Amazing Copenhagen 3 Day Itinerary

Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is a vibrant and charming city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modernity. It’s one of the coolest cities I’ve visited in Europe, and the “hygge” lifestyle, which encapsulates coziness, comfort, and a sense of well-being, will draw you in. Here’s my Copenhagen 3-day itinerary.

In this Copenhagen itinerary, we’ll discuss the must-do things for three days there, ways to enjoy the warm and inviting atmosphere in the city’s cafes, restaurants, and shops, and some alternatives sprinkled throughout in case you fancy something different. You’ll find tons of information in the Copenhagen 3 day itinerary to enjoy your trip!

Table of Contents

Tips for Visiting Copenhagen

Before a trip to Denmark, there are a few good things you should know! Here are some practical tips for visiting Copenhagen to make the most of your trip.

    1. Currency and Payment: The currency in Denmark is the Danish Krone (DKK). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller transactions.
    2. Transportation: Copenhagen has an excellent public transportation system, including buses, trains, and the metro. Consider purchasing a Copenhagen Card for unlimited travel on public transportation and free admission to many attractions. Biking is a popular and convenient way to explore the city. You can rent bikes at various locations.
    3. Weather Considerations: Copenhagen experiences a temperate oceanic climate, so be prepared for variable weather, including rain. In the winter, temperatures can get relatively low, and weather can change rapidly from sunny to rainy or snowy.
    4. Language: Danish is the official language, but English is widely spoken, and you’ll find that most people, especially in tourist areas, can communicate in English.
    5. Copenhagen Card: As mentioned when talking about hotels, Denmark is relatively pricey. Each museum, castle, etc, is likely above $15-20 USD. Consider purchasing a Copenhagen Card, which offers free entry to many museums and attractions and unlimited public transportation.
    6. Respectful Cycling: If you’re biking, be aware of the local cycling etiquette. Stay in designated bike lanes, use hand signals, and lock your bike securely when parked.
    7. Dining Etiquette: It’s customary to tip around 10% in restaurants, but service charges are often included in the bill. Check before leaving an additional tip.
    8. Safety: Denmark is rated as one of the safest countries in the world (according to the Global Peace Index), so Copenhagen is generally a safe city. However, it’s always wise to take common-sense precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas.
    9. Time Your Visit: Consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) for milder weather and fewer crowds. I visited in winter and really loved it! No crowds and very calm vibes.

Where to Stay in Copenhagen

There are many different areas where you can stay in Copenhagen. It’s a pretty safe and small city (Denmark is rated as one of the safest countries in the world), so as long as you choose somewhere on public transit, you’ll probably be good! Below are a few places and areas I’d recommend, ranging from budget to luxury.

Generally, I found accommodations in Copenhagen more expensive than in other European cities I’ve visited. Actually, everything is a little more pricy there! Just keep that in mind when looking at hotels!

    1. CityHub: Located just over the border of Fredericksborg, west of downtown, CityHub is a budget-friendly hotel with some perks. There’s a sauna and a self-service bar, and the dorms are futuristic-looking (and comfortable) pods.
    2. Zoku Copenhagen: While they target business travelers and longer-term stays, I stayed here for my trip and loved it! It’s a great spot for solo travelers because they often host events and ways for people to connect to each other. It is between the airport (20 minutes by train) and Copenhagen city center (10 minutes by train). The train is also less than a 5-minute walk away. Truly ideal! Read my full hotel review.
    3. Hotel Bethel: Located in the city center, on the canal of Indre By, Bethel comprises three different historic buildings. Some rooms have stunning views of the canal. Most things are very walkable (less than 15 minutes walking) from here that you’d want to do on a trip, and you’ll be near the train too.
    4. Skt. Petri Hotel: Located in Copenhagen’s old Latin Quarter, this stylish hotel is just a 4-minute walk from the main shopping street, Strøget. Some rooms have a balcony or a terrace, and the surrounding area is full of shops, restaurants, and cafes. This hotel is beautiful!

