Travel Guide: Copenhagen in 48 hours

We love Scandinavian cities. Despite preferring the sunny Southern destinations, there is something about the atmosphere in a chilly city up North that we always enjoy. Copenhagen is no different.

Copenhagen Little Mermaid


A lot of water, wonderful architecture and some of the most quiet areas in a country’s capital we have ever visited. Don’t be mistaken though, as quiet and relaxed the days may seem, as vibrant is the nightlife!

With its compact size and excellent public transport – how convenient is that airport metro, it doesn’t even have a driver! – the city becomes your oyster! This accessibility allows you to cover a lot of the city’s attractions in a minimum amount of time, one thing we particularly like!

Therefore, this is how to spend 48 hours in Copenhagen to the fullest!

Copenhagen CanalCopenhagen towerCopenhagen architecture

The basics

  • Currency: Danish Krone (DKK)
  • Language: Danish
  • Airports: Copenhagen Airport Kastrup. Automated metro train from the terminal takes you to the city centre in 15 minutes.

Day 1

City Hall

Start your day at the Radhuspladsen and meet the statue of the person you will probably hear most about during your stay: H.C. Andersen. The famous Danish author best remembered for his fairy tales has streets named after him, statues all around the city, an own museum and countless of other displays that remember Copenhagen’s best known inhabitant.

Walk inside the city hall to discover its large hall with its long corridors. The public areas are accessible for free, however a small fee is required if you want to see the Astronomical Clock.

Nationalmuseet

There are quite a few museums in the neighbourhood of the city hall such as the Danish Design Centre and the Ny Carlsberg Glypothek, a museum displaying both ancient and modern art.

Copenhagen Nationalmuseet

However, our favourite is the Nationalmuseet. Denmark’s National Museum tells the history of Danish and foreign cultures alike, displaying unique exhibits from around the world. Especially the first section of the museum, covering the reindeer-hunters of the Ice Age to the Viking times was extremely well documented. The way the story is told makes it a genuinely interesting exhibit.

Christiansborg Slot

The beautiful courtyards and buildings of the former palace and current seat of the country’s parliament offer a great place to wander around on a sunny or – if you’re as lucky as us – a snowy day.

There are guided tours and many of the buildings can be accessed. Nevertheless, we prefer climbing the tower, offering an amazing 360 view from the highest point in the city.

Nyhavn

There are only few places more popular than Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s little harbour dating back to 17th century. A time when ships from all origins visited Nyhavn’s bars and girls, usually in that order.

Copenhagen Nyhavn harbourCopenhagen Nyhavn harbour Copenhagen Nyhavn harbour

Today, Nyhavn is a traveller hotspot filled with restaurants and touristic shops in the same colourful buildings that once served other purpose. We’re not so keen on having lunch at the harbour itself, but Café Oscar is only a short walk and a more decent lunch stop.

If you are looking for an alternative, don’t be afraid to cross the small pedestrian bridge Inderhavnsbroen, where we found a totally different area than the touristic Nyhavn. Small coffee places around street-art decorations and a sense of a local vibe. This might be a more peaceful option for having lunch.

Side note: we did not at all end up here by accident because I got disoriented and thought to have found a shorter way back. Sort of. Sometimes I force us to get lost so we can find cool different places.

Amalienborg

Walk past Frederikskirke – a glorious marble church – to the Amalienborg Palace, famous for its Royal Guard. You might not be able to make it but every day at noon, the changing of the guards take place. The guards then march from their Barracks through the streets of Copenhagen to the Amalienborg square.

Copenhagen Royal Guard

The Little Mermaid

One of Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attraction is definitely the sculpture of The Little Mermaid. Based on the well-known fairy tale, the small statue looks out over the water and is usually surrounded by tourists.

However not being so spectacular, you just can’t skip Copenhagen’s iconic statue.

After taking your mandatory selfie, make sure to walk back by the Kastellet fortress. This impeccably preserved military star fort is a great place to walk around and take pictures.

Tivoli in the evening

Head back to where you started your day to visit the Tivoli Gardens. This amusement park in the centre of the city is worth a visit, even if you are not a big fan of all the adrenaline-pumped rides.

The lightning extravaganza in the evening adds something special to the scene. Additionally, the various options to have a drink will get you in the right mood to explore Copenhagen’s nightlife!

Day 2

Islands Brygge

Islands Brygge might be something of a cult place, having loads of locals doing all sort of things in the summer. From swimming in the harbour – there is an actual dedicated area for “harbour swimming” – to barbecuing on the grass by the water. Or what about the many restaurants, bars and ice cream shops to keep you entertained!

Copenhagen Islands Brygge Copenhagen Islands Brygge

Though we strolled down the streets during Winter, the laidback atmosphere was clearly present. Catching some Winter sun was a clear objective of some Danes, as well as swimming in the ice-cold water.

Though tempting – or not – we chose a warmer option and had lunch in Café Alma, a young and vibrant restaurant that served us delightful fresh food in an awesome scene.

Rosenborg Slot

Apart from housing Denmark’s crown jewels and displaying the royal’s luxury, the Roseborg Slot also has an amazing garden that is certainly worth spending some time.

The castle is located next to the army barracks so if you time it right, you can see the guards marching to or from the Royal Palace for the changing of the guard ceremony.

Stroget

Even if you’re not a big shopping fan, the pedestrian street of Stroget and its surrounding area might be worth a bit of your time. Apart from the variety of shops – from budget-friendly chains over the mandatory tourist shops to exclusive design shops – the beautiful architecture and housing decorations guarantees that there is always plenty to see.

In one of the surrounding streets you will find the Madklubben Steak restaurant, a highly-recommended place we would have eaten every day if we could. Its excellent food, decent prices and modern interior quickly won our hearts. The personal, helpful approach by their staff made our experience here even more pleasant.

Conclusion

All our Copenhagen travel tips gathered on the map:

What we liked

  • However walking around a country’s capital, there are many places where you can enjoy a peaceful moment.
  • The large amount of parks and walking areas next to the water makes it a very enjoyable place during Summer.
  • The city is pretty compact which makes it easy to get around.

What we disliked

  • As with most Scandinavian countries, Copenhagen can get expensive.
  • With Copenhagen’s vibrant nightlife comes an amount of drunk people wandering through the streets. And with drunk we mean the totally wasted, falling over kind of drunk. And with nightlife we mean at 10PM on a Friday night.

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One thought on “Travel Guide: Copenhagen in 48 hours

  1. Honestly ashamed to say I lived in Malmo (across the bridge from Copenhagen) for half my life yet never explored Copenhagen. Lovely pictures and if I ever find myself in Scandinavia again I’ll have to check these places out!

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