How to Spend a Weekend in Copenhagen
Updated: Apr 24
We heard from a friend that Copenhagen was a fantastic city to explore, as it is quite compact and easy to navigate, so we decided to use it as the starting point for our ten-day trip around Scandinavia and we were not disappointed. The Danish capital is extremely picturesque, with incredible architecture, a place where the rustic charm of historic buildings sits in contrast with modern Scandinavian style. Its compact nature means Copenhagen's most impressive sights are easily accessible by foot or bicycle within the city centre, alternatively, the city can be explored via its highly efficient public transport network. Copenhagen is an ideal destination for a quick urban escape, so we compiled a list of some of the best places to explore in the city during a weekend getaway.
This location is probably at the top of every "must-see" list written about Copenhagen, but for good reason, the multi-coloured facades of the buildings paired with the white masts of the sailboats moored in the harbour really is a sight to be seen. There are numerous restaurants and cafes in the area, as well as a few places to shop. We were in Copenhagen during the colder month of October, which is the shoulder season, and therefore it was very quiet here until later in the day. From here you can jump on a canal boat and explore Copenhagen's waterways while taking in the city sights from a unique perspective.
Entrance Fee: Nyhavn is open to the public for free.
Opening Hours: The Nyhavn area is open to the public 24/7. Shop and restaurant operating hours will vary, with most establishments opening from 10:00 am until late.
Information: Visit Copenhagen website
Tips: Grab a morning coffee or late afternoon beer and watch the world go by, from one of the many cafes and restaurants along the quay.
2.) Amalienborg Palace
Amalienborg Palace was not originally on our itinerary; however, we decided to visit the complex as it was easily accessible from our hotel. The size and scope of the palace are impressive and if you stand in the middle of the main square you will get incredible 360° views across the coble stones towards the main palace buildings. The Amalienborg Museum is located on the palace grounds and is a great place to learn more about the Danish Royal family and the history of the area.
Entrance Fee: The palace square is open to the public for free. Entrance to the palace museum is DKK 95 for adults, DKK 65 for students, and free for children under 18. Free entry with the Copenhagen Card.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (hours may vary)
Tips: Try time your visit to witness the changing of the Danish Royal Guard, which happens in the palace square every day at midday.
3.) Church of Our Saviour
This imposing church was pointed out to us during our canal tour and judging from its spectacular exterior we knew we had to check it out. The magnificent church spire which was completed in 1762 stands at an impressive 90m tall and you can climb up its spiral staircase to be rewarded with incredible views across the city. With its impressive architecture and interesting history, the Church of Our Saviour is a fantastic place to observe Copenhagen from above.
Entrance Fee: The grounds and the church can be accessed for free, but if you want to climb up the spire you will need a ticket, adults are DKK 35, and children are DKK 10. Free entry with the Copenhagen Card.
Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (hours may vary)
Information: Visit Copenhagen
Tips: If you visit during lunchtime, the church will be less crowded, offering better opportunities for photography.
4.) Gammel Strand
Although not quite as colourful as Nyhavn, the Gammel Strand public square and canal harbour is a beautiful historic area. The area is filled with food vendors, restaurants, cafes, and cocktail bars, as well as an array of shopping outlets and boutique stores. Gammel strand is a great place to wander around and grab something to eat while taking in the vibrant culture of the Danish capital. Gammel Strand can easily be explored on foot and is undoubtedly a part of the city that should be experienced by all visitors to Copenhagen.
Entrance Fee: Gammel Strand is open to the public for free.
Opening Hours: The square is open 24/7. Shop and restaurant operating hours will vary, with most establishments opening from 10:00 am until late.
Information: Visit Copenhagen website
Tips: Jump on a canal boat departing from Gammel Strand, for a fantastic sightseeing tour of Copenhagens waterways.
5.) The National Gallery of Denmark
After spending the morning traversing Copenhagen on foot, we decided to escape the cold for an hour or so by visiting the National Gallery of Denmark, which proved to be a worthwhile detour. The gallery is well organized and impeccably curated and hosts a large collection of classic and modern art, which is displayed across several floors. There are lockers and storage facilities available for use while you look around, the gallery also has a small cafe and bookshop on site.
Entrance Fee: Adults cost DKK 120 and children are free. Free entry with the Copenhagen Card.
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (Wednesdays until 8:00 pm)
Tips: After visiting the museum spend some time wandering around the beautiful grounds, which make up the surrounding Ostre Anlaeg park.
6.) Tivoli Gardens
We are not usually that interested in visiting theme parks, but as the second oldest operating theme park in the world, we agreed that Tivoli would be worth checking out. The park is well organised with many rides and fair games to be enjoyed by people of all ages. There is an abundance of stalls selling toys and souvenirs, as well as a good selection of food vendors selling snacks, coffee, and beer. Tivoli Gardens is a great place to explore for a couple of hours and an ideal place to visit if you are travelling with children.
Entrance Fee: Adults and children aged 8+ DKK 135, children aged 3-7 years DKK 60 and children under 3 years are free. Free entry with the Copenhagen Card
Opening Hours: Monday - Sunday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm (times may vary)
Tips: Grab a beer and a hotdog then find a seat near the rollercoaster to enjoy views of adrenaline junkies completing the full loop.
7.) Rosenborg Castle
We visited Rosenborg Castle in the early afternoon and had a great time exploring the beautiful gardens. There was quite a long queue at the entrance into the castle, so we never ended up going inside, but the immaculate grounds were a great place for an afternoon stroll.
Entrance Fee: The grounds are open to the public for free. Entry into the castle is DKK 120 for adults, DKK 85 for students, and children are free. Entry is free with the Copenhagen Card.
Opening Hours: Days and times vary depending on the month, so please check in advance. Generally, the castle is open Tuesday - Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Information: Visit Copenhagen
Tips: Avoid the afternoon crowds, by visiting in the morning or during lunchtime.
8.) Botanic Garden
The Botanic Garden in Copenhagen is most definitely worth a visit if you have time, the grounds are beautifully manicured and its historic glasshouses are an impressive sight. The garden boasts a wide variety of plants from around the world, which are displayed in different sections and buildings across the grounds. The Palm House is huge and a great place to explore, you can even climb up a spiral staircase and walk amongst the canopy of the plants below. The Butterfly Garden is also a great place to check out, especially if you have young children.
Entrance Fee: The garden grounds can be accessed by the public for free. A ticket for the Palm House and Butterfly Garden will cost DKK 60 for adults and DKK 40 for students and children.
Opening Hours: Monday - Sunday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Tips: It is best to visit in the morning when the park first opens, as you will have the place to yourself and will be able to get some better photos, as areas like the Butterfly Garden can get quite crowded in the afternoon.
Copenhagen is an incredible city well worth exploring, we highly recommend a trip here to anyone who is looking for a city break. The fact that the city can be easily explored by foot or on a bicycle, combined with the friendliness of the Danish people and the abundance of nature in the city, make Copenhagen a relaxing destination to explore. If you are thinking of visiting this vibrant city, we suggest you purchase the Copenhagen Card, as it offers great discounts and free entry to many attractions, as well as unlimited rides on public transport throughout the capital region. So what are you waiting for, book a flight and go explore this incredible city, you won't regret it!