PS I stayed at Zoku and found a deal for just $20 a night through Hopper! Here’s my link for an extra 10% off for new users.

Day 1

Explore Nyhavn

Nyhavn is Copenhagen’s most famous street, lined with colorful buildings and restaurants along the canal. The name “Nyhavn” translates to “New Harbor” in English. It’s renowned for its picturesque row of brightly colored buildings along the canal. The vibrant facades add to the area’s charm and make it a popular spot for photography.

If you want to visit this area without huge crowds, head there first thing on your trip. It gets very crowded later in the day (after 9 am), so it’s best to go before many other people are up and about! This is also where you’ll come back for the canal cruise, so if you aren’t worried about seeing it without crowds, you could go after breakfast.

Breakfast at Coffee Collective

Cafe culture is a big thing in Copenhagen! There’s a long-standing tradition of cafes and bakeries throughout Denmark, so I recommend you visit quite a few during the trip. I suggest starting off with Coffee Collective.

Just a few blocks from Nyhavn and with several competition awards in the bag, including gold in both the World Barista Championship and World Cup Tasting championships, the coffee here is fantastic. I also loved the courtyard!

Shop along Strøget

Strøget is a pedestrianized street that runs through the heart of Copenhagen’s city center. It’s within 5 minutes of Nyhavn and Coffee Collective. It has everything from fancy boutique design shops to mainstream stores. Enjoy walking through this area and maybe even buy a thing or two!

The street is often bustling with street performers, musicians, and entertainers, adding to the lively atmosphere. During the warmer months, outdoor cafes and restaurants set up tables along the street, providing opportunities for people-watching.

Canal Cruise

No Copenhagen itinerary (at least for first timers) is complete without a canal cruise. These boat tours provide a unique perspective of the colorful buildings, historic sites, and the city’s overall atmosphere. They last about an hour and will share with you the history and architectural secrets of Copenhagen.

Our guide during the cruise was pretty entertaining, and it gives you a chance to see the city from a different lens. Plus, it’s a great way to orient yourself and help you decide what to prioritize doing on your trip!

Canal Cruise Suggestions:

  1. Copenhagen: Canal Cruise from Nyhavn
  2. Included in Copenhagen City Card
  3.  

Smørrebrød: Lunch at Palægade

Smørrebrød is a must try while in Copenhagen. It’s an open-faced sandwich built on a thin layer of dense sourdough rye bread called rugbrød. The sandwich’s name comes from the words for butter (smør) and bread (brød). However, you’ll find many different varieties these days!

I grabbed two smørrebrød at Palægade. This is a popular spot for these sandwiches during lunch. One thing I didn’t realize is that almost the entire lunch menu is smørrebrød. It’s recommended to get two smørrebrød for lunch, and I’d suggest trying one traditional (with herring) and one non-traditional of your choice! The menu is quite different in the evening, so not a place for dinner if you want smørrebrød.

I would do this as an early lunch and ensure you have a reservation. I went in winter at 11:15 am, and most tables were full. You will also want plenty of time in the afternoon, and you can save space for an afternoon snack plus dinner!

Christianborg Palace

Christiansborg Palace is a multifunctional complex that houses the three branches of the Danish government: the Parliament (Folketinget), the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court.

The palace has a rich history of construction and reconstruction. The first palace on the site was built in the early 18th century, but fires led to subsequent rebuilds. The current structure was completed in 1928.

Christianborg was one of my favorite palaces on this trip (I also went to Vienna and Munich), and it is well worth a visit! A combination ticket gets you into the palace rooms, stable, kitchen, and ruins.

The palace is steeped in history, and the rooms are regal. The ruins below the palace are fascinating; you can see remnants of two previous castles. The stables house the current royal horses, and the museum displays the history of past kings and their horses. It’s well worth going to!

