Copenhagen: A whirlwind three-day itinerary

Thinking of a weekend getaway over Autumn? Then look no further than Copenhagen, a trendy, Scandinavian city filled with charm. Not only is the place incredibly clean and beautiful but its filled with a thriving community that have a mild obsession with coffee. And the food… the food takes culinary experiences to new levels with top of the range restaurants like Noma.

So if a short break in Copenhagen is what you’re after then read on for a whirlwind three-day itinerary.

Day 1:

Catch a flight early in the morning and once you’ve landed head to ‘Den Bla Planet’, Denmark’s national aquarium which also happens to be the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. Not only is the variety of marine life incredible but the exterior of the building is pretty impressive – the gigantic swirling, silver structure was built to resemble a whirlpool. It’s practically next door to the airport so it’s best to visit here first, you can just hop on the tube at the airport and it’s one stop down. You can also store your luggage whilst exploring the aquarium and grab some lunch at the cafe.

Next head to your accommodation to check in. Scandinavian countries can be expensive so you might want to think about staying in a hostel. If you’re looking for a recommendation check out Steel House Copenhagen. Having branded themselves as a ‘luxury hostel’ the New York-loft inspired building is based in one of the hippest parts of Copenhagen – Vesterbro. Complete with a gym, pool, bar, basement cinema and games room it’s got everything you need with a great atmosphere. On the downside the rooms are pod-sized so it’s probably not suitable if you’re looking for something a bit more upmarket but it’s perfect if you just need a base for exploring.

Once you’ve settled into your room head to Nyhavn, the iconic location pictured on every postcard ever made of Copenhagen. Imagine multi-coloured houses lining the edge of the canal with jazz music playing and a vibrant atmosphere. It’s incredibly, but wonderfully, touristy. You can grab a coffee at one of the many restaurants along the edge and spend hours people watching – don’t we all love to people watch? Alternatively take a canal trip from one of the many vendors dotted around the river. It’s a great way to see the city and famous sites like The Little Mermaid before grabbing dinner that evening and heading out for a few drinks.

Day 2:

Grab some sturdy shoes because it’s time to explore! First stop the Rundetaarn – a 17th century tower which provides expansive views of the city below. The climb is mostly up a gentle curling slope which makes it pretty easy and great for photo ops. Next, only a ten minute walk away, is Rosenborg Castle. I can’t vouch for the interior of the castle as we didn’t actually bother going in but I can say the grounds are stunning and a great place to wander and laze around. Once you’ve had your fill of the castle there’s the Botanical Gardens just across the road for all you plant junkies out there. All three sites are really easy to make your way around solo so don’t bother to book a tour – you’ll have much more fun going at your own pace.

TOP TIP: If you’re going to be visiting several places whilst in Copenhagen you should look at getting a Copenhagen card. You can buy a 24, 48 or 72-hour card which gives you access to a HUGE range of attractions (including all the ones in this article) and pretty much every form of transport except taxis around the city. You’ll save a ton of money.

After lunch you should spend some time browsing the shops. Scandinavian design is stunning and will give you some serious interior inspo. Then head to Tivoli Gardens… The amusement park is a historical gem in Copenhagen. It’s one of the oldest theme parks in the world having opened its gates in 1843. There’s a mixture of thrill-inducing rides for the adrenaline seekers, live entertainment including music and performances, restaurants and the gardens themselves which are beautiful. The best time to visit is just before dusk so you can experience the grounds during the day and also at night when the entire park is lit up in thousands of twinkling lights. Be aware though, your Copenhagen card will give you access to the park but rides are all extra and cost a small fortune.

Day 3:

On your final day you should spend the morning experiencing one of Copenhagen’s most loved inventions – Carlsberg beer. The factory was set up by J.C. Jacobsen in 1847 and you can learn all about its history on the tour ‘Visit Carlsberg‘. You can also pay extra to do a beer tasting and sample the seven (roughly) flavours – who knew there were so many!? You can easily spend a couple of hours wandering around but don’t bother exploring the surrounding town, there’s not much to see apart from the Elephant Gate which is good for a quick photo op.

Food-wise the Danes are renowned for their layered, laminated sweet treat – the Danish pastry – so if you haven’t already you should grab one for lunch. Then prepare yourself for a complete culture shock as you’re going to be heading to Christiania, a famous freetown that is the subject of lots of controversy.

In Christiania anything goes as they don’t have to abide by the rest of Copenhagen’s laws, they make their own. And one of them is that hash (weed) is completely legal. It’s probably for this reason that you’re not allowed to take pictures inside the town and if you try to you’re likely to get some stick for it. The area is a stark contrast to Copenhagen’s clean, minimal look and is instead filled with colour and quirkiness. With over 1000 inhabitants the town is like no other and worth a visit if you have time at the end of your trip.

Restaurant recommendations:

  • For fine dining – Noma or Höst
  • For middle range – Madklubben
  • For cheap and cheerful – DØP hotdogs

Check back next week for a video of my three day whirlwind tour of Copenhagen…


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