for a quick, 48-hour city trip. Copenhagen is compact, yet rich is history, culture and has great places to eat. While you could rent a bike or make your way around the city on foot, we recommend getting a 48 hour ticket to the Hop-on Hop-off bus. It will allow you to give your feet a break between activities and you can learn fun facts about the city with the included audio guide.
One of the best ways to start any city trip is by getting oriented in the city so you will know where to go next. A great place to do that in Copenhagen is the Round Tower on the corner of Landemærket and Købmagergade. Its unique spiral ramp will take you 35 meters above the city for spectacular, panoramic views and makes it a must visit in the city.
From the Round Tower make your way to Slotsholmen, just follow Købmagergade due south and keep going until you have crossed the Højbro bridge. This island has been the historic centre of Copenhagen since the Middel Ages and is filled with historic buildings and museums. Places to visit include Christiansborg Palace, an 800 year old royal palace which today houses the country’s Parliament; the Thorvaldsens Museum, which is entirely dedicated to the work of the Danish neoclassicistic sculptor; and Børsen, the city’s former stock exchange with a striking spiral spire.
If you are ready for lunch, it is time to head over to colourful Nyhavn, you can walk there or take the Hop-on Hop-off bus for one stop. Nyhavn is a must-see location in Copenhagen but it can be a bit expensive to eat here, though there are great waterfront cafes to try. For a more budget-friendly lunch option head across the Inderhavnsbroen (Inner Harbour Bridge) to the Bridge Street Kitchen, a melting pot of street food kitchens and bars serving flavourful food and beverages from all over the world.
Once you have filled up on delicious food, head over to Freetown Christiania, a place unlike any other in Copenhagen. The neighbourhood started as a squatted military area in 1971 and soon became known for its Pusher Street, where you could buy hash and pot (no hard-drugs). A lot of people who live here have built there own homes and you will also find a variety of eco-restaurants, workshops, galleries and music venues offering all sorts of cultural experiences here.
As evening sets in, it is time to visit our next stop in Copenhagen: Tivoli Gardens. The second oldest amusement park in the world becomes magical after sunset with sparkling fairy-lights, lanterns and soft-flow bulbs. You can have dinner at Tivoli Food Court before you wander through the park and enjoy the rides.
The start of day two is the time to visit Denmark’s largest art gallery: SMK or Statens Museum for Kunst. No other museum in Denmark shows such a rich and varied selection of art – from the European classics of the Renaissance to the overwhelming diversity of modern and contemporary art. At the start of the day you are most likely to get the best views of all the art on display here, as it won’t be too crowded yet.
Next, head across the street to Rosenborg Castle, the construction of the 17th century castle was ordered by one of the most famous Danish kings, Christian IV. Today it is home to the crown jewels and regalia, the coronation thrones, life-size silver lions and beautiful tapestries commemorating the battles between Denmark and Sweden. And don’t miss out on a visit to the King’s Garden where you can wander along tree-lined paths, under rose-bound arches and to the Hercules Pavilion, the statue of Hans Christian Andersen and a multitude of other sculptures.
The Torvehallerne on the northside of Nørreport Station make a great place for lunch, as there is plenty to choose from such as Danish delicacies, local vegetables, fresh fish and even Italian specialities. Follow up lunch by viewing the city from the water, the Hop-on Hop-off bus stops right by the departure point of the Netto-Bådene boats. During this 60-minute tour, you’ll pass the colourful Nyhaven, the hip and happening Christianshavn and even the world-famous statue of the Little Mermaid.
Follow up your boat tour with another royal experience at Amalienborg Palace. The palace consists of four different buildings which flank a square, and were built by noble families in the middle of the 18th century on direct orders of then king Frederik V. The palace is considered to be one of the great masterpieces of Rococo architecture in Europe.
Head north along the water to make your way to the Citadel, one Europe’s finest and best preserved fortifications. The star-shaped former fortress is now home to military barracks but it is also a beautiful cultural gem and an oasis of green in the middle of the city. Just outside the Citadel stands the city’s and country’s most famous icon: the Little Mermaid Statue.
The statue, which is just off the shoreline, was created by Edvard Eriksen and is based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. The Little Mermaid is as iconic for Copenhagen as The Statue of Liberty is for New York and Manneken Pis is for Brussels. Your visit to Copenhagen isn’t complete without seeing it up close.
Before dinner, head back south into the city to visit Frederik’s Church. This iconic Lutheran church has the largest dome in Scandinavia and a Kierkegaard statue on the grounds. The main streets around the church, Store Kongensgade and Bredgade, both offer lots of great restaurants to choose between for your final meal in the city of spires and fairy tales.