My favorite room was the library. It is absolutely stunning and feels like something out of a fairy tale. It’s a great way to spend your early afternoon!

  • October – April: Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 – 5:00 (closed Mondays)
  • May, June, and September: Monday to Sunday, 10:00 – 5:00
  • July and August: Monday to Sunday 10:00 – 6:00
  • Note: The ticket desk closes 30 minutes before closing hours above.
  • Cost: Adults DKK 175 (about $25 USD), Students DKK 155 (about $22 USD), Child under 18 Free
  • Included in Copenhagen City Card

Cheesecake at Bertel’s Salon

In the heart of Copenhagen, not far from Christianborg Palace, you will find a cheesecake heaven in the physical form of the trendy cheesecake cafe Bertels Salon. Bertels Salon is a relatively small place that offers various delicious cheesecakes! I loved the caramel pecan cheesecake I got and the relaxed, cozy vibe of this cafe.

Stopping in is the perfect pick me up!

Hang out in Christhavn

Christianshavn is characterized by its picturesque canals and waterfront areas. Stroll along the cobblestone streets and enjoy the scenic views of the canals lined with colorful buildings. You’ll also find the Church of our Savior here and some other cool spots, all unique experiences. I’ll tell you more about them below!

You may not have time to do all of these things, but I’m noting them all so you can choose what interests you most!

Christianshavn Canal

The Christianshavn Canal is a central waterway in the neighborhood. Explore boutiques, vintage shops, and local stores in Christianshavn. The neighborhood has a unique shopping scene with a mix of contemporary and traditional offerings.

It’s less crowded and still beautiful, so it’s fun to relax here! Since it was winter, I stopped in Lagkagehuset, a bakery and cafe, for tea and to admire the canal.

Church of Our Saviour

One of the most iconic landmarks in Christianshavn is the Church of Our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke). Climb to the top of the church tower for panoramic views of the city.

One thing I wasn’t clear on before visiting, though, is how steep the climb is. You will be going up very old stairs and even a few ladders. This is not something I recommend for people who are afraid of heights!

All entry is timed and must be purchased online. Even in winter, when I went, it was sold out for the next few hours, so definitely book/schedule in advance.

Freetown Christiania

Christianshavn is home to Freetown Christiania, an autonomous, self-governing neighborhood within the neighborhood. Known for its alternative lifestyle, street art, and unique atmosphere, Christiania is a must-visit for those interested in alternative culture.

I visited here and found it interesting, but this is not a must-do for me if you are in Copenhagen. I do think that its unique self-governing history and continued struggles make it worth noting here.

Copenhagen Opera House

Located on the island of Holmen, adjacent to Christianshavn, the Copenhagen Opera House is a modern architectural gem. Even if you don’t attend a performance, the building itself is worth admiring.

Dinner at Cafe Wilder

Café Wilder is one of the oldest and most charming cafés in Christianshavn. It is always packed with high-spirited regulars. The atmosphere is relaxed, multicultural, and multilingual.

The food served at Wilder is very good – most dishes draw inspiration from French and Italian cuisines – and Lars Helweg’s nude picture of Anita Ekberg is still here!

Café Wilder enjoys scenic architectural views. It is situated in a cobbled street surrounded by old warehouse buildings near the canals.

Day 2

Breakfast at Lagkagehuset

Lagkagehuset means “layer cake” in Danish, and it has several locations throughout Denmark, including its first location in Copenhagen! This bakery is a great place to start your day, grab a fresh-pressed juice, and relax before your second day of three days in Copenhagen.

Morning at a Museum

Copenhagen has a rich history and art scene catering to various interests. There are several different museums located in the same area that you’ll love! I will provide three options, depending on what you are most interested in. There are also two more castles in Copenhagen to visit if you choose to!

Art: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Founded by the Carlsberg brewery family, this museum houses an impressive ancient and modern art collection, including sculptures, paintings, and decorative arts. I loved this museum, and the beautiful atrium is just perfection.

  • Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10 am – 5 pm, Thursday 10 am – 9 pm, Monday closed
  • Cost: Adults 125 DKK (about $18 USD), Under 27/students with a valid Student ID 95 DKK (about $14 USD), Under 18 free admission, free on the last Wednesday of each month.

Included in Copenhagen City Card

History: National Museum of Denmark

This museum covers Danish cultural history, including artifacts from prehistoric times to the present. Exhibits showcase art, furniture, and artifacts from different periods.

  • April – October: Every day: 10-17
  • November – March: Tuesday-Sunday 10-17
  • Monday: closed
  • Cost: Adult DKK 95 (about $14 USD), Children under 18 free
  •  
  • Included in Copenhagen City Card

Design: Danish Architecture Center

Focusing on Danish and international design, this museum showcases a diverse range of objects, from furniture and ceramics to fashion and graphic design.

Hours: Monday – Sunday 10 am – 6 pm, Thursdays: 10 am – 9 pm

Cost: Adults 50 DKK (about $7 USD), under 18 free, students under 26 are 25 DKK (about $4 USD)

Included in Copenhagen City Card

Lunch at Cafe Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

If you visited the museum, consider grabbing lunch at the Ny Carlsberg Glytotek’s cafe! I loved this cafe, which offers lunch options such as soups, salads, sandwiches, and more. They were also really quick despite the long line.

Photo by Hasibe Salim on Unsplash

Option 1: Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is one of the world’s most famous and historic amusement parks. It is located in the heart of Copenhagen, Denmark, and is very close to all three of the museums listed above.

Tivoli Gardens opened its doors on August 15, 1843, making it one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. Its rich history and charming atmosphere contribute to its enduring popularity.

Tivoli offers a variety of amusement rides for visitors of all ages. From classic carousels and bumper cars to thrilling roller coasters, there is a range of attractions to suit different tastes and preferences.

If you visit between January and March, it may be closed, so if this is a must do for you, know that in advance of planning your trip!

They offer a variety of entry passes, some of them include unlimited rides and admission or just admission into the park to admire it and enjoy walking around. Make sure you choose the right ticket for you!

Single ride tickets can be purchased via the Tivoli app or by paying with a payment card directly at the ride.

  1. Ride Pass
  2. Entry
  3. Ride and Entry Pass
  4. Included in Copenhagen City Card

Option 2: Vintage Shopping Near University or Copenhagen

One thing to know about Copenhagen is that it has a flourishing vintage clothing scene. Vintage shopping in Copenhagen is easy, with some areas having many different vintage shops all close together. One area not far from the museums and Tivoli Gardens is the neighborhood surrounding the University of Copenhagen.

I was able to to stop in shop after shop here and find so many great vintage shops! A few I stopped in are PRAG Indre By, Decades, Episode, and Wasteland. There are a lot of great, curated vintage finds in this area!

Dinner in Copenhagen

Upscale: Rooftop Dinner and Drinks at Zoku

After a fun day exploring, head for a nice dinner with rooftop drinks at Zoku. They offer a modern, fresh take on cuisine that is delicious!

Casual: Sporvejen (Burgers)

Located near the University of Copenhagen and serving up delicious food, I really enjoyed eating at Sporvejen. The service was really friendly, and the food was great! Loved the view of the square and the outdoor heated seats, too.

Day 3

Breakfast at Buka Bakery

If you’re looking for a fantastic croissant, this is the place to get it! They also have amazing cinnamon rolls, buns, spandauer, and more. I had the pistachio croissant, which was seriously so good and not too sweet, which often happens when you have a pastry stuffed with cream.

This is a very popular spot with a small shop, so you will often find a line out the door here and very few seats inside. It’s easy to grab a pastry and coffee to go through!

Option 1: Amalianborg Palace

Amalianborg Palace is the current home of the Danish royal family. The palace complex has four buildings with a square in the center.

