One day in Copenhagen Denmark

How to Spend One Amazing Day in Copenhagen

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Written for 24 Hour City Guides by Dean & Laynni

Overview

Copenhagen is an alluring city which has perfected the art of mixing old world charm with cutting edge cool. This eclectic city is large enough to house world-class attractions, architecture and museums yet compact enough for Copenhagen to be the perfect 24 hour destination.  

When

  

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 D

Travel

Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup is the main international airport serving the city and located on the island of Amager, 8km south of Copenhagen city centre. Copenhagen airport is the third-busiest airport in Northern Europe, and the busiest for international travel in Scandinavia.

You have several options to get into the city centre from the Københavns airport;

  • Transfer – the quickest and most convenient option, you can book in advance with Intui Travel.
  • Taxi – grab a cab, which will cost you between €34 (250 DKK) and €47 (350 DKK) and takes 20 minutes to reach the city center.
  • Bus – Bus 5A runs every ten minutes and in 35 minutes will take you directly to Copenhagen City Hall Square, a three minute walk from our first hotel recommendation and a fifteen minute walk from our second choice of place to stay. Tickets cost €4.80 (36 DKK).
  • Train – get the train from Terminal 3 directly to Copenhagen Central Station, close to the Tivoli Gardens. It takes around 15 minutes and you will need a ticket for three zones, which costs  €4.80 (DKK 36).  It’s a 10 minute walk from here to our first choice of recommended accommodation and a 30 minute walk to our second.
  • Metro – get the M2 service directly to Kongens Nytorv in the heart of the old town and ten minutes from our second hotel choice. Tickets cost €4.80 (36 DKK).

     

Stay

Stay at the funky citizenM Copenhagen Radhuspladsen close to City Hall Square and the Tivoli Gardens. This well placed hotel has you in the centre of the city and well placed to explore all the areas you’ll want to visit. With laid-back, interesting and light public spaces and well thought-out rooms, this hotel is a top choice for 1 day in Copenhagen.

Our other top Copenhagen hotel pick is 71 Nyhavn Hotel, literally on the corner of the most famous Copenhagen street of them all, Nyhavn. Converted from two old warehouses on the waterfront, traditional Danish and modern Nordic style sit side-by-side and provide character and interest. Well placed for public transport, harbour sightseeing trips and the canals and cafes of Christianshavn, this is a great option if you want to stay in the old centre of Copenhagen.

See & Do

 if you follow our one day Copenhagen itinerary and travel guide.

Morning

Walk Along Nyhavn

 

Copenhagen early morning visit to Nyhavn
The colourful houses of Nyhavn | Photo by KavalenkavaVolha for Getty Images

Head to Freetown Christiania​

 

 

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On your way to Rundetaarn, you’ll pass the Danish seat of power, Christiansborg Palace, which is actually on the tiny island of Slotsholmen, right in the middle of the city.

Climb Rundetaarn

 There are excellent views of the city in all directions from the top.

Watch the Changing of the Guard

  

Afternoon

Wander the Old Town

  

Consider a walking or bike tour of the city with a local guide, to see all the Copenhagen top sights and learn about the city’s history. If you want to see the best places to visit in Copenhagen in a day, tours like this are ideal.

City skyline showing all the points of interest in Copenhagen
The Copenhagen skyline | Photo by Sean Pavone for Getty Images

Visit Rosenborg Castle

   

See The Little Mermaid

 

Evening

Visit Tivoli Gardens

Opened in 1843, the famous gardens were supposedly the inspiration for Disneyland.

Visit in the evening for a magical night at the funfair. Packed full of history and charm, you’ll find all the usual rides, stalls and eateries here, including a 100 year old wooden rollercoaster. After sunset, the fairy lights, lanterns and soft-glow bulbs turn on, lending an ethereal beauty to the setting.

The gardens are open until 10pm daily. Unlike the major amusements parks, queuing is not usually a problem although you will need to book in advance for busy times like Christmas and Halloween.

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Tivoli is closed for around fourteen weeks every year, so if it’s top of your Copenhagen must do list, check for seasonal opening dates before booking your trip.

One night in Copenhagen what to do? Visit Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens at night | Photo by Tivoli Gardens

Eat

Lunch at Cafe Gammel Torv

ugbrød (rye bread) or  

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Dinner at Refshaleoen

   

Top Five Copenhagen Tips

  1. Hygge is definitely a thing. With no direct translation, hygge is a state of comfort, relaxation, and peace with the ones around you. Visiting Copenhagen in winter makes for the best hygge experience, with log fires in hotels, candle-lit bars and twinkling fairy lights festooning the streets and squares of the old town.
  2. Copenhagen is an expensive city to visit. Plan your trip carefully and only buy a Copenhagen Card if you know you’ll get your money’s worth from it.
  3. Head for the design store Illums Bolighus for the best buys in Danish interiors. Remember that you have a luggage allowance before you get sucked into the Scandi vibe of this very cool store.

Do you have just a little longer to spend in Copenhagen?

 If you have two days in Copenhagen or an extra half a day in Copenhagen, check out these attractions;

  • One of Denmark’s most famous churches, the Church of Our Savior was finished in 1752 and has attracts 60,000 visitors a year who climb the 400 steps to the top of the steeple, which stands 82m tall.
  • Take a day trip to Malmo in Sweden and see two countries in one day. Across the amazing Oresund Bridge, Sweden’s third largest city brims with life and energy and a healthy love for the outdoors. 
  • Visit Carlsberg. The fifth largest brewing company in the world, their first brewery was opened in Copenhagen in 1847 and is now a fun and interactive museum.
  • Learn about Danish culture at the National Museum of Denmark. Also a great place to visit on a rainy day! 

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