With only 48 hours in Copenhagen, you’ll want to hit the ground running. This compact city by the sea boasts perfect cobblestone streets, a picturesque harbour and some of the best restaurants in the world. Here’s how to spend a weekend in Copenhagen.
48 hours in Copenhagen
Day 1 | 10:00 AM
Start your day by checking into your hotel, then head for brunch at The Union Kitchen, a buzzing café that does a mean coffee and good eggs. Just be prepared to queue – the place can be packed on the weekend.
After you’re recharged, take a short 5 minute walk to Amalienborg, the home of the Danish royal family. Time it so that you arrive in that large octagonal courtyard just before 12pm – the daily changing of the guards occurs at noon. The uniforms of the palace guards may look familiar – they are very similar to the bearskin hats and red coats of the British royal palace guards. You can book a tour to visit the inside of the palace, however these must be organised 2 weeks in advance.
Day 1 | 1:00 PM
From Amalienborg, backtrack towards Kongens Nytorv and Bredgade streets, which will lead you directly to Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s beautiful historic harbour. Colourful, busy and picturesque, Nyhavn is at its best during the summer, when the place buzzes with al fresco diners, outdoor performers and sunshine. You can stop here for lunch at any of the waterfront restaurants – try smørrebrød, an open sandwich topped with almost anything you could want to put on a sandwich. Traditional Danish toppings include pickled herring, gravlax (smoked salmon), capers, onion and hard boiled egg.
Day 1 | 3:00 PM
From here, you can either walk to Stroget, Copenhagen’s longest shopping street, fully pedestrianized and at just over 1km, chockfull of shops and cafes. The usual high street suspects like Zara can be found along Stroget, but spend some time browsing at Ilums Bolighus, a temple of Scandinavian design. Look out for classics like the Egg Chair by mid century designer Arne Jacobsen. There’s plenty of beautiful things to look at (and lust after!) here, so take your time browsing. To the south of Stroget is Laederstraede, with lots of options to stop at for a mid-afternoon snack, including Café Stella and Café Zirup, both of which serve beer and smørrebrød. At the other end of Stroget (if you make it that far) is Radhuspladsen, or City Hall Square.
From Radhuspladsen you can walk to the Nationalmuseet to spend a few hours learning about Danish history and culture – if you still have a bit of gas left in your tank!
Day 1 | 7:00 PM
Alternatively, you can also take a cab back to your hotel to rest before heading out again for a fine dining experience at one of the many Michelin starred restaurants in Copenhagen. Try AOC Aarø & Co, a tiny, cosy restaurant offering a New Nordic–inspired approach to hyper locally sourced food. With room for just 45 people, early booking is essential. If you’re unable to make a reservation, try Salt Bar and Restaurant instead, which offers modern cuisine and an impressive wine list.
After dinner, you may choose to cab it out to Tivoli Gardens to enjoy the lights and live music. Entry costs 120DKK (160DKK on Fridays after 7pm) but you’ll have to pay for food, drink and rides once you’re inside. Some performances are included in your entry fee. The Gardens are lovely on a clear summer evening when the lights come on. Stay for the fireworks if you can!
48 hours in Copenhagen
Day 2 | 9:00 AM
Start with an early morning walk to Rosenborg Castle, meandering slowly up along Dronningens Tvaergade and stopping for breakfast as you fancy. Rosenborg Castle is a 17th century Renaissance palace standing in the middle of formal gardens. Originally a summer palace for the reigning Danish monarch, the castle is now the resting place of the Danish crown jewels. The grounds and gardens around Rosenborg are worth a wander on a fine day.
Day 2 | 12:00 PM
From here, make your way Copenhagen’s trendy market, Torvehallerne, located just around the corner from Rosenborg. You’ll find artisanal cheese, bread and cold meats on offer in a covered hall here. Pick up all the goodies you can carry, then head back out. If the day is fine, have a picnic in the grounds of the Rosenborg – if not, hail a cab for Restaurant Amalie, a rustic, cosy restaurant serving up herring, beef tartar, steak, salmon and gravlax.
Day 2 | 2:00 PM
On your second day of your 48 hours in Copenhagen, take a canal tour for a different perspective of the city. The tour will take you by the sights you may have missed, like the Little Mermaid statue, Copenhagen Opera House and the Old Stock Exchange while guides explain the city’s history and introduces you to neighborhoods like the Christianshavn canal quarter, which used to be Copenhagen’s old port.
Day 2 | 3:00 PM
If you’re up for exploration, take the ferry or the metro across to Freetown Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood of about a thousand residents. Christiania is an ongoing social experiment, offering a home for those who wish to live differently from society’s rules. There’s plenty of art and performance here, as well as yoga and meditation, and you’ll still find cannabis for sale along the main drag, aptly known as Pusher Street; however hard drugs are banned here, as in other parts of Copenhagen. Put your camera away while you’re here – just absorb the vibe. After your exploration of Christiania, stop for a bite at Lagkagehuset, a beloved Danish bakery chain.
Day 2 | 7:00 PM
Where to go for the coolest bar in one of the coolest cities in Europe? If you’re looking for a chic drinking spot serving excellent cocktails, Copenhagen will be a playground of choice. For grown ups, try Holmens Kanal, an excellent place to catch up with friends – the music is perfect for conversation and the cocktails are delicious. The stunning marble bar which forms the centrepiece of the venue isn’t too shabby either.
If you’re travelling with whisky lovers, don’t go past Lidkoeb, located in Vesterbro. The décor is all light and natural tones, and there are private booths and in the winter – a fireplace. On weekends you’ll find live jazz, but on any given night there’s always a selection of the finest single and blended malts from around the world – wait till 10pm for the whisky bar to start serving.