Here, you can visit the Amalienborg Museum, which offers insights into the life of the Danish royal family. Visitors can explore the palace rooms and learn about Amalienborg’s history.

This was my least favorite palace of the three I visited in Copenhagen, but coming to the courtyard is worth it, primarily because of the changing guard we will discuss below.

  • Hours: Hours vary, see website
  • Cost: Adults 90 DKK (about $13 USD), under 18 free, students under 26 are 60 DKK (about $9 USD)
  • You can also purchase a combined ticket for Amalianborg and Rosenborg at either palace for 215 DKK (about $31 USD), saves 30 DKK

Included in Copenhagen City Card

Option 2: Bike Tour

Not interested in another palace? Take a bike tour! Copenhagen is renowned for its bike-friendly infrastructure, and exploring the city on two wheels is a popular and eco-friendly way to experience its beauty.

Bike Tour Options:

  1. Copenhagen Highlights: 3-Hour Bike Tour
  2. Copenhagen: Guided Tour on Electric KickBike
  3. Copenhagen: 3-Hour Culinary Bike Tour

Visit Frederik’s Church

Frederik’s Church, also known as Frederiks Kirke in Danish, is commonly referred to as “The Marble Church” due to its construction using various types of marble. The dome, in particular, is made of Norwegian marble. It’s beautiful and well worth stopping in before heading to Amelianborg Palace.

One of the highlights while visiting is the opportunity to climb to the top of the church dome. From there, you can enjoy panoramic views of Copenhagen.

Do this either before or after the changing of the guard. They are right next to each other and depending on how you spend your morning, you want to make sure you are in the square at noon.

  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 am – 5 pm, Friday- Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm
  • Cost: Visiting the church is free. Tower tours cost DKK 35 for adults (about $5 USD) and DKK 20 for children under 18.

Changing of the Guard

One of the attractions at Amalienborg is the changing of the guard ceremony. The Royal Life Guards, a regiment of the Danish Army, guard the palace. While the guards change every hour, the big ceremony takes place at noon.

The parade and changing of the guard exist in several forms: the ‘royal guard,’ ‘lieutenant’s guard,’ and ‘palace guard.’ The royal guard is the most comprehensive and occurs when HM The King is in residence at Amalienborg.

This is particularly fun to see if the king is home because they bring out a huge marching band and play a 15-20 minute concert! The different flags indicate which members of the Royal Family are in residence at Amalienborg.

Look out for whether the Royal Standard, the Flag of the Heir to the Throne, the Flag of the Regent, or the Flag of the Royal House is flying above the black roofs of Amalienborg. If the Swallow-Tailed Flag is raised, none of the members of the Royal Family are in residence in the palaces at Amalienborg.

  • Hours: Noon daily
  • Cost: Free

Lunch Danish Hot Dog or Gasoline Grill

If you want to try another Danish classic, stop at a street food card for a Danish hot dog! They are affordable, come with many different toppings, and are delicious! Easy to grab quickly from a cart and continue the day, walking to your next stop.

If you want something a little more hearty, consider Gasoline Grill. There are seven locations in Denmark, and their excellent burgers are worth a try! This burger place was mentioned among the 27 Best Burgers in the World by Bloomberg and uses all organic beef.

Rosenborg Palace and Crown Jewels

Rosenborg Palace was constructed in 1606 by Christian IV, one of Denmark’s most famous kings. It was initially built as a summer residence and later transformed into a royal residence.

The palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens known as King’s Garden (Kongens Have). The gardens are open to the public and popular with locals and tourists alike.

Rosenborg Palace served various purposes throughout its history, including as a royal residence, a treasury, and a venue for the display of royal collections. I liked visiting this palace because many of the artifacts and rooms date much further back than Christianborg and Amalienborg. They give you an idea of what life for royals was like in the 1600s and 1700s.

