2 Days In Copenhagen Itinerary - The Ultimate Guide
I consider Copenhagen one of my favorite cities in Europe, but let’s hope this news doesn't leave my European friends in total dismay. For one, Copenhagen's aesthetic and architecture speaks to my heart - the mix between minimalistic, old, and modern makes Copenhagen look extra cool. But it's not all about the looks, the culinary scene in Copenhagen is impressive, to say the least. With Noma regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world, Geranium ranking in the top 50 Best Restaurants in The World list, and two more in the top 100, the Danish capital boasts an impressive culinary scene. But in Copenhagen people not only know how to wine and dine, but they also know how to balance work-life with plenty of outdoor activities and coffee shops. Not to mention, hygge is contagious. I could go on and on, but I will let you find out when you visit. For all those reasons, every time I travel to Europe, I try to work Copenhagen into my itinerary even for just a few days.
With so many fun things to do in Copenhagen, you may turn your 2 days itinerary into 3 days itinerary in Copenhagen - I don’t blame you.
Before doing anything, let's talk about the Copenhagen Card. What is it and is it worth it? The Copenhagen Card is an all-inclusive city pass that gives you free – or discounted - access to many attractions, 73 to be exact. It also gives you unlimited access to public transportation in the Greater Copenhagen area (zones 1-99), so you don’t have to worry about zones and ticket prices. You can hop on and off buses, trains, and metros in the Copenhagen area. The card also gives you discounts at participating restaurants and activities.
The card comes in:
(Prices are in USD and rounded up, it will vary depending on the exchange rate)
The Copenhagen Card sounds great, but is it worth it? It depends. If you are planning to visit a lot of museums and attractions, it’s worth it. If you are just wondering in the city checking only a few museums and attraction, it may not. If you want to check out how much exactly you will save with a Copenhagen Card, check out this calculator. You can select all the attractions you are planning to visit, then choose the card you are planning to buy, and it will calculate how much money you will – or not – save.
To get the most out of your Copenhagen Card, you can activate your card right before using it. Also, avoid activating it on a Monday as most of the museums are closed. Additionally, you don’t have to get the card for the duration of your trip. You can get the 24-hour or 48-hour card and plan all your visits and activities within that time frame. If you purchase the 24-hour card and visit three attractions plus transportation, you will get your money’s worth.
You can pick up your Copenhagen Card at the airport or purchase in advance here – make sure to print out the voucher to pick up your card at one these locations:
Copenhagen Airport Service Information (Terminal 3)
Copenhagen Info - Copenhagen Central Station
Copenhagen Visitor Service
Tivoli Box Office
If you are not planning to visit that many museums or attraction, but still want to enjoy the benefit of hopping on and off buses and metros, you can get a City Pass – it gives you unlimited access to all the transportation in central Copenhagen from Zone 1-4 including to and from the airport. You can pick up yours at any ticket machine located in all the metro stations. They are also more affordable than the Copenhagen card. On my last trip to Copenhagen, I opted for the City Pass instead of the Copenhagen card.
24-Hour 80 DKK
48-Hour 150 DKK
2 Days in Copenhagen Itinerary
8 Fun Things to do in Copenhagen
Whether you visit for two days or a week, there are plenty of fun things to do in Copenhagen.
1. Visit one – or many – of Copenhagen’s famous palaces
There are several palaces and castles in Copenhagen and nearby areas, but you have to add at least one to your list of things to do in Copenhagen. One of the most famous palaces is the Rosenborg Palace located right in the heart of the city. If you love the royals, you should also check out the Christiansborg Palace. If you are up for a day trip from Copenhagen, you should check out Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød. The castle is the largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia and comes with an equally impressive garden. To get there from Copenhagen, take the S-train (S-Tog) line A to Hillerød station (about 40 minutes.) From the station, it’s a 15-minute walk to the castle.
2. Enjoy the hip and cozy coffee shops in Copenhagen
With so many activities in Copenhagen, It's easy to lose track of time. But make sure to add a break to your Copenhagen itinerary and check out some coffee shops – you won’t be disappointed. Locals take their coffee very seriously, so you are assured great atmosphere, hip décor, and flavorful coffee at most locations. It doesn’t hurt that many serve delicious bites and baked goods. Here are seven coffee shops in Copenhagen you cannot miss.
Democratic Coffee – I stumbled upon Democratic Coffee by accident when I was walking around. The smell of coffee and the sight of baked goods will have you drooling on the spot. With latte and pastry in hand, I made my way to the canal and sat on one of the benches to enjoy the view.
Mad & Kaffe - This place is more than just a coffee shop. It serves delicious - and photogenic – breakfast that has locals and visitors lining up for their food. Grab a menu and pick 3-7 small dishes to make up your breakfast board. They also serve lunch and dinner.
