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2 Days in Copenhagen: Itinerary and Travel Guide

Colourful buildings in Nyhavn harbour Copenhagen

Planning a visit to Denmark’s capital? Don’t miss the highlights, with this two day Copenhagen itinerary and travel guide!

Regularly crowned one of the happiest cities in Europe, Copenhagen is a small city that feels friendly and cosy. The cobbled streets and neoclassical architecture blends seamlessly with more modern developments; and being environmentally friendly is an important element of Copenhagen’s development.

As a result, it’s a charming and lively place to visit, effortlessly combining contemporary culture with fascinating history. I fell in love with it when I visited, and hopefully you will too.

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Is two days in Copenhagen enough?

Copenhagen is a small city by European capital standards, but there’s lots to see and do. You could easily spend three days in Copenhagen or more, but if you’ve got limited time, two days is still enough time to pack in the city’s main attractions.

2 Days in Copenhagen Itinerary

This two-day Copenhagen itinerary covers the key highlights. Lots of these sights are free, with some paid museum and entry options.

You probably won’t have time to enter every paid attraction, so feel free to pick and choose the ones that appeal to you most! If you’re short on time or visiting Copenhagen on a budget, I’d consider the essential paid attractions to be Rundetaarn, Rosenberg Palace and Tivoli Gardens.

Day 1: Morning

Copenhagen Travel Tip: A great way to acquaint yourself with a new city is to take a walking tour – this one from Sandeman’s starts at 10.30am daily.

If you prefer to explore self-guided, here’s what to check out on the first morning of your two-day Copenhagen visit.

Nyhavn

Once you’ve had breakfast, head over to check out the 17th century waterfront and canal of Nyhavn! Get here early to beat the crowds and soak in the iconic views.

The most iconic spot in Copenhagen, the colourful houses that line Nyhavn’s waterfront are immediately recognisable from travel guides and Instagram posts. Built as an alternative to the existing port in 1673, renovation in the 1980s led to it becoming a tourist hotspot and entertainment district.

Along the stretch, you’ll find restaurants, bars and plenty of boats to check out. It’s also a departure point for many Copenhagen canal cruises, and home to Kunsthal Charlottenborg – a palace-turned-art-museum. (entry fee: 90DKK)

Colourful houses alongside the canal at Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Amalienborg

Dig into Copenhagen’s royal history at Amalienborg palace complex. Surrounding a central square, there are four main palaces. Two of the palaces are active homes for royals so you can’t go inside, but there’s a museum in Levetzau’s Palace.

Frederik VIII’s Palace (Brockdorff’s Palace) is the home of the current King, Frederik X, and Queen Mary.

Christian IX’s Palace (Schack’s Palace) is the home of Queen Margarethe II, who abdicated the throne in January 2024.

Christian VII’s Palace (Moltke’s Palace) was the most expensive of the four palaces, with grand Danish Rococo interiors.

Christian VIII’s Palace (Levetzau’s Palace) houses a museum that gives insight into royal life, including access to private chambers of former kings and queens.

You can also check out the exterior of the Det Gule Palæ – the ‘yellow palace’, the first example of Neoclassical architecture in Copenhagen.

Museum Opening Hours: Usually from 10am-4pm but changes seasonally – see the website for exact opening hours for your visit.
Admission Fee: 125DKK

Frederik’s Church

Overlooking Amalienborg, Frederik’s Church is an 18th century Lutherian church, with the largest dome in Scandinavia. It’s free to go inside and check out the extravagant dome, intricate organ loft and striking stained glass.

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; Sunday 12.30-5pm
Admission Fee: Church entry is free, and entry to the Dome is 50DKK

Larsens Plads

Make your way through Amalienborg and Amaliehaven park, and take a stroll along Larsens Plads, a waterfront path with views across Hønsebroløbet canal.

On the other side, you’ll be able to see Copenhagen’s Opera House, opened in 2005, after a $500million build. Many locals aren’t the biggest fans of the architectural style, with much controversy over the glass front when it was built.

The Little Mermaid

Keep heading up along the waterfront, and you’ll see a crowd assembled at the edge of the canal. This is how you’ll know you’ve found The Little Mermaid, one of Europe’s most talked-about sculptures.