One of the major attractions at Rosenborg Palace is the display of the Danish Crown Jewels, including the crown, orb, scepter, and other regalia. The Crown Jewels are housed in the Treasury, which is part of the castle. This is a must see!

  • Hours: Vary, see website
  • Cost: Adults 130 DKK (about $19 USD), under 18 free, students under 26 are 90 DKK (about $13 USD)
  • You can also purchase a combined ticket for Amalianborg and Rosenborg at either palace for 215 DKK (about $31 USD), which saves 30 DKK

Included in Copenhagen City Card

Round Tower

The Round Tower (Rundetårn) is a historic and iconic tower that has played a significant role in the city’s cultural and scientific life. Built by King Christian IV in the 17th century, it was completed in 1642. It was initially designed as an astronomical observatory, a university library, and a church.

Historically, the Round Tower played a crucial role in astronomical research. While modern observatories have taken over much of this function, the tower’s observatory remains a symbol of Copenhagen’s scientific heritage.

The Round Tower has an observatory at the top that provides panoramic views of Copenhagen. It has historically been used for astronomical observations, and today, visitors can enjoy breathtaking city views.

It’s not scary to climb, and it is all indoors. So, if you skipped on Church of Our Savior, no scaries here like that!

  • April-September: Open every day 10 am – 8 pm
  • October-March: Open every day 10 am – 6 pm, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10 am – 9 pm
  • Cost: Adults 40 DKK (about $6 USD), Children 5 – 15 10 DKK (about $1.50 USD)

Included in Copenhagen City Card

Dinner at a Food Hall

Dining at a food hall in Copenhagen is a fantastic way to experience a diverse range of culinary delights in a vibrant and communal atmosphere. Copenhagen is known for its food scene, and food halls offer a great opportunity to sample various dishes from different cuisines. Food halls are often cheaper, too, so it’s a win all around!

Summer: Reffen Street Food

Reffen is not just a food hall but also an urban area focusing on sustainability, creativity, and entrepreneurship. It’s situated in the vibrant Refshaleøen district and offers a variety of food stalls, bars, and food trucks. The diverse offerings include street food worldwide, and you can enjoy your meal in a unique and artsy environment.

Reffen opens in mid-March and stays open til early September. It stays open late until 10 pm or later.

Winter: TorvehallerneKBH

Torvehallerne is one of Copenhagen’s most renowned food halls in the heart of the city. It features over 80 stalls and shops offering a wide array of fresh produce, gourmet foods, and ready-to-eat meals. You can find everything from Danish smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) to international cuisine, coffee, and pastries.

It’s indoors and open year-round. Note that it closes most days around 7 pm.

Other Suggestions 

  • Frederiksborg Castle: Frederiksborg Castle (Frederiksborg Slot) is a stunning Renaissance palace in Hillerød, 40 kilometers north of Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s just a 45-minute train from downtown Copenhagen and is one of the country’s most significant and impressive castles. Included in Copenhagen City Card.
  • Day Trip to Malmo, Sweden: Copenhagen is a short ferry or train ride from Molmo, Sweden. The trip takes approximately 35-40 minutes.
  • Head to the Beach: Despite not being directly on the coast, it has some charming waterfront areas and beaches where locals and visitors can enjoy the sun and sea. The harbor has clean water to swim in, and locals and visitors love swimming in Copenhagen during the summer months!
  • Copenhot: Relax at Denmark’s most extensive outdoor spa, which features garden hot tubs, different saunas, and sailing hot tubs in the harbor.

Make the most of your trip with our comprehensive 3-day Copenhagen itinerary. Explore the city's highlights and embrace the hygge lifestyle.

Make the most of your trip with our comprehensive 3-day Copenhagen itinerary. Explore the city's highlights and embrace the hygge lifestyle.

I hope that this Copenhagen 3 day itinerary will help you plan your trip and have an amazing time while there. I loved Copenhagen and think it’s the perfect place for a solo trip or any kind of trip really!

Meghan

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