Sonny - Sonny coffee shop is one those place where you walk in for coffee but stay for the food. Their stylish crowd, hip décor, and the Sunny avocado – very fancy avocado toast – will have you coming back for more.
The Coffee Collective Bernikow - The Coffee Collective is an institution in Copenhagen. If you are in the city center, check out the Bernikow location - great coffee assured.
Andersen & Maillard - In need of coffee and pastry, check out Andersen & Maillard. Known for its excellent coffee and mouthwatering croissants, coffee snobs won’t be disappointed here. It also offers a cozy atmosphere for those looking for more than just great coffee sip.
CUB Coffee Bar Boldhusgade - The minimalistic coffee shop offers no fuzz, but simply good coffee. The café, located in a building basement, is quiet and perfect to catch up on some reading or work.
Kompa'9 - offers organic coffee, delicious food, and cozy atmosphere – perfect if you need to catch up on work or reading. It’s also a great place to grab breakfast in a family room setting. They also have a wood-burning stove! It can’t get cozier than that.
3. Try a New Nordic restaurant in Copenhagen
New Nordic cuisine has gained international appeal thanks to world-renown restaurant Noma, which catapulted the New Nordic cuisine and put Copenhagen in the culinary map. So what’s New Nordic? A culinary movement spearheaded by René Redzepi (the chef behind noma) and his business partner Claus Meyer. It’s characterized by local ingredients in combination with traditional foods, prepared in new ways, and with a commitment to sustainability. Trying one of these restaurants carries the same weight as any other cultural experience - and as a foodie, this is a must on your Copenhagen itinerary.
Note: Price Range goes from the restaurant’s basic set menu (the lowest price) to their high-end wine pairing (highest price.) Your total will vary depending on the courses you select and beverages. If you are not a wine drinker, your total will be around the lower end of the range.
$385 - $538
noma, the restaurant that started a new style of cuisine – New Nordic. Dining at noma is a bucket list experience for many foodies. After all, this is the restaurant that consistently ranked on the top 5 on the World 50 Best Restaurants, and as No. 1 for several years in a row. Their round of reservations usually sells out within 24 hours – getting a table here is a mission. Although this is more of a bucket-list restaurant, I couldn’t talk about New Nordic cuisine without mentioning the restaurant that started it all.
noma recently went under transformation and emerged once again with full force – noma 2.0. The new location is a feast for the eyes for those who appreciate Scandinavian design. Chef René Redzepi has taken the restaurant in a different direction by focusing more on seasonal ingredients – Seafood Season, Vegetable Season, and Game & Forest Season.
To read about my experience dining at noma, click here.
$75 - $242
The unassuming restaurant, Relae, located in the hip area of Norrebø district in Copenhagen, boasts a Michelin Star and the title of Top 100 Restaurants in the World. Relae focuses on sustainability and “simple but delicious fare.” The chef behind one of the top restaurants in Copenhagen, Christian Puglisi, Italo-Norwegian raised in Denmark, was profoundly influenced by René Redzepi during his time at Noma as his sous chef. Parting from the fine-dining model, Puglisi wanted a more accessible and simplistic approach that focused on food.
To read about my dining experience at Relae, click here.
$53 - $118
PONY offers a more affordable and straightforward approachable to dining. If you are looking to try New Nordic cuisine without the fuss, this is the place. You have the option to order à la Carte or go for the four-course menu.
$299 - $483
This two Michelin-starred restaurant offers a seasonal menu inspired by specialties from Bornholm, an island in the Baltic Ocean. Some of the ingredients are foraged from Bornholm, which are then pickled for preservation. Many of the dishes present an element of fermentation and freshness, a union that the chefs have mastered. Although located in the heart of Copenhagen, the restaurant is an ode to the Bornholm Island. The restaurant offers a 20-course set menu with wine or juice pairing.
$384 - $2380
Photos by: Claes Bech Poulsen
The restaurant that’s giving noma a run for its money, Geranium was recently awarded its third Michelin Star, and it’s currently sitting at No. 19 on the World 50 Best Restaurants. As you make your way to the restaurant, you may not be too impressed to find out its location, but you will surely be impressed by the dishes’ flavors and presentation.
$53 - $138
Known for its quality food and award-winning décor, Höst serves “affordable” – this is Copenhagen after all - fine New Nordic cuisine. Located in the heart of Copenhagen in a myriad of good food, Höst still manages to stand out.
$75 - $176
No. 2 offers an uncompromising approach to raw ingredients, served in a no-frills Nordic style setting on the quayside overlooking the Black Diamond.
$45 - $100
Dine in a lush greenhouse-like restaurant in the heart of Copenhagen. Although the menu is vegetable and herbs heavy, it doesn’t’ mean you won’t enjoy a great steak or fresh seafood here. You can order the three-course set menu or à la Carte.
