How to plan a weekend in Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark’s most visited town is renowned for its interior design, bicycle culture, Michelin stars restaurants, great coffee places, colorful houses and much more.

In many publications, it is named as a place with the happiest people in the world. It does surely make one of the most enjoyable weekend trips in Europe. Danish people are very welcoming and helpful when it comes to tourists. As a cherry on top, everyone speaks English so there is no way you would get lost.

 

Travel:

You can fly directly to CPH Copenhagen airport which is served by the most European airlines. If you want to save money, you can fly with Ryanair to BLL Billund Airport and you can stop at LEGOLAND too. Yes! You can do that too! From Billund, you can catch a bus to Vejle train station and the train to Copenhagen is ca. 450 DKK (Danish Krona). Another option is to take a bus directly from Billund airport (this takes much longer but it is cheaper). Or, you rent a car. Hertz has usually the best offers. Be aware there are two bridges that connect islands between Billund and Copenhagen and both of them are around 400 DKK. With expensive parking in downtown Copenhagen, it can easily add up to 100o DKK per day!

 

When to Go:

In the summer time, it almost never gets dark. On these long days, there is light until midnight. In the warm months, the town is simply amazing. The moment the sun is out people get out and sit around, literally everywhere..benches, grass or even path curbs.

In the winter months, it can be rather unpleasant with ‘horizontal’ rain, strong nordic wind, gray skies and lack of sunshine. But you can be lucky and arrive on a rare sunny winter day. I spent my days fighting the wind on my bike when I was living in Denmark. It feels like you are not moving at all ha ha ha, and if it rains your hoodie will not stay in place in any case. After few years of good clothing ignorance, I got awesome raincoat which is specially designed for the active live style…meaning crazy Viking biking. And it also makes me look like red riding hood which is quite funny.

 

Summer time in Nyhavn. (Harbour)

 

Accommodation:

I usually look for Airbnb in the area of Copenhagen, which is a great way to experience local houses. Last time we stayed here, the apartment was amazing. Full of designers accessories and furniture aaaaaand amazing view above the rooftops.

 

What to Eat and Drink:

  • Brunch. Choose a place you like and try popular brunch. You will be eating like locals
  • Cinnamon roll. From the huge variety of danish pastry, I like this one the best.
  • Smørrebrød. One of the most common lunch options is smørrebrød (open rye-bread sandwich) with different ingredient combinations from meat to pineapple. I suggest to go and try one of the brunch options where you can try most of the local specialties in small amounts. This will probably cost you ca. 150 DKK
  • Leverpostej. A liver spread. I was not really big fan of this but you should try it at least once
  • Locals are proud of their Carlsberg and Tuborg beers.

 

Eating out can be quite expensive, ranging from 80 DKK to 120 DKK in cheaper places and 130 DKK to 250 DKK for average dinner places (not even super fancy).

 

Where to Eat:

  • Next Door Cafe (Larsbjørnsstræde 23, 7AM-6PM) brunch place, homemade food, (Brunch for 50-70 DKK.)
  • Central Hotel & Café. Coffee and pastry
  • Café Retro.(Knabrostræde 26, ) Cafe with retro decor, concerts, exhibitions and events.
  • Royal Smushi Cafe (Amagertorv 6) Cool Scandinavian white decoration and good fancy Smørrebrød.
  • Kompa’9 (1208 k, Kompagnistræde 9, 8AM-6PM) Brunch, sandwich or cafe
  • Paludan Bog & Café,(Fiolstræde 10) Burgers, cakes, beer in the bookstore
  • Try cozy and awesome small café SOCIAL with great coffee and gluten-free snack options
  • GRØD restaurant which is really popular for it porridge and allergy-free options.
  • Another great option is bakery Naturbageriet where everything looks good!

 

Experience:

Bike around the town. There are many public bike stations around the city. You can rent a bike by putting 20 DKK into the machine. What is cool that you can return the bike to any other bike station around the town. Copenhagen is mostly flat, so it is very pleasant to bike around. It is also very safe as they have bike lanes separated from car roads.