Based on the story by Danish author Hans Christian Anderson, the statue was unveiled in 1913 and has since become an iconic symbol of Copenhagen

Smaller than you’d expect, some deem this unassuming statue a bit of a letdown. Regardless, it’s worth ticking off your Copenhagen itinerary! 

Optional: The Genetically Modified Mermaid

If you fancy a walk a bit further along the waterfront, this is 10 minutes away from the original statue it’s based on, and pretty neat!

The Little Mermaid’s weirder little sister is a sculpture by Bjørn Nørgaard, made to criticise genetic augmentation. It’s part of a wider series of surreal sculptures in the surrounding area, known as the Genetically Modified Paradise.

Kastellet

This well-preserved star-shaped fortress was built in the 1600s, and played a key defensive role in the 1807 Battle of Copenhagen. Surrounded by grassy ramparts which offer harbour and city views, the site is still an active military area.

Despite this, it’s a peaceful place that serves as a public park and cultural heritage site. Buildings in the complex include a windmill, church, former prison, powder house and barracks.

Lunch in Frederiksstaden

If you’ve worked up an appetite, head back towards the city centre via Store Kongensgade, the longest street in central Copenhagen. In the surrounding area, you’ll find plenty of options for lunch including:

Fabro (£) – affordable pasta dishes starting at 65DKK
Distrikt Tonkin (£) – great value Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches
Gasoline Grill (£) – well-known Copenhagen burger chain
Ibens Smørrebrød (££-£££) – a great place to try this Danish open sandwich (closed weekends)

Budget travel tip: If you’re looking for real cheap eats in Copenhagen, head straight towards Rundetaan and check out the street food vendors outside!


Day 1: Afternoon

Rundetaarn (Round Tower)

Copenhagen’s ‘round tower’ is basically exactly what it says it is. Built in the 17th century, the spiral ramp at the centre leads upwards to the oldest working observatory in Europe. The top of the tower offers 360 degree views of Copenhagen, and on a clear day you can even see as far as Sweden.

Opening Hours: Apr-Sept 10am-8pm daily; Oct-Mar 10am-6pm
Admission Fee: 40DKK. Pay on the door, or book online.

Christiansborg Palace

Home to the Danish Parliament and Supreme Court since the early 1800s, Christiansborg Palace is the only building in the world that houses all three of a country’s key governmental powers.

The current palace was completed in 1928, the last in a series of castles and palaces on the site since 1167. The architecture is a mix of baroque and neoclassical styles, with a chapel that dates back to 1826.

Although it’s still a working government building, parts of the palace are open to the public, including the Royal Reception Rooms.

Opening Hours: 10am-5pm
Admission Fee: 125DKK book in advance online

Copenhagen City Hall

For your final stop of the day, swing by Copenhagen City Hall. It closes early, but it’s still worth checking out the impressive exterior and bustling city square. It’s also very close to your evening activity…

Copenhagen City Hall


Day 1: Evening – Tivoli Gardens

(seasonal opening only – outside of these times, check out the section below on what to do at night in Copenhagen!)

When you’ve only got two days in Copenhagen, the evening is a great time to check out Tivoli Gardens, Denmark’s most-visited amusement park. If you don’t like rides, you can purchase an entrance only ticket, which gives you access to the grounds. There are plenty of food and drink options on offer at the Tivoli Food Hall.

If you’re visiting off-season when Tivoli Gardens isn’t open, check out the section below on things to do during the evening in Copenhagen.

Tivoli Gardens is a city amusement park in Copenhagen, combining attractions and entertainment with charming landscaped gardens and 19th century buildings. It’s great to visit at any time of day, but is especially lively in the evenings.

The park’s beautifully decorated traditional fairground rides include a ferris wheel, carousel and fun house. Thrill seekers can ride The Demon, a multi-looping roller coaster; or drop from the Golden Tower. Villa Vendetta is a spooky haunted house, or for something much more sedate, take a relaxing ride around the gardens in the Trolley Car.

Copenhagen Travel Tip: Tivoli Gardens is only open at certain times of the year (summer, Halloween and Christmas). If it’s a must-see for you, make sure you check opening dates before you book your two-day Copenhagen break!

Opening Hours: 11am-10pm (open until midnight on Friday and Saturday)
Admission Fee: 140-160DKK (entrance only, no access to rides); 419-459DKK (entrance + ride pass). Advance booking available online.