Tip: When dining in Copenhagen, I highly recommend making reservations, especially at these restaurants. I made the mistake of showing up at restaurants in Copenhagen without reservations only to be turned back or met with long lines.
4. Take a stroll at the Nyhavn
The Nyhavn is arguably the most iconic sight in the Danish capital and therefore a must in your Copenhagen itinerary. You can go on a stroll, take a few – or a lot – of photos, or go on a canal boat tour. From the boat tour you will see the Black Diamond and the Little Mermaid statue – Have the Copenhagen Card? It’s free! Visiting Nyhavn is one of those Copenhagen activities that you will most likely do every time you visit the city no matter how many times you have already been.
5. Admire the Black Diamond
Ah – Danish architecture! The Black Diamond is a waterfront, angled, black granite landmark that not only serves as a library but a meeting place to enjoy art exhibits, concerts, and international discussion boards. The library is indeed one of the pride and joy of Copenhagen! I could easily spend an afternoon there admiring the design sitting by the deck overlooking the harbor – on a sunny day you will see locals reading by the dock.
6. Check out Copenhagen street food
An open industrial space along the water, Reffen has become the go-to spot for casual eating in the city. With more than 50 stalls of food and drink, there’s no shortage of options for you to choose from. Come with an appetite and leave fully satisfied. To get there, take the bus 9A or the harbor busses 991 or 992.
Note: Reffen serves as the replacement for the now closed Papirøen.
The Broens Gadekøkken, although not as big as Reffen, you will still find a melting pot – literally and figurative - of delicious food. It also offers coffee and a great atmosphere for you to mingle with the locals.
If you visit during the wintertime, you will sadly miss the street food markets as they close for the season.
7. Go on a bike tour
Bike culture in Copenhagen is engrained in their blood. Locals bike everywhere from grocery shopping to dropping kids at school. Just the sight of bike everywhere is a telltale. So what better way to experience Copenhagen life than by going on a bike tour? these tours to book yours.
Book your biking tour
8. Extra days? Go on a day trips from Copenhagen
Go on day trips from Copenhagen! Fun things to do in Copenhagen are not limited to the city border. Hope on a train, ferry, or car and check out these nearby towns and attractions.
Copenhagen day trips to:
Visit the Swedish town of Malmö – Sweden’s third biggest city. Make sure to check out the Old Town, the many parks, and the eclectic culinary scene.
How to get to Malmö from Copenhagen
Malmö is only 35 minutes away by train. You can take the train from the central station or the airport Kastrup station.
Tip: Crossing the country’s border to Sweden will require you to show your passport, so make sure to keep it handy on your day trip to Malmö.
Visit the vibrant old port and check out the fisherman town. Depending on the time of the year, Dragør offers different experiences – from Halloween in October to Dragør Market in the early summer, to the Christmas market in December. For a full list of their annual event, check out this website.
How to get to Dragør from Copenhagen
Take the bus line 350S from Christianshavn St. (Torvegade) towards Dragør Skole (Vestgrønningen) it’s about a 30-minute ride. If you are feeling Copenhagen’s bike culture, Dragør is close enough for you to rent a bike and ride there – it’s only 9 miles away.
Visit the birthplace of Hans Andersen! Odense is full of charming cobblestone streets lined with pastel-color timbered houses, rich history, and fun activities. Check out their Latin Quarter or - for something completely different, Fruens Bøge. And for the foodies, check out their street food markets. For a full list of activities, check out this site.
How to get to Odense from Copenhagen
You can take the bus or train to get to Odense from Copenhagen. The fastest way to get there is by train- about 1:35 hours. Take the DSB ((the Danish national rail company) IC (InterCity) train from the central station København H to Odense St. If you are on a budget, you can take the bus - about 2 hours and operated by FlixBus - towards Aarhus.
Where to stay in Copenhagen
The best area to stay in Copenhagen, in my opinion, is Vesterbro. It’s conveniently located next to the city center – away from the crowd - but still conveniently close. It’s also the area where you will find the central station København H. Vesterbro is also the hippest area, and you will find many great restaurants and cafes here. Nørrebro is also a great option, as it has become one of the most popular districts in Copenhagen.
Find a hotel
Why I love Copenhagen
One of the things I love the most about Copenhagen is the people. I love how they gather in random areas for a drink or to hang out. They exude a friendly yet cool vibe at all times. Not only is the community approachable, but also the transportation system is functional, environmental efforts are proactive, gastronomy is diverse and infallible, and the overall city design is cutting-edge. No wonder it’s undoubtedly become one of the best cities in the world to live in!
When I fall in love with a city, I don’t fall in love with their alluring touristy attractions. I fall in love with their design, their people, their food, their substance, their culture…Simply, their way of life.
I hope I’ve painted a clear glimpse of why Denmark is named one of the happiest places on Earth.
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