Although be aware that you have to follow the traffic rules like indicating which way you want to turn. You can find the map of the bike station here. You can bike all year despite zero temperatures, snow, rain or the wind.

As of 2016, there are more bikes than cars in Copenhagen, which can be also caused by super high tax on the cars and not only environmentally friendly approach.

 

Boat cruise on canals. They have different types of cruises, from short ones to longer guided tours to hop on and hop off. They cost around 220 DKK which is a reasonable price if you want to see the whole town and don’t even have to use a bus.

 

Bikes in front of one bike store in the town

 

Save Money:

Denmark can get very expensive so if you want to save a little bit, try to find local groceries where you can buy snacks. There is no need to eat only in the restaurants.

 

Get Copenhagen Card to go to museums and viewpoints for free.

To get cheaper train ticket visit Rejsekort. This site is only in Danish (use Google Translate) but you can get the ticket half price. It works around whole Denmark for train and buses. Otherwise, town trains/buses would be around 30 DDK for a two-zone ticket.

 

Viewpoints:

Spiraled walkway of Rundetårn actually doesn’t have any stairs. It was built in the past as an astronomical observatory and it has a great overlooking view over the city.

 

Church of our savior (Vor Frelsers Kirke). Amazing views with golden outdoor spiral staircase. The tower is open during the daytime and closed in the winter (reopens in March). It can be also closed due to strong winds which happen quite often. On our last visit, we almost were blown away, I lost my hat…And after we came down they closed the tower…..

 

Artist in you:

Visit one of the danish furniture museums to learn about chair design history or why the wooden monkey is so popular. Get some souvenirs in some of the local shops with Danish design brand like Norman Copenhagen, Ferm, Royal Copenhagen. Or just have a look in the shops for design inspiration. These brands are quite expensive. Royal Copenhagen also has a super cute coffee The Royal Cafe with wall paintings. I just had a coffee here but the snack (including smørrebrød) and cakes looked beautifully decorated.

 

Christiania is another spot worth visiting filled with murals and sculptures. Christiana is a hippie haven and has an interesting mix of people and buildings. It is also known as a controversial place where you can get drugs. If you follow the rules (no photos!) it is fine to walk around and even get a beer in outdoor pubs as many locals do. You can also buy some alternative art pieces here like paintings, sculptures or postcards.

 

Design museum. Bring your camera for great Instagram pictures and notebook to sketch. This place is full of history and new trends of the famous Danish and Scandinavian design.

 

Tivoli gardens.  It is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. In the summer it is beautiful to sit in the park with cotton candy or just stroll around. It has a whimsical toy-land feel and you will be surrounded by colorful roller coasters, performances, candy shops. You can also get the only ticket to see the park and pay for each ride separately if it interests you. (They have automated ticket sales everywhere. )

 

Louisiana museum of art. Take a 30 minutes train ride north of the city and find yourself in a minimalistic modern building by an enormous white beach. This modern art museum is definitely worth the trip.

 

Nyhavn. (Harbour). Here you have to Beautiful colorful buildings invites you to sit down and have a drink (and take a necessary trip selfie). Nyhavn is 17th-century canal which is one of the most popular areas to hang out in Copenhagen. 

 

One of the back alleys in Christiania.

 

Summary of top things:

  1. Nyhavn (See from the boat cruise)
  2. Tivoli gardens
  3. Boat cruise
  4. Little Mermaid Sculpture (See from the boat cruise)
  5. Gefion Fountain (See from the boat cruise)
  6. Design Museum
  7. Christiania district
  8. Rundetårn view
  9. Vor Frelsers Kirke view
  10. Glyptotek Museum
  11. Bike around
  12. Eat brunch in one of the many places in Copenhagen
  13. Louisiana Museum of Art.

 

Guides:

Get Rick Steves Snapshot Copenhagen & the Best of Denmark or The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country

 

   

 

 Do you have more ideas what to see here? I would love to know! Please share your travel experiences in comments below.