Day 2: Morning

This morning is all about peaceful green spaces and a fairytale castle!

Rosenberg Castle

A fairytale castle in the middle of a city? Copenhagen’s got it. Perched between the Botanical Gardens and the King’s Garden, Rosenberg Castle is a Dutch Renaissance palace built in 1606. It was built to be a summer house for Christian IV, and houses some of Denmark’s most important treasures – including the crown jewels.

Opening Hours: 10am-5pm
Admission Fee: 140DKK (u18s free, students 90DKK)

Botanical Gardens

Denmark’s largest collection of living plants is a public garden filled with rare trees, shrubs and plants. Within the 10-hectares of green space, you’ll find more than 13,000 species of plants from Denmark and beyond.

The spectacular Palm House is an enormous 19th century glasshouse that maintains tropical conditions for exotic plants. The Botanical Gardens also house the Danish Natural History Museum, a small museum with limited exhibits. 

Opening Hours: 8.30am-6pm (4pm in winter)
Admission Fee: 115DKK (museum & palm house) 70DKK (palm house only)

Lunch in the City Centre

Around a 15-minute walk from the Botanical Gardens, you’ll find Café Flottenheimer, one of my favourite places I ate at in Copenhagen! Expect laid back, unfussy dining including sandwiches, salads, burgers and quesadillas.

If you’re unable to get a table or fancy something different, there are plenty of restaurants in the area including:

Din Nye Ven (££) – cosy café serving affordable smørrebrød.
Fiammi (££) – quick and easy casual pizza spot
Cafe Gammeltorv (£££) – Curated Danish cuisine from the sea, countryside & garden


Day 2: Afternoon

Freetown Christiana

The autonomous district of Freetown Christiana in Copenhagen is an intentional community and commune. Established in the early 1970s on a former military base, the intention was to create a self-governed and self-sustaining independent community. The district has its own rules and regulations that residents and visitors must adhere to, including no private cars, weapons or violence.

Today, up to 1000 residents live in Christiania. It’s an eco-friendly place, and full of creativity, with lots of street art, bars and cafes. It’s such a unique and fascinating community, well worth a visit if you’re visiting Copenhagen.

Canal Cruise Tour

Once you’ve finished up in Freetown Christiana, head back to Nyhavn to finish off your sightseeing from a different perspective!

The cosy and charming canals and harbours throughout the city are an integral part of Copenhagen’s unique character. Exploring from the water is a great way to take in some final views of the city, and the views are especially beautiful as the sun begins to set.

This one hour canal cruise runs every 45 minutes until the last departure at 7pm.


Day 2: Evening

Back on dry land, it’s free choice for dinner (if you’re stuck, check out some options below!). For your final evening in Copenhagen, check out some of these night time activities for all interests and budgets:

Things to do in Copenhagen at night

Visit the Meatpacking District

Kødbyen, also known as Copenhagen’s meatpacking district, is a nightlife hotspot filled with trendy, industrial-chic bars and restaurants.

Mother serves top-tier sourdough pizza, and Tommi’s Burger Joint delivers messy, delicious burgers for an affordable price. Enjoy freshly tapped beers at ÅBEN Brewery, speakeasy cocktails at Curfew, or live music and DJs at Halmtorvet 9.

Enjoy a show or gig

Copenhagen has a thriving arts scene including the Royal Danish Opera House and Royal Danish Playhouse, Det Ny Teater and Bellevue Theatre.

More into live music? Check out Spillestedet Stengade (rock, punk, indie, alternative), Drop Inn (rock, soul, blues), or Culture Box (electronic).

Copenhagen Ghost Tour

Embrace the spooky side of the Danish capital with a spooky Copenhagen ghost tour! Uncover the secrets lurking beneath Copenhagen’s cheerful exterior, and hear tales of epidemics and disasters throughout the city’s history.

Budget Travel Tip: To save some cash, you could also book a self-guided audio tour.

Savour a delicious meal

Copenhagen has a fantastic foodie scene, with 15 Michelin Star restaurants. Whatever your budget, there are eateries to suit all tastes. Here’s a selection of more upmarket dining spots for a special last meal in Copenhagen:

Omar (£££) – cosy and intimate spot serving small plates. For 385DKK per person, you can let the chef choose a tasting menu of eight dishes.

Sanchez (£££) – contemporary Mexican dishes made to be shared

Høst (££££) – A more affordable fine dining option than the big-name establishments, with three- and five- course menu options.

Noma (£££££) – Voted the world’s best restaurant in 2021, if you can get a table and have around £700 to spare, you’ll be treated to an unrivalled gastronomic experience.

Got extra time in Copenhagen? Discover more of the city’s food scene with a Copenhagen food tour!


Copenhagen Travel Guide

Language: Danish, with English widely spoken well

Currency: Danish Krone (DKK). Most places accept card payment, and ATMs are easy to come by.

Weather: Mild – similar to the UK, although slightly colder year-round.

Time Zone: GMT+2

Emergency number: 112

When is the best time to visit Copenhagen?

Late spring and summer (April-August) is a great time to visit Copenhagen. With lots to do outdoors, Copenhagen truly comes to life on sunny days. The weather in Copenhagen is similar to the UK, although on average it’s a couple of degrees colder year round.

However, if you’re looking for a slightly cheaper time to visit, spring and autumn is a good time to book. The city is less crowded at this time. I visited in November, and although I definitely felt the cold, it was nothing a pair of thermals and a coat couldn’t handle.

How to get to Copenhagen

Copenhagen Airport is the city’s international airport. From the UK, British Airways, EasyJet and RyanAir operate flights to Copenhagen.

The airport is just 8km from the city centre, and the train to Copenhagen Central Station takes just 15 minutes. The trains run every 10 minutes during the day, every 20 minutes in the evening, and around every hour at night. It costs 33DKK for a one-way trip (around €4.20).

If you’re looking to get a taxi directly to your hotel, expect to pay somewhere around 140-220DKK (€18-30) depending on hotel location.

Getting around Copenhagen

Thanks to the compact size of its inner city, Copenhagen is a very walkable city.

The city also has a metro with four lines, and local bus services. If you’re travelling within Zone 2 inside the city, a metro or bus ticket costs 24DKK (around €3.20)

Copenhagen is also a very popular city to cycle in, with almost 50% of the population using bikes as a main mode of transport. Find out more about renting a bike in Copenhagen.

Where to stay in Copenhagen

On my solo weekend in Copenhagen, I stayed at  Steel House Hostel (££) – a modern and comfortable hostel with dorms and private rooms. Read my full review here!

Copenhagen Downtown Hostel (££) – dorms and private rooms in a central location
City Hotel Nebo (££) – affordable rooms with shared or private bathroom options
Wakeup Copenhagen (££-£££) – cosy modern rooms close to Tivoli Gardens
CPH Hotel (£££) – simple Scandi-style hotel with pool and fitness centre
Hotel Skt Petri (££££) – sleek designer rooms with a lively central bar area
Manon Les Suites (£££££) – nature-inspired décor at this upmarket 5* hotel

The Copenhagen Card

Similar to many cities (such as the New York Pass), Copenhagen offers a City Card that includes entry to over 80 museums and attractions, as well as free transportation around the city centre.

A 24hr Copenhagen Card costs €66.88pp; and a 48hr Copenhagen Card costs €99.05pp.

Breaking down the cost of all the activities featured in this two day Copenhagen itinerary, is the Copenhagen Card worth getting?

Rosenborg Castle (140DKK)
Christiansborg Palace (125DKK)
Tivoli Gardens (entrance only – 140DKK)
Classic Canal Tour (109DKK)
Amalienborg (125DKK)
Botanical Garden (115DKK)

In total, individual entry to these attractions would cost you 754DKK (around €101). So if you’re planning on visiting all of these attractions, you’d save a couple of Euros with the Copenhagen Card.

Buy your Copenhagen Card here.

Many of the activities I’ve included in this itinerary are free, so if you’re only interested in soaking up the city’s vibes and perhaps visiting one or two paid attractions, it probably isn’t worth the money for just two days in Copenhagen.

Beyond Copenhagen

If you’re spending more than two days in Copenhagen and want to explore more of Denmark, why not take a day trip to Roskilde (Denmark’s old capital), the limestone cliffs of Møns Klint, or Malmö in Sweden?

Summary: Is it worth visiting Copenhagen for two days?

Absolutely. Copenhagen is a city that charmed its way easily into my heart. Clean, charming and full of fun things to do, you won’t get bored on your visit!

(Although I’d recommend you visit for three to four days if you can!)

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